The Art of Darkness

Pimp My Skull

November 20th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Jeweled SkullHere’s an interesting project for the more obsessive amongst us: Bejeweled skulls.

Artist Amy Sarkisian apparently specializes in these; she’s got photos of several on her site. There isn’t any accompanying text to describe her method or what materials she uses, but I’m guessing “beads” and “glue” are the basics.

I have no idea if these were inspired by Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull or not, but it’s nice to see something similar done with more readily-accessible materials. If you’ve got a lot of beads, a dime store plastic skull, and some time on your hands, this would certainly be an unusual and striking accent piece.

Check out some of her other art too; it’s delightfully disturbing.

(via CRAFT)

Posted in Doom It Yourself, Paint It Black | 2 Comments »

Sale at Anatomical

November 19th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Boris the BatThe Anatomical Chart Company, long-time friends of the Halloween crowd due to their bargain pricing on good-looking skeletons,* is having a big clearance sale. They’ve got all kinds of charts, models, reference materials, and bones!

There are a few really good deals to be had, such as Boris the Bat here (marked down from $65 to $26.50). He’d be an interesting accent piece on a bookshelf or coffee table. They’ve also got a bunch of novelties that would make amusing stocking stuffers, like the spine tie and muscle socks. Some of their charts would make interesting pop-art pieces in a kitchen or family room, too. I like the skull one in particular.

I can vouch for their quality and service, so now’s your chance to stock up on some unique decorative items.

*A few years ago they were having trouble with one of their suppliers and ran out of their inexpensive fourth-class skeletons, so they announced that they would briefly sell their first-class skeletons for the cheaper price. I informed Shadow Jack that he had just bought me my anniversary present. (And he nodded absently, which is why I love him.) It arrived, disarticulated in a big shipping box, on the same day that we’d arranged for a guy to run some cable in our basement. After running the line he came back upstairs to find me gleefully attaching the legs to my skeleton. I said, by way of explanation, “It’s my anniversary present.” He, um, didn’t hang around long.

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Genome Quilts

November 18th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Quilt Row

Quilter Beverly St. Clair attended a lecture on the Human Genome Project and was inspired to translate the DNA base molecules into quilt blocks. (That’s the sequence GATCGCCCTT up above.) She’s created several quilts based on various gene sequences; her interpretation of one of the genes in Hepatitis C is particularly lovely.

She’s also done some gorgeous appliqued double-helix quilts. I’m especially taken with this one.

As a long-time quilter, I’m extremely tickled by this juxtaposition of art and science. When my sister got married, I made her a quilt in her wedding colors. It would have been a thousand times cooler if I’d made a quilt using one of her gene sequences.

You could encode a more malign message into a quilt as well. Years ago, a good friend of mine married The Wrong Guy. My wedding gift consisted of two wooden TV trays (an excellent gift for any wedding, incidentally), which I decorated with two painted quilt blocks: “Contrary Husband” and “Contrary Wife.” If I had to do it again, I might instead present a quilt encoded with one of the genes from Syphilis. (The marriage, BTW, lasted about a year. Not that she was speaking to me by that point, because I also wore mourning attire to the wedding. I am not subtle.)

This would be a fun way to secretly display all kinds of meaningful genes–one of the vampire genes that was recently discovered, or perhaps a Poe quilt featuring a sequence from tuberculosis. You get the idea.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 4 Comments »

Spider Macrophotography

November 17th, 2008 by Cobwebs

JumperDark Roasted Blend recently posted an article featuring close-up images of spiders, such as this one (I totally want to hug this guy). It strikes me that a framed series of these would be an unusual and colorful decorative accent.

Searching on “spider macrophotography” or, conversely, “spider microphotography” (there doesn’t seem to be a lot of agreement on the proper term) will bring up quite a number of sites, including this macrophoto gallery and this Flickr photostream.

A number of photographers sell prints of their work–the average seems to be about $35–but if you’ve got a camera you can take your own photos. There are loads of tutorials to help you get started, such as the ones here, here, and here.

Obviously, if gazing into the limpid eyeballs of spiders doesn’t appeal you could turn this technique to other spooky subjects: The webbing of a bat wing, the delicate strands of a spider web, or the thorns on a rose would all make unique and attractive photographs. A series of botanical closeups of plants like hellebore and deadly nightshade would also be pretty.

I’m a big fan of massed pictures as a way to bring a lot of interest to a wall. This would certainly be an unusual way to accomplish it.

Posted in Bad Things | 2 Comments »

Eye See You

November 16th, 2008 by Cobwebs

EyeApplique involves sewing a cutout to the top of a piece of fabric. Reverse applique involves sewing a cutout under a piece of fabric, then cutting away the top fabric to display the underlying applique. Creative Kismet has come up with a very cool variation on this, where the cutouts in question are eyeballs.

Her version uses fabric paint. You could also do this with felt or fabric, sewing or gluing the layers together. I think it’d be particularly entertaining to do an “Eye of Sauron” T-shirt using this technique.

Obviously, you could do other interesting shapes too, as long as they’re simple. The technique doesn’t lend itself too well to lots of little fiddly edges and corners, but skulls or bats or whatnot would be cute, too.

Link (via Dabbled)

Posted in Doom It Yourself | No Comments »

Victorian Gothic Decorating Ideas

November 15th, 2008 by Cobwebs

MantelThe MyHomeIdeas site has a nice little feature on “Halloween” decorating ideas featuring a refined Victorian-ish theme. They provide information on retail sources for most of the items used in the decor, plus instructions for making some yourself.

I’m particularly taken with the dried-flower wreath hanging above the mantel. (Using apothecary jars to hold big hairy spiders and rubber snakes is an inspired touch, too.) Most of the display items aren’t perishable, so you could keep this look year-round.

Also check out their Thanksgiving section for a few suggestions on “harvest”-themed decorating. In my experience, pumpkins are a little less threatening than vultures if you’ve got relatives coming for the holidays.

(via The Steampunk Home)

Posted in Bad Things | 2 Comments »

Bloody Awesome Dining Room

November 14th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Dexter ChairMetropolitan Home Magazine recently did a “Showtime House” feature, asking designers to decorate rooms in themes inspired by various Showtime series: The Tudors living room, Weeds lounge, and so forth. The dining room had a Dexter theme, featuring blood spatter-embroidered chairs, gory plates, and fingerprinted glassware.

Setting the mood are Amy Lau’s chairs, elegant, wounded and slashed; the clean, protective plastic tablecloth; the blood vials centerpieces. The table is surrounded by Steven Antonson’s candlesticks, reminiscent of vertebrae and filled with blood red candles, they easily fit a murderer’s grip. Sip fine wines from Thomas Fuchs/Otium designed glassware with luminous ‘blood -filled’ stems and ominous fingerprints. Chose your weapon. Savor the delectable dinner while challenged by Steve Butcher’s dismembered flatware, a fascinating and disturbing set. Nadeige Choplet’s handmade ceramic plates celebrate the love of blood via an intricate pattern of blood splatters, veins and capillaries under a delicate porcelain skin; and finally dessert can be enjoyed on Klein Reid’s fine porcelain, served with the fine trace of a fingerprint.

The designer, Amy Lau, has also made a few of the pieces used in the model room available at Spring3D. Unsurprisingly, they’re fairly pricey–$2500 for a chair, for example–but they might be useful to get your own creative juices flowing.

The ultramodern design scheme is something that tends to underrepresented in gothy decorating, so if your tastes run in that direction this might be good inspiration for your own home. I’m impressed with how effective the blood-red accents are against the mostly-white interior.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Bad Things | 2 Comments »

More Fun with Playmobil

November 13th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Playmobil Zombies

As I’ve mentioned previously, I love the detail and originality of Playmobil toys. A reader named Sven recently wrote to show off his Playmobil installations, which are simply awesome.

He’s got Rivermead Manor, a highly-customized mansion with all kinds of neat details (like Egyptian busts and mounted deer heads). He also gives some pointers on kitbashing accessories like spooky candelabra. The site is all in German, but there are plenty of pictures.

His newer site is Playzombies, which includes a stern warning about the toy-on-toy violence contained within. Playmobil zombies have come back from the dead, to feast on the plastic of the living.

Both of these sites are wonderful sources of inspiration, should you feel like playing with toys and calling it art. I’ve already got a little Playmobil ghost who sits on my desk and glares balefully at me. I’m thinking that I might need to collect a couple more figures and turn them into a little vignette. I’m always looking for new ways to keep people away from my cubicle.

Go check out Sven’s work, and be inspired yourself!

Posted in Paint It Black | 5 Comments »

Knitted Witch Doll

November 12th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Witch DollHere’s a cute little companion to the knitted vampire I posted about a couple of days ago: Whitney at The Purl Bee has posted a project journal with free instructions and lots of photos for creating this winsome little witch.

As she points out, this is a very good generic human doll pattern; if you don’t want a witch you can change the yarn color and knit different accessories and create all sorts of creatures of the night.

Be sure to check out her other projects, too: “Whit’s Knits” is a frequent blog feature, and there are lots of other projects and tutorials (both knitting and other needlework) linked in the sidebar. I like this toadstool baby rattle and these easy jewelry pouches.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | No Comments »

Neat Steampunk Gadgets

November 11th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Time MachineFlickr user donpezzano makes neat steampunky “time machines” and toys out of clock faces, sewing machine parts, and other castoff bits. He doesn’t give a lot of information about parts used or construction techniques, but you could certainly use them for inspiration. (A few of this user’s other photosets are NSFW, so practice safe surfing.) (via Dark Roasted Blend)

Instructables offers a couple of tutorials for making hand-held “time machines” as well:

If, like me, you tend to squirrel away any interesting bits of broken things, you’ve probably got some gears and whatnot lying around already. If you’re not quite as loony thrifty, simply dig around in junk shops for broken clocks and other mechanisms that you can dissect.

One of these would be a fun addition to a Victorian costume (you could even attach a functional watch to it somewhere and use it as a pocket watch). I’ve always quite liked the idea of a Gentleman Time Traveler, calmly observing other time periods.

You’ll also want to carry one if you plan to participate in Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day. (If they don’t hold the event again this year, you can always participate in last year’s festivities.)

Posted in Doom It Yourself | No Comments »

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