The Art of Darkness

A Young Wizard’s Handbook

February 28th, 2011 by Cobwebs

How to Trap a ZombieOh, wow; where was this book when I was ten years old?

A.R. Rotruck used to have grand imaginary adventures when she was a child, with the help of props she made herself.

When she wasn’t reading, the ten-year-old me (we’ll call her “Tamie”) spent a lot of time playing in the woods and making crafts. For all the books she read, she never found one that would help with this particular hobby. Most of Tamie’s ramblings involved imagining various fantasy scenarios; grand quests and adventures. Tamie made a burlap sack to carry into the woods because it seemed like something the fantasy version of Tamie (maybe call her Fatamie? No, that’s getting a bit ridiculous.) would carry. It was bulky and scratchy, but it also, to Tamie’s ten-year-old brain, seemed authentic. Tamie would cobble together bits and pieces of crafts from books on Native American and colonial/pioneer folk art. Tamily only had one children’s book in this genre; the rest of the crafts were far too advanced for a ten-year-old. With Young Wizards Handbook, I wanted to write a book for the children like Tamie: fantasy fans who want to make things to help their imagination come alive with physical tools.

You can read the rest of the “big idea” behind her book here.

I love this idea. I want to go back in time and give myself a copy.

It’s great that the projects are both age-appropriate and engaging: It not only encourages imagination, it sounds like a great crafting primer for kids.

If you’ve got a young adventurer who yearns to track vampires to their lair or hobnob with hobgoblins, this would be an excellent gift. (Shadowboy will be receiving one shortly.)

Posted in Bittens, Needful Things | No Comments »

The Tomb of the Unknown Link Dump

February 25th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Sock Zombie – Video tutorial for making weird little zombies out of leftover socks.

Limbo – Xbox game which features a small boy tapped in a forest of horrors. (Hat tip to xJane)

Killhouettes – Victorian silhouettes depicting a variety of macabre scenes.

10 Abandoned Psych Wards That Photographers Love Sneaking Into – Lots of nicely atmospheric photos.

DIYFluffies – Etsy store specializing in patterns for plush toys. Yoki the Dragon is particularly adorable, and it appears that the seller also does custom patterns so if you yearn for a stuffed tarantula or something you may be in luck.

Whoops I think I broke it… – Small collection of tutorials for making props (with entertaining photo captions). I particularly like the Thing in a Jar.

Seymour’s Custom Doll House – Rather sparsely furnished but lovingly detailed spooky mansion.

Halloween Cake – This is a lovely, elegant orange-and-black layer cake with cute little fondant pumpkins on top. Lots of photos, if you want to take a crack at making one.

6 Famous Unsolved Mysteries That Have Totally Been Solved – Yeah, but where’s the fun in that?

Hilum – Creepy marionette performance. (Hat tip to pdq)

Name a Roach – I’m sorry I missed this. The Bronx Zoo was having a Valentine’s Day promotion where a $10 donation allowed you to name a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach after a loved one. Hope they bring it back next year.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »


February 24th, 2011 by Cobwebs

I…got nothin’.

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »

Spice Skulls

February 23rd, 2011 by Cobwebs

Spice SkullArtist Helen Altman coats little skulls with glue, then covers them with various spices. The results are really quite charming.

This kind of thing should be reasonably simple to DIY, and several skulls made from different spices would be a cute decoration for a gothy kitchen. Covered with sweet spices like cloves and bits of cinnamon, they might also make unusual Christmas ornaments.

I’m also wondering if it would be possible to make edible versions as gifts. A molded sugar skull covered with dried orange peel, cloves, and cinnamon could be presented with a bottle of red wine as a mulled-wine kit.

Savory skulls would probably be a bit more perishable: A mixture of butter and flour could be molded into a skull and coated with ground herbs, then used to thicken sauces. Skulls made of plain butter could be covered with chopped fresh herbs and spread on bread or used to top fish.

A selection of skulls molded from soft cheese (like goat cheese) and then coated with chopped herbs, cracked pepper, or chopped nuts would make an arresting cheese plate for a party.

This is an easy idea with a lot of potential. I’m going to have to dig out my sugar skull molds and experiment.

(via CRAFT)

Posted in Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

Seen Online

February 22nd, 2011 by Cobwebs

Rest assured that the more animated my Grandpa is when he begins a story, the deader a person is at the end of the story. #oldpeople

Every time you masturbate, God says, “YOU’RE WELCOME.”

My 3yr olds obsession with death makes me wonder if there is such a thing as a Gothling.

What do the Brits say when there’s actually blood on something?

Michael J Fox should be the spokesman for a line of vibrators.

It’d be awkward if the Apocalypse came, but it was the Apocalypse of a dead religion? “Oh, uh, we’ve been waiting for this other dude…”

He’s Just Not That Manitou #sinisterfilms
David Cronenberg’s The Bad News Brood #sinisterfilms
Harold and Kumar Go to Hanging Rock #sinisterfilms
Yogoth Bear #sinisterfilms

Preparing for the weekend’s big snowstorm by pruning the hedge maze.

When you burn your last bridge, the island that remains is really quite peaceful.

“Bitch be crazy.” –Black Swan in tweet form.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

A Sprinkling of Offbeat Holidays

February 21st, 2011 by Cobwebs

A while back I did a post listing several holidays which provided excuses to party in a Halloween-like manner on dates other than Halloween. I keep meaning to expand that into a proper Goth Calendar with celebrations throughout the year, which at the rate I’m going will probably be completed some time in 2017. In the meantime, here are a few notable dates which might be worth hanging a celebration on.

Some of these don’t seem to have any sort of “official” imprimatur, but have at least made it far enough into the collective unconscious that you can pull up Google and say, “See? It is too a real holiday!”

January 3 – Memento Mori Day

January 5 – Befana Day

January 19 – Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday (1809)

April – The first week in April is Be Kind to Spiders Week

April 4 – World Rat Day

April 30/May 1 – Walpurgis Night

May 3 – Paranormal Day

May 11 – Twilight Zone Day

May 22 – World Goth Day

July – The first Sunday is Build a Scarecrow Day

August 7 – Erszebet Bathory’s birthday (1560)

October 15 – Jack the Ripper’s “From Hell” letter is received (1888)

October 20 – Bela Lugosi’s birthday (1882)

November 2 – Plan Your Own Epitaph Day

November 5 – Guy Fawkes Night

November 8 – Bram Stoker’s birthday (1847)

December 5 – Krampusnacht

Feel free to leave additional suggestions in the comments!

Posted in Resources | 4 Comments »

Attack of the Killer Link Dump

February 18th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Inseparable – Interesting “circle of death” artwork by Jennybird Alcantara. There are lots of other surreal works at her site as well.

The Dictionary of Victorian London – This is a phenomenal resource for anyone interested in Victorian London. See also The Cat’s Meat Shop, a sort of blog/appendix.

Mad Tea Party – Wonderful invitations and design ideas for an Alice-themed party.

HILDOOM – Etsy seller specializing in polymer clay cake toppers. The Jack and Sally is gorgeous. (It might be possible to DIY something similar to the ghosts.)

H.R. Giger Webstore – Giger’s official store, featuring jewelry and other cast items based on his artwork.

Octophrost – Pattern for a cute little stuffed octopus which could easily be made green and significantly more Cthulhu-esque. This pattern also inspired one of the most awesome Christmas trees evar. (Hat tip to Kitten Herder)

Island of the Dolls – This is a tourist destination in Mexico. :::shudder:::

Edgar Allen Poe Library – A home fragrance collection that purports to smell like Edgar Allen Poe’s library.

Skeleton Wreath – Tutorial for making a decorative wreath from prop bones. – Small collection of punk-ish shirts and onesies for children. I particularly like the skeleton onesies in the boys section, which I can’t link to directly because Flash is evil.

Custom Spell – Oh, look. You can arrange to have a custom spell cast by a witch selling her services on eBay. I would totes expect that to work. Two comments: 1) What happened to that whole “whatever you cast comes back to you threefold” schtick? 2) I love the disclaimer at the very bottom of the listing, absolving them of all liability for paranormal activity. (Hat tip to Seigmar S.)

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Drawing Ghosts

February 17th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Emily's BridgeLeigh Elise paints the things that go bump in the night, and they are kind of awesome.

Ever since I was little, I’ve adored ghost stories. My favorites have always been of the “true” variety — those based on historical accounts of tragedies, where either the violence or emotion was so great, it left a physical — sometimes even a recordable — memory behind. As I grew up, I began to notice certain similarities among the real ghosts I loved — Alice in the South Carolina marshes; Emily in a Vermont covered bridge; the Green Lady of Fyvie Castle; Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London. Each woman is beautiful, each woman is tragic — and, of course, each woman is terrifying.

She uses vintage photographs, found objects, and a variety of other media to capture the spooky essence of the stories to great effect. I like the surreal nature of the art, which certainly highlights the eeriness of the subject matter.

In addition to the ghost stories covered in her Apparitions series the site also features several other collections, including The Lovely Eccentrics, which feature oddball characters in a variety of peculiar situations (and where I just found my patron saint), and Antique LOLs, which are wonderfully silly.

There are apparently plans to eventually open an Etsy shop as well, which may mean that prints and other items will be available. I’m a fan of massing several pieces of related art, and a framed series of haunted prints would be lovely as the focal point of a room.

Posted in Bad Things | No Comments »

Fantastic Dead Fairy

February 16th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Dead FairyI’m always thrilled when one of my posts inspires someone to try something similar. Naamah used my mummified fairy tutorial as a jumping-off point to create an absolute work of art.

Her build notes are here, and I just love some of the detail work she did (like modeling little innards). In particular, I like the way that she did the disintegrating wings so much that I’m tempted to make another one just so I can try that method.

She also wrote a backstory which not only describes how she came into possession of this “artifact,” but also details the origins of this type of fairy. I thought that was a nice touch.

If you’ve been thinking about building a wunderkammer piece of your own, this should provide some fantastic inspiration. Go take a look!

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

The Last Lovecraft

February 15th, 2011 by Cobwebs

The Last Lovecraft is a direct-to-DVD movie coming out this week which sort of sounds like Shaun of the Dead with fishmen.

Jeff is a down-on-his-luck office worker who discovers that he is the last living relative of H.P. Lovecraft. It turns out that Lovecraft’s monsters are real, and he must keep an ancient relic from falling into the hands of cultists who plan to use it to give Cthulhu a call.

Here’s the official trailer. It looks like it could be fun.

(via Topless Robot)

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

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