Hello my lovelies, November is here and my mind turns to thinking about what I’m thankful for. For me, the inspiration of amazing artist has been something that has kept me going and creating through a year that has been politically grim, to say the least. We need people out there creating beautiful things even in our darkest hours, no, especially in our darkest hours. There are more in-depth posts on the way, but until then I wanted to share with you some people and things that are giving me life and fueling my creativity this month.
There are a lot of artists out there that are inspired by Death Positivity, but I’ve noticed how quickly camp, macabre, curiosities, and horror seep into their works. These elements definitely crossover in the ven diagram of spooky but to me, they feel like a retreat. Like it is easier to make a grim reaper twerking then it is to deal with the gravity of the issue head-on. That is what I love about AJ Hawkins work. There is no retreat. Your dead body is right at the centre of her work, and while it is elegant and beautiful, she never gives you a respite from the profound into the camp or horror. While her graphic work is lovely, I am genuinely blown away by her series The Reclamation where the stages of decay are presented through several works combining sculpture and painting. They are amazing, and her sensitivity to the balance between death and beauty is inspiring. I can’t wait for the series to finish. Follow all her social media to see the fantastic art she is creating. AJ’s store, Instagram, and Facebook
Ashley Rose Couture
Everything about the story of how Ashley Rose got her couture business started makes me happy. A Mass kid and a rocker chick that came home and felt a million miles away from the heart of fashion when she realised that what she wanted to do didn’t need the mainstream and she could make the world she wanted anywhere. So she did.
Ashley Rose’s dresses are the kind of gowns you would wear if you were marrying the Goblin King or if you are Chelsea Wolfe, who wears AR’s creation on stage all the time. They are romantic, dark, opulent, powerful and mythological. Her new collection Malheureux (the unfortunate ones) is giving me all kinds of Swan Lake vibes, and I’m dying for them. While she debuted on New York Fashion Week this year, she is still very much a hometown girl, and you can pick up some of her sample veils for as little as $20. Forget the perfect-life-porn on Instagram, you need to be following Ashley Rose’s dark fantasy world and start thinking about buying a cape and visiting abandoned churches.
Do you like to get a box of goodies in the mail? Are you olfactory fixated? Are you a dark soul for whom the only part of this mortal coil that holds any fascination any more is the endless pursuit of beauty and death? Me Too! Then you, my dear reader, should join the Poisoners Guild. A carefully curated box featuring some beloved indie brands making incense, perfume, candles, bath products and more. There are also extra goodies like stickers, pins, art, and short stories all connected to each box’s theme. If you find something, you can’t live without they sell many of the items from the box separately as well. I highly recommend giving it a go.
Dirty Flower Factory by Kerosene
I went through an intense pink pepper phase about ten years ago. I loved it in everything and wanted to smell peppy and girly. As time has gone on and I’ve turned into an olfactive hedonist, pink pepper hasn’t gotten the play it used to. That is until Dirty Flower Factory. This scent created for Kerosene by John Pegg takes the standards of the ‘pretty’ scent: rose, jasmine, pink pepper, orange blossom and turns them on their head with musks, ambergris, chillis and woods. The final effect is a fragrance that changes a lot over time. There is a metallic almost coppery, rusty quality along with a powdery clean element that reminds me of a fresh blue tin of Nivea cream. Then flowers, gushes of flowers, though a little dirtier then you may be used to smelling them. All in all, I think it is a good entry point into the weird fragrance category for the formerly preppy gal.
I never intended to have Egypt play such a bit part on the blog, but you know…one things lead to another, and one day you wake up with an Ancient Egyptian series that’s almost two years old and only half done.
I came across the blog Kemet Expert written by Dr Sally-Ann Ashton in my wanderings, and I’m entirely in love with it. If you have any interest whatsoever in history or Ancient Egypt you need to be reading it. Kemet is one of the names the Ancient Egyptians called their country, but in an academic context, Kemet implies an African-centered approach to Egyptology. Egyptology has suffered dramatically over the years from the biases presumed by its early European founders. They presented Egypt as an anomaly on the continent and wholly separate from the rest of Africa. They also denied the racial reality, and demographic makeup instead whitewashed their recreations of Ancient Egyptian life. Kemet studies attempt to remove the Euro-centric bias from the study of Ancient Egypt by putting the culture within the context of other African cultures that were Kemet’s contemporaries. As well as researching the organic identity the Egyptian had of themselves, separate from our modern constructs. This whitewashing of history is more than just Scottish actors playing Egyptian gods in movies [though, really how is this still a thing!]. Most people don’t realise that the names we use in English for the Egyptian gods are actually their Greek forms that would sound quite strange to an actual Ancient Egyptians. Thot’s real name is Djehuty, Anubis is Inpu, Bastet is Ubaste for instance.
I really went back and forth on the issue of names for my posts. I wanted to use the terms everyone understood, but I also felt like many of them weren’t accurate. Sally-Ann has really inspired me to be more aware of the context in which I present history and to integrate the Kemetic approach to my future Egypt posts.
Bye Bye Banshee
I shared my excitement a few months ago after hearing an early sneak peek of Deathfolk Magic an amazing EP by Jezebel Jone via her side project Bye Bye Banshee. Well, the EP finally released this October just in time for Halloween and it is even more wonderful than I expected. If you are looking for a Death Positive soundtrack to your Autumn, you’ve just found it.
This kind of goes without saying on a blog dedicated to death and smells but all recommendations are based on personal experience and were purchased. We do not accept paid recommendations.