Gothtober Day 5 Papier Maché project with Ananda and Kierston!

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Oct 052017
Visit and click on DAY 5 to see a mystery project revealed from Ananda and Kierston VanDeStefano!
From a humble beginnings starts this three dimensional sculptural project, and what, dear Gothtober viewer, will it be? Observe with each frame what transpires next, culminating in quite the lovely centerpiece! I’m not going into detail because I don’t want to give away the surprise! We really enjoyed watching this piece come together, it’s some balm for the turbulence of our times, a cheerful respite that bolsters your psyche for going back out and dealing with the world. Making art is an essential component of what makes up the human spirit.

We’re the only species that makes stuff like this, we’re weird like that. This piece made us itch to go clear a spot at Gothtober headquarters, go get some paints and supplies, and perhaps make our own version of a “specialty fall item.” I hope it does that for you too, because we honestly need more of it right now. We always need more art.

Making art is an act of defiance in this world of commercial enterprise, which is why Gothtober is so stubborn and persistent. Growing up, people are like “be a lawyer, a doctor, a salsa salesperson, ANYTHING BUT AN ARTIST!!!” Because… despite the fact that we’re surrounded by words, imagery, shapes and colors everyday that make our lives amazing, people believe that art is a frivolous pursuit. Artists fight a losing battle, starve, and die, and are famous when they are dead. Nobody wants that for you.
In order to make arty stuff, you kind of have to shut out the naysaying voices (both real and imagined) and believe in yourself and what you want. You just have to stop thinking so hard about expectations, results, how any of this is practical, and just roll up your sleeves and make a thing. That’s why this piece is so awesome, it clears the way for autumn crafting in a really fun, no nonsense way, which is refreshing! Thanks for sharing your papier maché skills with us, Ananda and Kierston!
Read Ananda and Kierston’,  and other Gothtober contributor’s bios here! 

Christine Nockels Paper Sculpture DAY 13

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Oct 132016


Visit and click on Day 13

Ms. Nockels brings to us this fine 13th of Gothtober an instructional on how to make your very own enchanting, creepy little paper souls out of office supplies.

Offices can be places for roiling productivity, but more often than not, offices inspire naps, or checking one’s Facebook, or visiting the break room about 20 times in a half an hour. In offices, hard work is expected to be demonstrated through measurable, tangible results yet sometimes… you just gotta do something else. The protestant work ethic can only take you so far, and access into the more abstract world of the mind is a haven. The conceptual narnia of an office is a place where stuff from the supply closet can be so much more, it can be art.

The lines that come from Christine’s pen are fed from a netherworld of passion and heart that fortune 500 companies will never understand or harness. Her work is not meant to be part of a pivotal piece of a company’s continued growth and success, her work is meant to exist and be seen. Art is undervalued in our society, but the expression of human mind and senses is always what people cling to when times are tough. Luckily, artists can’t help themselves and keep stubbornly making art, even while also working day jobs.

Here then, is a way for you to blow off some office steam, stop processing papers and start making things out of papers! Feeling lonely? Make a paper friend! If you don’t like them, you can always incinerate them later. Christine Nockels makes lots of great art, go see some of it, we are especially fond of her series of US Presidents eating hot dogs.

Make-a-Mask from Wolfcat Workshop from DAY 10

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Oct 102016

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-10-17-26-pmVisit and visit DAY 10 to get your Gothtober Treat! 

Living and working in Los Angeles, making piece after experimental piece, using lines to communicate shapes and colors, lives the marvelous art wizard, Federico Tobon. I like to imagine him in an exciting tiny yurt on the top of a rickety mountain. The art yurt is very difficult to get to, surrounded by oceans and obstacles at every turn, and Federico is always there, making new things for the world.

He makes drawings, he makes wooden automata, he sews things, he’s always tinkering away and sharing his progress day by day. It brings inspiration to me all the time, knowing that he’s out there flexing his art muscles, eating rice and beans, hanging out with his cat and working on his quest to unite his visual output with his maker spirit.

He’s made us a free download-and-print crafty project, a mask that you can wear to your next costume party! Wear it and then tell everyone it wasn’t you sneaking all the Halloween candy, and they will believe you, since you’ll look completely unrecognizable. Better yet, make Federico’s mask, wear it, take some photos and show us how you’re wearing your original 2016 Tobon Gothtober Mask!

Wolfcat Workshop featuring the work of Federico Tobon has all kinds of curiosities for you to explore. Get his newsletter, go shopping for Tobon originals, see what he’s focusing on now, send him a card! His blog will show you his newest art activities, it’ll make you want to get going on your own projects, I highly recommend it!

DAY 4: Gothtober Coloring Contest!!!

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Oct 042015


For ALL AGES, the Gothtober Coloring Contest is HERE! Visit click on DAY 4, download and print your pumpkin page. Color it, send it in! DROP DEADLINE IS OCTOBER 25th!!! 

What will your jack’o’lantern look like? Will it have a scene? Will it be the face of an unknown monster, a spirit being, a scary politician?

We have FIVE DIVISIONS and we know you fit into one of them… unless you’re a vampire or some other form of undead, and if that’s the case, contact us. We will make a special division just for you.


  • Kitten Pumpkins – 5 and under 
  • Pumpkin Scouts – 6 to 10 
  • Tweens-n-Teens – 11 to 17 
  • Logan’s Runners – 18 to 30 
  • Bladerunners – 30 to 125 

Each Division will have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Prize Ribbons, as well as some very special Gothtober Treats! Prepare to win bizarre and inventive gift baskets containing specialty items hand-picked by Gothtober MONSTERS! Coloring Contest Winners will be announced and showcased on this blog on Gothtober 29th!

Photo Bombing Crocodile, Mad Lib Haiku and MORE for DAY 10

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Oct 092014

running_scared Look no further for your Nero and Haiku-themed word games, as well as a bonus coloring page featuring a photo bombing crocodile!

Gothtober’s DAY 9 (The book on the shelf titled Wuthering Frights) will help you download these hand-illustrated goodies by artist and illustrator, Stephanie Abler.
The name MAD LIBS is legally registered, and for lack of a better word, that’s what we’ll use here, but people have been playing this word game for eons, you don’t have to buy them at the store, you can make your own! Stephanie took matters into her own hands and made some for us. Here’s what she had to say about it:

I remember at least a couple of family gatherings from my childhood when my mom wrote mad libs for us, and we did them and just laughed hysterically. The absurd ideas that mad libs produce really delight me.

It’s hard to come up with something that weird on purpose because we naturally make connections that make sense. It takes a situation with an unknown context, like a mad lib, to come up with an idea that’s truly random.

I also love mad libs because they show how imaginative people are; when we listen to a mad lib, our minds will make meaning out of totally unreal statements.

Stephanie lives in Walnut Creek, California, where it is indeed getting cooler:

It’s been in the 80’s and 90’s in Walnut Creek. Hotter than I expected for this time of year. But since the leaves are changing and the angle of the sunlight is shifting, you can still tell it’s fall.

Billy Kheel’s Blood Moon Craft for Gothtober DAY 8

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Oct 072014

For Gothtober DAY 8 (the book titled Oliver Twisted) you can download a .PDF for a pattern to make your very own Blood Moon Pillow by Billy Kheel!

Billy makes stuff out of felt, thread, stuffing and whatever else feels appropriate for subjects like giant swordfish, stripmall pillows, football trading cards, and even stuffed hunting rifles for babies (yes,  you read that correctly.) Anything you ever heard about felt appliques and what’s supposed to happen with them is pretty much blown out of the water by Mr. Kheel. The things he makes are full of contradictions, from the fact that he’s a bearded dude, not your great great Aunt, and he’s sewing precious collectible items out of everyday things, or making extraordinary versions of items we take for granted or tend to not see. His sport-oriented works are especially unique, an unexplored way to show love for franchised pro performance competition.

The felt works of Mr. Kheel are irresistible. When you come upon one of his pieces, you want to stare at it, touch it to make sure it’s really fabric, take it home, and then cuddle with it… even if it’s a giant foot from the Silverlake Foot Clinic sign on Sunset Blvd.

If you want to own an original Kheel, it’s not hard, just visit Billy’s Etsy Page, he’s got many items for sale at reasonable prices in many ranges and subjects: something for everyone! And check his site to see when he’s exhibiting and teaching workshops on how to sew your own fabric creations.

Now, get your pattern and materials, follow the pattern and make your blood moon so you can howl like the rest of us!

Hand-Crafted Deck Tarot for Your Talons • Gothtober DAY 5

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Oct 042014

Castle Leibenstien, where Christy and family came up with the idea of making home made German Tarock cards!

If you’re a Gothtober Crafter, you certainly have your work cut out for you now for Gothtober DAY 5 (Click the book titled Of Lice and Men). We gave you a needlepoint project, then we showed you how to carve and dry apple heads and now here’s another fun assignment! All the way from Germany comes a pack of cards you can print, cut out, glue sides together and you then have your very own Tarot Deck! 

Germany is getting darker and colder by the day, but fall there (called Herbst in German) is beautiful.

We have a Gothtober correspondent who can verify this information for us, she lives there! Yesterday was German unification day and The Chambers family will probably celebrate their long weekend by taking a walk in their local forest to photograph mushrooms (yes, the red ones with white spots featured in the cards).

The entire deck is hand illustrated by Christy Chambers. Yes, we’re talking ALL 78 cards, proving yet again that Gothtober contributors are a pretty dedicated and crazy lot, of which we are quite thankful. What inspired this ambitious project? Here’s her answer:

The crazy idea for the cards came from a short vacation at Castle Leibenstien this summer. When sleeping in a castle, there is no TV or Internet…. This can be alarming to a modern 10 yr old. So since we were unprepared for an unplugged evening, my mother and I started to make simple cards to entertain everyone. How fun it would be to have a fancy detailed deck made by our family! I started to research German traditional card games and found that the most popular game Tarock, is played with the 78 card tarot deck. The only problem is that everyone plays with different rules depending on which part of Germany you are from. Honestly, the game is so complicated I can’t even understand some of the rules!!! Anyway, I guess I will have to stick to fortune telling. Who knew that that would be the less complicated part. I started painting, and well, here are the cards!
You’ll notice also on Ms. Chambers’ Gothtober piece, a devil doll in the background. Naturally, we wanted to know more, here’s what Christy had to say about the little devil:
The Devil is a family heirloom from Brian’s side. We have no information about him but we love him. He seems to like playing cards, Nigel says he cheats, but I think one should expect that from the little Devil.Today at the flea-market or “Flomart” in German, we almost came home with a creepy gnome with an axe but the pair of them together would have clearly been trouble.

Click on DAY 5 Gothtober 2014 to get your set of Beautifully Illustrated Tarot cards by Christy Chambers!

How Ya Like Them Apples? Day 3 With Dianne Chadwick!

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Oct 032014

vintage_applesDianne Chadwick has done it again with a classic seasonal craft that we can’t WAIT to try! This project was posted early on the calendar for maximum Halloween decor potential. Visit the Gothtober Calendar and hit the book titled “East of Eatin'” (Book 3.) 

Upon asking Professor D.M. Chadwick about this year’s Gothtober Apple project, she sent back a very analytic and scholarly stream-of-conscious email that said some great things about Pomme de Terre, as they are fondly known as in fancy France.

Apples are lovely, apples are nice…

I always thought it was strange that apples have this perception of being the most wholesome of fruits, and yet it was the APPLE that led to Adam and Eve’s downfall. So…there’s something kind of appropriate in turning the deceptively wholesome apple into a crinkly, creepy ornament. I’m not sure why shrunken apple heads had their zenith of popularity in the 1970s, but with the DIY aesthetic that’s been booming for awhile now (I’m looking at you, Etsy), I figured the time was ripe for a tutorial for the Gothtober masses. Start now and you can have oodles of tiny, devious faces looking at you from every corner of your house by Halloween. I taught a class on making shrunken apple heads this summer at ScareLA in Los Angeles and one attendee told me she was planning to make a wreath-like necklace of shrunken heads. I can’t even begin to imagine how fantastic that is going to look!

The Gothtober masses couldn’t be happier with this opportunity to dehydrate as many “heads” as possible, thanks, Professor Chadwick!