Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Witching Hour

All that we can say is that we are sincerely glad that this series of weirdo holidays and celebrations finally is over. Here in America no matter how far one buries oneself under a rock you can still hear people trampling around the malls singing xmas carols or turn around and catch some elf trying to stick a candy cane in your…ear…damn. It is definitely time again for everyone (and we mean EVERYONE) to start playing with knives, running with scissors and conjuring the spirits of the netherworld (or perhaps the Netherlands if you prefer a more “safe and sane” activity…)

Now we have received some requests to show more of our sculptures and artwork, so in the future be careful of what you ask for, dear readers…People often inquire how we amass such a collection of oddities that we use to create our sculptures. It takes a fair amount of scrounging around thrift stores and consignment shops, tripping over yuppies and interlopers that should be at Macy’s and wasting the better part of many an afternoon. One does reap their rewards and patience wins out in the form of an armload of indescribable nonsense…

Often we get peculiar looks at the things we buy. Dolls with pouty bisque faces and fluffy Scarlet O’Hara dresses make lovely voodoo dolls. Upon arriving home one must immediately strip off their ugly flocks and bind them from head to toe with black cloth. We refrain from burying them in the backyard for a season simply because a backyard is yet another luxury (burden…) that we do not have…

Salespeople will often ask us what we do with the things we purchase. We usually just smile, laugh and mumble some lame excuse. We think that one particular clerk might be on to us. We have code named her “The Dirty Librarian” because of her prim and proper appearance and the fact that she wears a PENTAGRAM ENCRUSTED DOG COLLAR hidden under her blouse. And to anyone who thinks a pentagram paired with nerdy glasses is fashion faux pas, you are just plain wrong…

Other objects can be born again (HA!) into new uses. Stands, easels and topiary forms can be converted (…ok, we will stop…) into a skeletal framework for a new creation. The discarded pair of sparkly earrings that some tramp wore to prom can be become a demon’s eye or a witches corset. Odd boxes turn to caskets then placed in our hand and picture frames, once innocent, can be transformed into portals to darkness and far beyond…

This series of sculptures featured in this post are a few of our recently conjured pieces. They are very intricate and layered beyond belief in both their creation as well as their meaning. Witch Plague Breath is perhaps described best as a ward against those with little or no tolerance for another’s chosen path. In this object one might see a guardian of witches that bears their torment thought the ages…Born upon a bed of bone, to burn upon a pyre of death. Undying vengeful wraith, seeking blood from unholy faith…

We have always been intrigued with reliquaries and crypts. Their existence within the church confounds the imagination and certainly blurs the line in regards to desecrating the dead… (as always it seems to depend on which side you are on.) Displaying bits and pieces of powerful objects and remains became our inspiration for a series of dark reliquary boxes. Corpse Moth Curse returns to one of our favorite subjects (we will leave that up to you to interpret…) A winged relic of the Dark Lord. Earth fallen fragment preserved for all time. Gilded entombment rising in triumphant death…

We have intermingled some pictures of the stunning Sedlec Ossuary among images of our artwork. Our plan is to evaporate into a poof of dust when our time comes, if not feel free to use our bones to make a lovely chandelier…and take a moment to watch this beautiful and haunting short film by Czech filmmaker, Jan Svankmayer.


Witch Plague Breath
18” h x 7” w x 6”
© Seraph + Splendor 2009

Corpse Moth Curse
10” h x 9” w x 5” d
© Seraph + Splendor 2009

Alone in my sinister crypt, I evoke the ancients,
I raise my chalice of pure blood sacrificed angels,
towards the moon, and I cry my reading,
my sorcellery breeding the infernal awakening.
The winds is changed on fire, in a cyclone,
the prophets coming from nowhere,
show the eternity paths,
the no return ways,
lost in the depth of gloomy forests from the North.

(“Scared By Darkwinds” by Enthroned)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Blaze in the Northern Sky

We hope that everyone enjoyed the Solstice and the Longest Night… we think our night might have actually stretched into the following day once the festivities came to an official close… It seems there is another holiday taking place this month that we vaguely remember from childhood…hmmm…what could it be? Oh, yeah “CHRISTMAS” – the holiday were one can ponder the deep philosophical and religious questions such as: “Where is all of this freaking glitter coming from?” and “Tree SKIRT??? What if our tree is a tomboy and wants to wear pants…” (Yes, we already know we are going to burn in Hell, so no one needs to write and inform us of that…)

Although we like to tell everyone we fell to earth in a hail of sparks and brimstone with singed wings and scorched halos, we actually grew up “fairly normal” with parents, pets and the proverbial family holidays… As adults we are now able to misinterpret all of the major celebrations to fit our devious plans or opt out all together (ST. PATRICK’S DAY? WTF???), but as children this simply was not a choice…Luckily we both have fond memories of this time of year.

Seraph grew up in a sleek mid century home complete with two ovens, two fireplaces and of course a two car garage. Rather predictably he had two siblings (an older brother and sister) as well. When looking through the family pictures one sees bright and joyous family celebrations with the living room awash in the sea of presents and packages. The tree was always placed in front of the large picture windows with the scenic backdrop of Lake Washington and brooding Mt. Rainier. Perhaps there are rumors and murmurings of how Seraph liked to break glass ornaments in the furnace grates, but as far as we know nothing can be proven and any evidence has long since been incinerated…HA! As for Seraph’s toys and gifts, photographs seem to verify that they usually ending up in some very odd and surreal vignettes (you simply have NO IDEA, dear readers…)

Splendor’s holidays were spent in a series of quirky and usual dwellings including a disheveled Victorian manor, some island retreats (as in retreat from society and become a juvenile delinquent…HA!) and several suburban sanctuaries. Regardless of the “residence de jour” Splendor’s family spent nearly every Christmas Day at her Grandparent’s house. Their Christmas tree was always shrouded in an air of mystery. It was spooky and beautiful at the same time, sitting quietly alone in the corner of the living room. The ornaments and decorations (including a faux mantel with a gaping hole leading to nowhere...) dwelled upstairs in the attic. One had to ascend a steep and narrow staircase to a nearly invisible door (that we insist had no doorknob, but a strange handle that was always cold to the touch…) Behind the door was an odd little room that led to an adjoining crawl space with exposed wires, creaky rafters and a meager light never entirely illuminated the farthest corners. The ornaments themselves were kept in rickety wooden crates and wrapped in yellowing tissue and ancient newspaper. There was always the risk of spiders, mice and if you were truly lucky a haunting by one of the resident ghosts…we kid you not. The ornaments ranged from fragile and dusty Victorian relics to the grandchildren’s strange creations (it’s amazing no one grew to be a serial killer or deranged hermit…guess there is still time…?)


Seraph + Splendor as cherubs (weren't we sharp dressers...yikes...)

Included in this post are the fabulous illustration by Etienne Delessert from the book “A Wart Snake in a Fig Tree”, along with some vintage family cards and a few pictures of our own decorations…

We wish you a Happy New Year full of wicked and wonderful things…

Hear a Haunting Chant
Lying in the Northern wind
As the Sky turns Black
Clouds of Melancholy
Rape the Beams
of a Devoid Dying Sun
and the Distant Fog approaches

(“A Blaze in the Northern Sky” by Darkthrone)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Naughty by Nature

Recently we were reminded it is indeed “that time of the year again”. While doing some important internet research (HA!) we ran across a charming Swedish illustration depicting Santa Claus riding a demonic goat, holding a steaming cauldron of boiling blood with a basket of severed body parts tucked under his arm. Now if that does not get you in the holiday mood we do not know what will. While perhaps we have taken a few liberties deciphering the picture (you be the judge, dear readers…) it does seem that in Scandinavia they have a tradition of the YULE GOAT. We find this most refreshing and believe that a cantankerous horned beast is a vast improvement over yet another elf in gaudy stockings and pointy boots…

Now it probably goes without saying that here at Chintz of Darkness we are truly naughty by nature. Judging from the various shenanigans that have taken place over the year we are expecting nothing more in our stocking than a lump of coal the size of an overfed basset hound. We are sure it does not help matters that we do not even celebrate the “major” holiday of the month; instead we make up our own as we go along. Just the other day it was ST. NATTEFROST DAY where you…oh never mind…

Not much has changed from last year’s post regarding decorating for the holidays. After looking in our closet the other day it seems that yet again we have accumulated another odd assemblage of decorations that must be dealt with before they infiltrate our underwear drawers and frighten away our socks. There is a large glitter encrusted star with a lovely patina reminiscent of moldering stardust (or perhaps it is just a mixture of asbestos and coarsely ground glass that will undoubtedly rain down TOXIC SHARDS thought out the season…) A herd of miniature stuffed elephants has taken up residence among the demon haunted boots and ill fitting jackets that live in the back of our closet. The prerequisite glass birds and baubles dwell in relative safety upon the top shelf, not wishing to be crushed into smithereens by the daily upheavals and turf wars that take place between the hangers and chest of drawers.

Everyone knows that the true “REASON FOR THE SEASON” is to have a legitimate excuse to cram even more garish and odd d├ęcor into one’s home. Not to mention being able to dazzle your neighbors and confuse the squirrels with a Moroccan themed light display complete with jagged blinking stars and multicolored lights in the shape of miniature onion domes. One year it seems this festive (in our minds at least…) display even OFFENDED MOTHER NATURE who (in her infinite wisdom) conjured up a wicked storm and blew our stars thought out the neighborhood in a display of cosmic power not seen since the Big Bang itself. Did we just say big bang? damn…that probably was not a good idea…make that a lump of coal the size of a small giraffe.

We have not decided if we are going to tempt fate yet again and install (what is left) of our outdoor lights, but are proud to say we have completed our indoor decorations. This year we have chosen to encrust a noble fir in hallucination inducing lights in shades of amethyst, emerald and topaz. Our tree now gives off an eerie and lurid glow in the spirit (no pun intended) of a DAY OF THE DEAD celebration. This is inevitably what happens when you shop for decorations during Halloween and is precisely how we ended up with those spooky black trees the other year. We are happy to say that our collection of folk art animals seem quite at home nestled among the branches. These miniature beasts are accompanied by colorful tin birds and butterflies that flutter among stars and moons. Glass icicles and glittering garland complete this winter wonderland… HA!

Tell us, dear readers, how do you decorate for the holidays?

A pure veil of darkness.
A mysterious fog.
The Moon is full.
And the Wolves you call.
Red as my blood it is the sky above us.
As I witness the arrival of the Winter Solstice.

(“Ancient Winter Goddess” by Moonspell)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beast Feast

We certainly hope that everyone had a lovely celebration this last week (as in celebration we mean surviving not ONE but TWO Belphegor shows in a matter of days and not that weird American holiday that celebrates overeating and family fights…not to mention mass consumption of pie.) Truth be told we actually had a lovely and calm Thanksgiving. That WOULD NOT have happened if we were left to our own devices. Case in point, one year while fending for ourselves we ended up basting the turkey while draped in mummy cloth and chains. Perhaps there is even a photo of the outcome if one knows where to look…hmmm…

Thanksgiving it seems has turned into a holiday where you must go out and shop BEFORE your food is settled or you have had a chance to consume a refreshing cocktail. To us BLACK FRIDAY sounded like a day where one could wear corpse paint to work and everyone was required to recite Darkthrone lyrics by memory. According to the news we are wrong about this and it is instead a day where you are supposed to go out and buy a bunch of useless crap. Well, we are proud to say we purchased a long list of unmentionable things that did nothing whatsoever to stimulate the economy…HA. There is far too much emphasis on shopping when the proper focus should be on making messes and public spectacles…

Speaking of which, the whole concept of entertaining is one of those things that always looks good on paper but in actuality proves difficult (remember, dear ones, we have no dining room, suitable set of chairs and our formal silverware is so tarnished it resembles a recently discovered relic from the Bronze Age.) All of this is then paired with our psycho type “A” personalities and a flair for the over complicated.

We fondly remember (yeah right…) the occasion when it became apparent that we needed a proper set of napkins (as opposed to the everyday napkins that we stuff in the top drawer of our dishwasher…) Now most people would probably just go out and purchase a sensible set of linens. Instead we decided to make our own from vintage brocade sari fabric. Now this exquisite fabric was an iridescent black gold spangled with jewel tone accents not to mention constructed entirely out of metal threads that serrated ones lips on contact. Now to finish off these potentially deadly napkins we adorned the corners with tassels and brass bells (thus making them jingle like a pack of bloodthirsty cats, which of course is what everyone is looking for in a linen set…damn, we are weird sometimes (sometimes???) Now once these evil creations were placed in their overwrought napkin rings we are sure our guests thought them to be some exotic decoration and had to quietly slink off to the kitchen to find a paper towel…

Come to think of it these napkins would go nicely with some newly acquired placements so heavy studded with embroidered mirror pieces that dishes sit at treacherous angles, much like dining inside the leaning tower of Pisa. Which nicely brings us to the next dilemma at hand…how could we possibly allow someone to pass around drippy plates of slop over the collection of antique drapery panels that serve as our tablecloths? And let’s not even get started with our concept of place cards…

Now perhaps entertaining would become even more surreal around here if we had this collection of extravagant beast themed serving vessels, centerpieces and furniture…

Where Feasts Are Held In All Praise
Empires Rise To Fall
Porcelain Faces Crushed By Legions
A New Kingdom Born
Eternal Night To Reign Forever
From Ashes Of Desolate Faith
In The Sky The Kingdom Loathes
The Choirs Of The Damned Sounding

(“Graveyards and Dead Angels” by Goatwhore)
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