It is an important part of our mission at Dear Darkling to draw attention to small brands and artists, and a large focus of that mission is on marginalized people. Small businesses run by women, people of color , and LGBTQIA+ people should always be prioritized, but this week, in honor of Pride, we are bringing special attention to a few of our favorite queer darkling brands. Put your money where your mouth is, support small business, and support hardworking LGBTQIA+ people making cool art.
The queer witches behind Lastcraft conjure up all sorts of goodies that we’re absolutely obsessed with, from their New Wave Tarot to prayer candles offering femme protection. Their new Queer Summer Goth collection especially speaks to us; glimmering golden lace locks proclaim queer magic and femme power, and their new tank features a favorite quote, “Not gay as in happy, but…”.
The luxe leather amulets from Leather Coven come from the mind, heart, and hands of its founder, Mateo. An entirely self-taught leather worker, Mateo is a femme trans latinx who finds inspiration in fetish fashion, high femmes and hard butches, brujeria, ritual, and bodies. Their harnesses are all custom made to each customer’s measurements, upholding their standard of representation for all genders and bodies, which only becomes more evident in the beautiful editorial images they create.
From the insanely creative mind and immense talent of Brooklyn-based artist and performer Glossy Bohemond, Gilded Flesh is the painted leather of our darkest, sweetest dreams. Working across several mediums and styles, from makeup to ink to sculpture, Glossy’s work brings out the beauty in the dark and grotesque. Skulls, swords, wolves, and roses adorn black leather, and Glossy explores mystical themes such as tarot. Gilded Flesh pieces are one of a kind, and Glossy can also be commissioned for custom work.
Kjersti Faret is the head witch in charge of Cat Coven, and she lives and breathes the ethos of her brand. Forever preaching “DIY or die” and inspired by the occult, feminism, medieval art, history, and of course, cats, Kjersti’s art is fun, powerful, and always magical. When you support Cat Coven, you support a chronically ill, queer artist who has built a brand from the ground up, and uses her business as a platform for activism. As if bats, black coffee, and bad ass feminist banter wasn’t enough, Kjersti has been teasing her new “Enchanted Armor” collection, inspired by medieval armor, magic, strength, and protection, which launches June 28th and involves collaborations with Courtney Brooke and Fay Nowitz.
Many of you should already be familiar with the magical workings of Riven Barrow Glass, after our exclusive interview and studio tour with them. If you’re not, we promise you you’re missing out. Edward, the gender queer creature of the night behind Riven Barrow is an entirely self-taught artist and badass activist. The stained glass creations that come out of their Brooklyn studio are beyond compare, and deal with imagery near and dear to our dark hearts; bats, spider webs, swords, serpents, and more. And while we’re on the subject of LGBTQIA+ creators, we can’t help but notice the way many of Edward’s glass choices shimmer and reflect to create rainbows.
We’re not afraid of a little shameless self promotion at Dear Darkling, so I couldn’t help but include my own brand on this list. Co-founded with my best friend, who just so happens to also be our music writer, the focus of our brand is on community and empowerment for queers, femmes, witches, and weirdos through magic. Our products center around witchcraft, sex positivity, kink, self love, and femme power. We curate and plan events in the New York and New Jersey area, from markets to burlesque shows, and also participate heavily in tri-state area fleas. A purchase from Babe Coven helps to fund these events and create spaces for our community to flourish. Support your local coven!
Chad Merrit’s art takes many forms, and all of them appeal to our brand of weird. Through his shop, Mon Petit Fantome, Chad sells his incredible paper cuts, inspired by horror, the occult, and kink, as well as limited edition enamel pins. When not creating tangible art, Chad is performing as Louisanna Purchase, who is quickly becoming recognized as one of Austin’s best drag artists. With acts inspired by Nosferatu and Morticia Addams, and no shortage of fetish fashion, Louisanna is a beautiful site to behold, and a constant source of inspiration. Chad creates many of the costumes that he wears himself, repurposing vintage, beading corsets, and building headdresses. His presence as a drag performer, artist, and member of the LGBTQIA+ community is beautifully and unapologetically curated.
Magic, self love, and self care are important cultural focuses, especially among the queer community. It only makes sense that when purchasing the tools of those practices, they should come from someone who understands their importance, especially people of color, as their cultures are the source of so much of the magic that modern witches practice. So, who better than a queer, indigenous bruja babe who believes completely in the revolutionary act of self love? The person behind Firme Arte is a two-spirit Hopi-Xicana witch and all of their products are “made with manos, not machines”. Ranging from incense and candles to oils and bath products, everything available through the Firme Art “internet bodega” is meant to empower, nurture growth, and mesh together a love of “music, magick, and cultura”.
Few artists embody the intersection between queer identity, activism, and magick the way Fay Nowitz, the artist and witch behind Nyxturna does. Working in a variety of media, from illustration to sculpture to her forever love, photography, Fay subverts the patriarchal male gaze and heteronormativity with everything she does. Wearable art in the form of pins, and a forthcoming jewelry collection, act as spiritual talismans and spiritual armour. All of her work is a symbol of femme power, of queer voices, and of the inherent magic in those things. PS: Keep an eye out later this week for more on Fay’s magick.
The artist behind Fox Bones is also the writer behind some of your favorite Dear Darkling articles. Excelling at everything she does, Alex is a DIY queen, drag king, YouTuber, and all around talented queerdo. Her original art, available in sticker and print form through Etsy, is largely inspired by tattoo flash and just like Alex, the subject matter is queer, crafty, and witchy. Skulls and palmistry hands sit alongside calls to “Hex the Corrupt” and reminders that “Butch is Beautiful“.
Handmade out of Chicago, GNAT, the lovechild of Gnat Rosa Madrid, epitomizes “femmes to the front”. GNAT’s glitter and plastic harnesses are made by queer femmes for queer femmes, with the intention to decorate all bodies and empower sexuality. Their emphasis is on promoting safe, consensual, and exciting sex, BDSM, body positivity, gender fluidity, trans liberation, and POC femme supremacy. From o-ring chokers to strap-on harnesses, GNAT creations are colorful, with no shortage of glitter and confetti. But don’t worry, they have plenty of all-black options too.
Activism is at the heart of everything that Jacob V Joyce does. A queer non-binary illustrator and artist, they seek to empower queer PoC, dismantle white supremacy, and decolonize through spoken word, sculpture, illustration, and punk music. They are a force in the world of art and activism, using their diverse talents to strive for social justice. Their shop is a veritable extension of that work, with t-shirts proclaiming femme supremacy and queer future, and zines and original prints celebrating PoC and queer culture.
Kris Marie Harvey is a NJ-based jewelry designer creating simple and stunning silver pieces. Inspired by nature, ancient cultures, and an eternal curiosity, she strives to inspire and connect others to the beauty of the natural world through her art. Kris works with organic materials, shimmering gemstones, and animal forms. Twigs, wolves, skulls, moons, and claws can all be found, cast in silver and adorned with garnet, citrine, moonstone, opal, and more. Many of her pieces are one of a kind or custom, and she can be contacted through Instagram for all purchases.
Alice Rogers is one of those artists whose weird plays perfectly with our weird. Her defined aesthetic stretches across the many disciplines in which she works, from painting and illustrating to film and photography to styling and wearable objects. Most often working a stark color palette of black and white, Alice’s work is dark, mystical, and alluring. Her wearable art, typically crafted from soft black leather, takes the form of harnesses, collars, necklaces, and earrings, and features all seeing eyes, creepy hands, pentacles, teeth, moons, and sacred geometry. Her identity as an artist, activist, witch, and LGBTQIA+ person is powerful, and never lost in the translation of her art.