The Art of Darkness

Coffin Quilts

May 10th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Coffin QuiltY’know what’s irritating? Trying to find a photograph to accompany a blog post and discovering that there’s a book by the same title that everybody and their cousin has written about. I slogged through 37 pages of “the Hatfields and the McCoys sure didn’t like each other” to find this photo for you. I hope you’re happy.


Coffin Quilts date from the days when people were rubbing up against death all the time, so it was treated a little more matter-of-factly than it is today. As with most other types of patchwork quilt, they appear to have originally been an American invention.

They were usually done in somber shades of grey or brown and consisted of a plain center (the graveyard) surrounded by either pieced blocks (star, nine-patch, etc.) or by appliques such as a picket fence. These quilts were sometimes also embroidered with vines, flowers, and other funerary symbols.

Now for the fun part: Appliques in the shape of toe-pincher coffins, each embroidered with the name of a family member, were loosely basted on the quilt’s border. When a relative died, the coffin bearing his/her name was removed and sewed permanently in the center or graveyard area, along with the date of death.

Yeah, that’d be a hoot, wouldn’t it? Going to visit Aunt Agatha and seeing the little coffin with your name on it, just waiting….

Anyway, if you like to quilt (or would like to learn–it’s truly less daunting than you think), this would be a fun project. It’s nicely morbid, but can claim real historical roots if anyone complains. Depending upon your skill level you can choose a simple block (stick with squares or triangles that make up squares, like Churn Dash) or can go nuts with the appliques and make your own cemetery, complete with wrought-iron gates.

There’s another couple of photos of the quilt above on Flickr.

(This post was first published in September 2007; I’ll be doing a few days of “blast from the past” archive posts in a probably-vain effort to catch up with real life.)

Posted in Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

Wool Coffins

March 1st, 2010 by Cobwebs

Wool CoffinUK-based company Natural Legacy is taking green burials to a whole ‘nother level, with sustainable coffins made of wool. What makes it even more wonderful is that this site was sent to me by alert reader Linda, who found it in one of her knitting magazines. As she put it, the coffins were featured in a “‘now you CAN take your stash with you!’ kind of way.” I sort of love the idea of knitting your final resting place.

The site also offers woollen cremation urns, organic cotton shrouds, and coffin handles made of jute. The handles in particular amuse me more than they probably should.

But anyway.

The coffin and urn exteriors appear to be felted wool, and the site says that the frame is recycled cardboard. If you’re a fiber artist and like to do felting, a DIY urn might not be out of the question.

Posted in Needful Things | 4 Comments »


October 27th, 2009 by Cobwebs

CoffinwoodYou’ve probably seen the all-coffin kitchen and other themed furniture made by Coffin It Up. It probably comes as no surprise that the proprietors’ own house is also coffin-themed.

Bryan and Dusty Schoening have a year-round cemetery at their house, complete with a coffin-shaped gazebo where they host several weddings every year.

HGTV has a short home tour of their exterior, plus some photos of the famous coffin kitchen that they did for a client. I’m very much taken with the columns on their front porch.

Posted in Bad Things | No Comments »

The iCoffin

July 6th, 2009 by Cobwebs

I’d buy it….

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Coffin Sofa

June 22nd, 2009 by Cobwebs

Coffin SofaYou will pardon me whilst I pick my jaw up off the ground. Etsy seller VonErickson offers this unbelievably gorgeous velvet-upholstered sofa in red, black, or purple. The lid even closes.

It’s $3,500 plus a variable (and presumably fairly large) amount of shipping. Sure, that’s more expensive than Ikea, but the Swedes know nothing about this kind of awesome stylishness. I’d love to make this the focal point of a dark living room.

I’ll go get a mop for my drool now.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Bad Things | 3 Comments »

Coffin it Up

December 30th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Coffin Drawer FrontSomeday when I’m rich I want the inspired woodworkers at Coffin it Up to build me a custom kitchen like the one they did for a homeowner in Las Vegas.

They’ve taken casket decor to a whole new level, building everything from cat beds to contact lens cases shaped like classic toe-pincher coffins. They offer an almost endless selection of coffin-shaped display cases and cabinetry, and they do a wide variety of custom work, ranging from stereo speakers to a Jack-and-Sally cake serving set carved from obsidian. Almost as an afterthought, they also offer real coffins for your funeral needs (although it seems a terrible shame to bury such craftsmanship).

If you’re thinking about remodeling or just want to go drool at their lovely cabinetry, go check ’em out!

Posted in Bad Things | 2 Comments »

Coffin Menu

July 18th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Coffin MenuMorbid Anatomy mentioned this menu a while back; it’s a 1907 menu for a convention banquet held by a chapter of Skull and Bones.

I think a do-it-yourself version would be splendid at a Halloween-themed dinner party or goth wedding.

The menu could be made of heavy cardstock; the slightly-smaller layer on top could be a contrasting color of cardstock or perhaps something soft like felt (it’s hard to tell from the picture, but the contrast layer looks kind of softish). I wouldn’t recommend using velvet because of its tendency to fray at the edges and get “dust” all over everything.

You will cut out:

  • Two pieces of heavy cardstock for the menu front and back

  • One piece of cardstock, colored paper or felt, slightly smaller than the menu front, which will be the top contrast. (I guess you could do a contrast on the back, too, if you’re feeling motivated.)

  • Two pieces of colored paper, the same size as the top contrast, for the inside contrast.

  • One piece of a light-colored paper, slightly smaller than the inside contrast, which will be for your menu.

Here’s a pattern to help with your dimensions. It’s at half-size, so print at 200%.

Use a glue stick to attach the top contrast to the menu front, leaving an even border on all sides. Do the same on the inside with the menu front and back and the inside contrast pieces. Let dry.

Now it’s time for the menu itself. Depending upon your level of ambition (and your handwriting), you can cut out the paper and then hand-write the menu on it. You can also print the menu before cutting out the coffin shape as long as you make sure your margins won’t intrude on the pattern edges. Alternately, you can write or print the menu on a rectangle of cardstock and just glue it inside. Once you’ve written or printed your menu, glue it on top of the inside back contrast piece. (Note: If you’d like to re-use your menus, use something like 3M’s Spray Mount or other artist’s adhesive to stick down the menu. Then you can peel it off and stick down a new one later.)

Put the menu front and back together and use a hole punch to make two holes near the top. Thread some velvet ribbon through the holes and tie the ends in a bow. Make sure you leave enough “give” in the ribbon that your guests can lift the top and read the menu. (Instead of ribbon, you could also use something like heavy jewelry chain as your menu hinge.)

Finally, use a bit of hot glue to affix a skull or other spooky decoration on the front. The popularity of certain pirate movies means that skull-and-crossbones charms are easy to find. (Here’s a cute one from Auntie’s Beads.) You can use any other charm or button that strikes you, just as long as it’s reasonably flat on the back and fairly lightweight.

You could get an assembly-line technique going and turn out a lot of these in a short amount of time. They’d be a neat keepsake for your guests to take home after a special dinner party.

Posted in Doom It Yourself, Terror in the Aisle | No Comments »

The Coffin Couch

April 30th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Coffin CouchThis manufacturer “recycles” stainless-steel coffins collected from Southern California funeral homes. Their site says, “It is a health and safety law that funeral homes cannot resell used coffins to the general public,” but since they go on to imply that their recycling approach gives them a loophole I guess there’s no law against hosing ’em off and turning them into furniture.

The six cast-iron legs are each embossed with the universal biohazard insignia, which I think is a nice touch.

At $4500 these may be a bit pricy, but you can’t beat them for style. They might be worth keeping in mind for your next interior decorating project.

Link (via The Presurfer)

Posted in Bad Things, Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

Coffin Ring Box

April 28th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Coffin BoxThis is one of those items that’s going to be viewed very differently by we darker-minded souls than it is by the mainstream. The Wedding Ring Coffin is ostensibly to help divorced people seek closure by “burying the past” instead of selling their ring on eBay like a normal person.

However, would this not be the coolest way to present a ring to a gothy loved one? The solid-wood coffin is lined with black velvet and has four little brass handles. It even comes with a brass plaque that you can have engraved with a personalized message.

I think they’re just adorable. I’m tempted to get one just to hold my rings when I’m not wearing them.

Posted in Paint It Black, Terror in the Aisle | 1 Comment »

Coffin Tattoo Quilts

September 27th, 2007 by Cobwebs

Coffin Tattoo QuiltI ran across this site when I was desperately searching for that other coffin quilt. It’s kind of a weird hybrid: The quilt imagery is based on tattoos, but the quilt itself is in the shape of a toe-pincher coffin. For some reason I’m having a little trouble wrapping my head around this; it sort of seems like too much of a good thing. However, the applique work on these quilts is amazing, and well worth a look for that alone.

The artist also makes a number of items not on display in her gallery, including aprons, bags, and baby booties.


Posted in Doom It Yourself, Whatever | No Comments »

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