The Gothic Tea Society: Keeping the ‘Net Macabre
By Kristin Battestella
Kbatz here taking a midnight brunch this evening and spending a few moments with Wednesday Black, mistress and founder of The Gothic Tea Society website!
The Gothic Tea Society Page describes the Society’s focus as attention toward “all those Macabre, Arcane, Creepy, & Dark things we can’t get enough of” in addition to the promotion of the Gothic Culture and arts. How did the creation of the blog come about? Why did you feel the need for such a site back in 2009?
I created the blog as a vehicle to explore, discuss and visualize those things that I define as Gothic. While there is a general conception of what is Gothic in our shared cultures, there are also many subtle and not so subtle differences that just add to the complex beauty mixed with macabre that to me, defines Gothic.
My own concept of ‘Goth’ has a pretty wide angled lens, so I knew that there would be others who might appreciate my eclectic tastes. I was right, there are lots of people with a similar view. I try to include all leanings of Gothic, from the most basic old school to the Cyber-goth crowd. I really think there is room for everyone.
One thing I focus on are dark and alternative artists. There are some really talented gothic leaning artists out there and I have had a great time over the last few years being introduced to them, usually by the people who read The Gothic Tea Society Blog and FB page. This year, I have started a series of interviews with Artist whose work I have found incredible. They are all so creative and talented, but they all have a different eye, and they all have interesting stories. I also use The Gothic Tea Society to promote Artists, Gothic shops ( Online as well as Brick and Mortar) and Events world wide. All readers are encouraged to share their own wares or favorites. Of course I always appreciate efforts to spread the word about The Gothic Tea Society FB page and Blog. Anyone who follows The Gothic Tea Society Facebook page knows that I also welcome ‘shameless self promotion’
The Facebook companion page for The Gothic Tea Society has over 20,000 likes. Did you ever think there was such a huge online community in need of refined Goth media?
Yes, I did. The great thing about The Gothic Tea Society is that there is something for everyone. As a result there are many readers who have a sense of ‘gothic appreciation’ but would not consider themselves to be Goth. I have had people write to say that they are ‘Goth curious’ or that they enjoy things with a gothic feel but due to a variety of reasons they aren’t comfortable openly expressing it in their daily dress and decor.
Once considered the nonconformists of the club, Goth stylings have become much more mainstream and wow, I want to say popular. Do you think there are still misconceptions about the Goth and underground communities today?
Sure there are. Most commonly that anyone ‘Goth’ has something to do with Satan or some sort of Anti- Religion agenda. That if some one finds beauty in ‘darkness’ it is because they are depressed and unhappy. In our culture (western) wearing black is for funerals and mourning so if you wear black all the time you crave sadness and despair.
Speaking for myself, I do adore death culture and by that I mean the beautiful art, history and ritual associated with it.
I am an avid cemetery lover and photographer. I also love skulls, skeletons, halloween and bats too! I find quite a bit of beauty in things macabre. But all that said I do not enjoy slasher and bloody horror or violence. That surprises some people, but to me one is natural and the other quite unnatural and unnecessary.
How do you handle some of the hateful spammers and normals who erroneously think that any and all Goths, folks who dress in black, Halloween enthusiasts, Wicca practitioners, Satanists, Zombie survivalists, punk, emo, etc. groups are one in the same evil and scary people?
Actually, to date, I have rarely encountered that sort of internet troll harassment. The way I see it is , if my blog or page offends you in any way. . then click off of it! You need not expose yourself to something that upsets or offends you. We all have that free will.
I am careful to keep clear of anything political and I will delete any post that attempts to get political. I will also not allow rants or porn posts on The Gothic Tea Society. There are lots of pages and places for those things, GTS is not one of them.
Anyone who groups all the people that you mentioned under one label does so out of their own ignorance. I personally don’t have time to debate with the uninformed.
The GTS offers news, interviews, and photos both Victorian and sophisticated and modern or punkish in humor. How do you define Goth for yourself and the Society? Are the sub divisions, Goth specializations, and new labels good or bad do you suppose?
As I mentioned, I try to include photos, stories, and links that someone with very eclectic Gothic tastes might enjoy. I am sure not everything is for everyone, but I try for a good mix and I think I do ok.
I have a pretty encompassing Gothic scope. In my view, something is ‘Goth’ if it has a certain, sometimes undefined dark beauty, or melancholy aura about it. It is more of a feeling of macabre esthetic that defines it for me. I feel it as much as I see it.
I think the various sub divisions are great. Each one exists because someone said ‘ Yes, this feels like me, but I also want to add this twist’. They add it and a new look, music or piece of art is created!
You also helm several more creepy sites and pages including The Daily Witch, November Obscura, and Wednesday’s Attic. How do you manage such an online active lifestyle? Do you have a specific schedule or is it certain arcane material per page?
The Daily Witch is a fun eclectic witchery page on Facebook, created for the sole purpose of sharing my favorite witchy finds from around the net. I try to post at least one thing daily, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.
November Obscura is a company that my husband and I founded together as an outlet for our photography and travel projects. It has a Blog and a FB page as well. We have a plethora of blog posts upcoming on that one. Currently there are all sorts of topics in the Blog, including lots of cemeteries!
Wednesdays Attic is my personal Blog. There I post about things that I find interesting. I find many odd things of interest so I include things like that. It is somewhat macabre and strange because , well, it is my blog.
Schedule! That is a word that follows me around quite a bit because I spend at least 5 days a week on a tight one! I work full time with a very long commute. I use the commute to plan blog posts, interviews and projects. Ok, sometimes I talk on the phone too, but hands free of course!
I use a little time before and after work each day to check in with my funny creative and interesting friends on FB on my own page, then share, and post on The Gothic Tea Society’s FB. If I have a Blog to post such as an interview I usually do that after work on a weeknight. I also have a few incredibly clever friends that I have met through The Gothic Tea Society that contribute to the blog. I have taken notice of them for their original style, creativity and keen wit and I invite them to become contributors to the Blog. They are marvelous! I am open to guest bloggers as well. It can be time consuming but it is a labor of love.
Who are some of your inspirations or favorites of the aforementioned Macabre or Creepy in literature or television and film? What music are you listening to right now?
Literature- I was always a huge Anne Rice reader. My favorite books are ones about death rituals, art and cultural mores. History, religion, and folklore.
Most of my TV watching consisted of documentaries or historical biographies, that was until I became hooked on Six Feet Under and then Dexter. (I am sensing a theme!)
I confess to being a rather Burtonesque style Goth. I give Mr. Burton quite a bit of credit for bringing black and purple out into the light of day, and making it ‘cool’ to love the arcane and creepy! His movies and characters have allowed a great many people to embrace the creepy they didn’t even know they had in them.
As for music, unlike most who find their way to Goth through music, I found my way through Art and other visual media. My preferred music is found between 1920 and 1950. I particularly love Violin, Cello and piano.
I am not listening to anything now, except my cat who is complaining to me.
What social advice or styling tips would you give to the budding Goth enthusiast? How is one to stay true to themselves and not be a poser in today’s era of trends, changes, and wannabes?
Find what you like, what feels good for you and go from there. I don’t think there are hard defining lines on things like ‘what is gothic’ anymore so terms like poser and wannabe are obsolete. The only boundaries that exist are the ones you put up or allow. It’s ok to be eclectic.
What’s your favorite part of administering the Gothic Tea Society?
The fabulously interesting readers! I have met so many fascinating people!
Thanks Again Wednesday for taking the time to speak to Horror Addicts!!
My pleasure. Thank you for your interest in The Gothic Tea Society!
To get in on the Goth action yourself, visit The Gothic Tea Society at the following links:
The Cemetery Photos featured here tonight are also from Ms. Wednesday and November Obscura. Awesome!