• HOME

Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015: A Retrospective

Failte readers, and happy holidays! I hope you've been spoiled, and that you've been doing some spoiling of your own in return.

I was already feeling the Hogmanay vibes earlier on in December to coincide with the solstice, and the urge for a seasonally appropriate purge is become stronger with each day. Part of these rituals is saying goodbye to the old year, and good grief it's been a wild ride. For anyone who's been wondering about the reason for the lack of updates on here - hold onto your hats.

The year started off tumultuously, but even through the difficult times I was grateful for the good it brought. I furthered my interest in the occult, leveled up my make up game, and rediscovered a lot of old passions I'd been neglecting. I watched the eclipse with an (I think, anyway) ingenious combination of a pin hole and a sheet of paper, and fed my excitement for the approaching new series of Twin Peaks with a 25th anniversary party

Academia always comes into play, but after a stressful month of revision and exams I grabbed my bags and high tailed it to the Amsterdam markets for my first holiday abroad in years. It's a fascinating city, and definitely one that benefits from some insider knowledge - another visit is definitely happening.

For my self selected projects, I did some art therapy experience and completed a crash course in BSL (life lesson: do not confuse the verb and noun forms of the word 'dog') - I didn't quite realize it at the time, but it kickstarted the direction my research and professional work has gone on to take. It wasn't all hard graft however, and on discovering I'd passed my exams (with a good grade!) I celebrated with a week long art and clubbing extravaganza, and found out that the djcad students had been working just as hard. 

The summer was a very Scottish one, but I was that busy fighting the system and moving into a flat I'm over the moon with (still no real photos of it on here, somehow) the awful weather didn't distract me too much. I fell in love with Barcelona and its relationship with art in my second holiday abroad of 2015, and started a commission piece of my own that I'm still working towards finishing. 

I kept dancing through the year, even teaching my first class in burlesque in the autumn (having only started about a month before - how did that happen?), and I discovered a real talent for solo blues. The new semester saw a fresh haircut and a new research degree, as well as my officially becoming an adult - I watched the pagan Samhuinn display, greeted the blood moon, and realized that if you take care of your skin it will look better. 

Whilst on An Honest Drug we missed most of this crazy productivity, after a spell away from blogging we got the camera working again and welcomed some firsts on the blog. We were featured in a magazine, and ran our first interview with the absolutely lovely Tyler Thrasher. I am sad that I didn't post as much over the past months, but it just makes me more determined to do so next year. 

It's been a far more colorful and varied year than I realized, and I'm glad I put so much effort into taking care of myself so that I could do it. 2015 definitely feels like a year where I got more comfortable settling into my skin, and seriously dedicated my time to shaping a life I love. 

Till 2016,

Fiona C. 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Obsession: Phryne Fisher

Happy belated winter solstice, everyone! Are we enjoying the marginally longer day today? I've definitely got the new year feeling strong, even if I'm several days early by Gregorian standards.

I've made good again this year on my belief that winter is for hibernating and productivity, and now that all my Christmas preparation is out the way I have time to binge on some pop culture and start Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. One season in and I'm furious that I was so slow to pick up on this gem, but I'd explode if I didn't share the feelings on here; there's a reason I've been raving about it to anyone who stops moving for long enough.

Set in 1920s Melbourne, the show is the latest in a grand tradition of period sleuths solving baffling murders, and whilst it can be a bit over the top it's very charming in doing so. Lord knows I love a lady detective, and Phryne Fisher is no exception - she's the image of a twenties transgressive flapper, who flies planes, wears trousers, and benignly schools all the men around her - all whilst holding a mother-of-pearl revolver and looking utterly flawless. Truly, an inspiration for us all.

And can we talk about her wardrobe? I know I'm keen for art deco, but I've been salivating over every single shot of her hair pieces - not to mention her coats. Having now looked into this, the costume team used a mix of reproduction wear, vintage, and specially made pieces to create about 120 costumes for the show, and a new goal for my own closet. It's sumptuously decadent to the point of being unreal, but it makes for great inspiration.

Given this is the last post before Christmas, I hope all my readers have a great time over the holidays, regardless of what your plans are - rest, recuperate, and I'll see you for An Honest Drug's retrospective just before the new year!

Do you have any on-screen idols who you'd love to have the wardrobe of? Any things you're keen to do over the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!

Fiona C.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Christmas Wishlist: Bare Essentials

Although it's now December, between exams and dissertation work I haven't had the mental space to start feeling festive (or post on here, oops). Nonetheless, I've been listening to some appropriate music, stressing about present shopping, and searching for gift suggestions.

I feel like the older I get the less I actually want, but I always need some basics and investments. I've been interested in adding more foundation pieces to my wardrobe since finally getting Kiss Me Deadly's Van Doren Suspender Belt (which has exceeded all expectations as an everyday piece, and comes with the An Honest Drug recommendation for sure), though not all of them are 100% purely practical. And who doesn't ask for something woolly and cable knit at Christmas? Add a cup of tea and a good book, and I'm all set.

What's everyone else secretly looking at for themselves this holiday? Any festive music suggestions for the perpetually noel-phobic? Let me know below!

Fiona C.

Friday, 6 November 2015

INTERVIEW: Tyler Thrasher Art

All images used with permission of Tyler Thrasher. 

Being balanced in the liminal space between the world of medicine and art, I spend about as much time finding new artists and inspiring myself as I do learning how to treat people - at its most discrete, it's still two sides of the same coin for me. 

It was in one of these late night art binges way back in spring that I chanced across Tyler Thrasher, a graduate of Missouri University working in the very unique field of crystalline taxidermy; as well as a dizzying range of skills ranging from traditional media to caving and electronic music, Thrasher has combined his creative process with his passion for alchemy and perfected the unpredictable process of growing almost parasitic crystals on cicadas, bones, and shells. The result is unique transformations that take nature's detritus and form it into a stunning work of art, which forms part of the recent revival of artistic interest in the occult and ritual. 

As you can tell, I enjoy enthusing to others about things that excite me, so I emailed Tyler and he graciously agreed to an interview that I've shared with you readers.

I saw you’ve just got back from Iceland – it seemed like a good trip! How has it been inspiring you?

Iceland is literally one of most magical places I've visited! Absolutely unreal, and it's been a huge inspiration. I already draw a lot of inspiration from natural themes, especially while I'm hiking or caving. Iceland is so drastically different from any other landscape I've seen and its really been giving me a fresh lens to view my work through. I've been playing with ideas regarding moss and lichen, which are an absolute abundance in Iceland. So we'll see where that goes!

The transformative nature of the geography does lend itself to your style. What impact has the different places you’ve lived in had on your work?

I don't really feel like I had anything to call "my work" until I moved to Springfield, Missouri for school. That's where I really began hiking, caving, and producing music. I really rediscovered myself while studying in Missouri, and the gorgeous Ozark terrain did play a huge role in my work. That's also where I began synthesizing my own crystals as well, something you pick up on while exploring miles of underground passage. I also didn't really realize til you asked this question either, but my style does temporarily change while I'm travelling. There seems to be a cohesive aesthetic of everything I make while on a particular trip that doesn't last when i get return home. It may be a mixture of the environment, landscape, palette, and personal/ emotional investment towards that trip.

During the summer I visited Barcelona, and was very inspired by the work of Antoni Gaudi; the overlap between mathematics and nature was something that spoke to me in your pieces too. How do the different concepts in your art relate?

I've always found wonder in chemistry and the subatomic particles that make up the material world. The reason I love chemistry is because it's one of the more concrete sciences. You can quantify nearly every aspect of it, and break it down to near exact numbers. Some of other scientific fields can be more subjective and theoretical, and while those fields have their own category of inspiration and wonder - I prefer studying the physical materials that we and everything else are comprised of.

That's really interesting, as beyond the chemistry crystallization process seems so unpredictable! As well as your famous crystallized pieces, you’re constantly expanding the other mediums you work in. What is the attraction in this for you?

I'm honestly just intrigued by so freaking much. While crystallization is a weird unconventional artistic medium, I do think it's important to study and celebrate the more traditional mediums that have stood the test of time. Also, I just really enjoy making stuff! My creative process is sort of a domino effect, I go from inspiration to inspiration, painting to painting, and series to series and eventually I stumble on a unique and exciting idea that is either feasible and possible with my given resources, or outlandish and to be reserved for a later time or someone else.

You spend a lot of time sharing your process on Instagram and Facebook, amongst other platforms, and not a few locations have been subject to a #thrashcache. As well as the obvious benefits in notoriety, is accessibility of art and engagement with the public something you value?

ABSOLUTELY. This is sort of a topic I take very passionately, so I will keep my response short of a rant ha ha!

Art in my self-validated opinion has always been about community and sharing ideas, and I think that's an element we should always keep in the practice of art. Art can be a very selfish practice as well. There are too many artists who expect society and their community to keep them afloat while they lock themselves up in the studio and give back very little. While I do think it's valuable and necessary for society to take care of it's artists, I do think it is vital that these creatives share their genius with society (not to say I'm a genius, ha ha!), but it is important that you spread your ideas and work with others. There's no telling how you could inspire them, or better yet, how they can inspire you. 

There's such an amazing community of individuals who have and are funding my work regularly and I still haven't figured out how to handle/ comprehend it. It all happened so fast that my only response right now is "Oh god! Here have some free s***!" I regularly do art drops as a tiny thank you towards the people who engage with my work, and for those who haven't found my work yet, and while I know my work isn't for everyone (as is true with literally everything but air and food) I'll usually purchase a gift card to leave behind for the establishment that's letting me leave my art there. This way if someone doesn't like the work, they at least found a free coffee! There are so many other ways to give back to society and I'm still trying to figure all of those out, as leaving behind a bunch of prints and crystallized dead stuff has it's limitations.

What’s coming up in the future?

A lot! I'm working on a game with Proteus Pixel called "Through Ashes and Fog". I will be the lead animator and artistic director for this indie game! I will also be putting out a small book comprised of my digital insect/alchemy paintings. I also have a few shows here and there and I will be putting in some serious time and energy into a new House album which will feature a slight change in my musical sound.

Tyler Thrasher can be found at his official website,, as well as on Facebook and Instagram. If you're interested in supporting him further, he also has a Storenvy and a Patreon

Fiona C. 

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Samhain 2015!

Like the dead, I rise to write again. What kind of goth wouldn't post on All Hallow's, anyway?

Samhain (or Samhuinn) is the Gaelic festival to mark the end of harvest and the beginning of the darker months; as with all transitions, it's an open threshold, where the boundaries between worlds are thin as paper - which has both benefits and dangers. I'm going down to Edinburgh to join in with the pagan celebrations this evening, and to remember departed loved ones (coincidentally, my gran's birthday would have been tomorrow. I clearly got the witch gene from someone). I might even dook for apples!

Though I've really missed posting on here, I've found it difficult to find a suitable place to take pictures in my new flat (in part due to the fading light), and thus despite wearing a lot of on-point outfits I've not been able to chronicle them. I'm loving this split skirt, however, and my brother got me one amazing hat for my birthday.

So I hope that, regardless of how you're celebrating - or even if you're not! - you stay safe and happy, and your winter is even better than your autumn. Here at An Honest Drug, I've got a lot of exciting things lined up, including the blog's first interview, so stick around for that.

And if you're out after dark, make sure you look scary enough to frighten the monsters!

Fiona C.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Life: Opening Windows

New hair, new course, new glasses. We're halfway through september and at the start of the academic year - and having moved flats (photos to come) and just started a year's research project, I was feeling like somebody had opened a window for some air.

I haven't had hair this short for years now, and if anything I'm excited to cut it shorter. I've also been growing my nails out, and the contrast between the two aspects of my appearance is interesting (even if I spend every waking moment terrified of breaking them). Playing with femininity and how I appropriate that has been fascinating me for a while now, and I've been influenced significantly in this by hard femme identity in lesbian culture; androgyny is great too though, hence the hair cut.

This year I'm taking a break from medicine to do some clinical research; it's a big change for me and I don't know how I feel about all the statistics yet, but I'm excited to learn how to incorporate evidence based medicine into my practice, and contribute in some small way to the research community. Between this and settling back into university life however, it does mean life will be somewhat hectic and blog updates might be spotty for a while.

As for the glasses, the stars aligned and I found the frames by chance for £30 in my optician's sale. Cat's eye frames are something I've fancied for a while now, but that doesn't mean that there was any forward planning. 

Has anyone else had changes in their life recently, big or small? How is autumn (or spring, depending on hemisphere) going for everyone? Let me know below.

Fiona C. 

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Review: Karma Se7en Jewellery

There's a lot of reasons I don't particularly plan on getting piercings - above all, an irrational dislike of committing to anything regarding my appearance. This is revealed at its most absurd regarding the only piercing I have seriously considered; a septum piercing, probably the easiest to hide and the most easily removed. I accept all judgement you heap on me, piercing aficionados. 

Karma Se7en recently sent me some (very well packaged) faux septum clickers along with an ear cuff (some of which you'll have seen already if you've got me on instagram or twitter), and I'm really happy with these pieces. They're much more difficult to bend and get in than the septum ring I reviewed from Body Jewellery Shop - gosh, that was a while ago - and do wobble slightly on account of being heavier pieces (like a real piercing, how high/low these sit depends on your own personal anatomy, and some suit me better than others), but they're well made and have a range of designs I really love, and all for buy-one-get-one-free. All designs are available for pierced noses too. The ear cuff is even better, being comfortable and easy to bend around your ear.

And what's the point of going through the hassle of a piercing when I can just pop one of these beauties in and carry on with my day? I'm lazy, but that doesn't mean I need to compromise.

Fiona C.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Barcelona: Four Days and Four Nights

Sun, sangria, and so much art. On exiting the airport, I was immediately accosted by the most Spanish of smells: drains. Yet it wasn't detracting - Barcelona is a city that sits balanced between decay and vitality, with the numbing heat made bearable by the cold saltiness of its seafood. Nowhere is this more perfectly found in the mordernisme buildings of Antoni Gaudi, where bones and living forms are used equally, and the underlying geometry of nature's undulating shapes revealed. Even as a long time lover of brutalism and bauhaus, I cried whilst visiting Casa Batlló it was so lovely.

Of course, there was some time spent drinking silly cocktails on the beach and trawling overpriced tourist shops, but I was touched by just how much the Catalonians cared about their art and civic spaces; graffiti and sculpture were treasured side by side, and I listened and danced to a live jazz concert on the roof of the world heritage site La Pedrera. You can see more of my photos from this brief break on my Instagram (where I also post lots of things that don't make it to the blog), and maybe again in future if I manage to make it back.

Have you visited another city recently? What's your opinions on art in public spaces? Let me know below.

Fiona C.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Bones you have thrown me: Skull Collection 2015

As you can probably guess my camera has been repaired, and I've been putting it to use by photographing a few pieces from my bone collection. I've mentioned previously that taxidermy isn't really my thing, and that still holds true; the anatomist in me appreciates the stripped nature of bone, and their endurance.

Most of the bones I've collected were ones I'd found, specifically in the highlands, but this jackdaw skull is one purchased from The Fox Den I received for my birthday last year. I specifically asked for a jackdaw as I have fond memories of a tamed young jackdaw I knew from when I was a kid sitting on my head and trying to eat my hair (it's really no surprise to anyone that I turned out the way I did), and wanted a way to remind me of him. It fits perfectly in my smaller glass cloche, and it was fun making an arrangement for it.

One of the advantages of being friends with the river bailiff (aside from local gossip and occasional free fishing for my dad) is how he called us completely out of the blue one day to tell us that there was a deer skull beside the river if we wanted it. It absolutely stank out the car on the way back, but it now sits proudly in the garden waiting to be cleaned and mounted.

My most recent addition is something I've coveted for a while, and so fragile I'm afraid to touch it - a complete mole skeleton. I got it on eBay for £30 (my mum shook her head and said I needed supervision for going online when I told her), and the skull is so tiny and perfect, like a baby's fingernail. It really deserves a display to showcase it, but until I either articulate it or frame it (the latter more likely, due to its delicacy) I'll share this.

Do you collect bones or curios? Anything you'd particularly like to see? Let me know below!

Fiona C.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Why I dress the way I dress

I'm returned from the highlands, readers, fresh and prepared for life again. It's good to be back; I feel energized and ready to take on projects, so watch this space.

I was featured in the inaugural edition of Qoive, an online fashion magazine, earlier in the week, and it's very humbling to appear alongside other significantly bigger bloggers. I was posed the question, 'how do you describe your style?', and it was actually a very interesting exercise in self analysis. From gender to privilege to your taste in films, I think it's really important to dissect how you relate to the world around you, even if it's only to put the pieces back together, the same as before, safely at the end. I gave the article the following quote about how I relate to the clothes I choose to wear -

"I see my clothing choices as being influenced by the eighties, the early twentieth century, modernism, and futurism, depending on what day of the week it is; a limited colour palette does not equal limited options. It reflects a fierceness within me, whether I’m wearing my grandmother’s pearls or a patch-covered jacket I fished out of a pile in Amsterdam, and a complete rejection of looking passably normal. It’s your mother’s style, but put through a meat grinder."

The way a person dresses and interacts with what they put on their body tells you a lot about them. Black is a blank canvas for me to play my influences and ideas across, wherever that takes me, and clothing - inherited, found, created, destroyed - has served as a means both conscious and unconscious to express alienation from normality. Neil Gaiman, in the wake of Terry Pratchett's passing, posted an old article he wrote about the driving anger behind his fellow author's work, and though it would be egotistical to compare myself to its subject it was intensely relatable; the artist Eliza Gauger describes the key to art making as being a 'berserker state' of compulsive need, and it's this fierce energy that makes me get dressed in the morning. Then, of course, post it online.

I want to know; what makes you dress the way you do? What prompts you to curate your appearance? Please, let me know - I'd be very interested to find out. 

Fiona C.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Wish you were here: Sutherland, Scotland

A few select photos from my family's hermitage up in Sutherland, Scotland. Sinking my feet into sheepskin rugs, rural junk shop finds, and the buzzard's nest outside my window are what I'm all about right now.

Hiding out from the whole world is great, and I've been putting the relief of a holiday into good effect - the clear air makes a great feedstock for hatching new plans. What do you think of the new site design, by the way? Two whole days were eaten up doing the sodding coding; no blog design service for me, no sir.

Oh, and I made a new friend. His name is Buddie, and he loves sugar cubes and chin scratches.

An Honest Drug will be briefly running on auto pilot for the next week, so don't expect much in the way of posts or responses until then. You can still find me on Instagram and Twitter, however!

Fiona C.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Style: Cosmic Pioneer

Fiona C (An Honest Drug is crouched in front of a mottled dark grey background. She is wearing a black tank top, black sunglasses, alien botany leggings, a grey snood, and knee high black lace up boots.

Ah, personal fashion posts. How I've missed thee. As much fun as it is doing shopping picks and talking about gigs, I made this blog to post my own style, and I've not done so in a long time.

I received these Alien Botany leggings by Zoetica to commemorate surviving my teenage years and making twenty, and they've become the intergalactic cosmonaut equivalent of blue jeans - by which I mean they're worn constantly, with everything. I have a few criticisms - they were very late in arriving, and the pattern does not match up properly at the inner leg seam - but ultimately I am extremely happy with these, and always get compliments on them.

Fiona C. (An Honest Drug) poses against an off white background, wearing a black tank top, a grey snood, and round black sunglasses. She faces the left, and flexes her arm in a rosie the riveter pose.

Lots of things are in motion right now. I've moved flats, started work on some exciting blogging collaborations (watch this space), made a lot of art, and am considering starting selling some of it online; new ground is being broken every day.

Stay strong and fruitful, followers!

Fiona C.

What have you been up to recently? Do you have any clothing items that are in constant rotation? Let me know below!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

White Snapdragons

I was talking to a friend about my favourite flowers a few days ago (alstroemerias, unusual orchids, and sunflowers - I love irises, but not half as much as how Van Gogh paints them), which got me thinking about what favourite flowers are. In true polyamorous fashion, I love all flowers - there's few I wouldn't decorate my house with - but favourite flowers are something you expect the important people in your life to know. It's a weirdly specific and personal preference. 

Black has traditionally been my favourite colour for flora; aside from the goth cred, they look ridiculously luxurious and rich, even if they are inbred. But this week, in the conclusion of an epic saga that has lasted over six months, John Lewis caved and sent my mother a bouquet by way of apology for the faulty sofas they delivered her. Along with over £1,000 of reimbursement, but I still don't understand how she managed to haggle that. 

Along with some stalk (good), lots of baby's breath (better), and plenty greenery (best), there was few stalks of white snapdragon that are a delight to touch; the knobbly, unopened buds feels like peach fuzz. They're pretty too - a perfectly tapered shape, with interestingly formed flowers. 

Plus, how terrifying are these seed pods? I should listen to myself and use white more often. 

What's your favourite flower? Do you like botany as deliriously as me? Let me know below!

Fiona C.