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, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. 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.

Goth 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, the expression of that in Goth rock. It 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 (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, 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. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Study/Studio Re-Decoration Part 1: Feature Wall

In a much earlier post ::here::, my study had bright purple walls, vinyl decals, etc. I felt it was too kitschy for my current tastes, and started redecorating. It has been a slow process, as decorating is costly, and there are other parts of our house that have needed our attention more urgently. The room isn't finished yet, but it's pretty close. As it's quite a complicated, multi-purpose room. 

Featuring the Wall
My feature wall, also termed a 'display-wall' or 'gallery-wall' is probably the part of my study that most embodies the aesthetic that I am aiming for with my study. It was initially a black wall with silver Valspar glitter for some sparkle. I repainted it after the initial surface got scuffed up by me reposition the pictures, knocking it with furniture etc. For the repaint, I wanted to have a slightly green colour, partly to balance the purple walls, and partly because I just like green. I couldn't find the shade that I wanted in the range my local DIY shop carried, and I had tried some testers, so I bought another of a more neutral black tester I liked and mixed it with a black that was more like a very dark blue-green and blended the two at home with more glitter to get a colour that I liked. The glitter shimmers somewhat green, rather than silver, because of the green dye. Yes, I am that finnicky

The display wall 
My collection of frames are mostly from TK Maxx and Dunelm Mill, bought before I decided to drastically reduce my purchase of new items. The moon painting that I did was professionally framed by Riverside Gallery in Inverness, and the large mirror with the swirly frame was bought second-hand in in Inverness' PDSA branch. I like the silver gilt finish on these different frames because quite a few have some texture to them, more than just a metallic finish. Some of them also have some dark dry-brushing in the cervices, or a wash - things to make them have a little more life on them. I think things like texture, some variance in colour, etc. quite helpful for making the arrangement more dimensional and interesting. They're not all the same silver, not the same level of metallic finish, they're diverse, but also - hopefully - harmonious too. These ones were bought like that, but in our bedroom I've repainted and varnished frames to try and get the same concept.

Very terrible photograph of my wall with bad lighting (and wonky stars).
Terrible grainy photos are what happen when I take photos on my own phone.
I managed to align the dado rail along the bottom of the photograph, but because of perspective distortion, lens distortion, etc. there's more slope along the top of the pictures than real life, however the wonky stars are all my own fault; I haven't got the black paint all the way up to the ceiling partly because I can't reach up and partly because I know that along the top there will be cornice, however unfortunately I didn't leave that gap evenly, and I matched the stars to the wonky edge instead of the ceiling. I regret this. I will stencil in some more high up stars at the right edge, and more low stars at the left end and try and level this out. I will wait until I have the coving up, however, so I have a good visual straight edge to match things up to. It's really important to have a good visual marker, especially when you're dealing with something big and you're painting up close. Also, it will never be truly straight when working in a building like mine, and I need to give the visual illusion of straightness when the walls and ceilings aren't straight. 

Antique sword. Also a close-up of the wallpaper and the orb string-lights. 
I collect bladed weapons - what I really like are swords (there is another one in my study) but I have a couple of knives. I would like more fine daggers, especially antiques. Currently I don't have the income to collect antiques right now. I have considered selling off some of my collection because of financial situation, but there are complex laws about blade sales in Scotland so I'm keeping them, plus I remember how much work I put into saving up to buy them in the first place. There's something fascinating about the history behind objects: for example, the sword pictured is Italian, I think from the 1870s, perhaps later, and while it is displayed in its scabbard, there are beautiful engravings - somewhat scuffed - that tells a bit about the military background of the sword, and it also has dings along the spine of the blade that look like it may well have actually used in a sword-fight, or at least in defence of another bladed weapon (the context could be all sorts of things!). I also think it fascinating how much beauty and art that is often invested in embellishing what is primarily a weapon. I am interested in H.E.M.A, used to do modern sport fencing, as well having had a few kendo lessons, so I have an interest from a historical swordsmanship perspective, too. I think a lot of people think it's creepy, or that I have some murderous intent - I joke that I'd never use my collection to stab anyone because they're too precious to get blood on (true, honestly. Even skin oils are bad for them!) and 'creepy' is a subjective judgement. These are art objects to me, even if that is not what they were made as - but they were made with craft, care, and creative skill.

I repainted this moon. The camera angle is really awkward.
Good camera because I used Raven's phone instead of my own... 
Moon iconography is a prevalent in my study - mostly in my near my Book-Nook and meditation space because one of my ways of remaining in tune with nature is doing devotions according to the lunar cycle at the meditation altar in my Book-Nook. My next blog post will have more details about my Book-Nook. This particular ornament was bought as a yellow glossy moon with the slogan "Sleep tight, sweet dreams through the night" painted on it, so I repainted it to fit in better with my study décor. The original ornament was £1.50 on eBay. I tried to make it a slightly adorable sleepy moon. It's hung up just by the entrance to the Book-Nook. 

Sword, mirrors, picture frames, art. 

I have, since these pictures were taken, got more pictures, and pictures I like better, to fill the frames. I'm aiming for more fine-art prints, as well as my own artwork. It is an ongoing process, but having the frames first means I can arrange the wall and then find pictures to fit on the wall, which I find is easier than when I have had the pictures first and then tried to find a place for them (situation with our living room). A lot of the prints are repurposed greetings cards and I'm eyeing up some Caspar David Friedrich and Salvator Rosa postcards.

The moon-phase banner was a Winter Solstice gift from Raven. He bought it for me from someone on Etsy and I have been asked on Instagram where it is from, but unfortunately he can't remember where. The moon-phase garland along the top was from SpookyBox Club when I was subscribed, and I painted and assembled it myself. 

Moon phase banner. 
I think the picture above is pretty useful for illustrating how the curtains tie together the aesthetic for the main area of the study/studio. and screens off the Book-Nook. I am not always proud of my decorating decisions, and often it takes more than one go to create what I visualise in my head, or for me to realise that what I visualised doesn't work out so well in real life, but I really like how the damask voile curtains go with the wallpaper and monochrome wall. Also, this is possibly the only photograph I have with the stand-lamp in it.

Terrible, terrible photo; why I'm part-exchanging my phone for a better one.
If you can see anything at all, it's an old photo of the Book Nook before the altar
I will be doing a few more posts about this room specifically, and then more about specific projects, especially furniture repaints. I will also chart more of decorating the rest of the house, although not all of the house is in a particularly Gothic aesthetic, so I will be focusing on the more Gothic-looking rooms. As you can probably tell from the square photographs, most of these pictures are or were on Instagram, where my accounts are @domesticatedgoth for this sort of content and @architecturallygothic for ruins, cathedrals, churches, monuments, and other spooky or pretty buildings. 

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