The garden beginning of last week and one day later: winter has finally arrived and the plants can now rest underneath a protecting blanket of snow. The long autumn had a positive aspect though: after a rainy summer and cool autumn I could still bed out young plants that had caught up slowly together with some late acquisitions. This concerned herbs such as Aconite, Belladonna, Henbane and Poison Hemlock as well as Lovage, Hyssop and Wormwood. In the background are planted plain white and purple spotted Foxgloves, which had been sown last year. These are now asleep underneath the white shroud that Hulda has laid upon the earth, awaiting resurrection in spring. Mandrakes kept in pots have been moved inside to the basement, together with a few daturas, angel’s trumpets and other plants that don’t withstand freezing.
Likewise Teufelskunst seems to have gone dormant. However those watching this space may have noticed silent changes, corrections and additions that have been and continue being done pertaining to the site’s structure as well as content, with new and corrected info texts being uploaded to the Garden library as well as new items being added to our Herbal Supply – for example resins and powders in labeled glass bottles. I am constantly working on expanding and increasing the quality of the service, inspired and spured by recent customer requests as well as interaction with other experienced herb and seed dealers.
A few things on my list to look into in 2014 are for example new Aconite species, namely the beautiful Climbing Monkshood (Aconitum hemsleyanum) with dark claret flowers and the Yellow Monkshood or Healing Wolfsbane (Aconitum anthora). Further I was able to track down rare seeds of the allegedly most poisonous Monkshood, the Indian Aconite or Bish (Aconitum ferox), which I hope to be able to grow from seed this year. Besides this I seek to expand my knowledge about different Datura species, adding the Long Spined or Fierce Thorn-Apple (Datura ferox) to the garden. What else? I did not have any success yet at growing Henbane Bell (Scopolia carniolica) from seed, so I will give it another try with new seeds from a different source. Finally I have also been offered rare seeds of the Indian Belladonna (Atropa acuminata). For those interested I will post about my sowing and growing progress here.
Of course there are also orders to take care of and it is a pleasure and rewarding to receive this type of positive feedback and see the group of new and returning customers grow. Being an artist/hand-crafting things on the one hand and being a seller/taking care of business on the other is certainly not always an easy combination, especially when inspiration kicks in. Having to hold it back in favor of handling and shipping orders (duty) however does also insure that I am not chasing after any quick idea and forces me to be selective of what I actually manifest. In this regard I am also extremely excited about and thankful for the collaborations that arose last year, first of all with Occvlta, who have already begun creating a new collection of unique Reliquary Pendants with Teufelskunst herbs. (Seeing the new pendants yesterday was a real treat!) Click on the picture to the left to learn more.
Besides this yet another jewellery collaboration is coming to frution with a metal worker from Finland, currently casting the first batch of metal pendants with our Sigilum Major – or Greater Sowing Seal, which is simultaneously also the seal of a certain herb. (If you are familiar with our plant inspired sigilla magicae you may recognize it.) For those interested in the process comes here a photo of the casting procedure… and here are now the final prototypes:
As you can see there is also another pendant being done. More about this, photos and details concerning prizing to be announced soon. Pre-orders are already accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org
What more? The past weeks were also filled with new experiences and inspiration transmitted by nature’s silent witnesses, the trees and vine (see documentation). From harvesting Poison Ivy and Mistletoe to communicating with Birch, Alder and other giants, which lastly ought to lead to new creations – amongst others in the form of new altar discs. This year starts with birch and black alder, of which I have a few raw wood slices to work with and that shall result in ten new pentacles to be offered here soon. For reference, these have been inspired by a recent customer request and they are different in that they are pyrographed into raw untreated wood that still has tree bark on. Details and pictures to follow. Besides this I am also working on new regular pentacles.
Lastly I have been approached for different commissions, such as tattoo designs and illustrations. I have also been contemplating the direction into which Teufelskunst is going and aim altogether for a stronger combination of supply, collaborative efforts and original art. Whatever news this year will have – you will read about them first here.
So long, thank you so much for your love, support and patience.
January 28, 2014