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..

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Study/Studio Re-Decoration Part 4: Worktop & Workspace

This is the part of this room that is most used for the purposes of studying and art. I've shared a lot of my Book Nook and meditation space because it's probably the part I feel is most finished and which I am happiest with, as well as being most relevant to the Witchcraft-related topics I've been writing about recently. However, that is not really the primary purpose of the room; literally it's just a corner in an alcove off my study, and my study's main purpose is to be where I study for university and where I do things relating to art.

A photograph looking along a faux-marble desk towards a window and corner. The window is so bright that it looks mostly white, with a purple pentagram lantern barely visible. There is a curly black wrought iron candle-stick on the window-ledge, with three small purple candles in sockets each slightly higher than the one before, and the purple candles are at slightly jaunty angles. There is a small purple vase on the window-ledge with incense sticks. Several wind-chimes hang in the window, indistinct in the bright light. The window-frame is off-white. Black moulded dado-rail runs from under the window-ledge and around to the adjoining wall. On the adjoining wall, into the corner, there are a set of shelves, three of which are visible; they are above the desk and dado-rail. The shelves are black on ornate Gothic style reproduction Victorian cast-iron brackets, and the front edges of the shelves have thin moulded trim along them. On the shelves are an assortment of tubs and boxes, ornate with predominantly black, grey, silver and purple as the colours. There are also several skull ornaments, and a lavender glasss orb hanging from the second bracket up, nearest the camera. In the corner is a black Lenovo computer, turned off; the monitor is obscuring most of the PC tower, and the keyboard and mouse are visible; the mouse has been left on the keyboard. The faux marble desk is mostly clear except a grey vintage-style desk-lamp, a tablet computer resting on a black swirly metal recipe book stand, and an object that looks like a book with an ornate purple and gold cover, but which is actually a Harry Potter theme lamp with the cover reading 'Liber Lux'; the Harry Potter book-lamp is on a silver recipe-book stand. The wall adjacent to the window, above the desk, is mostly a dark, rich purple. On the purle wall, nearer the camera, there is a mirror in the shape of a wide Gothic arch in a wooden frame; the mirror glass is subdivided horizontally into three thin Gothic arches, two shortm one tall one in the middle - with wire. At the bottom of the wooden mirror frame are three black metal hooks unused. Above the mirror, three purple glass hearts - two bright purple, almost fuchsia and one dark violet - are visible suspended, but what they are suspended from is cropped off at the top of the photograph. Under the dado rail that runs from under the window-ledge along both visible walls is a greyscale wallpaper of Gothic arches, a reproduction if an 1830's style, with a slightly crude wood-block effect. On top of the PC tower in the corner is a mostly wooden candle-holder; it is an ornately carved wooden Gothic arch with a mirror in, on a wooden base, with a purple taper-candle in a brass socket in front of the mirror; the candle-holder is at an oblique angle. Also in the foreground is a metal spice rack, in the same twisted metal tubing and spiral design style as the recipe-book stands; it is slightly thicker metal and powder-coated matte black. At the bottom of the spice-rack is a spindle supporting two visible rolls of tape, on the top shelf of the spice-rack, cropped from view, are art materials in shallow metal tray-tins. The re-purposed spice rack is in the fore-ground, at the far right of the image, and is partially cropped. The image is poorly lit as the room is dingy, and the window is much, much brighter than the room; the effect is dark, subdued and closed-in. The whole collection of visible objects gives a witchy, eclectic aesthetic, especially the purple walls and ornament on much that is visible. The photograph looks like it was taken in the afternoon.
Work-top and too-small window, computer and shelves
My computer is shoved in the corner by the window to minimise the glare on my screen and to maximise available worktop space, while simultaneously hiding the ugly PC tower as best as I could; modern electronics are completely out of keeping with my aesthetic. Eventually, probably after I upgrade my hardware, I would like to build a new case for the tower based off Gothic architectural aesthetics, and probably a matching screen for my monitor.  

My study is dingy because my window is overly small and my walls are dark. Most of the time I end up working there after dark anyway, so it is not much of a bother as I rely on artificial light anyway, but it does make trying to photograph the room in daylight sometimes a tad difficult, especially in the low sun of early spring. 

 On the far left is a window ingo brightly illuminated but also painted a lighter shade of purple, stenciled with tile patterns in silver and green. Part of a purple pentagram lantern, and three sets of windchimes. There is a black Lenovo PC tower with a wooden Gothic arch mirror that is also candle-holder for a purple dinner-style candle. Above the computer are black shelves with moulded fronts and ornate brackets, full of art materials. The shelves are on a dark purple wall, above a black dado rail with greyscale Gothic architecture design wallpaper beneath. The desk is black marble-effect, and there is a grey vintage style desk lamp upon it, and a tablet computer in a black metal stand. Some Gothic arch candle-holders are visible on the wall to the right of the shelves. The light is defuse but dingy. There is a cast iron bat hanger behind the computer. The art materials include a purple box with silver strapping and latches and a black rack of Spectrum Noir markers, colourful caps visible.
Desk and Computer
My desk is a worktop of MDF wrapped in the sort of self-adhesive vinyl for covering kitchen worktops, and it is pretty good as a wipe-down surface. Archimedes has scratched it in a couple of places, but that is fairly minor damage, however if anyone wants to build a desk like this and does crafts involving blades I would definitely recommend a cutting-mat. Raven built the desk/worktop and the legs are re-purposed from the banisters of a stair-rail.

Above the desk are shelves for the art-materials I use most often, so mostly pens of various types as well as my water-colours. The purple box is where I store technical drawing tools, the ivory drawers my stamping materials. For storage I like to try and find aesthetically pleasing containers as many craft items come in bright colours and garish modern packaging, so they get put in tubs and tins - especially vintage tins. On my desk I have used a spice-rack with a spindle for kitchen-towel as more art-material storage; things that come in shallow trays like paints and pencil-sets get put there, as they do not store easily on the main shelving. I use the spindle for tape (pictured) but also kitchen towel as intended. My tablet and my Harry Potter book-lamp are on recipe-book stands. Kitchenalia is useful for craft rooms!   

Black shelves with ornate (but difficult to see) brackets upon which are art materials; skull tub with purple and green dragon-scale paint brushes, vintage tins, ivory drawers, a purple box with silver strapping and latches. Next to the shelves are a variety of Gothic arch candle holders. On the left is a tall, slim dark brown one with gold trim and a mirror, it is also a sconce for a purple dinner-style candle. Central at the top is a black metal arch with some swirls and three candle holders, but the candle-holders are being used to suspend three purple glass hearts. Bottom centre is a dark brown wooden Gothic arch, short and squat, with three metal wire Gothic arches inside it, a mirror and a Highlands & Islands Scottish Green Party sticker. On the right is a crescent moon mirror of black metal, also with three candle-holders. The wall they are on is dark purple. To the right there is a black metal shelf with trays of pencils and charcoals. The computer monitor is on the left. In the middle of the desk are a grey vintage-style desk-lamp, a computer tablet in a black metal recipe book holder, and what looks like a gold and purple antique book but is actually a Harry Potter book lamp. The desk is black marble effect. Behind the monitor, lamps, tablet and bottom of the metal shelves is greyscale Gothic architecture patterned wallpaper under a black dado rail. You are very patient listening to this description, thank-you.
Shelves, art materials, Gothic arches & candlesticks
While storage is the primary concern, I do also like displaying ornaments on my shelves, and also sourcing ornamental containers, such as the skull tub. I have some of my Gothic arch candle-sconces on the wall next to my shelves, and the ones that are not too close to the ceiling do actually get used. All of them are secondhand; the two with wooden frames are from eBay, the metal Gothic arch was given to me by a colleague, and the moon sconce came from a candle-shop and is there by dint of being the wrong size for the Book Nook.

A large, black and white long-haired cat sitting on my desk. His front is white, his back is black, and he is very very fluffy. He is sitting and facing left, The Gothic arch mirror on top of the computer tower is visible. The Gothic architecture wallpaper and grey desk lamp are visible behind Archimedes the cat. He is sitting in front of a black switched-off flat-screen computer monitor. The cat has very long whiskers that catch the light. He has an adorable face.
Archimedes on my desk!
Archimedes is a cat, and therefore it is his prerogative to interrupt my work, so he spends a lot of time on my desk.

I have to at some point do an overview of the whole room, but I think that will wait until I have finished it. There's so much left to do on this room, but a lot of it hinges on getting contractors in; the ceiling is definitely something that requires a lot of that, and I can't afford it [at the time of publishing this article, which is approximately a month after actually writing it, we are now in 'lock-down' due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so even if I could afford it, it would not be possible to bring in contractors]. My ceiling requires first the attention of someone to replace the section that was put up incorrectly and has bowed and to patch the hole from the botched attempt at putting in a light fixture that was done for the previous owner by someone clearly not very good at that sort of thing, then it needs an electrician to put in two over-head lights in the long section, and one overhead light above the Book Nook, with new switches (and maybe a power-outlet inside my cubby), and not until then can I paint my ceiling, put up plaster stars, and add coving to my room. There's also little point in starting work on restoring the star-shaped ceiling lights I bought (very cheap) until I have something to mount them to when they are done.

I have some furniture customisation/up-cycling projects that I would like to share next, but each of those has come to a stumbling block, so are currently incomplete, but when they are done, there will be a book-case where I replaced the wicker shelves with MDF painted with acrylic pour technique, a drawer mounted underneath my desk with a hand-painted drawer-front and skull drawer-knob, a set of miniature drawers for my calligraphy things, my painting the inner-face of my door in violet and viridian, re-painting a set of shelves in with glass doors, and eventually, re-painting a Gothic arches book-case.

This blog will definitely return to some of its original purpose, looking at my Gothic home (hence it's name DOMESTICATED Goth) with more craft-projects, and maybe this year some spooky cooking! I have a back-log of photographs from trips to various spooky places from last year that I would like to share, as well. [Lock-down means no more spooky trips for the foreseeable future, but hopefully they will resume in a few months]. I also have some art of skulls, etc. that I would like to share, and I will be setting up some e-commerce in future so that I can sell my art online. 


Saturday, 29 February 2020

Study/Studio Re-Decoration Part 3: Book Nook Update

My Book Nook is in a state of constant evolution, and I've made some minor updates. The first and most obvious is that I have re-organised my altar yet again. I do this relatively regularly, so this is unsurprising. The other is that I've been re-arranging the book-shelves (which I have not shared on this blog before, but it has turned up in my Instagram stories; I'm @domesticatedgoth on Instagram too), where I've actually come to a bit of a sticking point. What I would like is to have a lovely book-case of books arrange into one of those beautiful rainbows I've seen on Pintrest and Instagram, but I tried this, very unsuccessfully, as most of my books are neutral colours: black, white, grey or brown. Currently they're organised by descending height from tallest to shortest, and in order of subject. Eventually I will be getting a larger book-case, with Gothic arches, and my book collection is always growing, so I suspect that I might be able to have this book-case eventually dedicated to colourful books arranged into a rainbow, and the larger bookcase for the majority of books which are black, white, grey or brown. Currently it just looks messy and the mismatch effect offends my aesthetic sensibilities. 

A two-handed claymore sword is mounted on an ornate metal two-pronged mount screwed into a wall clad with black reptile-skin effect wallpaper. The image is looking into a corner. The wall on the right is a dark purple and is stencilled with silver and gold stars. There are three moon-design mirrors in a folk style from Indonesia on the wall, in varying shades of purple with black and gold accents. In the corner there is a three-tier black-painted glossy shelf with various witchy items on it including two resin figures of wizards, several ornate boxes and a statue of Bast. There is a book-case standing from the floor; it is gloss black, and it has a berry purple altar-cloth along the top of it. There is a Neo-Pagan altar set up with a black cast-iron cauldron, an incense censer in the shape of the Moon Goddess, a glass crescent moon candle-holder, several crystals, even more purple glass candle-holders, and a purple incense burner for joss sticks. There are two rolled beeswax candles, purple. The lighting is daylight, the image is relatively bright considering the dark space. Sunlight glints on the faux-reptile wallpaper. There are books on the book-case, disorganised and mis-matched, they are about architecture and include modern books and 19thC volumes
Book Nook does actually contain books
I am still seeking more of these purple fair-trade moon mirrors. I nearly found a new one on Instagram, but it was out of stock. I prefer shopping second-hand, anyway, so I am still keeping an eye out for some on eBay or for one turning up in a charity shop. I would need to re-arrange the mirrors to open up a space for the next mirror. I can see myself in the large round one at the bottom; the others are just there for reflecting light around a rather dingy and dark corner. I really like the painting style, and the 'man in the moon' is one of my favourite artistic motifs. Speaking of which, if you look carefully on the corner shelves, there's a print of one of my drawings (the original is in my sketchbook, and I had it made into a print partly because I intend to get a tattoo of it). I's a crescent moon with stars, and I drew it for Inktober last year. You can see it properly on my Instagram. 

An oval mirror is on the right flank of a black-gloss book-case. The mirror frame depicts a lavender-coloured crescent 'man-in-the-moon' design with a black section with three stars painted on it. It matches the circular mirrors depicted in the picture above. There is a berry-purple tassel hanging partly over it from the altar cloth above, adorned with two clear crystal-effect beads. To the right of the image, the wall behind the book-case is visible, and a little of some greyscale wall-paper depciting Gothic architecture, it is a reproduction of an 1830's design and is in a block-print style.
Moon mirror on book-case
One of the moon-mirrors that is rarely appreciated because it's not on the wall with the others, and is often partially obscured by the portiere curtains is this oval one depicted above. It looked a bit odd next to all the circular ones, so I decided to put it elsewhere. Initially I intended on putting it on a window ingo, but I didn't want the UV radiation in sunlight fading the paint, so it's in this obscure place in the Book Nook instead. The tassel hanging in front is from my altar-cloth, which is too long for my altar (I should either cut it down myself, or get it done professionally by someone neater than me). 

Three purple and black moon-mirrors mounted on a rich, deep purple wall. The wall has some gold and silver stars stencilled on it visible in the top left. The top-most mirror is bright purple and depicts a man-in the moon with a halo of purple rays tipped with gold. There is a black section on the right of the crescent with three stars. It is medium sized. The middle mirror is to the right; it is a blueish purple and is the same crescent moon with halo of rays design, but much smaller and a bluer colour, again with three stars. Hanging off the small moon mirror is a filigree silver moon-pendant with simulated circular stone. The lower mirror is a large light purple mirror of just a crescent moon on a circular background, and there are three stars; the background is black. There is less gold. To the left there is a black gloss corner unit of shelves; on the bottom shelf is visible a black stone box with Celtic knotwork supporting a brass Nepalese singing bowl with wooden striker. On the middle shelf is visible a resin figure of a wizard wearing a blue robe with purple and gold and holding a staff; the wizard has long white hair, a beard and a hat. Next to the wizard, on the far left, a snowglobe is partiall in view, half of it cropped at the edge of the image. The snow-globe is a clear globe on a black turned pedestal and inside is a graveyard scene made of metal. The items on the top-most shelf are obscured, but part of a metallic foil print of a unicorn is visible - just the lower hooves and some of a purple night sky. A dark purple glittery skull, very small, is also just about visible but obscured by shadow. In the foreground there are two purple rolled-beeswax candles in silver old-fashioned Classical candle-sticks. The photograph is taken in daylight, and the lighting is neutral.
Three moon mirrors
I have re-organised the corner shelves, tweaking the display. It isn't a major change, but it's a change nonetheless. I actually feel like this corner needs to be more Gothic. I submitted these pictures to the Gothic Home Decor Enthusiasts group on FaceBook, and they gave some good advice about incorporating candle-sticks, and maybe some skull moons. I know some lovely creepy 'skull moon' design varients on the man-in-the-moon were available in the US last Hallowe'en, but I didn't see them in the UK. If I do include something like that, I'd not put it right near the altar as that's a sacred space, but I might put things like that on the black wall next to my sword, or hanging from the brackets of the shelf opposite (not pictured). 

The same corner of the room as in previous photographs. On the left there is a wall with black faux-reptile textured wallpaper. Mounted in the corner, which is to the left of centre of the image, is a black gloss corner shelving unit with three tiers. The bottom shelf has a small carved wooden box, a medium sized black stone box supporting a Nepalese singing bowl with wooden striker. There is also a print in a glass clip-frame of a black and white image of the man-in-the-moon within a circle, with a field of stars on a black bacground, and a large ten-pointed star with an eye, all drawn in fine-liner. The second tier has two wizards figurines, one on each side; the one on the left is wearing purple and gold robes, the one on the right is wearing blue robes with purple and gold, both have gold staffs; the blue-robed wizard has a crescent moon staff, the purple robed wizard has a staff with a white sphere like the full moon. There is a snow-globe with a black pedestal and clear glass displaying a graveyard scene in silvery metal. A small brown oval stone box is between the wizards, in front of the snow-globe. The items on the top tier of the shelf are partially cropped out of the image, but three small skulls each painted purple in nail-varnish with different finishes - glittery, metallic and iridescent - are visible. A small black and gold statue of Bast is visible, the bottom half of a foil print of a white unicorn against a purple sky, in a black wooden frame, is also visible; the unicorn's hind legs are visible only. The legs of a figure of the character Sebastian from the anime Black Butler are also visible. On the right two thirds of the image the purple wall is visible. Two of the three moon mirrors are in the photograph; they are both round, one is light purple and has a crescent moon and three stars, the other is bright purple with gold accents and has a crescent moon, three stars and a halo of purple rays. Gold and silver stars are stencilled on the rich purple wall. In the fore-ground two rolled bees-wax candles in classical silver candle-sticks, a purple glass goblet, the lid of the cast-iron cauldron, a miniature treasure chest in brass over purple-stained wood, and the black and white decorated box for my witch's Black Book are visible.
Corner shelf unit
I wanted to put two Gothic arch candle-sconces, a matching pair, either side of the sword. I was bidding on two tall, then almost lancet style ones being auctioned on eBay, but with faux-stone moulding of architectural details and a matching grey faux-stone paint effect. I am not keen on faux-stone paint effects, and would have painted them gloss black to match my furniture, but unfortunately I lost out on the bidding at the last minute. I am now trying to buy another pair of slightly plainer Gothic arch candle sconces, and I intend to keep looking until I can find ones the right size and style for this corner of the room. I like that it is witchy, and that it has been described as 'magical' but I would like to add more elements of the overtly Gothic into the decor, not just in the architectural sense, especially to tie it in with the rest of my study, which is more Gothic (especially in the architectural sense). 

The altar is in the foreground, slightly out of focus; it is on a berry purple altar cloth with a crinkle texture that is on a diagonal to the plane of view. Two silver candle-sticks are upon it, in a classical style, with rolled beeswax purple candles. On the left of the altar is a black plaque displaying a purple pentagram, a small cast iron cauldron with a pentacle on the front, and a partially visible purple glass goblet, cropped out of frame. In the centre is a clear glass candle-holder with a crescent man-in-the-moon and star design moulded into the glass. On the left is an incense censer in the shape of a stylised goddess. Behind the altar and above it is the round crescent moon mirror, it is quite large with a purple crescent moon occupying most of the left of the frame, the right being black with three small stars; the mirrored glass itself is round. The mirror is in focus. To the left of the image the black corner shelving unit is partially visible; the bottom tier has a black stone box with celtic knotwork, a brass Nepalese singing bowl with wooden striker, and partially visible fine-liner print; the print is cropped at the edge of the photograph so the image of the print is not apparent. The second tier is partially visible, with the bottom of the figurine of a wizard in blue, gold and purple robes visible. The shelving unit is slightly out of focus, but the items are identifiable. On the right of the image, a small round moon mirror with a frame consisting of a blueish purple crescent moon and a halo of purple rays is visible, as is a filigree moon pendant with synthetic round stone hanging from it. At the top of the image the halo of rays from the bright purple medium mirror is partially visible. Only the large crescent moon mirror in the centre of the image is in focus, and deliberately so. The photograph is taken in daylight and the shine on metallic objects is quite visible; the black wall is visible in the central mirror, but the wall looks grey in bright direct sunlight.
Large moon mirror
I would really appreciate both suggestions on how to better organise my books to be more aesthetically pleasing, and on how to make my Book Nook as Gothic (in all senses of the word) as the rest of my study, while maintaining the altar as a meditation space that is about religious practice rather than displaying my spooky stuff.