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Steampunk Dreamin'

There's actually a lot in my house that already works in a steampunk milieu; the chair I linked to in the last post (yes, I'm posting twice today.  Consider it an sort of apology for being so lax in the past year), my mercury glass and various antiques, not to mention half the furniture.  But it's the little touches that bring out the "punk", and it's not just covering everything with old watch gears.

(Oh, good news on the cool metal bed front - we found another that should fit, and has a nice Victorian - but not overpoweringly so - look to it.  Yay!)

One of the things I thought would be cool in my studio would be to store many of my art supplies in old tin canisters, the kind that used to store kitchen goods.  Apparently, I'm not alone in this desire - There's a company that sells through Amazon that makes vintage-looking canisters that are pre-aged. And The Country House also has aged grocery tins. My thought was to get new ones, since they wouldn't look aged in the Victorian era, and print interesting labels for entirely ficticious objects on them - "Mr. Filbert's Aether Bubbles", and "Dirigible Brand Safari Pencils - Guaranteed to write in the harshest conditions". With the right font and the right imagery, they'd look great, and keep a lot of my loose things (like pencils) under control.   Add some "spookier" objects, and you'd also have some cool Halloween decor. 

I love that kind of stuff.

"Things under glass" is another crafty category I love - I'm a big fan of the static display.  When I was younger, my father's office was always a fascinating place for me, as it was filled with thousands of curious and delightful things, and I remember many of my relative's houses being the same way.  In the case of houses like the one where my great-aunt Peg lived, it was almost like walking into a time-capsule, where nothing had changed for aeons, and hidden treasures lurked, forgotten, on shelves with books that had not been opened for fifty years. 

In fact, a number of the finer art pieces in my possession have come from my mother discovering a folio of old prints and watercolours in her house at Hedenham, and she gave to me because she thought I'd like them.  This is how I own multiple 18th Century etchings, and some gorgeous watercolours from the first decades of the 19th century (because there is no freaking way I'd afford them on my own).  I love to re-create the feeling of discovery and charm in my own house, and it's great fun for me to see people pick something up and marvel over it (This is also why I like doll houses so much).  Steampunk actually lends itself very well to that sense of discovery and treasure-hunting, as delightful things lurk on shelves and in half-lit corners; a lacy shawl half-draped over a glass dome reveals a curious mechanical insect perched on exotic flora; an absent perusal of a shelf of bottles brings to one's attention the secret workings of a master of arcane arts.

I love that kind of thing.  And turning my one-day-it-will-be-built studio into a Wunderkammer seems to me to be the most delightful project. After all, if one can, why not?


( 9 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Jan. 12th, 2012 12:05 pm (UTC)
Isaac has a mini WunderKammer on the bookshelf in his room, he has put snake skins, (I think he got it from you?) Turtle shells, fossils, feathers, and pretty much anything a little boy thinks of as a treasure on it (He has the doll food and shelf he made with you on there.) I have given him some cloches and other glass things to put over everything so it looks more like a specimen collection, and he loves it all.
Jan. 12th, 2012 12:54 pm (UTC)
The "things under glass" reminded me of going to my Grandmother's house in Texas when I was little. She was an antiques dealer and had a room in her home dedicated to her antiques in display cases. I remember the wonderful old smells and the fascinating stories she would tell about the objects there. I know I have seen such display cases listed on craigslist for FREE before - wouldn't it be neat to have a room where you could set things up that way?
Jan. 12th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
It's wonderful to read of some 'real' ideas for actual steampunk - as described in novels.
I swear, the stuff on Etsy - take anything and add a cogwheel - I will become violent one day! ~grin~

I have one half of my grandmother's set of Enclyopaedias. (My sister has the other half, undoubetedly stashed away somewhere). Green leather bound with gilt. They are on display, and are missing a few colour plates (Eculent and Esculent Fungi, and Beetles) which are blu-tacked onto my Art-Deco wardrobe. I really must get frames for them - the edges are ruined after 20 years of being blu-tacked up, tho the sepia effect is now, er, real.

Most of my paperwork is really mine unless it has at least one coffee stain on it (not my artwork!), tho thankfully these don't - too high up.
Jan. 12th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
Do you know Semyaza, here on LJ? (Seems I can post this post everywhere on the Net but can't make a name "live"). She
posts there and under http://abject-reptile.livejournal.com/ . She posts exclusively pre-20th C things, either esoteric or just plain weird Victorian literature extracts or pictures - a lot from old books. Your mention of confab-tablous (I think that's a good word for them) old medication labels reminded me, because she posted some a couple of months ago.
She's also Tolkien obsessed, which is never a bad thing :-) She loves a good chat, the weirder but more in depth the better. I'm sure she'd love you. She's very intelligent and very knowledgeable.

Edited at 2012-01-12 06:37 pm (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
Oooh, thanks! I'll check her out!
Jan. 14th, 2012 03:08 am (UTC)
For new, blank tins, jars and bottles of all sorts of shapes and sizes this:http://www.specialtybottle.com/tincontainersmi.aspx
seems like a good site.

Now... what brand of stick down, inkjet friendly paper do you use and how can that be applied so it won't smear?

Jan. 20th, 2012 02:01 am (UTC)
Oh, I use a Kodak printer, which has quick-dry ink, and for the labels I use Avery white full-sheet label paper, which is basically one 8x11 sheet of sticky paper that you can print multiple graphics onto and then cut to shape. I use it for all my doll house stuff, too. It's expensive ($30 for a box of 100 sheets), but it lasts a long time, and I've used it to make fake can labels for parties, print my own custom canning labels, and create all sorts of pretty things.

It's Avery 5353, if you need the number.
Jan. 15th, 2012 08:29 pm (UTC)
Get thee to the Graphics Fairy blog for vintage label inspiration and graphics.

I love old apothecary jars and kitchen cannisters.
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC)
I love Graphics Fairy. :) There are a lot of lovely and generous people out there willing to share!
( 9 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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