My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

The Gothic subculture is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, and looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Tim Burton, Siouxsie Sioux and Anne Rice et al.) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. Goth should not be limited by what is considered "goth", inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Friday, 24 February 2017

Pentacle Shelf (Review)

I bought a pentacle shelf from ::Casdesign:: in Berlin. 

This is the first time I have bought a proper piece of furniture new that isn't something like a cheap folding chair or flat-pack shelf. Most of our furniture has come secondhand from the likes of Gumtree, or been bought in a charity shop, with some of it (like the book-cases in our living room, my study desk, and our corner table) was built by Raven. 


Pentacle shelf by Casdesign, Berlin.



This, however, was something special, and a custom piece. It is a 60cm diameter pentacle shelving unit/display unit. I bought it back in January, as a custom piece and a New Year's present to myself and the house, to function as a display shelf for Pagan objects that don't go on the altar below (not pictured). It cost me €79.95 to have the shelf made - it was made in a workshop by real people rather than by automated machines in a factory, so I was rather happy with the price, especially as this included a custom paint-job. Shipping to Scotland was quite dear, at €22.99 but considering the VAST box it arrived in, and how much it weighed, that is actually a very reasonable transit cost.

For the green I was given a colour-chart from which to quote a colour code, and I chose the colour "Farngrün", which I think is fern green in English. This goes with the green theme to the décor in our living room (which is where our household altar is), and I think is a lovely colour for a shelving unit honouring objects from a nature-based spirituality. The wood was originally stained in 'dark oak' per my request, but once the shelf arrived I realised that this was actually lighter than the furniture that we already had - my mistake - so I stained the wooden parts a darker colour. All the original stain was done in very even coats, any unevenness in staining is my fault entirely. 

The unit is very sturdy. The circle appears to be made of some sort of formed plywood, but it is solid and not at all flimsy. The pentagram in the middle is made from some sort of laminated wood- each leaf of the laminate a millimetre thick, so a very sturdy product. There is also a beautiful grain on the pentagram parts, which sadly this photograph does not convey. I tried to deliberately dismantle the unit by unscrewing it so I could repaint the wood with darker stain, but found out it was both glued and screwed, so it is definitely put together rather permanently. I think it's very high quality, finished to a good standard, and considering what I got for that money, a very reasonable price. 

I actually like it so much that I am saving up for a second pentacle shelving unit - one of their standard models, with a black pentacle over a purple background, which will go in my study, and store items for my personal altar. 

I would rate this product as: 

Construction: 5/5
Quality laminated timber products are frequently stronger than natural timber due to the grain of the laminated being arranged in varying directions, and this has been assembled with joints, glue and screws (not nails!) which seems pretty sturdy indeed. I couldn't even take it apart when I was actually trying! 

Time: 5/5
I payed on 11th January and it arrived on 3rd February. I think it was made in good time, and the only minor delay was in shipping, but that's more due to the sheer distance the shelves had to travel. 

Packaging: 4¾/5
It was double-wrapped in plastic wrap, which I felt was a bit excessive from an ecological perspective, especially as it was shipped in a very sturdy cardboard box with plenty of packing materials, but perhaps a little wasted plastic wrap is better than a scuffed shelving unit, especially when shipping internationally. I feel like I might be nit-picking slightly, but I'm trying to be committed to reducing my waste output.

Edit: Although I only deducted 
¼ of a point for this, I have had feedback from the company about the packaging, which I think should share: all the inside packaging they use is actually reused left-overs from major furniture manufacturers, so it gets one more use at least (depending on if the person that receives the package reuses the packaging again... I try and save packing materials for shipping the things I sell on eBay). Apparently there are also insurance requirements for levels of wrapping; their insurance would not cover mending or replacing a unit unless it is very, very well wrapped indeed. New score: 5/5 for using reused materials. 

Communication: /5
Mostly excellent. The company's primary language is German, but all our e-mails were exchanged in English, which is great as I don't know a word of German. Their translation to English was mostly pretty clear, and they were very prompt in responding to correspondence. I was notified of shipment via Etsy rather than e-mail despite not buying this through Etsy but directly, but other than that everything ran well and I commend them for communicating in a second language with a customer. 

Coolness: 5/5
It's a pentacle shelf, in my own custom colours, and is the perfect addition to my ritual space. Plus that fern green is one of my favourite colours. I have only seen one other company offer pentacle/pentagram furniture, and that is in Australia, so it is something different as well as something for my sacred objects and Pagan things. 

I think I will have to create a room-tour video for the living room to talk about my ritual space and how Neo-Paganism is a part of my life, not just a collection of objects. 

The company make pentacle shelves in different sizes and colours as well as coffin shaped furniture. I thoroughly recommend them after this very pleasant ordering experience. I will be buying a second pentacle shelf unit, but not until I've saved up more money. I definitely think it was worth the money, and highly recommend getting pentacle shelves from them. 

As to what is on the shelf:
✪ Draped over it is a naturally shed snake-skin. Snakes shed their skins periodically as they grow, and this one was relatively intact, so it now hangs over my pentacle shelf as a symbol of transformation.

Clockwise from top:
✪ Top point includes a pentacle and Celtic knot-work coaster that I sometimes use to place my chalice on if it is actually containing a liquid.

✪ In the upper right compartment there is Raven's crystal ball, and a little pewter Celtic knot-work box.

✪ The right point has a fox's jaw-bone we found in the garden, and an athame belonging to Raven with a bone handle and knapped flint blade. It was a gift to him from one of our close mutual friends.

✪ The right section is empty.

✪ The bottom right point has a raw amethyst chunk and some tumbled stones and crystals that are green. I don't use crystals for symbolic or otherwise associations, and just have them as a reminder of the beautiful things that come from the Earth.

✪ In the bottom section is a sage bundle I was given as a house-cleansing incense, which we will use when we have finished refurbishing the property for its ritually becoming 'ours' (we have done other cleansings already, we're just saving this bundle of sage). There's also a pentagram made of twigs I bought in a market in Cardigan, Wales, and an ammonite fossil.

✪ In the bottom left point is an orange carved translucent stone that Raven uses to represent the sun, and a heart carved from some pretty sort of green stone.

✪ In the left section is an old Victorian perfume bottle I am saving for a special use. It's got perfume residue in it, but it doesn't have a scent any more, sadly.

✪ In the upper left point is a big chunk of quartz.

✪ In the top right section is little statuette of Bastet that I've had ever since my period of obsession with Ancient Egypt when I was about 11, and a stone oil-burner with a pentacle window which I bought at the Thunder In The Glens festival of Harley Davidson motorcycles and biker stuff in general, which is held each year in Aviemore.

✪ In the centre is a hand-made green witch's face, made by the very talented chap at ::Mystery Star:: back when he had a shop in the Harris Shopping Arcade in Reading... I've kept it as a memento of that little haven of spookiness ever since and even re-dyed it after the sun over many years faded it to khaki. It will end up nailed next to the kitchen door as I've always had 'her' by my kitchen doors, but for now it's in the centre of the pentacle until I find a suitable sun-and-moon disc.

This is just the start of what will be kept there, I'm keeping a little bare for now so there is space as I slowly accrue more. 

4 comments:

  1. It's a beautiful shelf and collection of meaningful objects. The company did a great job! I'm yet to find an Australian company that does coffin shelves but it's probably best to wait til I buy a home anyway

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    Replies
    1. Thank-you :)

      I think Haunt furniture is based in Australia, and as they do quite elaborate Gothic furniture, I doubt it would be beyond them to do something like coffin shelves - it may already even be in their repertoire.

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  2. It looks quite unique, and very suitable for a person such as yourself.

    ReplyDelete

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