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 2: Book-Nook

In my much earlier post about decorating my study ::here:: I showed some pictures of it with lighter purple walls, and vinyl decals of Gothic architecture. I felt the bright purple was a bit too kitsch, and was having doubts about the vinyl decals. As such, I became motivated to re-decorate, firstly by removing the decals and re-painting the room a darker purple, and then by adding new flooring (finally!) and screening my meditation area/book-nook with  curtains. There is quite a lot to cover, so I am splitting this between several posts. The previous post ::here:: was about my gallery/display wall.
Sensory Space
My Book-Nook has been a part of the study/studio design plan right from the start. It's probably the most 'Hippie' rather than Goth corner, despite the dark purple walls and black furniture. Its purpose is to provide a quiet reading and chill-out space for me.

I have Asperger's with sensory processing disorder, and one of the most difficult symptoms to manage is sensory overload. To mitigate this, I have deliberately created a calming sensory space. It is important that it is dark, with muted colours, because one of the major ways in which I get overstimulated is through too many bright lights, garish colours, etc. (envisage a supermarket or mall full of bright shop lighting - that will affect me badly, for example). I can gradually increase the light to reading level by using string-lights for dim light, then using the ::Klevercase:: Harry Potter book-shaped reading light (bought in a sale!), or turning on a stand light that is just outside the Book-Nook.

Double mesh curtains filters any glare from the window, and also adds a little sound insulation, although it is a quiet corner of the house, anyway, away from things like the kitchen and bathroom which might have noise. Loud noises and noisy environments are also very difficult for me. I can again gradually increase my sound exposure by putting calming music on with head-phones, or from my computer speakers. I find urban environemnts far too loud for me a lot of the time - too much traffic, all the H.V.A.C systems on buildings, the sounds of people, sirens, etc. all become quite overwhelming (especially traffic noise trapped between the hard surfaces of buildings so it becomes almost an indistinct rushing noise...). It's one of the reasons I moved to somewhere rural, and I am sad about how much busier and more developed where I live is becoming.

I also have to recharge after socialising because the constant analysis and 'masking' required for me to function socially is quite exhausting, so this space provides a retreat and recharge space for that. Having this space is very important to me avoiding meltdowns, especially as I have to try and hold everything in when I'm out and about, so that release when I get home can sometimes be a gush as the dam breaks if I'm not careful.

Meditation Space
I have a half-height book-case that I use for university books (not all of them; they don't all fit!) in there, and originally I was using the top of the book-case for photo-frames. I took down the photo-frames for two reasons; firstly I wanted a more permanent set-up for my personally altar, and secondly I haven't got around to having prints done to fill all of the frames. I don't have many photographs of friends of family, and this is something I want to work on - mostly printing out photographs I've taken myself. When I do fill all the frames, I'm going to put them on the radiator cover (more on that later). 

Darker purple wall with moon mirrors and stencilling.  Gothic fairy.
Photo-frames with pictures of my Dad and Uncle. Dragon frame will be for Raven
I apologise for the quality of some of the photographs; where I have used the camera on my mobile phone the photographs are grainy and poor resolution, where I have used the camera on Raven's phone, the pictures are crisp and better quality.

One addition to my study has been replacing the photographs on top of one of the book-cases with a new iteration of my meditation altar/personal devotion altar. As it is on a book-case, and therefore effectively on a space that is more shelf-shaped than table-shaped, the arrangement of the altar is necessarily elongated.  I like having somewhere quiet and tucked away I can practice privately without interruptions. The book-nook area is behind curtains, so it is even more secluded than my study, which itself has a door onto the upstairs hallway. There's no window facing directly onto the book-nook, so it is probably the most private corner of the house - perfect for not being disturbed while I'm meditating, as well as perfect for reading in peace. I am somewhat reclusive by nature, so hiding myself away in a corner is my idea of heaven. It's a little inner-sanctum in my house, a corner that is just for me.

These are some pictures from early September of my altar set up - I will show some more recent ones later one, so keep reading for those.

Personal Meditation Altar
The two 'pink' candles are actually more of a fuchsia purple, slightly darker and bluer than fuchsia pink, however they look quite pink once lit - they are hand-dipped candles bought from The Maker's Mark in Newcastle Emlyn/Castell Newydd Emlyn in Wales. It is a fabulous wee shop, and whenever I'm in Wales, I try and make trip especially to that shop. The lavender jar-candle is one I made myself from the reclaimed scraps of candles I have burned at my altar in the past - the stubs of so many white tea-lights diluting the purples and blacks I have often used. As has been mentioned in other posts, I am now buying beeswax or soy candles, and this jar-candle of recycled paraffin wax stubs is the last of the paraffin wax used on an altar. I'm phasing out paraffin wax altogether, burning through the last of my stash of tealights, and replacing them mostly with beeswax.  More recently, I have been buying rolled beeswax hand-made 'dinner' size candles. I will probably make a blog post all about candles in the near future.  One of my main candle suppliers is ::Sweet Little Candle Company:: because of the variety of sizes and colours.

Close-up of my chalice, two spell pouches, the box for my Black Book and
candle-holders, pentagram plaque
The black and purple pentagram plaque was bought on eBay, it is hand-made, and I am not sure if it is secondhand, or made by the seller. It was originally gold and black, but I repainted the pentacle purple to better fit in with my décor, using some purple nail-varnish to get a high-gloss and durable finish. The moon shaped glass tea-light holder was second-hand on eBay and it was only £1 (excluding postage). The stack of skulls resin ornament is just there to weigh down the altar cloth, because it was quite light and sheer and kept sliding off the gloss-painted book-case. Not that long after this, some falling incense burnt a hole through the altar cloth, so I have replaced it (pictures further below). 

Contextual image of my Book-Nook. Some colour distortion on right side.
Corner shelves on left have travelled with me since I lived in England!
There are stars stencilled all along the upper edges of my walls. I bought the stencils on eBay for £4.99 from a shop called 'The Stencilist' which is no longer on eBay. I also got an individual star-burst mylar stencil for £2.99 from Stencil Zone. All the stars were sponged on with acrylic paints, with a mixture of gold and silver acrylic used in the Book-Nook to give a shimmer effect. The mixed paint isn't quite as fun as colour-shift paint, but it does have an interesting mottled look, and how gold or silver they look depends a lot on the lighting conditions.

I did the abstract painting in the middle - it is an acrylic pour painting done with metallic paints with colours inspired by the Aurora Borealis. I live north enough to see the Aurora from my house sometimes, although often the weather is too cloudy to get a proper look. At the time of writing this, the painting is part of an exhibition I am in at the Inverness Museum And Gallery (ground floor, in the Room to Discover), and I've replaced it with a large moon mirror. 

Large moon mirror. Photo taken during full moon ritual. Purple lantern reflection
I think the moon mirrors are made in Indonesia - one is certainly labelled as such (the smallest one), and I think as they are all so similar, that they are likely all made in the same place. I have three on this wall, an oval one on the side of the book-case, and a matching carved wooden wind-chime hanging over my window. All of the moon mirrors were bought secondhand, mostly on eBay. The large one was £3.95, the small one £3 and the medium one £3.73, all from different sellers, and excluding postage and packaging.* I think these moon mirrors might be made as tourist souvenirs, as it is relatively common to see them turn up second-hand. I haven't seen this specific sort of thing in import shops catering to the hippie demographic (like FarFetched in Inverness) but that is also a possibility. I display them because of the religious significance of the moon to me as a Neo-Pagan Witch. My meditation altar is where I do my moon-phase devotions, so there is a lot of moon iconography on that altar. I see a lot of similar mirrors on sale from American eBay sellers, but I can't afford postage and customs from America. I don't often buy things new, so wouldn't know where to look for one new. 

Current collection of round moon mirrors, two with coronas, all three purple.
Stylistically all very similar: carved wood with a similar style of painting,
thin eyebrows, soft gradients of colour, three stars and similarly drawn eyes.
As I mentioned above, I recently got a new altar cloth. It's always a risk having incense or candles near fabric, and unfortunately some smouldering bits fell off a joss stick, and landed on the layered altar cloth over a rather more flammable plastic-based synthetic lace skull table-cloth I'd been using to keep my books less dusty, and a hole, rather noticeable, got burned into both of them. I've ditched the Hallowe'en table cloth idea entirely, and I'm going to make a curtain for the books that is under the lip of the top of the book-case, so less likely to come in contact with anything falling from incense on my altar. It is good that I was right there when it happened; this sort of thing happening unattended could start a fire. Always think of fire-risk if you use candles, incense or any other naked flame or source of ignition in your spiritual practice. Witch-burning is a bad thing!

New altar cloth, beeswax candles, candle-sticks, witchy boxes, etc.
Ash next to incense burner rolled there once very much extinguished, and because
I was faffing about with re-arrangement; it did not land on my new altar cloth.
I want to mention the candle-holders. Both the two small ones and the two taller ones are from charity shops. The two taller ones are the first altar candlesticks I ever bought, back when I lived in England, probably back in 2002 or 2003. I had misplaced one for a while, so they weren't on my altar because I don't like asymmetry.  I try and source as much of my stuff secondhand as possible; there's no reason to spend a whole heap of money to put together an altar, or even to have intresting decor. I see a lot of expensive stuff being sold to the Pagan community and also to the Goth community and it's frustrating when I see people who feel like they NEED to have all these expensive things to be a proper Witch, or to keep up with all the Instagram Goths or Instagram witches,(of which technically I am one of both, so look me up at @domesticatedgoth that is where I put all of these photographs before they went up on here) and you don't need to spend a lot of money or have whatever item is trending on Instagram to be valid. Have a good rummage in a charity shop/thrift shop, look on eBay, Depop, your local sales group, etc. etc. There's plenty of very reasonably priced items out there, and they are often more unusual and unique than what is mass-produced.

*I exclude postage and packaging fees from all eBay prices because it is something that will be so variable depending on location. Many sellers offer direct collection, which is very useful if you live in a large urban area with lots of eBay sellers, but I live in the Scottish Highlands, so not only do I rarely have anyone nearby selling, I also have to contend with a surcharge on deliveries sometimes, something I feel is deeply unfair as I still live on the mainland and we are serviced by a proper road and rail network. I am not on an island! It does not take a ferry or plane to deliver me post!. Also, a lot of sellers have a 'doesn't post to Scottish Highlands' issue. It's a pet peeve of mine - we're not as remote and isolated as people think.


  1. I think the way you have decorated your living space is amazing. It seems the perfect place to retreat and recharge, which is something I also need to do from time to time.

    As always, I enjoy ed your post and look forward to the next one.

    1. Did you see the previous one? I uploaded two posts yesterday, one with my feature wall too. I'm going to try and borrow my partner's camera for better photographs of the rest of the room.

    2. Somehow I missed your first post yesterday, thinking that it was older. I've seen it now, however.

    3. There will be a bunch of posts going up backdated in relation to the Wheel of the Year and my altar - keep an eye on the Domesticated Goth facebook page and links to all new posts should appear

    4. this post is up and ready :)

  2. Excellent Really loved that. visit our shop for Gothic


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