Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lady Lavona's Medicine Show

I was looking for a way to organize my collection of Supernatural Specimens. I found this antique printer's tray at a local garage sale for 5 dollars over the summer! I put the project aside for a while...but now that it's cold outside I have plenty of time!

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I started this project in an attempt to organize all the magical curios I have collected over the years. Various roots, seeds, dirt, bones, misc. animal parts, ect. Some are found objects, others sold as mystical curios at Mexican Botanicas, Occult shops, China Town, ect. Each one has "alleged" Supernatural powers and is used as spiritual medicine or cures. For example: Balm of Gilead worn near the heart will mend a broken heart and attract new love. You can always find various Supernatural Specimen Pendants in my Etsy shop!

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I'm going to put some of the Specimens in glass vials n' such, others will be mounted right into the box. I'm going to use my Vintage typewriter to label each one and I think I'm going to leave the cabinet just the way it is. On the other hand I'm kind of tempted to paint the whole thing a light color...that would be a nice contrast to the natural contents of the cabinet. What do you think!? Check out this organized collection of teeth by artist Rosamond Purcell, I love her work!

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"I've got war paints, the skulls of saints, don't you want to see 'em
The blood of popes, and Tyburn ropes from the Black Museum
I've got Frederick Delius' finger, Wordsworth's tattoo
I'm going to love you with everything,
and I think you're going to love me too
I've got all the magic I need, all the magic I need."

~Richard Thompson~


Amanda said...

Oh, MAN, am I envious! What an amazing find!

I love the old look of it. I say leave it as it is, put the items in and organize the display, put it where you can see it all the time, and give it a month. If you aren't happy with it, you can paint it a lighter color later. Stripping paint out of all those little boxes would be a real pain, on the other hand.

Another option would be to cut pieces of cardstock to fit in back of each area. Sounds awful, but if you used the right paper, antiqued it, or even wrote on it, then antiqued it and cut it up, it could look very cool. I've used that technique to line the drawers of these little cabinets I've been painting, and it can look really nifty. I fake pages of old manuscripts, love poetry, field notes from Mars, that sort of thing.

With paper, you could use different colors to set off different objects, and you'd still have the dark dividers between everything. And it'd be 100% reversible. A uniform background color with a few bolder or more saturated areas would look very cool.

/art geekery -- sorry about that.


candida said...

don't paint it!! it think it would totally loose it's appeal.
but i would go with amanda's idea of adding antiqued papaer to back of nooks, don't like it, u can always take it out.
i'm into everything chinese now, so i'd personally try a chinese language newspaper, antiqued by staining it with tea....just my op.
would love to see pics of finished box. (ps: i envy your buy, i lurv the box)

Blood Milk said...

I love those teeth and I dig your idea, though I agree you shouldn't paint it! I've always wanted one of those things but I don't have enough small things to put in it. Post pictures when you're done please!!!

Rose said...

Don't paint it!!!
Like the tea idea...also try watercolor paper , submerge in a pan
of already made freeze dried coffee. Take out when desired darkness of color is reached then sprinkle small amounts of the freeze dried coffee on and wipe off for antique
look. Let dry and cut to fit.
Play around.

Karen said...

Looking forward to seeing your finished cabinet filled with its special bits and pieces.
I have one of these that I keep all my magical little treasures.
I must admit I did paint mine with an ivory wash. Mainly because the room was so dark and everyhing seemed dark.
The lightness shows the sparkly things off beautifully.
But plain wood is beautiful too.

Mon Petit Fantome said...

That is a fantastic tray love! I'm positive you'll make it completely magical once it's done. Your silhouettes are on there way to you too!
I've also tagged you in my blog sweets. Hope you don't mind :)


WOW! Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions! I can't wait to get started! I'll post pictures when I'm finished! xo Lavona

Paul B. said...

Lady L! Your Blog is the best thing I ever saw! Thankyou for the nice comment you posted to FinderMaker, though after seeing your stuff, my blog feels totally lame and redundant! I really like your type tray-- keep it the natural color and do like Amanda says with some cutout paper backgrounds. Did you ever get the occult catalog from Tyrad Company in Minneapolis? When I was quite young I memorized every herb in their magical herb section and determined that one day I would order a sample of each and create a big display. I never did it, but your display concept is very close to what I had envisioned-- Post pics as you put it together please!!! My favorite magical herbs are high john the conqueror (I love that smoky smell they have), lucky hand root (comes from an orchid) and devil's shoestring (I like the gambler's hand dressing consisting of devil's shoestring in a bottle of whiskey and camphor-- classic hoodoo!). I can't wait to explore more of your blog and etsy shop!!


Hey Paul!
You really know your Hoodoo! I have all of those roots you spoke of! Although, I never heard of that hand dressing recipe...awesome! I was taught to make a wash from Chamomile.

Thanks for stopping by! xo!

Paul B. said...

Then Again...
I've always been a huge fan of painting wooden things white... Maybe there are enough wood-tone type trays out there, and some light paint would take yours to a whole other level? If you paint it, I recommend first spraying a few coats of Kilz spray primer over all the surfaces so the old oils/stain etc. don't bleed through.Im starting to like the idea of a white or ivory colored tray with some colored paper inserts for backgrounds.


Oh yes...I know what you mean! White is so neat and clean. Like museum specimens! I did individual shadow boxes for my etsy shop like that. I sold two but took the other ones out of the shop. I want to type the specimen names instead of handwriting, so I need to re-do them. You can see here:

Susan Shaw said...

I would definitely vote for leaving it as is. Painting it would make it look too whitewashed and not organic enough for the contents.

Whichcraft said...

Maybe this is coming a little late, but I was lucky enough to find an old print shop going out of business which had a stack of these drawers for free! I'm still kicking myself for only grabbing two.

I kept mine in their original shape including the label on the drawer pull, but my friend cleaned her's with wood soap and it came out lovely.

Word of warning though, dusting them is a bit of a job...