Caves are all I can think about lately, so it seems. My obsession began with a viewing of Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a documentary about the earliest known cave paintings of the Chauvet Caves in southern France. As I reclined in my cushy theater seat, enraptured by waves of crystal sediment and the delicate atmosphere of a prehistoric cave, I found myself thinking: “I could live there.”
In this day and age, “shelter” seems to be a loosely defined concept. If there’s a roof to be had, folks are willing to live anywhere: tree houses, yurts, ice hotels. Thus my fantasy of a Flintstones-style life, deep within the earth’s surface, began to unfold. Simply roll aside a boulder and it’s possible to encounter a natural home for the ages. (And it seems many people have the same idea!)
Now, hear me out: You’d eventually grow used to the stalactite drippings. (Maybe you’d even enjoy their gentle trickling!) And the vibe would be ideal for a nice glass of wine and flickering firelight. But before you pack your bags and head for the hills (literally), it’s important to acquire the necessary accoutrements for a life abutting the boulders.
[Clockwise from top left: Sustainable Sheepskin Rug from tonusamu; Mini Fire Pot by Sky Parlor; Stone Back Bench by arborbarber; Cave Art Series - Three Ponies by Spirit Horse Gallery; Wind River Wall Textile by leroyzart; Fire Vase by anuart; Volcano No. 4 by Jeremy Miranda]
Far from ancient stereotypes of wooden clubs and one-shouldered tunics, the modern cave dweller can live in style and sophistication. The first thing to consider: textiles. Rock floors aren’t known for being forgiving, and an eclectic, cozy space that pays tribute to a cavern’s natural atmosphere is key. A nice stone bench or two would comfortably fit into the craggy environs. (And seats are always appreciated.)
[Clockwise from top left: Lance Fire Bowl by Erik R. Hendrickson; Guardien de la Voute Celeste by Some Milk; Vintage Llama Striped Rug from Lets Play Nice; Papier Mache Hedgehog Mask by Jevgenia Masks; Vintage Crystal Plate from 86 for the Home; Set of Three Vintage Arrows from Shaving Kit Supplies; Granite Stone Bowl by in2stone]
Nothing warms up a dank cave (really, “dank” is the only appropriate adjective here) like a roaring fire, safely contained within an industrial fire bowl made from elevator cable. Temper the stalactites’ innate beauty with primitive-inspired paintings, hefty stone housewares and masks created in nature’s likeness. That’s a hedgehog, by the way.
[Clockwise from top left: Orange Silk Beaded Blouse from Moon Child Vintage; Leather Hex Bracelet by LUXLA; 1940s Brown and Orange Silk Dress from Spano Vintage; Vintage Wooden Necklace from pinguim; Handmade Custom Leather Ankle Boots by zerkahloostrah; Vintage Sweater Jacket from My Favorite Vintage; Ivory Coast Necklace by Mama Shea Shea; 80s Tapestry Satchel from Verseau Vintage; Brown Leather and Brass Shoulder Harness by Zahiras Boudoir]
To me, cave fashion is designed for comfort and vibrance: brilliant orange silks and furry knits stand out against an often monotone backdrop. A little toughness flatters the soft silhouettes, so harnesses and hiking boots are apropos. Vintage gowns may seem tenuous, but their delicate beauty is ideal for an afternoon spent pondering the beauty of a vast underground lake.
Would you live in a cave? How would you do it?
Alison is Editor in Chief of the Etsy Blog. When she's not trawling Etsy for pottery, folk art, and vintage oddities, she enjoys exploring New York, historical nonfiction and thrifting. She loves a good cat video.