In this post, we’d like to introduce and honor the companies and artists participating in our Small-Business Advertising Program as of Issue 05. We’re not doing this because it’s part of the ad deal; in fact, our FAQ plainly states that advertising and editorial do not mix. We’re doing this because we’re genuinely awed and inspired by the incredible mix of people who’ve come forth to advertise in this magazine, and think you will be, too.
Through this program, we’ve discovered phenomenal new places to shop, found new places in our cities to explore, and even made new friends. Our list of advertisers has always been very eclectic, but as of Issue 05, with the help of our ad managers Samantha and Allie, this list exceeded anything we ever imagined.
We invite you to explore beyond the cut, where a wondrous array of music, art, clothing, literature, graphic design, technology and sculpture await. There are absinthe cocktail recipes, a glitter-covered worm, skull jewelry for cats, weird paintings of cats, corsets, spats, photographs, magazines, records, dolls, monsters… and much, much more.
Support our advertisers this holiday season if you can, leave an encouraging comment about something you saw here that you liked, and spread the word. Without you guys, none of this would be possible. Thank you!
365 Tomorrows is a writing collaboration dedicated to publishing one new piece of flash fiction- short, self-contained stories under 600 words in length – every day. Bringing a daily dose of science and speculative fiction zest to our lives since August of 2005, 365 Tomorrows is a combination of submitted stories and staff-written pieces which fit a glimpse of the future into your bustling schedule. In addition to their published written stories, 365 Tomorrows also produces their own podcast, Voices of Tomorrow, for a second helping of sci-fi flash. The perfect length to enjoy during your lunch break, each story is sure to entertain.
Based in Europe and run by absinthe enthusiasts Jen and Neil Dixon, Absinthe Shop is guaranteed to quench all of your absinthe-related needs: from spoons to carafes to, of course, absinthe originating from all over the globe, Absinthe Shop is ready to satisfy any craving you could possibly have. For the uninitiated, Absinthe Shop also offers a variety of information from absinthe basics to numerous cocktail possibilities. On top of their incredible selection, Absinthe Shop offered Coilhouse readers a whopping 10% discount, using the code “COIL10” at checkout.
Adornments for Tarts is an accessories line run by Choklit Chanteuse, a self-described “responsible hedonist, lover of beautiful things, and dreamer,” as well as maker of whimsical, delightful treasures for your enjoyment. She hand-makes beautiful and unique collars, cuffs, sleeve garters, earrings, and more. Originally crafting couture accessories for porcelain dolls as a child, Choklit eventually turned her creative skill towards neo-Victorian ornaments for “big people,” and thus Adornments for Tarts was born.
Annalise, a thrilling new approach to vampire-centric fiction, allows you to step into the night, taking on a role in a story driven by one such bloodsucking fiend. Whether you are the object of the vampire’s desire, a valiant vampire hunter, or even a loyal subject to the beast, each player must assume the identity of a protagonist somehow connected to the vampire. Intended for face-to-face play, Annalise will forge a bond between you and your comrades as you develop your own story, incorporating aspects of pen-and-paper roleplaying, board games, and improv acting games.
The Skindancer trilogy, by Dr. Anthony G. Francis, Jr., follows Dakota Frost, a tattoo artist capable of bringing her creations to life through her mastery of magic. In a world much like our own, populated with humans, vampires, werewolves, and magical counterculture movements, Dakota Frost fights to return balance when power is abused. The series is set in Atlanta, Georgia, where Francis spent most of his life, and explores the depths personal dilemmas, supernatural struggles, and modern counterculture, whether it be tattooing, graffiti, or firespinning.
Anthracite’s anti-naked strategies include swoon-worthy leather jackets, dresses, neck corsets, turtlenecks, blouses, skirts, and more. Anthracite clothing boasts bold designs, classic colors, and a new collection of brilliant made-to-order pieces. Though operated out of Berlin, Anthracite’s treasures are available internationally. If you’re seeking a statement piece or looking to add a dash of German innovation to your wardrobe, look no further!
Asha Beta, designed by Nicomis (“Nyx”) Blalock out of her studio in Philadelphia, is a line of exotic art and adornments. Each piece is created to be unique and sculptural, yet incredibly wearable and comfortable. Inspired by Nyx’s love for science fiction, mythology, tribal cultures, vintage tools, alchemy, and the occult, Asha Beta represents true wearable art: it is an amazing line of work for anyone who yearns for statement jewelry without the traditional accompaniment of discomfort.
Ashes and Empires creates beautiful accessories, primarily focusing upon accessories for women’s footwear. From their dramatic leather pegasus-pleated spats to their dapper leather-and-herringbone tall spats, each of Ashes and Empires’s concoctions will certainly bring whimsy to any dull footwear situation, as well as a bit of effortless style into your everyday life. Owned by friends Akemi and Maria since 2005 and based out of the San Francisco area, Ashes and Empires plans on releasing their first contemporary women’s clothing line in the near future (here’s a sneak peek!).
Beautifully Chaotic Designs offers numerous handmade hair extensions, wigs, and dreadlocks, constructed from a myriad of materials. They offer extravagant custom wigs, extensions, plastic lacing, and many other fantastic hair pieces for nearly every lifestyle imaginable. For anyone unfamiliar with the fantastical world of hair accessories, never fear: they provide a wealth of information regarding the use of their products, from ideal hair lengths to the differences between their many products.
Bethany Greenier’s young adult fiction new novel, Sings With Stars, follows Gigi Storme, a 17 year-old girl thrust into a perilous adventure. Always suspecting that she was somehow special, Gigi comes to find that she comes from a magical realm and that her differences could help her save herself and everyone she cares for. The novel’s website also includes accompanying music and illustrations for each chapter, as well as a password-guarded fansite to enhance the reader’s experience.
A ready-to-wear clothing label designed by Jorden Haley, Bird Ov Prey specializes in graphic printed shirts, custom accessories, and nature-inspired jewelry for men and women. Bird Ov Prey is one half of Victorian Death Kult, a fashion house founded by both Jorden Haley and Anthony Malat, who runs his own accompanying clothing label. Bird Ov Prey’s designs range from the ornate turtle pelvic bone necklace to the nefarious “Darth Mickey” printed shirt and the ornate “Dark Secret” skateboard, and all of their truly unique goods can be purchased through their online shop.
BitchCraft is a clothing and jewelry collaboration by Gabrielle Neveu and Adriana Fulop. Based out of Canada, the duo offers a range of whimsical yet dark pieces for men, women, and children alike. Hand-printed t-shirts, underwear, dresses, and onesies feature signature designs such as the anatomically-correct heart and the BitchCraft “shoe cameo”. Each designer also works on her own separate collection, including Neveu’s boutique, Trap Door, and Fulop’s clothing line, Plastik Wrap.
By Nieves offers all-natural, handmade body care products. Nieves began the line out of the frustration felt by many; she could not find body care products she wished to use, so she began creating them herself. This inspiration, combined with 17 years of experience in the natural products industry, has lead to her wonderful line of body care made only with organic ingredients. By Nieves products include Face Fix, a dynamic scrub and mask which benefits all skin types, and Cloud of Protection, an airborne spray which utilizes molecular properties to fend off illness, bad vibes, and rank smells, among many others. Additionally, By Nieves offered Coilhouse readers a free sample, using the email code “COIL.”
Clothing, jewelry, and accessory designer Cat Priem’s latest collection, “Trophies of a Serial Killer,” is a grotesquely gorgeous line of goodies for our favorite feline assassins. Adorable at first glance, the collection is actually comprised of feathers, stuffed heads, and constructed skeletal structures reminiscent of the small creatures regularly hunted by our cuddly house-mates. Cat Priem’s other collections include baroque rings and elegant dresses, each series inspired by fairytales, architecture, nature, or life events and rich with humor and paradox. Cat Priem’s designs are available for purchase in several stores across Europe.
Chris Lowrance Illustration + Design offers a range of artistic services, from illustration to web design. Working alone, Lowrance is able to collaborate with his clients in order to create a website design or illustration that is truly outstanding, exceeding expectations rather than meeting them. He also pledges to make the sites he designs accessible to their owners, installing WordPress so that non-designer-types can update and manage their content without help from someone more programming-savvy. Lowrance has wanted to be an artist from a very young age, and his dedication and passion for design and art is clearly evident in the high quality of his work.
Clint Catalyst is a self-described hyper-hyphenate: a contemporary Renaissance man who has gathered his varied talents and combined them with his unmatched personality in order to craft a brand for himself. A spoken word performer and author of Cottonmouth Kisses, Catalyst has cameoed in dozens of television series, worked as a screenwriter for ABC, served as an editor for several magazines and literary journals, and been published in a number of anthologies, literary journals, magazines and newspapers, among countless other endeavors. Clint Catalyst is truly an idiosyncratic figure, and his blog is sure to enthrall.
Get your flesh upgraded & mutated with the coldest gear in the cosmos! Cryoflesh sells dark-future clubwear for both men and women. Circuit-board prints, designer gas masks with spikes, radioactive symbols and UV-glow plastic tubing, Giger-inspired dresses and hoods, spiky cyber monocles, and futuristic cuts. While many of the designs sold by Cryoflesh are geared more towards the club scene, other designs – such as this women’s jacket – have a more sophisticated vibe more reminiscent of the gothninja trend propagated by designers such as Rick Owens and Odyn Vovk.
Created by Shien Lee in 2007, Dances of Vice is a New York City club which showcases performance and music influenced by the 1920s and 30s, as well as Victorian- and Rococo-themed events. Regularly featured in the New York Times, SPIN Magazine, NBC, Village Voice, Time Out NY, New York Post, and L Magazine, Dances of Vice has grown into a sensation, attracting those from all walks of life who wish to relive the music, fashion, culture, and beauty of times forgotten. From “Hot Voodoo Jungle Rockabilly” events to the “Secret Life of Toys Holiday Ball,” Dances of Vice is a dream of counterculture partying.
Electric Velocipede, the 2009 Hugo Award Winner for Best Fanzine, is a literary magazine run by editor John Klima. Inspired by a panel by Gavin Grant at Readercon of 2000, Electric Velocipede began in 2001 as a small, biannual zine which has since published authors such as Liz Williams, Jeff VanderMeer, Jeffrey Ford, Catherynne M. Valente, Hal Duncan, Neal Barrett Jr., and Alex Irvine, among numerous others. Still issued biannually, Electric Velocipede publishes submitted fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art, and has grown from a relatively obscure and tiny operation into an outstanding example to literary magazines everywhere.
Eternal Autumn, an online accessories emporium based out of Virginia, specializes in macabre eccentricities inspired by dark romance. Detailed skeletal cameos, embellished pirate medallions, and floral earrings for a variety of gauges are only a handful of the delights contained within Eternal Autumn’s current stock of handmade delicacies. Boasting nearly a hundred different designs, each individually elegant, Eternal Autumn is ready to quell any craving for delicate yet ominous jewels.
The Femina Potens Art Gallery of San Francisco is true to its name; taking the Latin for “powerful woman” to heart as their mission statement, Femina Potens seeks to house performing, visual, literary, media, educational and public arts programs which explore the experiences of women, queer and transgender people, and others living outside the female-male gender binary. Since opening in 2003, Femina Potens has hosted over 450 such installations, contributing immensely to their ultimate goal of empowerment for the artist, the viewer, and the community.
FiXT is an online shopping destination, bursting with over 1,400 high-quality MP3 albums – more than 15,000 tracks from at least 550 different artists – as well as over 200 CD/DVD titles, t-shirts, hats, hoodies, and other apparel. FiXT’s search engine operates based upon aspects such as genre or label, allowing their customers to discover new entertainment and music which closely matches their current interests. FiXT also operates its own forums, where customers can chat and share their thoughts on entertainment and other interests.
Five and Diamond, San Francisco’s favorite fashion outpost, celebrated the opening of its online storefront by offering Coilhouse readers a 10% discount from their first web order, using the code “COIL1.” With a large selection of men’s and women’s clothing, Five and Diamond’s original designs – such as their intricately-stitched leather jackets, badass computer bags, and harlequin bloomers- are now available to those outside of the San Francisco area, as well as for wholesale. In the near future, Five and Diamond will also be making sustainable products available through their website.
Flynnworks is a firm focusing upon photography, design, and fine art. With extensive experience taking beautiful photos of people, travel locations, and live performances, along with experience designing CD packaging, posters, and other forms of media, the eponymous Flynn has an extremely impressive portfolio on top of a B.A. in Studio Art and Photography from Michigan State University and a certificate from the University of London’s History of Art and Architecture Program. Flynn has been featured in several exhibitions since 1998 and continues to produce incredible feats of art and design.
Gibbous Fashions is the collective fashion house of four designers dedicated to bringing the soul back to clothing. Part fashion statement, part commentary on today’s throw-away culture, Gibbous Fashions creates whimsical pieces constructed from salvaged items ranging from vintage gowns to typewriter ribbon that quaintly elevate the gently used and the slightly worn. In fact, none of Gibbous Fashion’s offerings are made from new fabrics. Founded on the idea that each article of clothing should be as unique as the person wearing it, these articles of clothing are all one-of-a-kind, in both style and material, incorporating hints of the circus, decaying Victorian fashion, and a bit of mid-20th century kitsch.
Industrial metalware purveyor Gothic Punk Specialty Hardware supplies spikes and claws alongside the more traditional ready-to-wear belts, cuffs, and embellished goggles. Replete with cleverly placed hinges and unusually shaped accents, their wares complement a wide range of alternative fashion choices, from goth to the various strains of punk. Even steampunk gets a nod in the form of GPSH’s newer copper-colored metals and brown leather. In addition to their ready made items, GPSH offers quality custom work.
Happiknits creates chunky knit neckwear—cowls, scarves, and shrugs—along with other accessories such as bags and gloves. Luxurious oversized cowls, their definite specialty, are soft and stretchy, and can be worn in any number of ways to guard against the harshest of weather. There are tons of textures as well as styles to chose from in this shop, and plenty of subdued, unisex offerings. While many of Happiknits’ pieces include eclectic vintage accents, they manage to remain chic and up-to-date, with pieces that mesh well with a variety of personal styles.
Electronic sludge metal group I, Parasite have released their third album, The Sick Are Not Healing, a collection of atmospheric tracks that are at once melodic and chaotic. In addition to the I, Parasite line-up, TSANH features appearances by Anthrax’s Rob Caggiano and Lars Hansen of Oneiroid Psychosis. This album has so many elements that it almost refuses to be placed in one genre alone, yet all of the styles heard here combine nicely to create an consistently powerful and emotional record. As a visual bonus, buying a physical copy of the album also gets you a hand-printed letterpress package with art by Paul Komoda. SCORE.
Ilona Art Studio is the home of Finnish painter, sculptor, and jewelry designer Ilona Sampovaara. With subjects who are mainly creepy-cute children or animal-headed people (and often a combination of the two), this artist’s work is a fine specimen of the kitsch-surreal genre. Ms Sampovaara is able to present very honest and human renderings of her odd models (even when those models aren’t quite human themselves.) In addition to reproductions of her artwork, Sampovaara offers jewelry and cell phone charms featuring the saccharine characters from her paintings.
Improbable Cog touts itself as “adornment for humans, made by robots,” and with their pieces’ mechanically organic look, one is inclined to believe that this is indeed true. The brainchild of industrial designer and artist Noah Beasley, Improbable Cog uses modeling software and rapid fabrication to create their jewelry, forgoing traditional molding processes. Addressing the change that the internet has brought to people’s access to products and information, Improbable Cog works toward releasing their designs as open source for others to use and alter. Aside from working toward altering the way creative property is shared, IC unleashes upon the world unique adornment for ears, fingers, and wrists, all modeled after alien flora and robotic anatomy.
For the past 18 years, Chicogo-based eclectic sculptor Jessica Joslin has been drawing from her own personal collection of ephemera to bring delicate creatures to life. By combining animal remains and a myriad of found objects, she creates a veritable menagerie of real yet not-real monkeys, canines, and birds. Her filigreed, Victorian-inspired animals, despite being constructed from bits of bone and hardware, are given names and imbued with personality, as if they could very well be the pets of nobles in some alternate world.
Red State Soundsystem, the alias of futurist and former Mondo 2000 contributor Joshua Ellis, is a melodic force aiming to create middle-American shantytown music. Combining twanging acoustic sounds and smooth synthesized components, Red State Soundsystem provides a musical dialogue addressing the role of humanity in an ever more foreboding future. The recently-released album “Ghosts in a Burning City” contemplates what could come in the next century, both the good and the bad.
Offering pieces that have been worn by artists like Amanda Palmer, Doc Hammer, and Neil Gaiman, Kambriel‘s attire and decor are excellent examples of goth design. Since their inception in 1994 under the title Atrocities, Kamberiel has been the source of classic ensembles for many an alternative musician and layman. With a number of their gowns, cassocks, and capes inspired by literature and history, Kambriel combines subtle elements with dramatic tiers and silhouettes to create timeless original pieces.
Lip Service has long been known for producing affordable quality altnera-wear, and with the introduction of their Step in Time line, Lip Service has successfully extended its fashionable reach to another genre of clothing; now Lip Service has added their unique flavor to the ever-expanding universe of steampunk. Featuring Victorian- and Edwardian-inspired pieces, this new line features plenty of Lip Service’s unique tailoring and the correct amount of straps, buckles, and brown vinyl.
The artwork of Molly Crabapple (burlesque enthusiast and founder of the international Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School) can deceive with its intricate, delicate details inspired by the neurotic Victorian illustrations of long ago. Unlike most of their 19th century counterparts, though, the characters in Crabapple’s works aim to let you in on the dirty little secrets of their lives. Despite their frippery, their corsets, curls, and contrivances, these dandies know that everyone has a naughty side and invite them to indulge in it. Ms. Crabapple also offers a mindnumbingly wide range of services, so any design you have in mind, whether it be for a logo or a tattoo, can get a touch of naughty (or not so naughty, if that’s what you’re into) flair.
Self-taught designer Mildred von Hildegard was first inspired by the fasion of the late-90s club kid scene. Her style has since evolved, and now she and her team of ninjas release gorgeous wearable art into the world under the name Mother of London. Not content to simply cover, these pieces devilishly play with the human bodies they encase using straps, buckles, and substantial construction. Mother of London’s clothing has been featured in promotional material for Torture Garden and The Edison, as well as in plenty of great publications. Now operating on a contract basis (with showroom samples occasionally available for purchase), Mother is currently working on a collection of ready-to-wear clothing.
Nouveau Motley, a pioneer in the field of steampunk-style jewelry, offers items inspired by the Sedlec “Church of Bones” in the Czech Republic, which houses a stunning chandelier made from every bone in the human body. Unsurprisingly, Nouveau Motley are distinct in their skillful use of not only cogs, gears, and brass, but of bones as well (albeit those of birds and rodents rather than people). These little ossuaries come in the form of necklaces, repurposed pocketwatches, earrings, and cufflinks. Far from limiting themselves, many of Nouveau Motley’s pieces also make use of beetles, fiber components, and antique doll parts.
Designer-illustrator and New Zealander Paul Tobin creates sumptuous traditional paintings just as he produces designs for films such as The Hobbit, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, and Avatar through Weta Workshop (a consistent producer of cool stuff). Tobin shares his vast amount of concept design experience and knowledge in workshops ranging from drawing to digital rendering, helping other artists to hone their skills and learn about new rendering techniques. He is also passionate about bringing other New Zealand fantasy artists into the spotlight, as shown by the recent publication of his first book, White Cloud Worlds.
Plastik Army‘s brand of cyberwear is a decidedly sophisticated one, eschewing neon hues for darker, more sophisticated colors with figure-flattering stripes and panels. Sharp angles and asymetrical silhouettes are also a key component of this mature yet underground look. Plastik Army applies these elements to club-, street-, and PVC-gear, as well as unique accessories that can be added to otherwise non-cyber get-ups. Plastik Army does its part to enhance alternative culture, as well—for those in the vicinity, their boutique in Toronto is often host to art shows and musical performances.
With a name derived from the descriptor of 19th century female dandies, Quaintrelle can be commissioned to craft spats, gaiters, and all manner of adornment. Both everyday wear and costume pieces come together under the talented hand of founder Calamity Lulu—fancy beaded jewelry for a night out on the town? Quaintrelle can help. Do you find yourself in need of a Tudor gown? Quaintrelle has you covered. Also in their repertoire are corset kits which allow customers to build their own custom foundation garments.
Star tribal fusion belly dancer Rachel Brice and her troupe The Indigo Belly Dance Company continue to take the world by storm as they introduce audiences from California to Costa Rica to their unique combination of middle eastern belly dance and vintage Americana. The recent popularity of tribal fusion belly dance (or “Bitter Oriental,” as the dancer herself likes to call it) owes a lot to Brice’s penchant for artful adornment and hypnotic yet meticulously choreographed dances—and rightfully so. Although currently on tour on the West Coast, Brice and her fellow dancers offer workshops in Portland for those eager to directly benefit from this amazing artist’s instruction.
Radjuli is proud to offer sustainable, durable leather accessories, including holsters, fingerless gloves, and sexy corset-style collars. Bags, belts, and flasks also join in the fun, and can be custom ordered. Items here range from the elegant to the playful, but all are made from high-quality material and are designed with great care and thoughtfulness. In addition, the creatrix of these items strives to upcycle leather odds and ends as much as possible, making for a very eco-friendly fashion experience.
A brick-and-mortar store in Columbus, Ohio, as well as an extensive online store carrying art prints and vinyl and plush toys, Rivet Gallery‘s offerings are mainly collectible pieces whose real value lies in their character. After all, Tokidoki, Kid Robot, and Ugly Dolls are just a few of their suppliers. Rivet Gallery isn’t just about consumerism, though—their store is often home to art shows and exhibitions to support underground and lowbrow art, displaying toys along with more traditional fine art.
The darkly industrial sound of Shiv-r is energetic, powerful, and at times exquisitely raw—in short, it has everything one could want in dance music. Comprised of Australian natives Lee Bulig and Pete Crane, Shiv-r’s tracks have been steadily gaining play time in clubs throughout North America and Europe as well as in Japan. Once producing mainly remixes of other electronic songs, the band has moved on to bigger things, like creating their own original tracks, releasing their debut album, “Hold My Hand,” and touring to share their new material with the pulsing masses. Shiv-r’s pounding rhythms are complemented by front man Crane’s clear vocals that command the listener’s attention and lure them into an underground world of pleasure, pain, and infectious beats.
Design group Sassy Monkey Media specializes in identity and collateral design (both digital and analog) for a variety of clients. They take on personal and professional websites, business cards, and promotional pieces. All of Sassy Monkey’s work is thoughtfully detailed, with the client’s specific aesthetic and aim in mind. While they have many quirky projects to their name, you’ll find that clean, professional design is also a forte of Sassy Monkey.
Scodioli (run by the purportedly bearded Madame Scodioli) produces personal grooming products with gorgeous packaging and backstories that have the air of dustbowl-era west about them. Here you can purchase whisker wax in complex, masculine scents (tobacco + black tea, anyone?), or, if you’re not lucky enough to be blessed with facial locks like Mme S.’s, solid perfumes, vegan soaps, and even tattoo aftercare salve. All items are cruelty-free, tested on Mme S. and her troupe of fellow midway characters.
Scott Spencer is a sculptor, author, and monster-maker whose pieces have been featured in design magazines as examples of fine work. His website offers links to his online tutorials as well as a blog with pictures of his work. You can also purchase Scott’s own book on advanced digital sculpting. Here there be monsters… and the tools to create them!
Sinner/Saint create clothing and accessories for the rather dangerous man about town. After lusting for the highly-detailed clothing in their look book, you can procure spats, cravats, and wicked-looking wristbands from their online shop. The attention to detail in the tailoring is impressive, with tailored waists, roughened edges, and little blood-red pinstripes darting through the fabric. These are suits for coolly killing vampires and drinking whiskey sours.
It’s great to see handmade jewellery like that found on Siren Jewels’ Etsy site. The pendants and earrings are obviously made with a labour of love and the small details (like cutouts for light to enter the semi-precious stones) indicate the artist’s very professional approach. The jewellery looks durable as well as beautiful. Luscious patterns are worked into the sterling silver and 14k gold, with little moons and mendhi patterns woven throughout the designs. Custom designs are available and there are even uber-practical “traveller’s companion” earrings for those on the go!
Smashing Darling offers “750 independent designers at your fingertips”. This site is frickin’ huge. From vintage to handmade, from painted silk dresses to Ganesh-themed cameo cufflinks, this is a shop in which to lose several hours. There’s even something called “Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco baby booties”. Much of the clothing is over $100 but there are a good few treats and bargains, too. If you want to invest in some unique pieces this is a great place to go.
Spooky Media is a small web hosting company which has been serving “artists, freaks and weirdos” since 2001. They offer a variety of competitive hosting plans and specialise in gothic, steampunk and underground sites, meaning you would be joining a community, not just another faceless webhost. The company supports software for forums, blogs, and shops as well as webmail clients. If you’re not looking to create a website of your own, Spooky Media is a pretty handy place to discover interesting sites you might not otherwise know about.
Tired of steampunk products which don’t do anything useful? Then check out the clever designs of SteamBaby. This dapper-looking fellow’s speciality is goggles made with brass, clockwork parts and custom leatherwork. The classic brass goggles have multiple levels of magnification as well as crosshairs for “lining up the guns of your airship”. You can also get tinted goggles – because there’s no point in looking cool if you’re going to be squinting in the sunlight the whole time. Steambaby also makes steampunk props and leather accessories.
Beth Robinson’s Strange Dolls are not for the delicately-humoured. Her exquisite (and exquisitely creepy) dolls are each handmade and unique pieces of art. Some are rough-hewn lost souls, men of earth come to hang from the ceiling. Others are porcelain-skinned little horrors or whimsical cuties. Beth has exhibited in America, London, Germany, France, and Australia, and been featured in magazines worldwide. She takes commissions of new art, as well as recreations if you see something that you like which has already been sold. There is even a competition for an Ayn Rand doll!
Suicide Girls has been promoting alternative titillation since 2001 and the site now features over 2,000 “beautiful naked girls with tattoos”. But it’s not just sexy photography (including that of our very own Zoetica Ebb): Suicide Girls also features in-depth interviews with entertainers, artists, authors, and pop culture figures. The news section is full of interesting and amusing articles about sex, gossip, and the universe at large. You don’t have to be a member to read the articles but if you do become a member you get to see all the saucy photo sets and participate in the large community.
Sxip Shirey (it’s pronounced “Skip”) is an independent musician from New York City. He’s been known to play the bass siren whistle, mutant harmonicas, singing bowls, a re-engineered tuba, various electronic objects, “regurgitated music boxes”, and his own mad human beat box skills. He performed at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival and his album “Sonic New York” is available now for preview and purchase.
The Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers produces short films for online publication about “art, artists, movements, events, and organizations”. Covering everything from anti-consumerism activist Reverend Billy to renowned burlesque performer Jo Boobs, S.H.I.T. provides some rather interesting food for thought. Coming attractions will featur sex workers and the economy, filmmaker Bruce la Bruce, and art photographer Sarah Small. S.H.I.T. music is provided by members of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Hold Steady, The World/Inferno Friendship Society, The Mars Volta, The Buddy Hollycost, Exorcismo del Capitalismo, and The Nixon-Mao Handshake.
Portland-based Tessellate is a small business making “mutant fashion for a new era”. Their black and white screenprinted shirts are intricate and strangely luminous. They also sell patches of some of their designs, including a plague doctor and the Fool tarot card. The socks are a favourite, meaning you can wear something unusual even with a suit. Prices max out at $20, so not only would you be buying something unique, but it’s totally affordable, too.
Thaddeus duBois, rather unusually, makes both handbags and stainless steel sculptures. He hand sews the leather bags himself and, as such, they’re extremely limited editions. Thaddeus also takes commissions on his distinct sculptures, or you can buy his book of short stories and coffee mugs with his designs on them. His once-off gates and doors are particularly striking.
The Blight is Neil Girling’s stunning photography of the arts and underground in the Bay Area. His many, many atmospheric photos of Burning Man are particularly inspiring, capturing the night-time neon city, the artwork on display, and the happy, dusty festival-goers. He makes Burning Man look like some wonderful fantasy world come to life. He’s also a wedding and gigs and events photographer (play Spot the Meredith!) and is available for hire. Prints of any of his photos are available for a very good price.
The Worm is a collection of comedy videos made by “post new wave deconstructionist” Austin Young and Nadya Ginsburg. Sex change skits, Margaret Cho, and a hilariously accurate imitation of Madonna’s accent are all featured here. What is the Worm? Who knows. It’s a little bit wrong and a little bit gross, but it’s covered in glitter.
Totus Mel‘s Etsy site is a world of lovely needle-tatted jewelry and accessories. From sparkling masks to necklaces which would be great for bellydance, the designs here are very elegant and look easy to wear for both daytime and dress up. The Crystal Moon mask is high fashion and very reminiscent of Bjork’s look for ‘Medúlla’. A lot of the pieces are made to order and would be ideal for a Victorian bride.
Need something that will simultaneously look elegant and tell the other post-apocalyptic hunters to stay off your patch? Look no further than Victorian Death Kult, purveyor of menswear, jewellery and accessories. Handsome jackets with detailed tailoring abound, and almost all of them look like something Nick Cave might have worn back in the day – a great mix of western leather tassels and Victorian pinstripes. The sterling silver jewellery is available to buy online and is based on the skeletons of various creatures, including the monkfish jaw seen above.
Vinny and Vernelle sell jewellery and wonderful things called everyday fancies, inspired by vintage fashion and Marlene Dietrich. Pieces like this rose necklace from the Black Market collection seem to be made with a lot of love and reverence for the original jewellery from which it was sourced. The fancies are bows made with vintage material which can easily be clipped to any top for an instant retro look. There’re even a couple of lovely one-of-a-kind hair clips.
Vixenware make artisan jewellery from pure silver, sterling silver, 24 carat gold and semi-precious stones. Some necklaces are delicate vintage style, some are totally rock’n'roll, and others are quite cool and abstract. The flower necklaces are pretty as well. Prices for this “strong and durable” hand-made jewellery range from $40 to $192 from this British-born Etsy seller from Canada.
The International Electrophonic Unit is here to provide all of the “glittering piles of crap you didn’t know you were unmedicated enough to want.” Designed by Warren Ellis and Ariana Osborne, there’s everything you could need here, such as the succinct and stylish Universal Health Care shirts. There are practical cocktail recipes and shirts for those times when you just don’t know how to say that you ate the baby. If you can’t wear t-shirts to work, there are mugs and other office items to make your workmates slightly uneasy. Try the Tweet of Twithulhu mug, which not only hails our online overlords but is also microwave and dishwasher safe.
WetaLegs are a professional digitigrade leg extension prototype developed by artist/inventor Kim Graham in collaboration with Weta Workshop of New Zealand. Jointed at the knee and ankle for comfort and natural movement, with a unique tread design that allows wearers to balance and stand still, the legs were designed with DIY and indie costumers, filmmakers and cosplayers in mind. Sadly, shortly after the last issue of Coilhouse Magazine went to print, Weta canceled the immediate sale of the legs, and announced that they shelved production. However, Kim Graham (featured in this extensive interview on Coilhouse) and Weta both have plenty of other stuff up their sleeves. Visit them at http://www.kimgrahamstudios.com and http://www.wetanz.com.
Whitney Moses is a Bay Area massage therapist offering “a safe, inspiring, and nurturing space to heal and learn the language of their own bodies.” She does breathwork, deep tissue massage, pregnancy massage and more out of her Oakland office. Whitney is a dancer and climber who has worked as a personal care assistant for the disabled. She has a number of certifications and best of all, she’s offering 10% off to Coilhouse readers!
Wilde Hunt Corsetry make accessories and one-of-a-kind corsets to fit all sizes and shapes. Larissa, the designer, teaches bead embroidery and jewellery making and incorporates these tecniques into her pieces. She uses a lot of lovely tarnished shades in her cinchers, full corsets, and binding dresses, some of which feature an oily rainbow effect or geisha designs. The jewllery and handbags are also quite striking and full of colour.
Woodland Belle‘s jewellery and hair accessories are inspired by nature. The Woodland Numph Mossy Tiny Twig hair pins are particularly inspired. Also striking is their made-to-order blooming Tiny Terrarium Red Rose Blossom ring, and the solid bronze silk moth necklace would look great for Christmas. Their shop is Etsy-based for ease of shopping and if you give them your email address they offer members-only discounts.
Wu Fei makes very beautiful music on her guzheng, a Chinese zither. Born and raised in Bejing, she has been living and working in the US since 2000. Her music uses traditional instrumentation to make a rather modern and innovative sound. Her albums are available from her website, where you can also see tour dates and videos and listen to her music.
Many thanks to Katherine Topping, Whitney Schepf and Heather Thompson for their research and assistance in compiling this post!