Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Victorian Gothic Shopping: Anaboo Creations by Sylvia Smiser

(Photo credit and property: Anaboo Creations)

We are officially in our favourite season, Autumn, when all things get a bit darker, colours are richer, the children of the night have a later (in the morning) curfew, and all my favourite artists are working their shadowy bustles and tailcoats off preparing for that absolutely BEST holiday of the year, All Hallow's Eve. Can you feel it? The air is different and the light is changing. There it is again, that low breeze with just a hint of chill in the air that whispers "Where did you pack the cableknits? Did you stock enough firewood? Where are the spices for the cider and mead?"  Please tell me I'm not the only one those voices whisper to. If I were, you would not be here, and we would not be having this conversation.

I am rambling. I shouldn't. So let us get to the heart of the matter, shopping for the dark, the unique, the the brilliantly whimsical. I have been incredibly excited about featuring this fine lady's work. Why? Because my dark wee heart was stolen by one of her fabulous creations. Have I made you curious yet? Good, good. As most know, I am not a zombie or gore fan, although I do quite understand its place in all things Hallowe'en. Being a Victorian, my love is for all things vintage and that is exactly what we have here. What I am talking about are the brilliant Anaboo Creations of Sylvia Smiser. Ms. Smiser has been on my radar for quite some time.

What we have here is a self-taught artist with a gift for turning cloth and paperclay into delightful little beings of all sorts with a vintage feel, the authenticity of a true craftsperson and the feel of a little living being with a heart that will melt yours with a whimsical glance. What first got my attention, was a lovely little being named Ruthie the Raven, handcrafted and lovingly attired by Sylvia.

(Photo credit and property: Anaboo Creations)
Sylvia has been featured in several doll publications such as Somerset Studios Gallery, Celebrate 365, Dolls Magazine and Art Doll Quarterly, and has a doll currently featured in the Autumn edition of Art Doll Quarterly.

Much to my black lacey glee, I was recently able to acquire one of her lovely baby bats. I am told his name is Dopey, though I was welcome to give him a new name. After admiring his adorable little face for a while, he reminded me too much of the lovingly simple little dwarf to call him anything else. Dopey is the adorable little bat at the bottom with his tongue sticking out

(Photo credit and property: Anaboo Creations)
I do believe that at the time of this posting, he may have a sibling still looking for a home, and I would encourage checking them out, along with all of the other wonderful wee creatures at Anaboo Creations. So to help you all out, as always, I have included links below to guide you to Ms. Smiser's lovely works and her blog and Facebook page. I promise you will not be disappointed. I know I never am.

Happy shopping, adopting and perusing. I am now off to see what else lurks just past the shadows, waiting to be shared.

Keep it shadowed, spiced and Spooky. Until next,
Raven :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Keen Halloween

Welcome, October. It is about time you arrived. We have much to talk about, you and I. So let us begin with how you made your entrance; with a weekend of Vintage Halloween shopping and visiting with wonderfully talented local artists at Keen Halloween.

This is year number two for this unique, fun event, organized by the lovely folks at SteamCrow. There were workshops, vendors with everything from adorable, angsty, quirky monsters, victims of a never ending commute, to embroidered velvet fezzes and delightful steampunk pumpkins. It should be of no suprise to anyone that I left with several packages and a mission to find yet more frames for my growing collection of whimsical, spooky art.

For now, allow me to elaborate a bit more about SteamCrow and their fantastic world of monsters, and their online saga, Monster Commute. I first came across the magic of SteamCrow several years ago at Phoenix ComiCon. As I entered the double-doors of the vendor floor, it was almost as if the heavens opened, light shone down and a choir of angels raised their voices in celebration. Then I realized it was probably cosplayers and walked in. There, directly in front of me was this enormous sign, "SteamCrow". Now as most of you who know me will immediately realize, with a name like "Raven", crows are not to be passed by. As I took in the flood of brilliant vintage images and posters featuring some of my favourite ghouls and a host of new ones, I was hooked. When I heard last year that Daniel Davis, the mustachio'd face behind the beasties, and his lovely counterpart Shawna, were organizing a Vintage Halloween event, I was there. I cannot wait to see how it turns out next year. My growing collection of SteamCrow art is going to need another wall (woe is me), but I am always excited to see which new artists will surface with just this jaded old crow's brand of whimsical spookiness and endearing creepiness.

So, October, you will be helping me to feature several of the fabulous artists we met this year as well as a number of other wonderful creators we had the pleasure of seeing again from last year. We will also be adding other artists and creative Halloweenish types to the list who are not local, but whose creations are right up our metaphoric alley.

And for now, I will let others share their love of Keen Halloween, SteamCrow and the wonderful community of spooky, colourful, delightful creators by sharing links to several recent articles, interviews and reviews.

The Independent Comic Congress - A great article with a fun video interview with Daniel Davis of SteamCrow

East Valley Tribune - Another great article about bringing "classic" back to Halloween.

Phoenix New Times - A great slideshow of people and events at Keen Halloween.

As if the links above and throughout this blog post did little enough to point you in their direction, here are a few more so you, too, can get lost in the inspiring, year-round-Halloween that is SteamCrow. To Dan and Dawna Davis, kudos. My admiration is unending.

Twitter: - @steamcrow

With that, I leave you to peruse the monsters. Enjoy!

Until next, Keep it Spooky,


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Back from the Abyss

Surprise. I haven’t disappeared or been swallowed into the deep abyss, although at times it felt that way. This has been a long, but productive hiatus, as much was thrown my way, and much I needed to step back from in order to gain new perspective. But not for a moment did I forget EVGA or the brilliant spirit of our Victorian Goths, my beloved Victorianesque Hallowe’en and the dream of a finishing school for our Darkling Debutantes and Young Nocturnal Nobles. And naturally, I have been rebuilding the list of fabulously talented artists I hope to showcase and share with you in the very near future.

Now to the best part of this post: A short announcement of things to come. We have survived the longest day of the year and gleefully welcome the shortening scourge of sunlight, so in celebration and in preparation for the pinnacle of that day we celebrate year round, EVGA will be featuring artists I had the pleasure of meeting at last year’s Keen Halloween.  (Look to the top right of my page and you will see a link to the Keen Halloween site) This year is the second annual gathering of brilliant local artists, crafters, performers, writers and teachers of all things spooky, fun and family friendly. 

What could be better than three days surrounded by workshops, performances, characters and shopping? Know it will be right around the corner from me. I can be a nuisance all weekend. So with that said, I am off to get some more writing done, images gathered and a few other ideas off the ground. And not to worry, I will still be adding to the Etiquette side of the site with more opinions, observations and insight from deep, thoughtful conversations and out-of-left-field questions from many of the non-lacey, parasol-deprived, pastel-infused individuals I have encountered in my adventures these last eight months away.

Thank you kindly for your patience. It’s good to be back.

Keep it Spooky, and if you cannot do that… keep it shrouded in black lace for the time being.