Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Serene Isley puts armbinder to work...

Serene Isley has been kind enough to keep me posted on the things the armbinder I made for her a while back has been up to, including a supporting role in the video posted here on clips4sale.comIt is really fun and rewarding to see something I made being put to good use. Especially on a tall, hobbled, ball-gagged blonde beauty. Thanks, Serene! Keep up the good work...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Seabrook Hood - An Update...

Seabrook drawing on a hood made of velvet.

I just received an email from my friend PJW (the great fetish photographer), who may have more information about the William Seabrook-commissioned hood I wrote about in my last post. He thinks I might have the wrong hood pictured in the post, and I'll be the first to admit, I might...

He sent a link to a Click Magazine story, circa November 1942. (You can download the complete scan here at OldMagazineArticles.com.) The article is about Seabrook, his travels and writings, and experiments, and includes an image of a woman (possibly Seabrook's 3rd wife Constance?) in the hood shown below:

Note the torn leather at the neck in front - obviously a thin leather was used, probably for the tightest possible fit. Also, I'm thinking the hood was probably used quite a bit! 
 The caption to the article seems to describe the same hood mentioned in "Witchcraft Its Power In The World Today" – "...a leather hood of skin-tight glacĂ© kid. Made to order by an Italian leather artisan..."

 The article has a couple of other images as well, including one of another hood mentioned in "Witchcraft,"- the one made of suede leather. This photo is interesting to me because it shows a  studded collar in use which I believe is the same one depicted by the surrealist photographer Man Ray. 
 I also enjoyed seeing the collection of artifacts, masks and furniture Seabrook collected on his travels around the world. It's hard to me to believe that within 3 years of these photos being taken, Seabrook would take his own life by suicide. But he was obviously a man tormented by his own demons. 

As far back as 1934, in "The White Monk of Timbuctoo" he wrote:

"I myself am a free man in the limited sense that I am ready at all times to defy ordinary conventions at any price, including–if need be–that of my reputation or my money or my life, rather than forgo what I call my freedom–but I am neither good nor happy."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Anime shoes in real life by Mikio Sakabe

If you have an appreciation (as I certainly do) for cute Japanese Anime-girls tottering around in ridiculously high (or just extremely unusual, dare I say fetishy?) footwear, you just have to see the images from designer Mikio Sakabe's Autumn/Winter 2011/12 collection. A full gallery is here, and there is even video of the little cuties walking in them here. (Some brave girls even walk without help!) Originally spotted on NY Mag's list of the 50 Wildest, Most Torturous Shoes Of All Time, which can be found here. Definitely worth a look as well...

Justine in the mask... by William Seabrook

A friend from the internet recently sent me some pictures related to a project she is working on, and inadvertently gave me a few more pieces of a puzzle I've been trying to solve for close to 20 years now. I've mentioned William Seabrook before, and have been wanting to do a series of posts but have had a hard time summarizing all the many thing's I've learned about him. For now, let's just say he was an adventurer and writer with a definitely pervy streak, and an interest in bondage and sensory perception. At one point, he commissioned a sensory deprivation hood which was molded to a cast of his model's (subject's?) face and head. 

The intention was to block out all light and muffle outside sounds - to truly put her into a sensory deprived state for hours on end, in the hopes of exploring the altered states of consciousness that would result. 

The first (and only) image of this hood I had come across so far was the one immediately below which appeared in an article in the Fall 1994 issue of Body Play and Modern Primitives Quarterly magazine, published by Fakir Musafar. (Note: I've colorized the image to match what I think it might have looked like in real life.) 

Justine in the mask (colorized).
I had never seen anything like it, and wanted to know who made it, and how. Did Seabrook make it himself? Who came up with the design? For years I couldn't find anything else out about it. 

The additional pieces of the puzzle are the following photos my friend sent, which I had never seen before: an alternative shot of the front, showing the face turned slightly more towards the camera. 

New alternate view of front of hood.
And the one that literally made me come out of my chair: a rear-view showing the lacing and under-arm straps buckled to the rear. Holy s***! I couldn't believe my eyes... After countless searches online, and after reading every book by Seabrook (and about him) I could get my hands on, here was the holy grail I had been searching for. A rear view, giving me a pretty complete visual description of the whole mask. 

Based on the fact that the bra(?) straps aren't visible in the images below, it looks like the photos may even be from a completely different photo shoot. 
Newly discovered photo showing front and rear view with detail of laces and strap buckles.
The passage that describes the hood is to be found in Seabrook's 1940 book Witchcraft Its Power in the World Today. A few excerpts:

The mask we finally devised was partly my idea, and partly hers (Justine's)...

After we'd planned it, made a couple of sketches, and decided what we wanted, we went to see the best glove-and-leather expert I happened to know–at Ambercrombie and Fitch's.*

They were a bit British about it, lifted their eyebrows since it had no precedent, but not too highly, since I'd bought a lot of African equipment–and thought it might be done. The cost, however, if they did it, what with a mold of the young lady's head to work from, what with trial and probably error–might be pretty steep. They weren't passionately desirous of undertaking it at any price, and suggested that some less expensive leather-worker who specialized in theatrical costuming might be found who could do it just as well, and at a lower figure. I took their always excellent advice, and we were given the address of an elderly Italian named Sinatra,** who limped a little and had a shop of his own with half a dozen workmen in a converted brownstone house on West 47th street, east of Broadway. He was interested, precisely because it involved the making of something which had never been made before, and in a week or so turned out a beautiful, skilled, craftsman-artist's job. 

It was made, on his advice, of soft, smooth, glacĂ© kid. We experimented first with suede, but (believe it or not) any suede which was soft enough and light enough provided not to be completely lightproof. The smooth leather, on the contrary, was as lightproof as a sheet of lead. 

The mask covered Justine's entire head, following all the contours of her face, and, when laced tight in the back, fitted smoothly and tightly as her own skin. The only opening was a slit for the mouth, which followed the lines of her lips, and through which she soon learned to breathe, deeply and steadily. 

But now that it was done, and she began to wear it, she went through periods of hating it and fearing it, because it accomplished, as she said, too completely, the things we'd hoped it would.

Instead of producing the ordinary effect of blindfolding, or of closing the eyes, her eyes, wide open inside it, stared in utter blackness. Sense of smell was blanked, since there were no holes for the nostrils. Sense of hearing was dulled, and the tactile sensitivity of her cheeks (normally feeling warmth, coolness, air currents, when a window was opened or closed, when she was merely blindfolded) was likewise blanked. It shut her off–as completely as a conscious mind can ever be shut off–from everything outside. Often, in what came close to panic, she could not tell whether I or anybody was in the room at all, whether I might be close beside her, or whether I had gone away and left her there totally alone. It was like being back, she said, "in the womb of time." And it was more than she bargained for. There were times when she hated and feared it, and would have torn it off if I hadn't kept her hands always tied or chained, well away from her face and head. Eventually she became accustomed to it, gave up "fighting" it, let it "take her," as she said–and ended up liking it. She wanted to be in it whenever she could, even when I might have to go away and leave her all day alone, as I occasionally did. †

* Remember, this is in the late 1930s, when Ambercrombie and Fitch's was (according to Wikkipedia) "...an elite outfitter of sporting and excursion goods, particularly noted for its expensive shotguns, fishing rods, and tents."
** (!)
 - Never a good idea to leave anyone unattended in a hood. Ever! 

What do you wear to a fetish party?

I had a friend ask what we were planning to wear to an upcoming fetish party, as they had never been to one before. In years past I might have gone in full perv regalia (such as head-to-toe latex), but since we were going with a few of our "non-freaky" friends I had to come up with something that wouldn't scare them (or the neighbors). I ended up doing some sketches to show her what people might typically wear to a fetish club. 

Generally, if you're a girl (or cross-dressing boy), it's your chance to unleash your inner call girl. I'm seeing body-bearing top and bottom in some shiny material, with maybe a waist-cincher and garter belt. Fishnet stockings, with long gloves and tall platform boots would be appropriate too, accessorized with a collar, wings and a magic wand if at all possible. 

For guys, I think it's a little harder, and all I could come up with was a emo-boy look, or the traditional leather daddy. I'm probably the worst person to ask about this sort of thing... Is there some other option for guys who want to get into the spirit, but not be cross-dressed or like the gimp from pulp fiction (not that there's anything wrong with those things!).... or even worse: street clothes! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Leather Punishment Sack

My drawing of a leather punishment sack, as described by William Seabrook.
I have been reading everything I can get my hands on by William Seabrook, in search of any references to bondage devices or techniques, and his relation to them. He's an American adventurer and author who traveled to exotic locations and wrote about his experiences in the 1930s and 40s - a time when such exploits were relatively rare. He also (later in life) explored bondage as a pathway to altered states of consciousness or perception. (I keep wanting to do a series of posts about him, but there is so much to tell, it's hard to get it all boiled down into small parts...) 

For now I want to share a passage from Seabrook's 1934 book The White Monk of Timbuctoo. The book is a biography of a white French missionary named Yakouba who eventually "goes native" after being assigned by the church to bring religion to the natives of (what's now) Timbuktu, in the west African nation of Mali. Seabrook writes about a large leather bag found at an abandoned Tuareg campsite:

"They found also a large empty cowhide bag, tanned soft and pliable but strong, with a heavy silver lock attached to the thongs which drew the neck shut. Nobody was able to guess its use, so when they returned they gave it to the mission as a curiosity. 
When the little baptized Tuareg cubs–the mission now had three–saw it brought in, they all began howling bloody murder and tried to run away. They were too scared at first to explain intelligibly, but one of them kept yowling, "Don't put me in it! Don't put me in it!" so the solution was easy to guess. Grown calmer, they told that they were put in such sacks for punishment–as white mothers will sometimes shut up a child in the closet. But as even this seemed insufficient to explain their terror at the mere sight of the sack, Yakouba kept questioning them further, until one of them said, "Big people sometimes scream and die in it." 

They got the full explanation later from a Bellah. It is rather ingenious. Putting bad children in such sacks for an hour or so is not their principal use. They are used to punish or torture grown-ups whom the Tuaregs do not wish to mutilate, particularly recalcitrant girls and women. They are stuffed in the sack with their knees doubled under their chin, their heads bent, their bodies drawn tight in a ball, and with a small hole left somewhere for the air to come in so they can't stifle. "Three or four days and nights of it," the Bellah said, would "completely tame the most rebellious." In the daytime the sack was left in the sun, at night it was rolled and left on a pile of sharp stones or camp gear such as tent-pegs, mallets, tools; if they moved from one camp to another, it was simply put on a camel with other baggage. 

Sometimes, he explained, the sack was first soaked with water so that after the supple leather "had been drawn as tight as possible, it would shrink in drying and become still tighter." Weak ones sometimes died, he said, but not often. Usually they "were not spoiled." It was amusing, though, he said, to hear them, after the first day, begging and pleading to have a spear stuck through them. Another amusing thing, he said, was that if they wanted to keep a girl that way a long time, they would fasten her in a tight ball with her head outside the sack so they could give her food and water."

There is no other mention of the sack (or any other type of bondage) in this book, but you can definitely get a sense of Seabrook's fascination with the object in question. As horrific as the experience sounds, I must also admit a part of me wants to try making such a device to see what may come of it (and to find out just how unbearable it might be).