The leaves turn yellow, the air gets colder, Halloween creeps nearer, and the Dark
Magick Arts and Crafts Faire returns to Portsmouth, NH, for its third year. On Sunday, Sept. 23, over 35 artists specializing in what the general public might refer to as “dark” or “creepy” assembled at 3S Artspace on 319 Vaughn Street. They presented and sold items ranging from buttons and soap to metal skulls and fake human body parts.
The Faire occupied two rooms in the Artspace. Turning right from the entrance, attendees found themselves in a light-filled, quiet area with a handful of stands lining the walls. The contents of the latter, however, left no doubts about the event taking place. Patches, buttons, T-shirts and prints, albeit magic-themed, were among the few ordinary items on sale. Glasswork, brooms, antlers, potions and metal skulls, however, attracted more attention.
For Andrea Abbott, the Dark Magick Arts and Crafts Faire is an opportunity to bring
her unusual hobby into the light. When not working for her full-time job at L.L. Bean, Abbott makes brooms.
“Two years ago, I took broom-making, and I fell in love with it,” said Abbott, “It’s one of my side hobbies…. This is what I do to be creative.”
On the other side of the room, a different vendor attracted attention with her unusual twist on ordinary items.
“I am selling silver spoons with cemetery dioramas,” Kristin Lane said. “I started making (dioramas) because everyone puts (silver spoons) in the drawer and doesn’t get to look at them, so I wanted to make something you can show in your home and still enjoy, like a beautiful antique that has history with, like, a new twist.”
“I think that people have a fascination with the macabre and the dark arts, and everything sort of fun and creepy and interesting and unique,” Lane said of the Faire. “There is always something quirky to buy or some interesting people to meet. It’s something different, I guess.”
The second showroom had the dark atmosphere one would expect to encounter at an
event like this. The room was dark, with eerie music drowning out most of the other sounds. The vendors, with their black clothes, hoods, colorful hair and a large number of piercings, seem to fit right in with the products they offered. Some might gloomily watch visitors move from stand to stand, while others may pour several buttons into one’s hand when asked for a picture.
Things like T-shirts and buttons were still here, only now the prints depicted more
graphic scenes of violence and sexual intercourse (in which the Devil was frequently involved), expletives (occasionally targeted at President Donald Trump) and symbols commonly interpreted as Satanic. Metal skulls were replaced with real bones, a stuffed deer head overlooked the room with a blank stare, and fake, although very realistic, human body parts collected patrons’ gasps from a corner. The Faire lived up to its advertisement.
Kim Morrison, of Primal Adornments, has been making “nature-themed art, jewelry
and home décor” for 5 years, and a year and a half ago made it her full-time job. Her stand had a definite aesthetic, strewn with flowers, wood pieces, and animal bones and skulls. The deer head loomed menacingly over Morrison’s creations.
“I think (my hobby) was just a mixture between, like, being obsessed with nature and
oddities in general,” Morrison said. “I started cleaning bones in my apartment and it got out of control.”
The Dark Magick Arts and Crafts Faire is an annual event in Portsmouth, with old and
new creators coming in to share their odd yet beautiful creations. The admission fee in 2018 was $6 for general admission and $10 for VIP early admission passes, not including tax.