Sea Witches

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SeawitchesThere are many stories about 1/2 women 1/2 something else that come from the sea, and, though they may not always be called witches, their antics and magic have a similar ring to my ears.  Here I have evening gown representations of a mermaid, selkie and manatee.  Why manatee?  Because they were once mistaken for mermaids too, don’t ya know.

Midcentury design


A rather boring, boxy remodel was committed on my kitchen, but other than that and most of the flooring, I have a lot of original materials in my house.  In fact, I have a lot of original materials outside of my house…like roof timbers, flue tiles and concrete partition blocks.  Every day I am more amazed at the fact that these things have hung around for 65 years.

concrete blocks

Before I met my house I had only ever come into contact with the standard two hole concrete block.  So when we started picking up rounded bullnose blocks and skinny partition blocks around the house, I was really intrigued.  I found them later in a Portland Cement Association pamphlet.  It was one of many pamphlets and catalogs for home building from the 40s and 50s, included in the Internet Archive’s Building Technology Heritage Library collection.  The collection’s also been pretty helpful in identifying the floor in the bedrooms (Armstrong 1949 pattern book) and the fixtures in the bathroom.  It’s kind of like backwards shopping, looking at old catalogs to find a match for what’s in front of you.

I dream of finding the floorplans for my house in one of the several house plan catalogs like Practical Homes.  I love how the post WWII housing boom was partially directed at the do-it-yourself home builder.  The Popular Mechanic’s famous Concrete Block House, an instruction manual to the home builder, includes a lot of techniques that I think were actually used in my home.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to peruse the Internet Archive’s Building Technology Heritage Library collection yourself.  It’s pretty spiffy, but a warning:  you may lose several hours of your day to it.

Scary? naked witch

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Okay, I don’t do the nude very much on the blog even though I draw it a lot.  Many great artworks depicting witches show them nude for several reasons.  Witches worshiped naked to have a closer connection with nature around them, to remove obstacles between themselves and magic.  The Garderian tradition of Wicca documented and brought nude worship practices to the public eye in the mid 20th century.  Critics of Wiccan covens of this time sometimes commented that the religion was only a smoke screen for nudity and lewd behaviors.  Nude depictions of witches were also used by more prudish sensibilities as way to show witches as evil and depraved.

Click through for picture