The Art of Darkness

Another Darn Link Dump

February 26th, 2010 by Cobwebs

Monsters in Real Places – Site devoted entirely to photoshopping monsters into real photos. Most are kind of whimsical, but a few are pretty creepy.

Bad, Twisted, and Bizarre Toys – A photo roundup at Dark Roasted Blend.

Larvae of Love – Short article on Japanese sweets shaped like bugs. I think the grubs would be fairly easy to replicate.

Bridges on the Body – Blog devoted to corset-making.

Runway Skulls – This suit wouldn’t be terribly practical, but it would certainly get peoples’ attention.

Case Study: Multiple Personality Disorder – “Sméagol is a single, 587 year old, hobbit-like male of no fixed abode. He has presented with antisocial behaviour, increasing aggression, and preoccupation with the ‘one ring.’…”

Partial Ribcage Top – Cute blouse decorated with a glittery ribcage.

Cut-Paper Mosaic – Instructions for making a durable faux-marble floor mosaic out of paper.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

Chasing the Yellow Fairy

February 25th, 2010 by Cobwebs

Lemon CelloI have a tendency–certain members of my family that I happen to be married to would call it “an unfortunate tendency”–when encountering any large quantity of really cheap produce, to buy it and figure out what to do with it later. Not infrequently that seems to involve a good soaking in alcohol. Thus, when I scored a giant bag of lemons a few months ago, I decided to try my hand at limoncello.

There are a number of recipes floating around, including several variations obsessively documented at Limoncello Quest. My approach to the whole undertaking was somewhat more relaxed but it turned out splendidly. It’s pretty hard to truly screw up homemade liqueur, so don’t be afraid to experiment.


  • One 750ml bottle of high-proof grain alcohol, such as Everclear (which is 151 proof). I’ve seen recipes that call for vodka instead, but the much lower alcohol content means that it’ll be pretty low-octane once you dilute it with sugar syrup.
  • A buncha lemons. You can decide how many this is; recipes vary wildly. You should probably use at least 10. In the end, I used about 30 (but not all at once).
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups water


  • A glass jar large enough to hold about six cups of liquid (a bit larger is better), with a tight-fitting lid. I used a big canning jar.
  • Something to remove the peel: A microplane grater is best; I used a regular kitchen grater. You could probably use a vegetable peeler or paring knife in a pinch.
  • A strainer for removing the peel; you could use a slotted spoon in a real pinch, but strainers are cheap.
  • A filter: Coffee filters will remove pretty much all particulate matter; a few layers of cheesecloth is fine.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 3 Comments »

The Faking Hoaxer

February 24th, 2010 by Cobwebs

YouTube member TheFakingHoaxer specializes in realistic-looking hoax videos of events like the space shuttle encountering UFOs or ghost sightings in the woods. You can see the whole collection of videos on his YouTube channel.

I expect to see some of these making the rounds via e-mail in the next few months, “proving” that aliens and demons exist.

(via BoingBoing)

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Eye Roll

February 23rd, 2010 by Cobwebs

Mad Hatter RingThe Wall Street Journal has reported that Disney is launching a line of “goth” merchandise as part of its Alice in Wonderland marketing scheme:

In the run-up to the March 5 opening of director Tim Burton’s movie “Alice in Wonderland,” Walt Disney Co.’s consumer-products division is aiming its marketing firepower at young women and teenage girls, particularly those who gravitate to darkly romantic entertainment like the “Twilight” series.

This has set off something of a firestorm, with Disney fans wailing that this unholy alliance with “goth” will tarnish Disney’s family image. First, the merchandise is so wonderfully vanilla (Hot Topic | Torrid | Disney Store) that I don’t think we’re in danger of seeing Minnie Mouse with thick dark eyeliner any time soon. Second, whatever the hell Hot Topic is, it isn’t goth. Third, having worked for The Mouse for several years, I can state with some authority that Disney would yank out cryogenically-frozen Walt’s teeth and sell them as jewelry if they figured they could make a buck on it, so I have no idea why fans are surprised that the company is exploring all potential revenue streams.

Anyway, Disney has officially licensed some Alice merchandise. The world is ending. Run for your lives.

Posted in Needful Things | 3 Comments »

Seen Online

February 22nd, 2010 by Cobwebs

I’d like to see an online dictionary with video clips of Christopher Walken pronouncing each word.

He steps to the podium. Taps the microphone. Glances at his notes. Clears his throat. Looks up and says, “A Very Muppet Dante’s Inferno.”

Dick Clark: the world’s only living memento mori.

My mind is what you get when you breed a Carnival with the Seventh Circle of Hell. And raise the resulting kid in a tent under power lines.

It sounds pretty sweet when someone offers you their undying love until you think about the word “undead”. Then it gets all weird.

A 14-yr-old killed his parents because he didn’t want to take out the trash. What did he think he’d do with the bodies?

They should re-release ‘The Lost Boys’ with the title ’24: Twilight.’ Cha-ching!

Lube, batteries, wine & a wheel of Brie are the ingredients of homemade shark repellent when a nosy kid looking in your cart asks.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

All the Pretty Link Dumps

February 19th, 2010 by Cobwebs

Make a Beautiful Button Pillow – Lovely idea for making a very Victorian-looking decorative pillow using loads of vintage buttons. You could do a darker version using novelty Halloween buttons like spiderwebs and skulls.

Miniature Memento – This isn’t really goth, but I love all the little details. If you’ve got access to a color printer, this kind of personalized item would make a wonderful gift.

Gross Anatomy – List of arts and crafts featuring body parts.

Black Milk Tights – Some very cool printed tights, including a couple of lovely skeleton designs.

Screw-in Coffin – A patent has been issued for this device. So many jokes occurred to me that my cerebellum fused. (Hat tip to Chas)

The New Vampire’s Handbook – You’ve been turned; now what? This handy guide covers everything from fang maintenance to faking your way through meals.

Bat Skull Drawer Pulls – These cast metal knobs would be the perfect hardware for a spooky armoire or chest.

Zombie Poker Chips – Series of chips with different zombies for each denomination.

Steampunk Mice – Some lovely examples of steamed-up computer mice, along with one mouse made out of a taxidermied real mouse. (Hat tip to Kitten Herder)

Posted in Link Dump | No Comments »

Fashion in Fiction

February 18th, 2010 by Cobwebs

I don’t often post about events that are specific to one location, but this upcoming conference in PA sounds interesting enough to warrant a mention.

Fashion In Fiction – The Dark Side

October 8 – 10, 2010 Drexel University Antoinette Westphal College of
Media Arts & Design Philadelphia, PA.

Location: Pennsylvania, United States

Roland Barthes proposed that fashion was not a just an industry, but also a set of fictions. Barthes did not wish to ignore the economic function of fashion, but rather underline fashion’s mythic dimension and suggest that fashion is a language in itself. Fashion and fiction have long existed in close proximity; writers have been driven by their experience of fashion and fashion has been developed through and by literary tropes. What makes dress and fashion such a fascinating subject for writers? How are fashion’s mythologies constructed and disseminated through fictional texts? How does fashion relate to art, popular culture, business, the body, consumer studies, and those who might read it as a form of text?

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to investigate the role that fashion has played in our culture. These “mini-narratives” can include fiction, non-fiction, cultural and historical studies, and other types of comparative, descriptive and/or empirical research. In particular, it will examine the dark side of fashion discourse, assessing the role, function, and purpose of clothes, fashion movements, style, and image in creating narratives within narratives. The dark side of fashion can include such obvious topics as gothic, punk, the color black, and vampires. Other topics that have traditionally been viewed as “dark” include polyester fabric, couture knock-offs, deviant fashion advertising, sweatshops, and child labor. Authors are also encouraged to define their own meaning of “dark”.

Papers fitting the conference theme are sought from those engaged in the fields of fashion studies, social sciences, humanities, creative writing, media, cultural studies, design, philosophy, and business.

Papers, work-in-progress and workshop proposals are invited.

Possible topics may include but not limited to:

  • gothic
  • feminist versus feminized discourses in fashion and display
  • animated texts
  • fashion in crime fiction
  • graphic novels
  • the semiotics of fashion
  • historical fiction
  • queer readings of fashion
  • mystery
  • textiles
  • the color black
  • marketing
  • the body/body image
  • consumer studies
  • new media
  • script and cinematic texts
  • metaphor/metaphorical fiction
  • subcultural style

Abstract Deadline: June 1, 2010

Submission Process: Those interested should send an abstracts of no more than 500 words. Everyone will be notified of acceptance by July 1, 2010.

Peer Review: All abstracts will be peer-reviewed. Those abstracts accepted for presentations will be published online as well as in the conference proceedings.

Paper Submission for Possible Publication: Those interested in having their papers published may submit the entire manuscript for possible book publication.

For more details, please see our website at or email Dr. Joseph H. Hancock, II at

If you’re interested in or involved with the fashion industry, this might be an excellent source of inspiration and/or exposure. Hopefully they’ll publish the abstracts online so that those of us who aren’t local can still play along.

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

Carroll Meets Camille

February 17th, 2010 by Cobwebs

Mock TurtleA new gift edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has just been published, featuring the unabridged text with “a unique visual interpretation” by creepy-fantasy artist Camille Rose Garcia.

Hi-Fructose has posted some of the art from the book, along with information on west coast (U.S.) tour dates.

These are some very trippy images, and the hallucinatory quality of Carroll’s* story is front and center. I’d love a framed print of some of these illustrations.

I also love Garcia’s slightly-goth take on Alice’s costume. The bat-wing hair ribbon is adorable.

(via BoingBoing)

*[Pedantic footnote] You aren’t supposed to use just the last name of a pseudonym, so this should technically be either “Lewis Carroll” or “Dodgson.” To this I say phooey. [/Pedantic footnote]

Posted in Needful Things | No Comments »

Pretty Pillow Idea

February 16th, 2010 by Cobwebs

The marvelous xJane sent me a link to this spider pillow on Etsy, along with the comment:

This would be super easy to make oneself: just applique/embroider some spiders onto a damask-style pillow covering (either before you make the pillow case if you’re so inclined, or on one that was bought in a store after-the-fact). I think a more subtle one spider off to the side would be cuter, but to each one’s own (and, of course, the limit needn’t be “spiders on pillows”). Cute for a Victorian/gothic themed couch.

I quite agree. The Etsy listing doesn’t offer a lot of detail on the materials, but the tags on the item suggest that the spiders are felt appliques. A standard square pillow is very easy to make, and if applique isn’t your thing (I’m really not sure how well the felt would hold up over time), you could embroider or even paint the design on the fabric. I like the elegant look of the jacquard fabric, and if you nestled a little spider up in the corner it would be a secret bit of goth on an otherwise normal-looking pillow.

The seller has several other appliqued pillows with darkish themes; I quite like the Nevermore raven one as well.

Posted in Bad Things | 1 Comment »

Digitized Demons

February 15th, 2010 by Cobwebs

DemonThe Morgan Library in New York is exhibiting the wonderful illuminated manuscript The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, and have also digitized all of the miniatures.

This digital facsimile provides reproductions of all 157 miniatures (and facing text pages) from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves. The original one-volume prayer book had been taken apart in the nineteenth century; the leaves were shuffled and then rebound into two confusing volumes. This presentation offers the miniatures in their original, fifteenth-century sequence.

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves is the greatest Dutch illuminated manuscript in the world. Its 157 miniatures are by the gifted Master of Catherine of Cleves (active ca. 1435-60), who is named after this book. The Master of Catherine of Cleves is considered the finest and most original illuminator of the medieval northern Netherlands, and this manuscript is his masterpiece.

The images are simply chock-full of little demons (illustrating that the devil really is in the details). The scans are fairly high-resolution, and they’d be wonderful source material for all kinds of projects.

(via BoingBoing)

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