January 11th, 2012

Bun: steam no goggles

Mind Bits

I was going to scan a great cover from the May 1941 cover of Popular Mechanics that I picked up last weekend, but my scanner is acting up, and I can't right now.

Instead, I'm packing for Atlantian 12th Night, and we'll be doing the Gardiner's store there.  We now take credit cards!  We've got a nice selection of knitted and sewn goods, and of course, Lost Cause's Christmas Album.  LC is having their release party at 12th Night (well, those of us that will be there), and people are welcome to stop by.

In other news, we ordered a new bed frame for the spare room, but it turned out the measurements in the catalog were very, very inaccurate, and the bed is much too big.  This is a sad thing, since I really liked the bed.  *pouty face*

I've been on a random steam-punk kick since Christmas, since Bob got me a cool book of SP creations, and a friend wants to have an SP Halloween party, which requires a bit of time to build anything really cool (like Bob made an awesome cardboard full-size Dalek ice-bucket for one of his birthday parties, once).  I've also been fantasizing about making my eventual studio, which was always going to be like a Victorian folly with a conservatory attached, into a steam-punk studio, which will mean anything I make for a party will have a permanent home.  My studio right now is a bit too full of unpacked boxes to be anything, but a lot of the things in it have a very "mad scientist" vibe, and it's only a little bit of creative work to push it over the edge into SP.

I love Victorian things anyway.  Bob got me this chair for my birthday, and it goes very well with the small campaign desk that will be in our library.  That and pretty much everything from the Victorian Trading Company, and I'll be a happy camper. 
Purple Victorian

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?