Saturday, September 27, 2008

Playing Dress Up

As Halloween draws near, we are beginning to search for some interesting costume ideas. Since witches, vampires and demons seem to lurk around the studio on a daily basis, something a little more unusual is required. We rather like this 17th century notion of dressing up as your profession. The illustration above portrays us quite well. Always lots of scissors, fabrics and templates around here, although we refrain from balancing our tool chests on our heads (on most days at least…) Not to mention that every good sewing kit should include band aids, duck tape and shot glasses. We find the clockmaker costume quite charming, but the butcher / serial killer outfit is downright creepy (is that a human foot hanging from his table or what???) Would your profession make a good costume, dear readers? Let us know…
Playing card characters also provide an amusing theme. This costume allows you to fulfill your heart’s desire to be a king or queen for a day (or for the less ambitious, a nave or even a joker.) Here is the Queen of Hearts and her friend the Tramp of Clubs (now we all know one of those…in fact that reminds us of a friend in San Francisco that depicted the song ‘Nights in White Satin’ wearing nothing but a knight’s helm and a pair of white satin pajama bottoms that he bought at Victoria’s Secret, but that’s a story for another day…)
These illustrations by Leon Bakst help to explore the notion of dressing up as your pet (although we are sure that is not what he intended.) In fact even Splendor dressed like her white bunny Flopsy for one Halloween (and no, you CANNOT see the pictures.) Seraph never dressed up like his little dog Cupie, but instead got to light his GI Joes on fire with turpentine (which goes to prove boys have all the fun.) As for puss in boots, let’s not even go there. Our dearly deceased cat Kitche would scoff at the notion that a cat should wear gloves and sword belt, thinking it far too pretentious (but then again, she had no problem sleeping on $300 a yard velvet whenever we weren’t looking… what a beast, we sure miss her.)
Forget the pumpkins, why not try something more challenging such as peas, carrots or cabbage? These lovely illustrations are by Errol LeCain from the book ‘The Cabbage Princess’.

Now I see you clear, we raise our glasses
Welcome to my house princess of Hell
Even in the night I see the light shining bright
I'm alone with my friends

(“Welcome Princess of Hell” by Mercyful Fate)

Friday, September 19, 2008

South of Heaven (Wrathful Rooms)



If Seraph was crowned king of the underworld (sorry folks, despite what you read in the papers, it hasn’t happened yet), as his queen & royal consort I would adorn his obsidian halls in all manner of finery. Although, come to think of it our front studio is looking a bit hellish of late, so we already have a bit of head start…

There are blood red upholstered walls, mirrors of dubious origins draped in shrouds, and frames shedding their layers of gold like some gilded serpent. Pillows gathered in corners, slowly moldering away to a pile of sequins and dust. (That is why around here we worship the ‘Parton Saint of Vacuums’, and maintain shine in the hall closet. In fact Seraph could be considered a High Priest of the order, ever vigilant against filth, dirt & religious hypocrisy… oh wait, you can’t vacuum that up…yet …)

Upon the windows and casements are heavy brocade drapes blocking out any hint of light, sky or air. These are, of course, crowned with winged valances, every watchful for intruders and assorted interlopers. The floor is a garden of evil carpets that entwine around your feet, the foliage as wicked and blood thirsty as a Baudelaire verse. (There is a reason that we wear tall steel toed boots and it’s not just because it is fashionable).
So if you happen to visit, just watch your step and keep your hands to yourself and everything should be fine. Otherwise, enjoy these dark inspirations that we have gathered for you…


This is what happens when you don’t clean out your closets & trunks at least once a year. (Getting out the smell of ghouls can be dreadful.)


Black chalices worthy of Lord Azhrarn himself.
Oriel Harwood’s fabulously gloomy dining room. The blending of charcoal, pewter and red is truly sensuous.


This is one of our favorite rooms designed by Renzo Mongiardino. With its brooding and gothic flair, it would make the perfect place plot your next endeavor.

An austere, yet sinister bedroom, complete with a chained raven.

Slave - the shackles are off
Act - Do it your way
Horns - the abyss ascends
Now gather the earth
It's the coming of the Dark Lord
All tribes unite
This is the rite of our cross


(‘The Rite of Our Cross’ by Satyricon)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Book Worship Volume III

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe

With the first hint of Fall in the air, whose thoughts do not turn to coffins, plagues and dismemberment? We know ours do. When it comes to these morbid subjects, who better than Edgar Allan Poe?



Our earliest recollections of Poe’s work would of course be memorizing ‘The Raven’ in school. It must have stuck with us – just a quick look around the house and one can spot five ravens. One has made a nest in some gilded paper flowers in the front parlor, another guards the haunted dollhouse in the foyer. A pair sits here at the desk (one wearing a diamond brooch). And lastly there is the cyclops raven on Seraph’s chest, surrounded by demon bones, saw blades, and creepy looking talons (but that is a story for another day, dear ones…)



Sometimes we feel like the ‘Home for Wayward Books’. One book or another is always following us home and taking up residence. There are books on shelves where they belong, but there are also rouge gangs of books that run up and down the hallway and generally disrupt the peace.

We acquired this delightful edition at a local thrift store. Every so often you can feel a certain sentience in older books. It is as if they have soaked up a certain essence of life, or have begun living out the stories they hold between their covers. When we found this book it seemed to be feeling misunderstood and rejected. (Who wouldn’t be when pressed between some crappy baseball cards and a plastic Lord of the Rings sword in a glass case for all to see?)

Edgar Allan Poe’s stories are brought to life by Irish illustrator Harry Clarke. Morbid deeds take place amid vast pools of black, figures lurk in the shadows and indescribable creatures creep along the bottom of pages.


Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe
(with Illustrations by Harry Clarke)
© 1935 Tudor Publishing Company New York


It's pale morrow landscape,
Has now risen through the bleak night
over the moors and mountains,
Flies the hunting ravens...searching

(“Journey through the Cold Moors Of Svarttjern” by Carpathian Forest)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Head in the Clouds

If we were to add an 11th rule to the ‘Top Ten Rules to Living in Sin’ it might be to never go camping. Perhaps we have finally become too urbane, but the concept of sleeping in the woods under what amounts to a tablecloth has never appealed to us. Not to mention going without life’s little essentials like gilded mirrors, crystal goblets and FLOORS, CEILINGS & WALLS!


Now a tree house is an entirely different concept. A well designed tree house can be whimsical, rustic and elegant all at the same time. Full of pagan sensibilities, these dwellings are a blending of nature and habitation with neither destroyed in the process.
We fell in love with this splendid creation the moment we saw it featured in Peter Nelson’s book ‘Treehouses of The World’. Looking as if conjured from the pages of a fairy tale book, it is our hope that it houses a wicked witch, evil hermit or a pack of demented elves.
What kind of ethereal furnishing would finish a room such as this? Ideas anyone?

A staircase fit for the nimblest of feet…


If you are not yet convinced to venture too far outdoors, then why not bring the nature to you. This sublime room was designed the great Renzo Mongiardino. The room brings to mind dining in a forest clearing, complete with a 18th century Venetian glass chandelier, stenciled Persian carpet and red velvet upholstered dining chairs.



May this night carry my will
and may these old mountains
forever remember this night.
May the forest whisper my name
and may the storm bring these words
to the end of all worlds.

(“Alsvartr (The Oath)” by Emperor)
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