Thursday, July 31, 2014

Temple Of R'lyeh Cookie Jar

Let's get this out of the way right now. If someone were to say "Hey, here's a cool Cthulhu-themed cookie jar!" my reaction would normally be "Er...that's nice." Just not my cup of tea. Or crock o' crumpets, as the case may be.

But this? This is different. Ceramic artist Andrew Tarrant brings us this absolutely spectacular Temple of R'lyeh Cookie Jar. The sculpted details are perfectly themed and the craftsmanship speaks for itself. I just wish he'd called it something like a "funerary urn" so I didn't feel a twinge of guilt for liking it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Deep One Fetish

Work on the Viking Mythos project continues.  One of the nice things about a suitably vague concept like this is that I can break it into a lot of smaller pieces and work on them as I have time.

Last night I started sculpting a Viking-style Deep One fetish.  Conceptually, it's a magical artifact used for summoning and protection from the Deep Ones.  Given the close relationship between 10th century Norse culture and seafaring it would be a handy item to have.

The stylistic inspiration is this statuette of the Norse god Freyr recovered near Rällinge in Sweden and currently residing in the Swedish State History Museum.  The second photograph is by Christer Åhlin at The Museum of National Antiquities.

The rampant penis removes any doubt about this being a fertility idol.  I did find it interesting that the beard pulling depicted is also sexual.  Depending on the expert talking it's symbolic of sexual wantonness, masturbation, or homosexuality.  I'm sure there's a wag out there ready to suggest that on a good night it's all three.  Heh.  Given the Deep One propensity for inter-breeding with humans, sometimes willingly and sometimes not, it would be a waste not to incorporate some of that beard imagery.

Here's the first pass at taking the statue, more particularly it's head, and translating it into a Deep One.  I just wanted to get the general look down, so this is very rough and totally asymmetrical.  Now it's a matter of refining this basic shape into a final form.

There are two tools that are going to be really important heading into the next stage- calipers and silicone shapers.  For a hack sculptor like me calipers make spotting asymmetrical details a lot easier.  Once I've identified two symmetrical points I can go in with metal tools and refine each side into a mirror image of the other.  That step will leave tool marks, something silicone shapers are ideal at removing.  Their soft, flexible heads are perfect for removing imperfections and creating smooth, flowing curves.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Necronomicon Pages

Hatter10-7 brings us a selection of pages from the, I mean "Naturom Demonto", from the recent "Evil Dead" reboot.  It fills in some of the gaps in Juan Carlos Porcel's collection at "Elder Props", and comes with his recommendation.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ægishjálmr, the Helm of Awe

Another runic sigil- Ægishjálmr, the Helm of Awe.  I'm trying to combine the look of the traditional Norse symbols with some of the design cues from later magical traditions.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


The Vegvísir magical stave, for the Viking Mythos project. I was going for something clearly Norse in origin, but slightly twisted in interpretation.  As we all know, evil is spiky so...yeah.  You can download the full sized version by right clicking on the image and opening the link in a new tab.

This is a clean version since I was too lazy to roughen it up in Illustrator.  For some reason the program determines the level of distortion based on the size of an element, which means long lines and large symbols get jagged while smaller details are barely touched.  When I have time I'll go through and give it the appropriate level of distressing.

The staves, or runic sigils, are the most visually striking elements of Norse magical practice.  I plan on working up a small library of re-interpreted versions for use on items and documents.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Centipede Edition.

Copper Centipede returns to our pages with this pewter finish Cthulhu idol.  The craquelure surface finish is a cool effect.

Friday, July 25, 2014

That Ol' Time Religion

Here's the start of the Viking-age Mythos project.  Conceptually, I'm aiming for a collection of items that a 10th century Norse cultist would have on hand.  The centerpiece is Fox Henderson's excellent Norse Cthulhu idol. Frankly, the pictures don't do it justice. It's a beautiful sculpt and the piece has a really nice heft to it.

The coins are hand-struck reproductions of period examples ranging from Middle Eastern Dirhems to Viking silver pennies. They're based on documented examples recovered from buried Viking hoards.  A black wash will bring out the details of the coin faces.

The amber Elder Sign is the polymer clay test piece I mentioned last week.  It does a good job of replicating the look of the real stuff and I plan on doing a number of small faux-amber items.  The Elder Sign is just a stand-in at this point, since it obviously makes no sense for a cultist to have one. 

The flint and steel are, well, flint and steel.  C-shaped strikers are period, but I'm going to try and track down one with some interesting ornamentation. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014


LuthienSecrets brings us these well done runestones.  The spiral flourishes are a nice touch.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Cooper Edition.

Kevin Cooper brings us this towering Cthulhu bust.  The finished piece is 29" tall.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Beautiful Bones

The Daily Mail has an interesting article about the anatomical models of Giovan Battista Risi.  What makes these pieces particularly interesting is that they aren't really models.  These are sections of real bodies, preserved over two centuries ago with a variety of chemical preparations.

I was struck by how much these specimens resemble modern gaffs, an impression furthered by the use of artificial hair, teeth, and eyes.  If you're curious, the scientific paper based on the radiological examination of the pieces is available over here.

I was also amused by how much this specimen resembles actress Summer Glau.  The pose is almost identical to one from a pivotal scene in the "Samson and Delilah" episode of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles".

Monday, July 21, 2014

Casting Crystal

The "Arms, Armor, and Awesome" cosplay blog brings us this excellent tutorial on casting faux gems and crystals with tinted resin.

Let the resin set, at least 4-6 hours (depending on the amount of catalyst used) before demolding the gems. (It may take a practice run to get a good mix.) Then you want to rough wet sand the gems with 220 grit sandpaper, and then refine the shape by wet sanding them with 600-1000 grit sandpaper for a nice, smooth finish. (I do all my fine detail sanding on a piece of glass to ensure I have a perfectly smooth and flat surface) The gems will appear to have a haze or fog to them, this is normal.  Finally, spray them with the Krylon crystal clear (or a clear gloss spray), and you’re done!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Handbook to British East Africa and Uganda

Anyone planning an African expedition in the classic era will enjoy the Handbook to British East Africa and Uganda.  Although it dates to 1912 it's filled with the kind of color that really brings something like Masks of Nyarlathotep alive.  That includes a helpful list of supplies for a three year expedition, recommendations for clothing, the intricacies of tribal relations, and two traveler's dictionaries for the local languages.

You'll also find a heaping dose of the casual racism of the colonial period, including multiple instances of the natives being referred to as "niggers", so be forewarned.  What makes it even more surreal is that the author seems to have a genuine appreciation for the people and cultures of the region.  One section includes a telling comparison of the supplies needed by Europeans with the minimal requirements of the locals. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Elder Sign

A quick and dirty Elder Sign.  I was trying to get the slightly faceted look of one inscribed into wood or stone with hand tools.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cult of the Jaguar Knife

Ian Austin brings us this recreation of Huayna's Knife from the Hellboy comic series.  The stone blade is used in the rituals of the Cult of the Jaguar.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Warhammer 40K Purity Seal

David Kirkby brings us this very nice recreation of a Space Marine Purity Seal from Warhammer 40K.  The weathering job on the faux parchment ribbons is outstanding. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Horror in Clay

The talented Greg Onychuk brings us this recreation of "The Horror in Clay" from Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu".   What makes this piece really interesting, beyond the fact that it's a gorgeous piece of work, is that it was sculpted digitally.  Mr. Onychuck is no stranger to pushing clay, but for this project he was pushing pixels.  The plaque only exists as a digital file, at least until the master comes back from the 3-D printer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rolling Out the Rodeo

Please welcome our latest sponsor, Fox Henderson's The Monkey Rodeo.  His work has been featured here numerous times, most recently the Norse Cthulhu that's currently for sale at his site.  There are also some Mythos makeup appliances in the pipeline that should be warmly received.

His Cthulhu idol is something I'm really looking forward to, since I've been planning on doing a Viking-themed assemblage of props for a while.   One of the pieces I'd like to include is an Elder Sign inscribed in amber.   After browsing some polymer clay craft sites I banged out a quick test piece.

I used Sculpy III Translucent clay with a touch of Super Sculpey for color.  Unfortunately, I baked the clay directly on a cookie sheet.  That caused some scorching that transformed the clay's translucent white to translucent brown.  That said, it's not bad.  The color is still within the range of Baltic amber despite the hue shift.  The baked clay polished up to a dull shine with a cotton rag, giving a serviceable facsimile of amber's warm glow.  I brought out the inscribed Elder Sign with wax-based schmutz.

For a first effort I'm pretty happy with it.  For the next go-round I'll use a ceramic tile as the baking surface in order to avoid the scorching issue.  I also need to come up with a version of the Elder Sign that's a bit more Norse-ey. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Sedefkar Simulacrum

French artist Delphes Desvoivres has launched a fundraiser to produce the Sedefkar Simulacrum from Chaosium's epic "Horror on the Orient Express" adventure. It's an ambitious project featuring a prop of the figure, a recreation of the Sedefkar Scrolls, and an option to order a full-sized version of the figure that measures 5' in height.  I believe this is the first third-party prop to be approved by Chaosium.

More information about the Simulacrum and it's importance to the story is available over here.  Spoilers ahoy.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cthulhu Cultist Knife

Joe Broers returns to our pages with this faux-obsidian and ivory sacrificial knife.  I quite like the realistic conchoidal faceting of the blade. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Abandoned Suitcase

Rick Callaway brings us a most unusual suitcase:

I have a carpenter friend whose specialty is tearing down houses to make way for townhouses. Why have one house on a city lot when you can have three? During a recent job he found a locked suitcase under the rafters in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. His coworkers wanted to break it open, but he knew I liked stuff like this so he saved it, and two days ago he gave it to me.
Follow the link to discover just what was inside.  Given the contents I would be curious, and wary, about the history of the home it was found in.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Houdini's Secret

Lovecraft's "Under the Pyramids" is one of his most unusual works.  It was a contract piece commissioned by "Weird Tales" magazine and was originally published as the real-life experience of magician Harry Houdini.   The story lead to an ongoing relationship between Lovecraft and Houdini that only came to an end with the illusionist's death.  Intriguingly, it was also a precursor to the intentional blurring of fiction and non-fiction that would become an important part of the Mythos and, eventually, conspiracy culture.  There's a pretty straight line between Houdini's underground adventure and the "secret Hall of Records under the Sphinx" theories of late night radio.

Jason McKittrick is doing his part to further blur those lines with his latest project- Houdini's Secret.  It's a fantastic collection of ephemera and physical props based on the story.  The deluxe edition knocks it out of the park with a cool depiction of the Sphinx drawn directly from the text and a vintage shipping box.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Custom Tome

Janet at "It's a Little Like Magic" brings us this custom tome.  The extensive photographs of the construction will be of interest to anyone considering their own custom book project.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Behold the New Flesh

Rain Blanken brings us a recipe for creating fake flesh.  Combine it with the fake blood recipe on the same page and you're all set to crank out buckets o' gore. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Drow Coins

Swedish artist Sandra Olsson brings us these cast metal Drow coins.  They're props from yet another insanely detailed Euro-LARP.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Skyrim Khajiit Dwarven Axe

Folkenstal journeys to the wilds of The Elder Scrolls Online to bring us this Khajiit Dwarven Axe.  His pictorial covers each stage of construction.  The final prop is crafted from PVC piping, foam, styrene sheet, and a handy thermo-setting plastic called Worbla

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Black Pharaoh

Jason McKittrick returns with this idol of Nyarlathotep in his Black Pharaoh incarnation.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Iron Skull

Olaf Hansen brings us this kapala cast in iron.   It's beautifully creepy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014