TEUFELSKUNST Occult Art Shop and Blog

Interview with Samuel Araya, Illustrator and Designer

Interview with Samuel Araya, illustrator and designer, July 2012

X: Greetings Samuel! How are you and what have you been up to as of late?

S: Hello Xonia, I’m doing good! I was just about to start working on a couple of CD covers that I have pending for the first week of August. Also, the morning was freezing cold, a rare thing in these parts, but an auspicious beginning nonetheless.

X: At Teufelksunst we are proud to name you as the first artist we do an interview with. As an introduction to our readers, please give us a brief description of your work…

S: I have been working as a professional illustrator for about 10 years now, mostly for gaming companies. I have been doing art for role-playing & board games, as well as some occasional work for video game companies. From time to time I have the luck of collaborating with some bands within the Metal genre. These bands include: Cradle of Filth, Elvenking, Darkmoor, Imbalance, Eye of Judgment and Sabaoth. I have been featured in a couple of annuals, including Spectrum 13: The Best in Contemporary Fantasy and Sci-fi Art, Gothic Art Now, Vampire Art Now and a couple more.

About three years ago, my work took a dramatic turn. Thanks to re-discovering Austin Osman Spare, I decided to focus more on my ‘fine art’. I believe that the distinction between fine art and illustration is almost non-existent, but nobody pays attention to me.

[Edit: This is quite an important point considering how greatly ignored or actually shunned illustrative art is within the fine art industry, but one can also notice a current change in the air and hopefully interviews like this will contribute to illustrators gaining more recognition! -X.]

So, anyway, I started getting more involved in the research of symbolism in painting… The Baptism of Fire was a solo exhibition at the most important Museum of Fine Art in Paraguay (also, the only one that we have, but lets forget that for a minute). Since that day I have been possessed by an urge to create, instigate, research and explore more diverse, and darker sides of art.

Also, the exhibit went so well that some of the pieces landed me a scholarship at Theartdepartment.org where I’m currently majoring in Drawing and Painting. The journey has been incredible so far, and I’m very grateful at the good folks at The Art Department, as well as the people of Talenthouse.com, which gave the me opportunity to apply for the scholarship in the first place.

X: How long have you been doing art, what is your main genre and who is interested in your work?

S: Well, we all start doing art from the day we are capable of holding a pencil, don’t we? I am no exception, the only period where I gave up art was during High school, where I toyed with the idea of being a writer, which was just silly.

My main illustrative genre has been horror, but if I have to choose a genre, I would like to stick with the word ‘Decadence’, as that is my main point of interest in life. I’m interested in the beauty of decay.

As for interest, there has been an amazing diversity. I never thought a band like Elvenking, for example, would be interested in my work, but thankfully they did, and our work together has been extremely satisfying!

Cassiopeia, Cover Artwork for Elvenking’s Red Silent Tides Album

X: The imagery you chose comes across as dark and creepy and often seems to draw from the dark side of real life. On the other hand there is also something dreamy and otherworldly about your paintings. What or who inspires you and would you mind sharing a bit about your way of working?

S: I’m inspired by decay in all forms, but for the sake of simplicity, lets say that I’m most interested in the decay of our own symbols. I remember reading Two Tracts on Cartomancy by Austin Osman Spare and being deeply moved. There is something lost and something gained when we accept and process an imposed symbol and its meaning. Spare and his writings and art literally changed my world-view. It challenged me to find my own system of meanings to images. This also resulted in a re-discovery of the Pre-Raphaelites. All this strange archeology was of course filtered by my interest in horror and decay. Where is that interest born… I’m afraid I got no answer, some of us just want to be damned, I guess.

My way of working is very organic. From time to time I will start with a loose pencil or watercolor sketch, bring it to the computer and overlay various photography transparencies over it. I prefer to work with my own photography, but from time to time I resort to Wikimedia Commons and its vast library of historical pictures. Then I would usually ‘dig in’ with digital paint, pulling in and out elements of the image, and most of the time, discovering something new within it. No plan or composition is sacred to me and I always like to take the risk to move the art to a new direction.

And above all books and experience are always my main inspiration. Lets not go into details of experiences, for the sake of safety, but let us dwell in the glory of books by Austin Osman Spare, Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti, Borges, Alan Moore, Robert Chambers and Arthur Machen.

X: Do you listen to any music when you work on new art? Which?

S: I mostly listen to black metal, Dissection, Watain, Deathspell Omega, Darkthrone, Emperor, Samael, Cradle of Filth (hear the cries of the black metal purist here!)… well, the list goes on! I’m converted, and from past 7 years have been an avid King Diamond fan – the man is a genius, his music is all about atmosphere, and that’s something I love. Candlemass is one of my favorite bands ever! From time to time I will also have some Dead Can Dance, a bit of Nick Cave, and lots of Tom Waits, what else? Ulver of course… I should mention I usually like albums that everyone hates, like Endorama by German thrashers Kreator, but I don’t usually pay attention to others people opinion on music, or art…

Lately I have been really into Tiamat and Moonspell, I like bands who challenge themselves and do different things, I think these bands succeed elegantly within these parameters, whilst maintaining their characteristic dark and ominous atmosphere. Also, last but not least, love the music by “Horseback”, its just monumental! Never mind the incredible cover art they always have, mostly done by Denis Forkas Kostromitin.

The Astronaut’s Wife, Cd-Cover for the Band NOD

X: The first piece of art by you that drew my attention was Leviathan. In the center is a young face with green-blueish eyes. The skin of the face looks pale, only the lips and shades around the eyes are red. The face has a cold expression and is surrounded by a lot of religious symbolism with a bleeding Eye of Providence above. But there are also bullets… Could you explain a bit about this picture, how was it composed, what does it mean and in which context was it used?

S: I will explain about the face on the next question… Regarding the bullets, I don’t remember well, but I think I was reading an alchemical text at the time (can’t remember the name of the author) where was an interesting image: the philosophers stone as the stone that David throws at Goliath, a weapon. The bullet is also one of our ‘new’ symbols of death. At some point I was doing halos and spirals of bullets throughout the whole image… it just felt as Leviathan uncoiling in the deeps of darkness, being discovered by pure will. I covered most of it with ornamentation, even got some golden horns for Mithra, but the coil motif remained strong withing my mind, hence the name.

The coils also relate to the structure of the Tower of Babel, as depicted by Doré and Bruegel, that culminates in the blind Eye of Providence, to let us build a tower tall, a tower to reach and wound heaven, and rend creation blind.

I’m hoping I can use the image as cover for a very special collaboration, but more of it later.

Leviathan

X: Something that made me wonder about this picture is the mysterious female (?) face, which occurs also in your previous painting Uppsala. The demon Leviathan is often referred to as male or presented as a sea-monster, a serpent or dragon. Would you mind lifting the secret, is this a person you know and does it have any deeper significance?

S: The face overlay of Uppsala was done overlaying transparencies of the faces of all the models that have been helping me out during that particular time of my life. I had no idea of how the face will eventually turn out. For Leviathan I added some extra features and I wanted a specific set of eye brows, because I thought it was a particular lovely feature of a loved one and because it is always good to impose your will to chaos from time to time.

It has a deeper significance. It does relate more to love and beauty rather than destruction, I’m afraid. It was specially important to me to have both elements for that particular series, Thesis and Antithesis striving for an alchemical miracle, synthesis.

I remember also being profoundly impacted by the card Shugara – The Moon in the Sinister Tarot… I think a lot of it went into the making of these faces, albeit unconsciously.

Uppsala

X: You also give female forms to other gods and entities, that are usually referred to as male, e.g. Lucifer. How come?

S: This is one important question..

At the crossroads of life I came across this particular quote from Thomas Ligotti:

“De Plancy´s Dictionnaire Infernal respectively characterizes these demons, in the words of the unknown translator, as “the one who glistens horribly like a rainbow of insects; the one who quivers in a horrible manner, and the one who moves with a particular creeping notion” For the curious, engravings have been made of these kinetically and chromatically weird beings, unfortunately static and in black and white”

The next thing I knew, I was painting Amdusias as a stony, broken, burlesque doll laying illuminated by a rainbow of colors as if struck by thunder of the most alien and profane origins. To me and the vision, it is important to capture something new, it is about fear and wonder, and it is about doing my will. To me there is something inherently alien there that needs to be revived, explored and bought brought back, at least, into my work.

Just for the record, I loved what I have seen of De Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal, the engravings are exquisite, and I have been hunting for a copy for a long time now…

Amdusias, Art for an upcoming book by Dani Filth, also inspired by A Dream of Manikin by Thomas Ligotti

I need to re-invent symbols, I need to try new things. It is all part of awe and horror, or fear and wonder on the spiritual, if you will. Take for example the Lord of Death, San la Muerte, and its rise on modern magic. I can relate that mostly to its visceral nature, also because its rituals will feel so alien to those rooted in European magic currents. Now, in Paraguay, the country where I live and where I was born, the lord of death is a well known figure, you can access books of paye (the name of our traditional magic system and also of the talismans) on school libraries. It is something very familiar, in an odd way, and no disrespect, but that familiarity… it is something I try to cast away. I think that Ixaxaar and the author of that book [edit: he refers to the Liber Falxifer series] did something very daring, very interesting, by bringing Qayin into that system, even if I don’t practice it. Another example is the Sinister Tarot by the Order of the Nine Angles, all inspiring work.

All Hail Lucifer
Personal work

X: How long do you spend on a piece like Leviathan?

S: I think it was around two days of intense work. I usually work very fast, as I have few distractions in my life and in the studio. Also I remember coming back to it, a few days later, to add and correct some things.

X: Could you pick two other artworks of yours and explain a bit about them?

S: Moloch (the last piece I posted on Facebook, the dead woman sitting) was more of what I said earlier, about finding new things in a symbol. I also wanted to give it a quiet atmosphere, death sitting serene in contrast to what you would expect from the human sacrifice related deaths that were associated with Moloch. Breast are a common symbol of fertility, so the natural decision was to do something about them. In this case they are corrupted and damaged. The veil is a common symbol in my work, because it looks good and because it relates to the act of lifting the veil, awakening your consciousness to what is hidden, hell, even to the marital kiss, and such hideous thing. There is a statue of a baby near the character. I found it while I was looking for art supplies. The thing was so horrible and so damaged that I just had to buy it. It was also the first spark of inspiration for the Moloch theme.

Moloch

The illustration for the Vampire RPG (the one with the woman with a Klimt-esque dress):  I actually got this text about a vampire turning into a hideous shadow monster. Again I decided against having a visceral and horrible metamorphosis scene. Don’t get me wrong, I love those. I just wanted something different, as always. I was looking to replicate what Klimt did in terms of ornamentation but with a purposefully digital feel, just for the sake of experimentation. The Client was White Wolf, who publish some great role playing games. I always have fun working on these, because at the end of the day, work is more fun than fun, as someone said.

Interior Illustration for Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition © White Wolf Publishing

X: Where can we see more of your work?

S: Please add me at facebook at http://www.facebook.com/paintagram I only use it to promote my work or to post art related things, and its a wonderful tool when it comes to communicate with people.

Also you can see my much neglected blog at http://paintagram.blogspot.com and my devianArt http://paintagram.deviantart.com

Finally, you can buy high quality prints of my work at http://paintagram.inprnt.com

X: What are your plans for the future? E.g. who would you like to work with?

S: I plan to focus more on fine art. I’m slowly working in a transition towards traditional painting. I doubt I will ever abandon the digital medium or photography, but I have come to discover how much enjoyable it is to devote hours and hours of work with pencils, watercolors and oils.

I would love to work with more bands. Please get in touch with me if you have an interesting project. Everything is negotiable sans work for free, which is unacceptable.

I have a collaboration with Dani Filth, which I hope will see the light of day soon. And I have another special plan for a book, but that shall be revealed in time.

X: Your last words to our readers:

S: Sic luceat lux.

X: Thank you for your time!


Interview given to Teufelskunst, July 2012
Answers and pictures © Samuel Araya. All rights reserved.

July 20, 2012

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Upcoming Artist Features, Teufelskunst Talismans, Ritual Incense and Custom Skull-Candles

In this journal we present the second batch of our hand-made Talismans, info on updated Website sections as well as photos by customers and friends who have received our Skull-Candles and took snapshots when burning them. We also announce our first Artist Interview!

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ARTIST INTERVIEW: SAMUEL ARAYA

We are looking forward to our first artist interview with illustrator and designer Samuel Araya. In the interview we will talk about his work and the inspirations behind his dark imagery. We will also have a closer look at three of his paintings, investigate their meaning and receive insights into the process of making them.

    

Artist Blogsite

Buy Prints

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TALISMANS II

bellicum
Latin “war-signal”, “war-trumpet”,
also a name of the Prunus spinosa (Blackthorn) tree

fasces
from the Latin word fascis,
meaning “bundle”

Fasces are a bundle of wooden sticks with an axe blade emerging from the center, which is an image that traditionally symbolizes summary power and jurisdiction, and/or “strength through unity”.

The idea behind the fasces has inspired us again in the creation of this second batch of handmade Talismans. The Talismans are manufactured in a manner similar to the first five Talismans offered here. The difference to the first series is in their form: whilst the first were atavistic representations of the ghost-like emanations of our craft the new talismans are more human in shape. Both Talismans serve at the same time as Mascots of our Teufelskunst and are only given into the hands of experienced practitioners.

The filling consists again of various hot peppers and herbs (partly poisonous) as well as loadstone powder. The skulls are carved again from the Blackthorn’s wood, each holding a pair of dark-red garnets in their eye-sockets. The talismans are accompanied by seven anointed Blackthorn spines bound together with cleansed red and black thread, forming Bellicum Fasces to be used in attack and defense spellwork. With each talisman comes also a cleansed vial to insert a hand-written spell or pact, one anointed onyx sphere and incense.

The talismans have been manufactured entirely by hand. They carry fluid links to the totemic soul of Crow, Scorpion and Snake, and powdered links to the plant souls of Aconite, Belladonna, Black Nightshade, Henbane, Mandrake, Mugwort, Thorn Apple and Wormwood, mixed with the tears of Myrrh and the wood of the Bellicum tree. Long Pepper, Grains of Paradise and Ghost Chili (Bhut Jolokia) lend their fire to the bodies of the talismans, within their chest beats a small heart-shaped ‘High John the Conqueror root’ and underneath the wooden skull vibrate the powdered remnants of a Human Skullbone.

The incense powder accompanying these talismans consists again of fiery ingredients and should be burnt outdoors only. (The exact formula is given inside the leaflet that comes with the talismans.)

Only seven of these talismans have been crafted and there will not be made more of them.

The price per Talisman set: 53 euro + shipping

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INCENSE

The fiery incense for Cleansing and Strengthening one’s focus can also be ordered solitary for 7 euro per 50 gram + shipping.

For the complete list of herbal and floral ingredients visit our updated website section Herbs & Incense. We also have small amounts of classic Witch Ointment Ingredients available. For more info contact us via info@teufelskunst.de

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SKULL-CANDLES

    

Always in stock are our hand-made Skull-Candles available in different colors, e.g. plain black, red, white or bone-colored as well as two-colored versions, e.g. half black/ half red/ half white/ half green and so on. Each candle is filled with corresponding essences, herbs and powders. The price for one candle is 16 euro + shipping. If you order more than three candles the price per candle is 13 euro + shipping.

(photos by customers and friends)

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Contact: info@teufelskunst.de

The first printed catalogue including complete price lists as well as artist interviews and features will be released later this year.

July 13, 2012

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Second Hand Literature

NEW:

   

The Order of Nine Angles – The Deofel Quartet: Volume I.
Falcifer, Lord of Darkness (manuscript), 80 EUR – SOLD

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UPDATE: FOR BUYING OR SELLING FURTHER BOOKS BY IXAXAAR CONTACT IXAXAAR DIRECTLY.  THANK YOU.

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A few items have been added to the Literature section of our Blog-site. The books are offered on behalf of a private collector. Serious buyers write to info@teufelskunst.com and we forward your message to the owner.


Queen of Hell by Mark Alan Smith – Standard Edition, 80 EUR – SOLD

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The Red King by Mark Alan Smith – Standard Edition, 60 EUR SOLD

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Gullveigarbok by Vexior – Standard Edition, 60 EUR – SOLD

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Liber Falxifer I by N.A.A.218 – Standard Edition, Second Press, 80 EUR – SOLD

All Books are in mint condition, unless otherwise stated.

March 26, 2012

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Talismans (Geisterpuppen)

talisman
from Arabic طلسم Tilasm
ultimately from Greek telesma or from the Greek word “telein
which means “to initiate into the mysteries”

We are expanding our supply with traditional items used in the sorcerous arts. To begin with we offer five sets, each consisting of one handmade talisman doll that comes together with seven oiled and bound Blackthorn spines, one anointed black onyx stone, one pact-vial and a batch of fiery incense.

Talisman I

The hand-sewn doll is skull-faced, whereby the skull is hand-carved from Blackthorn wood and the eye-sockets hold a pair of red garnets. The body of the doll is filled with Myrrh, Blackthorn, Wormwood, Mandrake, Loadstone, Grains of Paradise, Long Pepper and a small amount of extremely hot Ghost-Chili powder. The work with these dolls began during the past new the moon and is being finalized during this full moon.  Each doll is unique and though simple in form and only 9cm in size, they are perfect to carry as part of different spell-workings and can be put to action within different magical operations. The vial accompanying the doll is new and cleansed. It can be used to place a hand-written spell within or even a blood-signed pact. The doll, once treated as an actual talisman, should be fed twice a month, ideally on the waxing/full moon and the waning/new moon. The offerings can be kept simple.

Note, touching the doll may give you a tangible fiery sensation to the degree as if your hands were burning.  Handle with care!

The incense powder accompanying the doll is also of a fiery nature and should be burnt outdoors and not inhaled directly. Use if you are in need of restoring your aura and to banish tenacious obstacles, sickness, depression or other types of severe restraints.

The price for one talisman doll and extras is 53 Euro + the 5,50 Euro for registered shipping. We are taking orders now, and will ship everything before the coming new moon.

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The above talismans are a special offer and are limited in number to only five. Seven additional dolls of the same size are being worked on and they will be offered here in time. There will not be made more of these.

Later we will offer simple dolls for different magical operations and other basic materials for the craft, such as thorns, pins, candles, powders etc.

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We still have three of our Seed Collection Box-Sets left! They include seeds from 22 species coming in refillable transparent paper bags. The bags are labeled with the herb’s scientific and common names alongside our Lesser Sowing Seal and are safely contained within a durable cardboard box, together with a hand-bound booklet with easy to look up instructions on how to sow and grow them.

Besides, there will in time be offered more seeds from further relevant species, such as Poison Hemlock and Poppies to add to your existing collections. More info coming soon.

For ordering contact info@teufelskunst.de

March 9, 2012

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Seed Collections Box Set

The first share of gathered seeds from 22 herb species is available for €38 + shipping. The seeds come in refillable transparent paper bags labeled with the herb’s names alongside our Lesser Sowing Seal. They are contained safely in a durable cardboard box together with a hand-bound booklet with easy to look up instructions on how to sow and grow them.

The booklets are made of nature-friendly recycling paper. Once new info becomes available you can get an updated booklet for free and dispose the old one.

Find below the list of available seeds:

I. Daturas

Purple Dhatura (Datura metel var.)
Toloache (Datura innoxia)
Common Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium)
Datura hybrid, ivory flowers

II. Poison Witchherbs

Common Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium)
Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)
Belladonna (Atropa belladonna)
Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)
Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)
Blue Monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelii)
White Wolfsbane (Aconitum lycoctonum)
Hellebore (Helleborus niger)
Columbine (Aquilegia atrata)

III. Benefic Witchherbs

Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Vervain (Verbena officinalis)
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Dragonshead (Dracocephalum moldavica)
Masterwort (Peucedanum ostruthium)
Wild Angelica (Archangelica sylvestris)
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

IV. Mexican Herbs

Mapacho (Nicotiana rustica)
Yauhtli (Tagetes lucida)
Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides)

You can also order single seed bags from us for € 3,00, e.g. to stock up your collections. If you order three or more the price is € 2,00 each.

For orders and reservation write to info@teufelskunst.de

Also please bear in mind that different countries have different laws and conditions on shipping. We charge in any case only the actual fee it costs to ship but we cannot take responsibility if a mailing gets lost or cannot be delivered. If there is doubt please check first the laws of your country.

January 6, 2012

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds

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Closed for Raunächte

Find updated the Herbs & Seeds section with info on Sowing & Growing and lists of herbal and wooden ingredients relevant to our path. Under Art is added a new section Featured Artists. Next the focus is all on the Statues and Fetishes (what we actually specialize in). We will now be offline for the coming 2 weeks. New commission work and orders will be accepted again from 15 January 2012 on.

The Vision Tree, 2009-2011, by X.A.
Fine Art, Photo- and Canvas Prints available on request
Akelarrenlezea, 2011, by Akherra Phasmatanás
The setting of “Akelarrenlezea” shows the Cave of Zugarramurdi located in País Basque, where the infamous “akelarres” were widely celebrated – available for sale    SOLD

December 21, 2011

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds, Art, Feast Days

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Seed Collections

As promised, here the photos and prices for our recent seed collections that have been put together under this lunar eclipse. All seeds come from plants we have grown by ourselves and have been gathered with our own hands. The price on a single seed bag is €3,00 (you get a €1 discount on each if you order three or more). Or you choose a whole set which comes in a limited edition woodcut adorned sleeve. (Photos of the ready packages will be posted later.)

I. Poison Witchherbs: Common Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium), Henbane  (Hyoscyamus niger), Belladonna (Atropa belladonna), Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum), Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), Blue Monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelii), White Wolfsbane (Aconitum lycoctonum), Hellebore (Helleborus niger), Columbine (Aquilegia atrata)

Price for one set is €18 + shipping (only two available) both reserved

II. Benefic Witchherbs: Rue (Ruta graveloens), Vervain (Verbena officinalis), Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), Dragonshead (Dracocephalum moldavica), Masterwort (Peucedanum ostruthium), Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

Price for one Set is €13 + shipping (only two available) both reserved

III. Mexican Herbs: Mapacho (Nicotiana rustica), Yauhtli (Tagetes lucida), Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides)

Price for one set is €6 + shipping (only one available)

IV. Daturas: Purple Dhatura (Datura metel var.), Toloache (Datura innoxia), Common Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium), Datura hybrid, ivory flowers

Price for one set is €7 + shipping (only two available) both reserved

For orders and reservation write to info@teufelskunst.de with a list and note if you wish to receive sowing instructions with your order.  Also please bear in mind that different countries have different laws and conditions on shipping. We charge in any case only the actual fee it costs to ship but we cannot take responsibility if a mailing gets lost or cannot be delivered. If there is doubt please check first the laws of your country.

December 11, 2011

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds

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