The Art of Darkness

A Nostalgic Halloween

August 29th, 2008 by Cobwebs

The Mourning CrowHere’s a wonderful source of inspiration: Artist Kris Dickinson’s A Nostalgic Halloween is a blog devoted to “original art, favorite sites and information about Halloween,” focusing mainly on images and tropes from around the turn of the (last) century.

The artwork is lovely, combining vintage Halloween images and haunting photographs with ribbons, charms, and other accents. There are some great ideas for collages and small projects like gift tags too.

I’ve always loved the folk-art feel of antique Halloween cards and decorations. Some of these pieces would be wonderful accents in a “mainstream goth” interior decorating scheme (that is, goth, but not so it scares landlords, parents, or in-laws).

There are links to lots of other Halloween art resources, too. Go check it out!

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Quick Decorating Ideas

August 28th, 2008 by Cobwebs

BirdcagesThe Better Homes and Gardens site has a slideshow and project instructions for spooky decorations. Some are rather twee, but there are several that would be appropriate for year-round decorations in a gothy house. I particularly like this birdcage display and these easy chair covers.

They also have a feature on outdoor decorations. These don’t lend themselves quite as well to year-round decorating, but there are some attractive seasonal suggestions such as this raven pumpkin.

Also check out their Halloween craft ideas for some easy projects and inspiration.

I love this time of year. All of the mainstream magazines trot out their Halloween ideas and for a while there’s an embarassment of decorating riches.

Posted in Bad Things, Doom It Yourself | 2 Comments »

Spooky Picture Frame

August 27th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Spooky FrameHere’s an absurdly easy little project that can be embellished and expanded upon to your heart’s content: Decorate an inexpensive picture frame with spiderwebs and spooky stuff.

I’ve posted a tutorial (which is almost overkill, given the simplicity of the project) here.


Posted in Doom It Yourself, Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

Decorate with Posters

August 26th, 2008 by Cobwebs

PosterFramed posters are an inexpensive and easy way to add interest to a room. You can select designs to match your decorating style, and swap them out when you feel like a change.

There are plenty of Halloween- and Goth-themed posters available from sites like AllPosters,, and BareWalls. (The latter two have a smaller selection, and the designs seem a little more skewed toward “dorm room” than “interior decor.”)

You can also make your own posters using graphic editing software and have them printed professionally. Choose artwork you like, or do something like Mike Matas’ Life Poster. As long as you’re getting a print, consider doing multiple copies for unique gifts or party favors.

Framing is essential if you don’t want your interior to look like a teenager’s bedroom. It can be expensive if you have it done professionally, but it isn’t hard to do yourself. Most large craft and office supply stores sell frames and mats inexpensively, and many can give you tips on proper technique. You can also check out this eHow article on how to frame a poster.

Display proudly. For ideas on how to set the posters to best advantage, you can check out these articles on making the most of posters and paintings here, here, and here.

Posted in Bad Things, Paint It Black, Resources | 1 Comment »

Nosallis Designs

August 25th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Bat Desk

Sculptor Paul Allinson creates custom jewelry, shoes, and furniture with wonderful gothic detailing. I’m enormously taken with the little bats clinging to this desk, but all of his work is really striking: Check out the heels of these boots and this awesome walking cane.

The prices for many items aren’t listed, but the jewelry at least seems fairly affordable. He also does custom work, including big dramatic pendants and unusual items like petrol caps.

Link (via Uncle Fester’s)

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Skelanimals Backpacks

August 22nd, 2008 by Cobwebs

JackJust in time for back-to-school shopping, the Skelanimals line of toys is offering backpacks.

At 12″ high they’re closer to oversize purses than functional backpacks, but you have to admit they’re mighty appealing. The packs are available as skeletal rabbits, cats, or bats.

I wish they’d had these when I was in grade school. I wouldn’t have had to work as hard to make my teachers vaguely nervous.


(hat tip to Herding Kittens)

Posted in Bittens, Needful Things | 2 Comments »

Poltergeist Theme

August 21st, 2008 by Cobwebs

My dad wrote me the other day:

You know, every time I watch “Poltergeist” I am struck by how the music seems so out of place for a scary movie. I was watching it the other day and I happened to let the DVD run through the credits. Underneath the credits there’s a girls choir singing and I found out the theme is actually a lullaby. So I looked it up on the Internet and it’s quite pretty.

I might disagree with the music being out of place; for my money, there’s nothing creepier than the juxtaposition of spooky imagery and small children’s voices. The lyrics are a nice fit for the movie’s theme, too.

Bless This House (aka Carol Ann’s Theme)

As evening shadows grow deep and long
Reaching across the bed
Mother and father hear children’s prayers
Now as they bow their heads
Bless this house
Bless this house
And the souls within
Through the night til it’s light again
Guide our hearts
Through the dark
To the breaking day
Bless this house
Bless this house
We pray

Save me from bad dreams
If they should come
Raging into my heart
Keep us together one family
Nothing can tear apart
Bless this house
Bless this house
And the souls within
Through the night til it’s light again
Guide our hearts
Through the dark
To the breaking day
Bless this house
Bless this house
We pray

Give us arms to hold that are right and strong
When the night goes on too long
Bring us a morning wide as the sea
Where love will be our ark
Standing together one family
Nothing can tear apart
Bless this house
Bless this house
And the souls within
Through the night til it’s light again
Guide our hearts
Through the dark
To the breaking day
Bless this house
Bless this house
We pray….

Incidentally, you can buy the song; it’s part of the Fantastic Journey soundtrack compilation.

(Note: Immediately after writing this post, I read that they’re planning a Poltergeist remake. Dammit, leave the classics alone. A remake implies that there’s something in the original that was lacking. There was not. Go ruin something else instead. Oh, wait. You are….)

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Beth Church Jewelry

August 20th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Skull NecklaceArtist Beth Church creates lovely, intricate beaded jewelry with a vintage-gothic vibe. There are some really unique pieces, and I love how complex they are; there’s always something new to draw the eye. I particularly like her bat choker and this vintage cuff.

She does bridal work, too, so this might be a good place for the goth bride to find the perfect accessory.


Posted in Needful Things, Terror in the Aisle | No Comments »

Holbein’s Danse Macabre

August 19th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Holbein WoodcutThe University of Iowa’s John Martin Rare Book Room has just added Hans Holbien’s The dances of death through the various stages of human life: wherein the capriciousness of that tyrant is exhibited… to their online collection.

The Dance of Death, often referred to as “Danse Macabre” is a gruesome medieval and renaissance symbol of the all-encompassing and universal power of death. Originally a 14th century morality poem, written shortly after the plague of the 1340’s that wiped out a high proportion of the European populace, images of the allegory made their way into print shortly thereafter. The most famous of these was a series of wood cuts by the German artist and printmaker, Hans Holbein, the younger (1497-1543).

The university’s version is an 1803 republication of copperplates based on Holbein’s work, made by Scottish artist and engraver David Deuchar.

These are nice, high-quality scans which would be great for use in art projects. A decoupaged TV tray, end table, or folding screen would be lovely decorated with little dancing skeletons.

Link (via Morbid Anatomy)

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Memento Mori

August 18th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Memento MoriThe Curious Expeditions blog has a neat article on The Art of Mourning, including some of the odder memento mori like Victorian hairwork.

Published in 1860, Art Recreations is a thorough guide to artistic pastimes for Victorian women. It offers detailed lessons in many standard art forms, like pencil drawing, grecian painting, and watercolor, but somewhere towards the last third of the book, the mediums veer into bizarre and thoroughly antiquated crafts. This back section begins with a deceptively simple guide to taxidermy. It opens graphically with,

“Take out the entrails; remove the skin with the greatest possible care; rub the whole interior with arsenic…after taking out the entrails, open a passage to the brain, which must be scooped out through the mouth…”

In that same vein, check out these gorgeous “memorial samplers” here, here, and here. These are mostly silk embroidery, lovingly detailed. I particularly like the last one; as the Anticraft commented, it looks like an Edward Gorey drawing. I don’t think I’m willing to spend $12,000 for the original, but I’m definitely toying with trying to see if I can replicate the design.

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