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Gothic Animals

by on September 19th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, Alchemy Gothic Jewellery, News | No comment

Gothic animals

Humans and animals share a microcosm in this grand universe of ours, it’s understandable therefore that we’d form bonds and alliances with our earthly cell-mates. From the dawn of time man and beast have co-existed and relied on each other for survival. But more than this, an elevation to friendship and spiritual bonds make our animal counterparts a glittering facet to our transcendental selves.

Every culture has evidence of animal influence, from the European witches with their animal familiars to the totem animal guides echoed in America and Africa and everywhere between. Animals are anthropomorphized with human traits as we choose which to align ourselves with.

In no stretch of the imagination therefore, that the alternative scene has incorporated animals in their very definition, as discussed in my previous post on gothic symbology. While the scene is prevalent with vegans and animal activists who look to extend their inclusive and passive attitudes to all living things – so too many take their own “totems” to represent their allegiances. And as one would expect the most loved are those which are largely feared or rejected by the mainstream. Ones which look past to see their darker beauty, here are some of my favourites (and ones which – growing up in South Africa – I have a lot of first-hand experience with!):

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LondonEdge September 2014

by on September 10th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, alternative fashion, News | No comment

One of the most important ways for Alchemy to meet it’s trade customers, to showcase each season’s latest products, preview Alchemy’s new designs and projects and discuss ideas and issues, is through the circuit of international trade shows. Certainly one of the most important and by far the best of these to attend, (for both business reasons and fun!), is LondonEdge, a twice-yearly event held in London with occasional showings in exotic locations such as New York, Hong Kong or Berlin.

The current show, presenting Alchemy’s 2014 Autumn collection of expressively dark and alternative essentials, is at the amazing Islington Design Centre, with a sensational first night party in Camden Market Stables’ Horse Hospital, featuring burlesque naughtiness, vintage harmony singers, a drag queen and an exotic fire dancer! Lots of the great business connections are informally made at these Music and alcohol fuelled events, also.

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Terror and Wonder in the British Library

by on September 5th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comment

Dark culture vultures should wing their way to London this autumn, as the British Library are hosting an exhibition celebrating 250 years of Gothic literature. Entitled ‘Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination’, the event, which opens October 3rd, commemorates the anniversary of the publication of ‘The Castle of Otranto’, widely regarded as the first full-blooded Gothic novel. While it comes as no surprise that, in a library, the display’s springboard into the macabre is book based, the exhibition draws upon all of the dark arts – from painting and photography, to cinema and live storytelling – in order to illuminate the Gothic world.

Partnering the British Library on this macabre season is BBC Four, who will not only be screening documentaries on the subject, but have also combed the BBC’s vaults for classic footage of performances by Goth musical icons such as Bauhaus and The Sisters of Mercy. “Gothic was the perfect encapsulation of the beauty and darknessof the British spirit, displayed in our architecture, our artwork, our literature and our lyrics”, explains the BBC’s Cassian Harrison. “I’m delighted that some of BBC Four’s most insightful art historians will be delving into the British Library archives and beyond to look back on a style that has shaped modern culture.”

In addition to the exhibition, and collaborative season with the BBC, the British Library’s also hosting a series of one-off themed events. As well as talks by experts on everything from vampire-slaying to ravens, and live theatre performances, there will be some familiar faces in unfamiliar contexts. For example, Queen guitarist Brian May will be discussing his passion for antique 3D dioramas of Hell, while comedian Stewart Lee will be telling a spooky tale or two. For further info on the Terror and Wonder exhibition and events, click here http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/gothic/index.html while a preview of the BBC season can be found here http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2014/gothic-season

Our resident devotee of dark culture Gavin Baddeley ( http://www.gavinbaddeley.com ) plans to attend some of the events, and if he does, he’s promised to report back…

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Gothic symbols

by on August 22nd, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

We have evidence of jewellery used as decorative adornment dating back as far as between 90,000 and 100,000 years ago. But as mankind progressed and our understanding grew, jewellery changed from merely decorations to representations and reflections; jewellery started to serve as a symbol of wealth and/or status, as well as to protect against harm, ward off evil, and heal ailments. And through the years and across continents from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome, Asia and India to the Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian eras an indeed to modern day, shining examples of such adornment have opened a window to the soul of humanity and shed light on our thoughts, dreams, beliefs and desires.

It is not difficult therefore, to understand why the alternative scene has embraced this means of decoration. Already very demonstrative in their means of attire, jewellery adds the embellishments and can act as icons of their philosophies for the more spiritual among us. Indeed many of the ancient symbols are often found in our ornamental adornment. However, how much meaning and power is put in these pieces vary from wearer to wearer. Sometimes it’s the simple aesthetic of the design that appeals and not its deeper meaning. But whether you wear to decorate or to invoke, it’s still good to have at least a rudimentary understanding of the myth behind the symbol that hangs glittering from your neck, ears and arms. And here I list a few of the most common:

Ankh: the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph meaning “key of life” and symbolises eternal life. For this reason the symbol has since been associated with many vampyric themes too.

Latin Cross: this is the standard cross, with the base stem being longer than the other three arms. This is the principle symbol of the Christain religion recalling the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of his Passion and death. It therefore again has the ideas of death and rebirth and the promise of an eternal life after salvation.

Pentagram: This symbol has gone through many incarnations and been adopted through the years by various faiths. Starting out as a Sumerian glyph it was later used in Christianity to symbolise the five sense and five wounds of Christ. By the mid 19th century it started being used as a magical symbol in the occult arts. Today it is most often associated with paganism and witchcraft with the two orientations (point at the top and point at the bottom) broadly representing the “good” and “evil” forces (a whole article can be written here on the interpretations and understandings of each…)

The Gothic Ankh was my very first Alchemy purchase and is still one of my most treasured pieces of jewellery. The ankh has always been one of my favourite symbols to wear because of its associations with the everlasting and interweaves nicely with the Amaranth mythology of “never fading”. These are my chosen storybook fairytales that help mitigate the humdrum of reality, where one night on the dance floor will last forever and Monday will never come.


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Bloodstocking with Baddeley

by on August 15th, 2014 in News, Uncategorized | No comment

Alchemy have become regular visitors to Bloodstock Open Air festival. While we were hard at work on the stall, our resident metal fiend Gavin Baddeley was swanning around enjoying himself. Here he explains why he reckons Bloodstock’s become an essential date in the metal calendar…

Come early August it’s time for the UK’s metal faithful to make their annual pilgrimage to Catton Hall for the Bloodstock Festival. Now in its fourteenth year, Bloodstock has evolved from a modest indoor day event with an audience of some 700, to an open air weekend that welcomes around twenty times that number of eager fans to its extensive grounds. It may not be the biggest festival in the UK, or indeed the cultiest (or kvltiest?), but Bloodstock’s now in the proud position of being widely regarded as the connoisseur’s choice amongst Brit metal fests.

It got there in part from a succession of strong bills. While Bloodstock certainly pulls crowd-pleasing headliners out of the bag, the festival’s underlying philosophy focuses on the kind of acts beloved of the grassroots, but routinely overlooked by the British press and promoters. That same by-the-fans-for-the-fans ethos colours every aspect of the event to this day, with a sense of community and attention to detail conspicuous by its absence among many of Bloodstock’s more corporate competitors.

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Bloody teardrops

by on August 8th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

He told me I had blood on my mouth. I looked at him confused yet quite amused at his observation. ‘Your lip is bleeding,’ he insisted. Grinning I licked my lips clean and tasted once again the blood that wasn’t mine. The last drop of my most recent sustenance.

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Castle Party

by on July 25th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

Alchemy have attended very many open air rock concerts over the years going back to the 80′s, including the famous Donington “Monsters of Rock” events.
These shows were and will always be very important to Alchemy, as a perfect way to keep in direct touch with the rock fans and individual customers of Alchemy, and It is always a great inspiration for new ideas and designs.
This year’s “castle Party” in Bolkow was the first time Alchemy had ventured to Poland for such a festival, (as well as the U.K, we have covered shows in Holland, Germany and Belgium in previous years).

On arrival it was instantly obvious that the atmosphere was going to be tremendous, because (and the clue is in the title), it all took place within the grounds of the 13th century Bolkow castle ruins. This event has run for 20 years now and is as popular today as ever. Importantly, It seems, however, not to be in danger of out-growing itself (as
is often the case in the UK), as because of the size of the venue, the ticket sales are restricted. The ‘Castle party
crew’ (staff) were extremely helpful and we felt very welcome. The atmosphere was indeed amazing, and the Poles certainly know how to do Goth! The enthusiasm for the event was immeasurable, and the extremes to which the visitors went to enjoy themselves and make sure it was all very special were incredible. The line-up for the stage was superb and the arena seemed always to be full when the music played.

The Goth culture there spans the generations and many whole families were to be seen, all suitably attired with dress, hair and make-up. It has to be said that the Goth-clad visitors (mostly Polish, not surprisingly), were full of respect for the ancient castle, and there was virtually no litter at all to be seen within the grounds of the
ruins in spite of the party atmosphere, and there were no signs of any trouble of any description over the three days. They were a truly a very friendly and pleasant lot! It was a pleasure to see the Alchemy stand being greeted with such enthusiasm and genuine interest and clearly Alchemy is well known to this community, as many indeed were already wearing our products. Those that saw us for the first time let it be known that they loved our ‘stuff’ and hoped to see us return again the next year.

They were indeed three and a half very long days. and the weather was glorious throughout, (and very hot). Thanks to our native Polish, bi-lingual Renata (of Alchemy Studio’s superb design team), we were able to communicate properly with the locals. Plenty of positive comments and suggestions and as mentioned before, great for inspiration.

The small town and surrounding areas are amazing places to visit in themselves, with another great castle ruin of Swiny, very close by. Wonderful scenery, countryside views and historical architecture are all in abundance and well worth a visit. Thank you Poland, the Castle Party organisers and the
festival-goers for your hospitality! Hope to see you next year!

Trev Phillipson

Alchemy founder member.

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Where did Alchemy Come From?

by on July 18th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

An ancient, Egyptian mystery? A late Mediaeval ‘science’? A secret Renaissance enigma? Yes, all of these, but in more recent history it’s cultural impact has directly affected more people than all of these combined – but this time from Alchemy England!
Alchemy, like the occult, has always been a great mystery, understood by very few and it’s dark secrets only known and practiced by a handful of dedicated adepts. Shrouded in mythology, magic, religion, spirituality and intrigue, it’s objective has always been to achieve perfection, both spiritual and physical – transmutation, from the corrupt into the pure. This included the transformation of base metals into noble metals, the esoteric purification of the soul, the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone, an elixir of life to infuse youth and longevity.

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Wave Gotik Treffen

by on July 11th, 2014 in News | No comment

Wave-Gotik-Treffen is the world’s largest meeting (or “treffen”) of darkly inclined souls. The largest recorded attendance was in 2000 with over 25,000 people and this never drops down below 15,000. I recall my first WGT (not to be confused with the World Golf Tour ;), walking through the gates of the Agra grounds and seeing more goths in one place than I had ever seen before. But not just any goths – these were some of the most beautiful and creatively attired than I had ever seen! Add to this hundreds of bands in over 40 venues spread out across the city, as well as a huge market hall, pagan village, Viking village, club nights, fetish events, picnics, theatre and classic musical shows there really isn’t much time to be bored! In fact finding time to sleep when the club nights close at 5am in the morning and the bands start again at 11am, there’s just enough time to change outfits!

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Horror Legend Dario Argento Hospitalised

by on June 30th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comment

We’re big horror fans here at Alchemy, so were concerned to hear that Dario Argento, director of such 70s cult classics as Deep Red, Suspiria and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage has suffered a serious accident. In a scenario that sounds a little like something from one of his stylish chillers, Dario fell down a flight of stairs at his apartment in Rome. Happily, he’s now out of hospital, and being looked after by a private nurse at home. Everyone here at Alchemy wishes Italy’s maestro of menace a swift recovery!


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