Monday, May 7, 2012


So, things have gotten busy around the Ryniak and Spayd households, and we're awful at updating.


We're going to resurrect this thing, over at Tumblr:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Under Construction

Bear with us as we make some much-needed updates and freshen up the place so we can have room to share all the pretty stuff we've been keeping to ourselves...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween...

.....from the editors.

(We promise to update this thing more often!)

---Chris and Amanda

Friday, September 4, 2009

ghosts in string and windows

Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota creates immense installations with string, furniture, windows, and live people.

What I thought, on first glance, was a frenetic charcoal drawing, was actually a photograph of a white room, with a piano and chairs completely cobwebbed in black strings.  The strings are attached to the walls, the ceiling, the floor, the furniture; they wind around each other and are woven in such a way that they define space and become shapes - or beings - themselves.

Other recurring items she uses are old windows from Berlin construction sites, hospital beds, children's school chairs, and shoes.

...but it's the string that gets me.  A ball of yarn sitting on a desk is such a quiet, soft, unassuming thing.  This artist turns it into a horrible, anxious tangle, a web of almost looks organic, like an intelligent, plotting Spanish moss, ready to grow around you and swallow you up if you stay too still, too long.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

dark and light

Anke Merzbach's photography is dark, elegant, and moody.

Her work is a glorious combination of antiquated fashion and photo techniques, desaturated color, dirty contrast, and models of non-traditional beauty, strength, and grace.

She uses, sometimes to the point of flamboyant excess, a lot of digital photo processing and manipulation, but despite the modern tools, the photos have an air of antique-ness, but of a past world that never really existed at all.

You can find her work on her website, or on her Flickr Stream.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

lending a hand

I can't help but be mesmerized by the fluid, graceful, nearly mime-like movements of this raccoon's paw as he searches around for food pieces.

The word "raccoon" comes from Native American words meaning "he who scratches with his hands".  Their nimble fingers are so incredibly sensitive that they use them as a second pair of eyes to "see" whatever they feel when they probe around in the dark, or under water.  Even nearly-freezing creek water does not dull the sensitivity, and they can "see" crayfish and other food by feeling around in the coldest water.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shelf Life

Following suit to my blog partner's lead, here is a small sampling of some of my collections.


I recently purchased this hutch from a thrift store for what must have been 1/10 of the original price.  It has made a perfect showcase for my previously cluttered curiosities.

A  few of my Lenins , a lovingly dried snake that was found by my father and  some random antique bottles, some found, some given.   And a resin fingertip cast.

Last year's yield of cicada molts. I think I could have collected several hundred more had I started earlier.

These are only replicas that I have distressed for Halloween display purposes. I'm still on the fence about acquiring an authentic human skull, if the opportunity arises though....

The next installment will showcase my collection of taxidermy and critter skulls...

collecting dust

Chris and I were talking the other day about ideas for different types of blog posts here on DF. One idea we had was to post a few more little things about us, because we like to think of ourselves as interesting, well-read, aesthetically adept individuals who have some neat things to share with the internet world at large. So we thought it would be fun to post about our personal collections of certain objects, which we, being treasure-hoarding artist-types, seem to acquire a large wealth of. So here are three of mine:

Very old, well-loved stuffed animal toys. Clean museum-quality specimens need not apply. I like them dirty, with the mohair pulled off in spots, filled stiffly with straw or sawdust, and roughly charming. The bunny pictured is so old and faded you can't even tell he used to be blue, and his one glass eye being lower than the other is the result of a home repair. The lamb and his rusted little bell are so endearing, and that bear kinda, sorta does something when you turn the crank. I just realized I forgot to put my straw-stuffed rocking horse in the picture. Sorry horse!

They're sitting on a rusted and tattered old doll stroller...because I also have amassed a nice little collection of toy accoutrements for them.

#2 Antique medical, pharmaceutical, and science bottles. My collection spans the early 1900s to the 1950s, and includes some lovely gilded "under glass" labeled bottles (one is for Spirit of Ether), as well as some lovely hand-written science chemical labels, and a series of crazy old dental medications, such as Arsenic Discs and Silver Nitrate. There are still Arsenic disks in the bottle...supposedly they also contained Asbestos, Opium, and Cocaine, according to the label.

#3 Human Teeth. The molars in the foreground as well as the baby teeth in the vials are real. The antique Nuform tray and mason jar hold a bevy of porcelain teeth for denture-making. The ones in the jar are frequently put into my artwork, but the others will not be removed, save for the molars which have been cast into silicone molds to become an army of resin teeth.

Donations are welcome.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Lead by designer Derrick R. Cruz, a group of artists in New York has collaborated on a project called "A New Hive" to raise awareness and funds for the plight of the very important, yet often forgotten, honeybee.  The global impact of Colony Collapse Disorder is affecting bee populations at an alarming rate, raising much concern over not only the future of these populations, but the plants they pollinate, and the ecosystems that are affected by their decline.

A show was set up at Earnest Sewn, and featured a dark, anachronistic display loaded with natural objects, symbolism, and about 200 pounds of honey. 

The proceeds from the art sold, as well as donations to the project go to support honeybee research, education, and development of sustainable beekeeping practices.  For more information about Colony Collapse Disorder, click here or here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

from the pages of...

The detailed, illustrative work of Italian artist Ericailcane brings to mind images from a forgotten Victorian storybook. Fussy, proper, macabre, and just not quite innocent enough to be for a child.

In addition to etchings, drawings, and installations, he has worked on a number of video projects, as can be seen here on his website.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

garden of delights

These fantastic little worlds are the creation of artist Kathleen Lolley.

Besides the folk/fairy tale aspect of the characters, woodland settings, and rustic details, what really interests me about her work is the historical color palette, and the (perhaps deliberate?) many nods to both Hieronymus Bosch in both rendering style and creature/object design, and the desaturated stacked landscapes of Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

That similarity gives an ancient, otherworldly feel to her work, that seems to tell a definite story....even though you may not know what the story is.

More artwork and information about prints and other items at her website.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hearts Day

Love and ventricles from Darkened Forest!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Go West

In the Short North Arts District of Columbus, Ohio, there is a wonderful little store called Collier West. I often make it a point to go look around whenever I'm in the neighborhood.

The website has an online store where you can buy goodies, but the best experience is to actually visit the store, if you can. The d├ęcor is basically what I want my house to look like - a little cluttered and a lot antique and intriguing. You feel like everything you look at is part of the whole of the store's an antique store, but curated.

Antlers are everywhere (and for sale), as are branches, nature-inspired lighting fixtures, and lots of local and not-local original artware (like ceramics, plates, and jewelry). I even spotted the ceramic art of Laura Zindel, that we blogged about last year!

If you ever find yourself among the fab restaurants and art galleries of Columbus, make sure you drop into this jewel of a store; you will be very glad you did.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mysterious Packages

So it seems that being a blogger pays off sometimes. In this instance it paid off in a big way for 50 lucky bloggers. The makers of the newest stop-motion feature film CORALINE, have been kind, wait, no...AWESOME enough to send out 50 handmade mystery boxes to blogs of relevance. Now it's not often that we get INSANELY JEALOUS here at DF, but this is one of those times, this is why...

These boxes are nothing shy of masterpieces in of themselves, containing actual production props, scrapbooks and items of mystery.

While I have not yet seen the film (10 demerits for me) I still find this act of kindness on the filmmaker's part to be one of the most inspiring things I have seen in a very long time. Kudos, and congratulations to everyone who received these amazing treasures.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Always the purveyors of fine WTF, Tool's videos never cease to bring amazing dark imagery to life with the use of stop-motion animation and fine cinematography. This video is an epic force of visuals that morphs from one nightmarish conceptual scene to the next. In other words, awesome. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Life On Mars

Just ran across this great little spotlight on my friend Mario, AKA Mars1.  Over the years Mario's work has become increasingly more abstract, complicated, detailed, skilled and beautiful.  I can only imagine what he's cooking up next, as it will no doubt be other-worldy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

State of the Arts

I was lucky enough to make it down to Art Basel Miami earlier in December and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share some first hand glimpses of the amazing sculptural works that were on hand. 

 While this is only a VERY small cross-section of the sculpture that was represented, these very few examples still show the vast range of mediums, techniques and individual voices that can be conveyed in the dimensional form.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nature is Ancient

Last week I stumbled upon the work of photographer Maleonn.

He works in a variety of styles, blending nature and open spaces with human strangeness and kitch. Some of his photos are black and white, and some are black and white with meticulous hand-coloring with watercolors.

Nothing is left un-damaged by his aging techniques, which leaves the viewer, after seeing his body of work as a whole, with feelings of another expanse, a non-knowing of what is around him. It's all very moody stuff, I recommend it highly.

Monday, November 24, 2008

tattered fairy tales

The folks at Gibbous Fashions create their couture out of scraps of discarded clothing, textiles, and other fabrics. Some from today, many from yesterday. The pieces are carefully matched, mis-matched, frayed, hemmed, stitched, and twisted onto each other, creating beautiful layers of color and texture.

Their artists' statement (of sorts), tells us that they believe that clothing should be lovingly kept, worn out, repaired, worn out again, and cared for like a cherished object. With the beautiful layers and stories woven into their pieces, it would be no challenge to treat them with such tenderness.

Monday, November 17, 2008

so softly

Lyndie Dourthe is a french artist who makes beautiful objects - and LOTS of them.

The appeal of her art is not only in the beauty of the objects themselves - small studies in color, texture, form - but the repetition of the forms, and how they are arranged; in identical boxes of the same color, in rows, or in giant masses.

Her sense of color is wonderful; the palettes soft and lush and feminine and downright gorgeous. Light and texture seem almost tangible in these internet photos - i can only imagine how these lovely pieces look in real life.