Recent Posts

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Times Like These #3

Small post today, just passing by. November is ending and so is NaNoWriMo, which is brilliant news because writing has been a little painful lately. Not just because of my ruined shoulder (I should sue my university), but mostly because I spent September and October working on short stories pretty much back to back, on a slightly exhausting rhythm of plan-write-revise-line-edit-submit, rinse and repeat. My inner editor took over, in all the glory of her french twisted hair and military inspired dresses, and it was very very hard to wrestle her into submission for NaNoWriMo. I'm definitely not happy with what I've written this year, but maybe it's just a phase.

Either way, I'll probably post a story mood board on Friday, and then forget about this altogether.

To the photos, then! Epic sunset from the bathroom window, me in need of a serious haircut (I want my bob back), teeth I've kept in a box all these years because morbid is my middle name ( I still keep my baby teeth in the bedside table with my jewelry... ), the only focused shot I got from a walk with my sister (we went outside to "see the Fall", but ended up brainstorming story ideas in the cemetery), raspberry brownies, and the return of nail polish (it feels right again, after months of... not).

Well, I'm off to go buy pretty supplies to work on pretty packaging for my Etsy shop now. It's a little weird to say this. My Etsy shop. It's not much yet, but hey, better done than perfect - and don't worry, I won't make you buy anything made out of my own teeth. Maybe someone else's, though.

I'll leave you with that thought. Have a great week!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Enchanted Doll

Our weekly dose of Friday Inspiration has arrived! But first, a story.

I have a private board on my Pinterest. It's called The Bone Room, and if at first it was used to hold images of articulated animal skeletons (very important, if you're me and have had a cat skeleton for a year), now it's kind of turned into my depository for things I want to post about. Eventually. I never really planned for this "inspiration" thing to become a regular feature on the blog, but I think it's kind of helped me narrow down what fits my personal aesthetic, and what doesn't. I'm a very visual person, but being so detail-oriented I can usually find something to like in pretty much everything. But how do I reconcile my love of streamlined monochrome with my love of baroque exaggeration? I don't know, but I guess we can consider that my new crusade.

Anyway. Today's featured artist is Marina Bychkova, a Russian-Canadian figurative artist, and founder of Enchanted Doll, a luxury toy label of exquisite, porcelain dolls.

More than mere playthings, Enchanted Dolls are elegantly sculpted and articulated works of art. Strikingly nude, engraved or adorned in opulent sculptural costumes of precious metals, gemstones, and rare found objects, each doll intricately conveys an aspect of our humanity. Unique and delicate, their forms evoke a strong emotional response, haunting us with their vulnerability. All at once innocent and sexual, Enchanted Dolls depict highly stylized images of femininity, while at the same time reflecting on life’s playful naiveté.

The first time I saw these, they were featured in some art blog (I really can't remember the name, I think it was more than a year ago), and the commenters kept mentioning how the dolls made them uncomfortable, due to them being anatomically correct and whatnot. Honestly, I find that striking about them. The discomfort. At first, I felt it too, and it made me wonder why. Is it because dolls are predominantly objects we associate with children? So does that mean I think genitals are inappropriate for children? Or is because adding genitals to a doll means sexualising it? But then, I would be saying that full nudity is inherently sexual, and I really don't think it is. Am I just a prude? Am I just playing into society's fear of genitals? Deep thoughts to be having around a doll, huh.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Hey, remember that time I talked about going on a daytrip to Lisbon with my sister? I do, and it's a little disconcerting to look back and realise that post is actually from June. Where did the time go?

Regardless, let me tell you all about that daytrip. I wanted to see an exhibit in Lisbon, and being the baby wanderluster I am, I decided I'd take a train and go alone instead of turning the day into a family trip. Eventually, I decided it'd be much better to take my sister along, and down South we went. It was fun. Exhibit in the morning, lunch around the Gulbenkian gardens, then a visit to the Botanic Garden (including the Butterfly House, which I've already posted about because some things you just can't postpone...) and the Natural History Museum in the afternoon.

Well. The Natural History Museum, full name National Museum Of National History And Science, was... a conflicting experience. For once, I was expecting a lot of natural history and I ended up getting a lot of science. Nothing wrong with that, but when you enter a mammoth of a place (I wore my burgundy blazer for that!) expecting to find taxidermy and skeletons and formaldehyde jars at every turn, you can't help but feel disappointed when you realise there's only one (ONE!) zoology room. Well, three if we count the dinosaurs, but do I look like a dinosaur fan to you? I mean, they're cool, but they feel really distant to me, almost unreal - it's hard to explain.

So let's just say I really enjoyed my stroll through the amphitheater and the chemistry lab, I kind of rushed through mineralogy because you can only look at the same crystals in every museum in the country so many times before you tire, and then I... well, I behaved like a five-year old in the physics lab. Science!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Polish Baroque: Agnieszka Osipa

Since by now it's probably become obvious that Friday is my inspiration-posting day, today I bring you Agnieszka Osipa, a Polish fashion designer who specialises in what I can only describe as... well, Witchy Baroque Meets The Bejeweled Skeletons I Wrote About The Other Day.

There isn't a lot of information available on these extraordinary pieces, so I'll just leave you with the photos. It's almost ironic, how I spent the whole Summer trying to convince myself (and everyone around me) that I was ready to put overindulgence behind me, cut off all my hair and start wearing nothing but white shirts, lean silhouettes and leather sleeves... and now Fall has arrived and I'm experiencing the pull of excess all over again.

I want to hide under layers of elaborate laces and antique-looking bling and call that a season.
You too? Let's go.

[images: Agnieszka Osipa]
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Creative Inertia

I find it funny how, in my life, creativity always comes as an answer to a question. A gangly eleven year-old, I started writing fiction for a school assignment. That was the question. What can you do in more than four pages that is good enough to get you the grade you want, but also good enough to make you proud? I started designing clothes when I was thirteen, as an answer to the question how can you dress your characters in a way that's half Final Fantasy half real world? I don't really know about the question that made me take up photography, but I'm sure it must have been there somewhere.

And then a while ago, I decided I would make butterfly lockets. Why? Because I saw a grasshopper wing locket I loved, found it too expensive, and refused to be beaten.

So this is my first batch of what I hope will be a long, long range of insect lockets. Just butterflies at the moment, because grasshoppers are harder to work with and I don't want to try them until I'm comfortable with what I'm doing.

Consider these for sale as of now (except the light green one with the small butterfly, that one's being held), and if you're interested, feel free to email me at

Now off to go take pictures of trees. I'm late.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Butterfly Rescue

There must be something about the fragility of butterflies - trust me, you don't really know until you've tried to rehydrate and spread one you've just found dead on the floor - that makes people want to protect and fix them.

A few days ago, during one of the many many hours I waste on Tumblr every week, I found the work of Lionel Sabatté. He calls this series Réparation de Papillon, and believe it or not, these tiny masterpieces are made out real butterfly wings and... well, nails and dead skin. Definitely not the materials I would choose to employ should I become a sculptor, but I can't deny that the effect is beyond stunning - like tiny litte wicked fairies.

But the reason I started this post with such a general claim was... well, Anne Ten Donkelaar had a similar idea, and upon finding the works above, I couldn't help but remember hers.

I had my own collection of damaged butterflies, so I decided to repair each one differently according to their needs. So in a way, I now have my own workplace with butterflies and give the butterflies a second life. I design body parts and give the insects new names, names that reveal something about their recovery. For example the The 'Blauw spinner' looked like it had died the moment it hatched from its cocoon. This lead me to me make the body from a twig wrapped with blue thread. A few threads are still hanging loose , almost as though the butterfly is slowly unwinding and breaking free from its cocoon.

I like how two people have taken such different approaches to a similar idea. Sabatté's work is organic and straight out of a fairytale - his butterflies look real, or very close to something you could find fluttering around your garden. Donkelaar's pieces, on the other hand, are very clean and conceptual - the fact that these butterflies have received human intervention is definitely not meant to be overlooked.

And really, I don't think I'll ever get over that wing made out of string and pins - it goes to prove that there's geometry (and order!) in nature, even though sometimes we forget.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Contents Extremely Imaginative

NaNoWriMo has arrived! As we speak, I'm a little behind on my self-imposed goal of 75k words, but still on target for the 50k, so no panic. I'll write later today, somewhere between finishing The Lovely Bones and editing a short story.

Aaaaaand these pictures were taken last Saturday, during our famous Kick-Off Party - you know, when we occupy a whole room in this townhouse-turned-tea-house in the so-called arts district and let our fingers run wild. This year was our fourth, and like the third and the second, it gave me a newfound appreciation for this challenge, and the people I've met through it. It's easy to think of writing as a lonely endeavour, but if you surround yourself with the right people, it's surprisingly easy to strike a balance between alone and together. Using headphones, mostly.

These are my poetic words for today, and I'll leave you with them since I'm not feeling too good - insomnia plus back pain plus a never-ending to-do list can do this to a person. Have a lovely week, everyone, and don't forget the NaNo motto.

If all else fails... add ninjas.