Thursday, February 19, 2009


Who among us, dear readers, has not daydreamed of a mystical transformation? Perhaps sprouting a lovely pair of horns would make one’s day (we know it would for us…) or swimming with your newly acquired mermaid’s tale. Or maybe simply flying through the air viewing life from a completely different vista?

A metamorphosis can take many forms. Due to lease related roadblocks and hindrances our poor, long suffering walls still remain white. The casual observer seems not to notice this for nearly every inch is draped, swathed or otherwise disguised. We admit to a weakness for Victorian portieres – a lovely weight and texture for upholstered walls. Partners in crime include antique sari panels, vintage brocade bedspreads and a small army of nouveau-esque table runners. Banners and valances drip from sills and ceilings. Our oatmeal colored (…ugh…) carpet has undergone a similar transformation, buried alive under two or three layers of carpets of varying sizes and patterns. Our floors look like an aerial view of some strange and colorful fairyland growing crops of goblin fruit and fields of kaleidoscopes.

Our furniture is not immune to phantasmagoric changes either. Recently a parlor chair has grown a set of horns and most of our mirrors (and the front door) have acquired faces. As to more practical transformations, it came to our attention that our beloved sofa was slowly moldering away to a pile of dust and bones. This particular sofa was purchased in less that pristine condition, the primary selling point being that it was upholstered in the WORLD’S MOST GOTHIC FABRIC (picture your favorite vampire lord lounging upon a black damask decorated with bat winged bouquets in evil tones of emerald, purple and rose.) The happy and more sophisticated ending to the story is the rebirth of our cherished sofa in luscious black velvet which accentuates its lovely lines and curves.

In case you are interested, we have had Seraph reupholstered as well. In addition to the original Reliquary, there is now what we refer to as the ARMOR FORGED IN HELL. It includes wicked metal plates held in place with screws, reticulated demon bones and some truly evil talons. Speaking of metamorphosis we won't even mention the cyclops raven that has appeared on Seraph’s chest…) When it comes to transformation, this has been the best to date. Now if we could just make some progress on growing horns…
Transformation of the snake
A new oblivion of blasphemy
Shedding the skin of what used to be
This war waged as all the horns of Jericho begin
The death of all your deities

(“The Serpent That Enslaves What Is Worshiped” by Goatwhore)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Thousand and One Nightmares...

If Seraph were to be crowned Sultan of some exotic foreign land there would likely be a lot of questions to be answered. Queries would sure to be raised regarding both lineage and laws of succession and whether Infernus and Ghaal could both attend the coronation as long as they were seated at different tables. None the less, after the dust settled it would seem prudent to begin the palatial d├ęcor.

The throne room would perhaps be a billowing black tented pavilion reminiscent of gigantic bat wings or of roils of smoke. It goes without saying that it would be necessary to wade through a carpet drenched mire just to reach the dais. Not to mention the treacherous navigation through a knee deep pile pillows of every imaginable shape and material.

The surrounding hall would best be described as a twisted labyrinth worthy of Dr. Caligari. Mirrored hallways and corridors would endlessly reflect columns studded with human skulls and ghoulish archways leading to nowhere and back…

An enclosed courtyard would be filled with jeweled gardens, mechanical birds (iridescent black peacocks, of course…) and enough lanterns and candles to light up all of the Seven Heavens. Gathered would be a menagerie of courtiers dressed in all matters of finery attended by a harem of assorted gilded servants and jewel draped camels and elephants. There would of course be an enchanted orchestra playing only the finest black metal hymns and chants…

Middle Eastern art and design have always been a great source of inspiration to us (possibly leading to a strange and overactive imagination, as proven in the paragraphs above.) The architecture is both complex and precise while never losing an air of fancifulness. Domes, spires and minarets evoke thoughts of magical lands only glimpsed in fairy tales. Decorative objects are both delicate and fragile, yet hearty. Vibrant use of color and pattern used on tiles to textiles provides an endless intoxication of the senses.
Included are some rather unknown paintings by the wonderful and sublime Kay Nielsen (1886 – 1957). Inspired by the stories contained in ‘A Thousand and One Nights’ these painting truly capture the essence of the exotic east. Differing from his usual European themes, his heroes and heroines are still lovely and lithe and his compositions are still ornate and elaborate. Kay Nielsen is truly our favorite of the golden age of illustrators. It is ever so heartening to see him to find a new generation of enthusiastic admirers.

The blood I bleed must be black indeed
Speak the devil in my time of need
Blessed black wings

(‘Blessed Black Wings’ by High on Fire)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Satin Worship

Ok, we admit it. We are Satin worshipers. Now that we have confessed, it must be stated that Satin is a cruel and demanding master indeed. Although having a reputation as lovely and sensual fabric, he is in fact quite evil and possesses a mind of his own. Whether in a delicious shade of ethereal oyster shell or a deadly midnight blue this cloth simply lives to break your heart. When dealing with him one would benefit from skills as a lion tamer as well as a seamstress…

We have spent years getting to know the various personalities of fabrics. From the haughty to the humble, from the couture to the common we do not think that there is a variety that we have not crossed paths with. Perhaps we are bound for an eternity spent chanting the virtues of velvet or confined to a damask draped damnation but we would have it no other way.

There has been no greater High Priest / Master of Fabric than Mariano Fortuny (1871 – 1949). He is one of a handful of artists and designers that have had a profound influence on our own design work. He is perhaps best known for his Delphos gown (a pleated concoction of unearthly beauty…), a garment that is to this day still highly coveted by collectors of all things lovely and sublime.

As master dyer, Fortuny achieved a subtly and mystery to his colors that we are still struggling to understand. How does one capture the essence of an entire orchard in a single shade of russet, or the spectrum of a sunset in a singular tone of umber? We will truly never know…

In our opinion, Fortuny’s exquisite printed velvets stand alone as his most accomplished creation. Truly what dreams are made of, these velvets are a Renaissance painting come to life. The gowns, coats and capes are worthy of enchanted queen or wicked sorceress straight from the pages of history.

Fortuny’s Venetian palazzo (now a museum) is a mouth watering, mind numbing and swoon inducing experience. The palazzo showcased his personal collection of painting, statues and decorative objects as well as becoming a backdrop for his textile designs. Words just cannot do justice to such grandeur…

Two Shades of the Midnight Fire
In the Night Sky
You waiting Child walk with me
Walk by Side of Fall
The Essence to open those Gates
And still we must walk the Path of Sorrow

(“Walk the Path of Sorrow” by Satyricon)
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