elsewhere in witchery

Yet another inspirations post. I realize I’ve been blatantly clickbaiting y’all with secondhand content, but I think a little aspiration porn is valuable to the creative set. It’s the whole collective-unconscious thing: I’m priming my brain with artists more talented than I, simmering the beginnings of a metaphorical stew. Because I no longer participate in fast fashion, however, today’s items of desire come exclusively from Etsy.com. If I can badger even one person into buying vintage/handmade…well, that’ll be my do-gooding for the day and I can sit on my ass wasting electricity.

But seriously – I really believe in buying secondhand as often as possible, and I’m hoping to promote that ever more widely in 2014. Starting in January, I’ll be partnering with a few local thrift stores to showcase their wares and ideally get a pittance of readers shopping secondhand. Since my series of Halloween posts for Downtown Threads, I’ve been planning to expand my reach.

Click on each item to see its Etsy listing. I’ll soon be posting a few new items in my own Etsy shop as well.

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merry clothmas

I’m pulling a leaf from Kaelah’s toothy little book and compling a “best of” post. 2013 wasn’t only my first full year of blogging. It’s the year my outfits and photography actually took on some semblance of a recognizable style. A far cry from 2012’s “throw some fabric at my body and hope it sticks”. I’m still a born-and-bred eccentric, but now I’ve got a bit more nuance.

This was also the year I started actually applying basic design principles to my shoots. The old stand ‘n’ pose can be fun, but I want to make art on lots of levels, not just the fashionable. I look now at my old webcam shots and want to burn every last one. I keep them on the blog because some of the outfits are passable, and also because it’s a nice reminder of improvement.

Here you’ll find my top 12 posts of 2013. Check back tomorrow or the next day for some 2014 inspiration porn. I’m also planning to list a few new Etsy items over the next couple of days.

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waterhouse heroine & windy witch 

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little red & splatter (plus a link to the bloody-shoes tutorial I did for Floral Prints + Common Sense!)

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strange doll & noontime ghost

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prairie luxe & baroness samedi’s in town

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grandma chic: dapper flapper edition & i was never here

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more mooring & keep matches away from me (plus links to Brent Gould Photography and Owlhurst Loft Vintage)

honk the herald moose did sing

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What else would you expect from me, really?

My parents’ house is full of Greek pastries and wine. I’ve had the Celtic Woman Christmas album on obnoxious loop for the past several days. Tonight I’m going to church with my mother, which I’ve been looking forward to for weeks. I try to maintain a certain religiosity about the holidays, even though I don’t follow any particular denomination. The men are less enthused. They can stay home and compete for my honor over a game of Jeopardy!.

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My inner crackhead society dame emerges today. That’s the style I keep coming back to. It permeates most everything I wear and design. Queered elegance.

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I find myself becoming more and more religious. I’m increasingly able to feel comfortable in any service, regardless of whether the specific dogma appeals to me. Because it’s not about rules. It’s not about voting Republican and holding onto your virginity. It’s the search for transcendence, which can come in any damn form you choose to find it.

I’ve been reading Pastrix, by Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Weber. I want to marry this woman – and guess what, I can, because her church, House for All Sinners and Saints, not only performs queer marriages, it welcomes drag queens and refers to the pagan Goddess as “God’s aunt”. Her message is clear: you can choose to find God (or his aunt) just as you are, without conforming to any ideals. Because his acceptance is that radical. Because you can truly find transcendence in anything.

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In more prosaic news, I really need a haircut.

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Dress: Savers Turban, Necklace, & Bracelet: Old Gold Belt: Downtown Threads Pin: Battery Street Jeans Tights & Shoes: Gifted Cat: Pixel

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Don’t worry. This is what our relationship is like.

the elf in the self

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I went to Sunday Mass this morning. I wore my Buddhist prayer beads, because I’m syncretic that way. This evening, I holed up with curry and pagan friends for a Yule ritual. Bringing back the sun. I don’t know why I find such peace in religion, but if I did, Kate of Eat the Damn Cake would say it better than I could.

There’s this feeling I get, when I come out of services at the end of the first day of Rosh Hashanah. This sense of emerging from some other place, possibly underground, or underwater, but hidden, in any case, and darker and more secret. It’s so bright outside, and the world expands abruptly, and it’s filled with normal people who are just going about their day. But I have been in this secret other place, where the day was turned sacred and ancient rites were observed, and I am still vibrating where I’ve been rung and wrung out.

It’s not about God or anything. It’s about the act of setting things aside for recognition.

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There’s holiness in everything, even this monster of an ice storm that will probably strand us indoors (god forbid) tomorrow. Even the tackiness of my glorified elf costume.

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Coat: for sale hereDress: Tibetan craft fair Belt: Battery Street Jeans Tights, Hat, & Shoes: Gifted

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wrong side of the tracks

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This was my original concept for what ended up being my “baroness samedi’s in town” shoot, which ended up being one of my favorite things I’ve ever created. My original character was a mysterious traveler seemingly blown in on the breeze. No one knew why the skull on her staff gleamed so bright or why her toes pointed so sharp, and no one was sure they wanted to. I ended up reworking the shoot and scrapping these photos, but I look through my outtakes every once in a while, mining forgotten treasures. I’m glad I decided to post these after all.

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I’ve been really inspired by raw Appalachian themes lately. Think gauzy witches, wild eyes, folk magic, and Martha Redbone. It might not be showing in my outfit posts, but it’s been consistently on my mind. Evident in the books I’m reading and the music I’m mainlining on my way to work. Our Lady of the Forest (no spoilers, please), Eva Cassidy, Delta Rae. As much as I love Christmas, I’m distantly looking forward to prancing about in the spring thaw and reclaiming my place as a maybe-sinister forest nymph. 

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winterwitch

Seeking photographic inspiration to nudge me through the doldrums. Touching up my gothic armor and becoming my favorite self – a caricature of a pagan – usually works. Today, courtesy of Trendhunter, I’m bringing you some mind-blowing art I’d like to emulate over the next several months. Click on each image for its source.

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fairy-tale feels

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I saw Frozen a couple weeks ago with my friend Savannah. As a connoisseuse of classic Disney, I am always keen to see how the modern renditions compare. I enjoyed how The Princess and the Frog toed the romantic line and more or less adhered to its time period (albeit in a highly glossed-over way, but hey) while sneaking in subtle messages of empowerment. While I don’t necessarily believe that children’s media should always have a positive message (some of the most powerful stories don’t have happy endings, and I don’t think we should insulate kids from that), it’s really interesting to see just how far the fairy-tale medium can stretch. How can you be as true as possible to the original material while making it more accessible to the modern-day sprog? Can you maintain the original message even with the morals updated? I think you can. Shout-out to my lover Joseph Campbell: you can find the hero’s journey in basically anything, no matter how contemporary (or not).

Anyway, I really liked Frozen. Disney animation will never be what it was, but I’m making my peace with that. For 2013, Frozen is a top-quality Disney film. For one thing, it stars my girl Idina Menzel in a role actually quite similar to the one I fell in love with her in. Elsa, like Elphaba, is a proud isolate. And she’s fairly morally ambiguous, which is awesome for Disney. Give the young ‘uns some deductive credit, why don’t you. Also, Disney blatantly lampshades itself in the form of Kristoff: “Why would you get engaged to someone you’ve only known for a day?”

Sooo…I decided to Nordic it up. Wintry pattern mixing, a Currier & Ives backdrop, and a touch of bright. I imagined myself as a contemporary citizen of Arendelle*, relishing Elsa’s legacy and snuggling with my pet reindeer.

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*Walt Disney’s grandfather was named Arundel. Coincidence? More like LIZARD PEOPLE.

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Dress: Savers Sweater: Classy Closet Hat, Shoes, & Scarf: Gifted Tights: Old Gold

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thinking too much as usual

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I’m becoming unbearably preppy. Suddenly red plaid is all I crave. Sometimes I worry that I’m losing my costumey edge, but then I remember that everything is a costume. Deliberate or not, if it affects social perception, if it carries any kind of connotations at all, then it’s a costume. Getting dressed is fun on an artistic level – colors and textures and cuts, oh boy! – but also on a sociological one. What does this piece say, why does it say that, and what other statements might you be able to wring from it? Red plaid, for instance, screams Christmas – but why? It’s kind of thrilling to be able to bypass people’s logical minds entirely and hit them right in the associations. They’ll identify my outfit as “Christmas-y”, but flounder to explain why exactly that is. I’m not claiming that I know, either, but I know what the connotations are and how to play with them. Tell me that’s not at least a little bit magical.

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I took these photos in my dad’s Kung Fu studio. I’ve always appreciated how the bay window looks out on a miniature panorama of seasonal variety. It’s especially interesting in the winter, when the valley below is icy and stark, but the plants inside stay green. I enjoyed playing with that contrast for this shoot.

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This outfit looks very much like something Marlen of Messages on a Napkin would wear.

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Oh, and I made my first Etsy sale yesterday! This vintage Lanz of Salzburg dress. Here’s hoping it starts a trend!

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Skirt (worn as strapless dress): Battery Street Jeans Top, Vest, Tights, Socks, Hat, Scarf, Shoes: Gifted Coat: Second Time Around

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inner child stirred awake

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For the past few winters, I’ve been grasping at the “effortlessly toasty” aesthetic, rife with peacoats and Christmas choirs and suspiciously absent the slightest hint of a runny nose. You know what I mean. Let’s pretend our hems never drag and our gloves never soak through, even in the tyranny of a Vermont winter. More importantly, let’s not pretend we don’t curate our lives. I’ve been hearing a lot about how presenting only the bits you choose to share is somehow disingenuous, how the needy public is somehow owed the admission of private pains and flaws. A lot of bloggers seem to wonder if they’re “faking” by only displaying their most polished selves, by not sharing unflattering outtakes and two-a.m. pajama-clad selfies. If that’s faking, then I’d rather not be real. Who decided that anyone gets to ask for more than what I’m willing to give you? Keeping part of my life for myself alone preserves my sanity.

You’ll get some pretty pictures today, of course, but that little screed has been on my mind for a good while now. Yes, what I share here is real, but it’s augmented. It has to be – what art is any good 100% raw? I’m honored to have such a platform for my  work, I really am. But at the end of the day, I don’t think any creator can afford not to distinguish between spectators and friends.

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I’m not as unfriendly as I sound, I swear. Really, it just comes down to one more reason why I love clothes so much. I get to display exactly what, and how much of it, I want. I get to speak clearly without opening a vein.

And today I’m speaking “inner child snowed awake”.

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I’m really enjoying feeling like an overly starched storybook schoolgirl. Cliche can be a lot of fun to mine.

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Coat: Josh’s Dress & Sweater: Classy Closet Belt: Downtown Threads Boots: Battery Street Jeans Hat: Old Gold Tights: Gifted

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