This week leading up to Halloween, we interviewed several notable creatives to get in the spirit. Our enchanting wanderings lead us to our final destination. In the dismal atmosphere of beautiful Russia, we meet designer, craftwoman, and sword worshiper, Helga aka Wicked.Witched.
“To be honest, I never celebrated Halloween as people usually do because it is too specific for my country. For me, it always felt like a look through the keyhole: a charming and mesmerizing part of another unknown culture which is far away from my homeland. Everything I know about Halloween has been drawn from cinematography, literature, music and other works of art. So I can not say I know enough about Halloween at all, but I always wanted to feel the real atmosphere of this holiday… Maybe someday?” – Wicked.Witched.
Hello Helga, how are you today?
Helga : I am almost buried below lots of different types of my current work but found a spare evening time to answer your questions! So excited. [smiles]
Can you tell us about yourself in a few lines?
H : It is a very difficult task to describe myself in one word without listing all of my occupations! I am an artist, graphic designer, crafter, HEMA fencer, solitary witch, sales assistant in the esoteric shop, antiques and oddities collector… But if you are interested in my art and craft side of life, I dedicate my creations to the eternal dark beauty of our world. I find my inspiration in bygone eras, ways of witchcraft and paganism, death and decadence and much more. And besides, I often use my negative emotions as an endless resource for sublimating something destructive to something creative, beautiful and inspiring.
An unavoidable question when we see your creations… Did you study drawing?
H : I have drawn since my early years and used to study by myself mostly. Though I have an education in the creative sphere: I graduated as a designer in industry a few years ago. But it didn’t make me a professional artist; I do not even want to become. Just prefer to still be a hobbyist with my own artistic view.
Do you remember the first time you handmake something? What were your feelings at the end of your confection?
H : No, I completely don’t remember! Absolutely sure it happened when I was a very little child. As I said, I always had a passion to create something; to draw, paint or craft, the way does not matter.
Sharp patterns seem to be everywhere. Starting with your nails, which appear in a lot of photos. Why this recurring motif of the pointed shape in your creations?
H : Probably I just like how the sharp forms look… So dangerous and aggressive but graceful and elegant at the same time. They remind of thorns and claws, gothic churches and hats the witches traditionally wear.
I could also have mentioned your unconditional love for swords. Is there a meaning behind the sword in your art?
H : Definitely it is! The sword is one of my most favorite symbols, very own and personal. It is a sign of the inner hidden power without purpose. You are a master of this energy, but how will you use it? The answer is literally in your arms.
You have an entire sword collection, if I’m not mistaken. How many do you have in total?
H : As for the real weapon, I’m an owner of a Federschwert longsword and a battle saber. Both weapons are training swords for HEMA fencing (Historical European Martial Arts). I also have 4 decorative daggers and collect sword related things, like jewelry for example. Yes, I am addicted to swords :)
You make sword brooches, don’t you?
H : I don’t, for now. But planning to!
Cross-cutting question. If you could have lived in another era, which one would you have chosen?
H : No doubt! Victorian era. In my opinion, it is the most aesthetic epoch during world history. And the very special part of their life has been devoted to… death! I can spend hours talking about their mourning and funeral rites. They obviously knew how fragile and transient our life is.
Let’s go back to your creations. One of them represents a tree of life whose leaves are replaced by moons. What do these moons represent?
H : Totally love this question!
H : Thank you for asking! The short description I wrote for this artwork: “At the beginning of January the thirteen lunar months are growing on the old tree’s branches and waiting for their time to rise and shine.” I started and finished it during the first days of January. This tree is a metaphor of a year. Not a common solar year, but a moon year. Every solar year contains 13 lunar months – the full periods of the moon cycle (29,5 days). The 13 phases of the moon symbolize these months. They are nesting at the branches of the tree of life preparing for their running through the time. And when the last lunar month ends, they are reborn and the cycle of a moon year begins again…
I find it quite common in your works to note a certain completeness between moon and sun, between shadow and light. I am wrong?
H : You are absolutely right! Contrasts, the dual sides of everything. It is a basic theory of my religious beliefs and an important part of my personality which my art is riddled by.
Do you have other themes than the moon and the sun that you would like to represent in your creations in the future?
H : First of all, I would like to return to images of witches from my earlier works. As for future ideas… Let me keep them a secret until they will be depicted. [smiles]
You sell each of your drawings on Etsy. What are the pros and cons of the platform?
H : I think I will not say something new. Fees, taxes and local restrictions as cons, reliability, payment safety and audience loyalty as pros. In summary, I recommend Etsy as a starting point for small businesses, but everyone makes their decision individually.
Your packages are themselves exquisite works of art. How and where do you have them made?
H : I do every package by myself at home: wrapping goods with paper, decorating by cotton threads and adding my signature stamps of seal wax. All black everything as my darklings love!
How will Wicked.Witched. spend Halloween in 2021?
H : As usual, I will find a spare minute to celebrate… Samhain, for sure. Carve the pumpkin, rearrange the altar, do some magick… and post something special via my Instagram to wish happy Halloween and blessed Samhain to my followers!
It was great being able to learn more about you, Helga!
H : I can say the same about answering your questions! Thank you so much for inviting me!
Our journey through magical villages and feeric worlds comes to an end. We’re hearing a little bell ringing. The cauldron’s bubbling. It’s time to dinner. Hope these sweet stories and fantastic encounters have kept you warm until October 31st. While now is the time to immerse yourself in horror, angst, and the sleepless Halloween night, you would not refuse one last cup of magical tea, would you? See you next year, pumpkins!