Monday, April 30, 2018

Poe And The Mütter

This past weekend we took a mini-vacation to Baltimore and Philadelphia. I wanted to check a few things off my bucket list, you see. Two of the spookier things I checked off where a quick visit to Edgar Allan Poe's grave in Baltimore and then a visit to The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.

Edgar Allan Poe Grave

Edgar Allan Poe Grave
Edgar Allan Poe Grave
I was happy to discover that Poe's grave was just a 10 minute walk from our hotel, so with coffee in hand, I dragged my husband out of bed and off we went. After walking uphill most of the way, I had a brief moment of panic when it looked like the cemetery gates were locked. Fortunately, one was wide open and welcoming.

The cemetery is tiny, nestled against a church and tucked between the high-rise buildings of the medical college and office towers. When you first walk in there is a large marble monument to Poe and his wife and mother-in-law, but keep walking to the back to see Poe's original place of burial. The dates on the headstone are not his birth and death, but rather the dates when he was buried in that spot. His grave was unmarked for many years.  He was later moved to to a more prominent location after public outcry.

I have to say it was a bit disconcerting to see a patio umbrella just behind Poe's tombstone, but I was pleased to see that there were candles and flowers at his headstone. I'm so glad I was finally able to visit this spooky landmark. (By the way if you go to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore- another one of my list check-offs - there is a giant stature of Edgar Allan Poe made out of Peep marshmallows you should see.)

We jumped in the car after our brief visit with Poe and headed to Philadelphia to visit The Mütter Museum. As you probably know, the museum houses a history of medical treatments, equipment, and  specimens. You may have seen photos of the impressive wall of skulls they display. The museum did not allow photography, so you'll just have to go see for yourself.

The Mütter Museum

The Mütter describes itself as "Disturbingly Informative" and it is all that. There were some exhibits that I really couldn't spend much time with; they made me a bit sad. But overall, I really enjoyed my visit. There were exhibits on medicinal folklore in Grimms Fairytales, medicine during the American Civil War, a medicinal garden, and more skulls and skeletons than you'll ever see in one place. Of course, the soap lady and Einstein's brain were there as well.

There was a special exhibition on Victorian Hair Art that was impressive. I had seen parts of the exhibit previously at The (now closed ) Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, but the exhibit has been expanded and made we want to start saving all my hair that falls out! I need to give this a try. I'll have more about an artist who still practices the art of hair sculpture tomorrow.

For all the seriousness of the exhibits, the museum gift shop had a light, humorous touch and I left with a two-headed gingerbread man cookie cutter that made me laugh. The museum isn't very large and I'd say we spent a little over an hour there. It was fairly crowded at about 1pm on Saturday when we visited and I would recommend arriving early in the day. If you're not squeamish about seeing body parts in jars, you need to make sure this in on your bucket list.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Gorey's Worlds

Edward Gorey
If you're one of those people, like me, who enjoy dark humor then I expect that you're also a fan of Edward Gorey. Many people recognize his cartoonish intro to Masterpiece Theater, but may not know much about him. My husband and I recently attended the exhibit Gorey's Worlds at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT as well as rough cuts of the film The Edward Gorey Documentary Project.

The exhibit centers around a collection of art that Gorey bequeathed to the Wadsworth Atheneum. This is art that Gorey collected himself. The Wadsworth had no idea they were in Gorey's will and were quite surprised to hear they were receiving his collection. In the book accompanying the exhibit, the first sentence made me laugh.
"Edward Gorey may have thought of it as 'The Doubtful Bequest,' because its arrival was unannounced, like the peculiar visitor in one of his stories."
Edward Gorey
(Gorey wrote a book called The Doubtful Guest.) Because of our schedule, I actually ended up reading the accompanying exhibit book, Gorey's Worlds, before attending the show and I'm glad it worked out that way. It gave me more insight into how much Gorey's illustrations were influenced by other artists- many of the ones he collected. For instance, the book points out features between a sketch of a women by Balthus (Etude de Personnages) and Edward Gorey's illustration of a women he did for "The Listing Attic." Gorey collected widely including French, American, Folk, and Contemporary art.

The exhibit is curated by Erin Monroe, the Robert H. Shutz Jr. Associate Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Wadsworth, and she does it with a sense of humor. I was keeping my expectations low for viewing the exhibit because I was imagining it would be more about the other artists than about Gorey, but was delighted to see that Gorey's art was everywhere. Literally! Not only was his art next to the works that inspired him, but it was in the frames of videos, applied to the walls and even his fur coats were hung from the ceiling. His love of ballet was demonstrated with a tiny stage where viewers could put on tutus and take photos. (I tried to get my husband to put on a tutu-he refused.)

Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey

Edward GoreyEdward Gorey

I did not want to leave. I was giddy with excitement. We decided then and there that we must paint our walls like the museum, but we were high on art at the time and lost sight of the fact that our walls are barely visible under all the art we have hanging so it wouldn't have the same effect. Oh well. Next house.

Edward Gorey, Christopher Seufert, Bob StaakeI can't finish without mentioning that if you get a chance to see a lecture by Christopher Seufert, the writer/director/producer of The Edward Gorey Documentary Project please do it. The film is a work in progress as Seufert raises money and kids. We viewed short clips of Gorey talking about his art and heard Seufert describe how he became involved in the project. The clips are funny and make me wish I could have met Gorey. He truly seemed to live in his own world. You can support the project by purchasing a poster. We now have one signed by Seufert! The poster artist is Bob Staake, a New Yorker cover artist.

The exhibit will be up at the Wadsworth Atheneum until May 6th. If you're within a 3 hour drive, make sure you see it before it goes. You won't be disappointed. (And, by the way, Hartford now has three great breweries worth a visit after you see the exhibit.)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Refresh Your Spring Wardrobe

The weather is finally starting to feel like Spring here in New England and this past weekend I pulled out my warm weather clothes and realized I needed to add a few pieces. It's sort of a signature style of mine to wear skull clothing throughout the year and so right now I'm looking at Vintage Galeria (Los Angelas, CA.)

Janet Zuniga owns the vintage-inspired, Mexican Day of the Dead themed, clothing boutique, and you'll find clothing for women, men and children here as well as accessories. Zuniga's pieces are bright and colorful and will remind you that Summer is on it's way.

day of the dead, skull fashion, wicked fashion
Class Monsters Top
day of the dead, skull clothing, wicked fashion
Men's Dancing Skeletons Western Shirt
day of the dead, skull clothing, wicked fashion
Skulls and Roses Dress
day of the dead, skull clothing, wicked fashion
Day of the Dead Dress
day of the dead, skull clothing, wicked fashion
Girls Sugar Skull Skirt
day of the dead, skull clothing, wicked fashion
Day of the Dead Necktie
These pieces would be fun to wear for a family portrait. Just think about your annual Halloween card!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Rupert Lockfield Collection

Dr. Rupert Edward Lockfield was one of the pioneers of Cryptozoology. Over many years, he collected and observed the monsters and mystical beings that only exist in folklore and myth. His collection includes such specimens as Nymphalem Natural (Faery Queen), Infantem Sanguisuga (Fetal Vampyre), Lupis Hominis (Lycanthrope, Adult), and Syreni (Mermaid). Or, so we're told by the amazing team at Spookhouse Productions- a film studio with a very interesting side project.

Apparently, pieces of his extraordinary collection are now for sale and you can find them at the Lockfield Collection.

Hell Bat Taxidermy (faux)
Eternal Lovers Skeleton Wall Hanging
Antique Apothecary Poisoner's Cabinet
Voodoo Amulet Chicken Foot in Magic Box
Preserved Succubus Demon
Preserved House Gnomes
I hope you'll take a few minutes to read through the Rupert Lockfield Collection website. It really is quite fascinating and very, very clever.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Melancholia, Romanticism and Mystery

Illustrator Mila Rosha describes her work as filled with "melancholia, romanticism and mystery." Rosha in an illustrator who works primarily in ink, but also works in oils and thread. Her website gallery (reached by clicking on her name) is filled with hauntingly beautiful images.  Rosha's prints can be found at Mila Rosha Art.

dark art, bat, haunted house
The Night Guardian
dark art, vampire, black cats, bat, raven
dark art, bat
dark art, haunted house, bats
Haunted House
dark art, spider web, datura
Lady Datura
dark art, victorian mourning
Doth Not Thee Cry
The Vampyre print is my life in a nutshell. I think I'm starting a new wall of prints....

Monday, April 23, 2018

Goth Home Tour: Houston, Texas

goth home decor, dark decor, gothic design

The Bedroom

goth decor, dark decor, Halloween decor, whimspookal

goth decor, dark decor, Halloween decor, whimspookal

goth decor, dark decor, Halloween decor, whimspookal

goth decor, dark decor, Halloween decor, whimspookal

goth decor, dark decor, Halloween decor, whimspookal

goth decor, dark decor, Halloween decor, whimspookal

goth decor, dark decor, Halloween decor, whimspookal

Thanks, Miranda for letting us peek into your bedroom! It's a perfect example of what I call "whimspookal." I use that style in my house too. 

If you're not familiar with Miranda's blog Spooky Little Halloween, you're missing out.  She is the founder of the Samhain Society (a group of Halloween bloggers) and you can find her posting daily on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Miranda is one of the busiest spooks I know.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Pocket Museums

I love going to museums. It's not for everyone, I know, but I think spooky people tend to like them. After all, you generally get to see dead things or things dead peopled owned. I feel surrounded by ghosts when I walk through a quiet museum.

It's why I'm fascinated by the tiny pocket museums created by Dianne (Derbyshire, England.) The diminutive, mixed-media, glass boxes hold objects that you can ponder and assign meaning to. There are only a few in her shop at the moment, but Dianne also creates some interesting jewelry you might like. Take a look at ComeDayGoDay.

dark art, mixed media
Miniature Natural History Pocket Museum
dark art, mixed media
Curiosity Art Pocket Museum
dark art, mixed media
Pocket Museum Assemblage
skull jewelry
Antiqued Skull and Crossbones Lapel Pin
dark art, mixed media jewelry
Medicine Bottle Necklace
dark art, mixed media jewelry
Bone Collector Necklace
Aren't these wonderful?! They seem so mysterious to me.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mexican Folk Art Catrinas

One of the reasons I love Day of the Dead art is because it's so joyful. The Mexican Catrina figure is the ultimate symbol of the Day of the Dead holiday and I can't get enough of it. The elegant skeleton makes me smile.

Catrina San Miguel is a shop that carries beautiful, ceramic, hand painted pieces of Mexican folk art and has a very good collection of Catrinas. Now is the time to add to your collection before the panic of Halloween sets in.

Day of the Dead, Catrina, skeleton art
Day of the Dead Horse & Carriage
Day of the Dead, Catrinas, skeleton art
Beautiful Pink Catrina
Day of the Dead, Catrinas, skeleton art
Couple on a Bench
Day of the Dead, Catrinas, skeleton art
Talavera Catrina
Day of the Dead, Catrinas, Frida Kahlo, skeleton art
Frida Kahlo Catrina
Day of the Dead, Catrinas, skeleton art
Bathing Skeleton
Day of the Dead, Catrinas, skeleton art
Catrina with Basket of Flowers
The pieces in this shop are very reasonably priced. I know I'll be adding to my collection. Oh, and if you like to see my small collection of Dia de los Muertos art just click the link.