Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Monday, April 30, 2012

How to Make Victorian May Day Flower Baskets

May Day Flower Cones by Over the Crescent Moon
     Many of the traditions associated with early May have ancient origins and span many countries, cultures, and religions; I discovered one that I found quite charming, and is said to have been embraced in the Victorian era: May Baskets.

     This tradition involved decorating some sort of small container, to which often would be added the flowers picked on one's morning stroll.  Then, the giver would leave the basket on a neighbor's doorstep, knock or ring, then run away.  If the recipient saw, pursued, and caught the basket giver, a kiss was to be exchanged. Aside from this possible result, giving a gift freely without expecting anything in return was the true intent of this practice, as well as celebrating the arrival of Spring!

     Though I have not given you much notice, dear readers, if you would like to read more about how one person created May baskets for mere pennies using cone hats, Victorian pattern paper, and lace, then head on over to the post on Over the Crescent Moon.

     For a description of how the Victorians observed May Day traditions, The Cup That Cheers has created a lovely post on the subject. Dances, May poles, hobby horses, feasts, and much more filled the day with glorious merrymaking.

     No matter what (if any) celebrations you have planned, do take time to smell the flowers.  Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Dishonored" - Steampunk First-Person Shooter

Screenshot from "Dishonored"
      Coming in 2012 to PC, Xbox360 and PS3, Dishonored provides a way to immerse oneself in an alternative world where technology is used by the ruling class to repress and obliterate those who would threaten their power - or their survival.
     In the game, your character is Corvo, bodyguard to the murdered Empress. Held responsible for her death, Corvo must escape prison and put right the demented order in the rat-plagued Victorianesque city of Dunwall.

For more details about gameplay and such, this article on Forbes.com describes it admirably. This game does seem a decent way to get stunning visuals and plenty of action, without getting one's vest or bustle greasy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Free Steampunk Sewing Tutorial Videos from Lastwear

     If you desire to learn some fancy stitching or want to see what "Dress for the Apocalypse" entails, Lastwear can help you out.  They currently have an under-bust vest, a pair of cargo steeplejacks, and a Pinkerton vest for sale on their site.
     One of my readers (thanks, Rhissana!) let me know that the company had decided to no longer offer free patterns for their garments; at least when I checked today, the videos on particular sewing techniques are still accessible. Just scroll down on their site, past the pattern section.

How to sew Flat Cap, Welt Pocket, Flat Felled and French Seams:
Sewing Tutorial Videos


(Edit: I changed this post by removing reference to Lastwear's open source clothing/pattern business model, as they decided that they were losing money by offering their patterns for free. (People often made the garments to sell, rather than for personal use, as well.) I thought I had discovered a good place for steampunk sewing ideas; I will add links to other sites if I find more in the future.)  Have a favorite steampunk sewing site?  Leave a comment with a link! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Splendid Steam Sculpture: The Infernal Device

In 2011, I had heard a bit about the sculpture called "The Infernal Device."  After reading information from several sources, I found out that an incredible amount of work (and tears) went into the creation of this massive steampunk-inspired piece.

Sketch of the Infernal Device's many parts

The sculpture was an entry in the 2011 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the largest open-entry fine art competition in the country.  ArtPrize includes thousands of entries each year, scattered throughout the city.  It did not win, but had many admirers, as seen in this photo gallery containing hundreds of pictures of the process, the parts, construction, and more.

The Infernal Device at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum 2011

"The Infernal Device is a large mechanical animated sculpture being built by steampunk/retrofuturist artist Myke Amend, Nan and David Braun of Cogbots, and steam-machine modeler Todd Cahill as a collaborative entry for Artprize (the country’s largest open entry art competition, 
held in Grand Rapids MI).  Our intent is to build a dynamic sculpture using 90% Vintage, Re-purposed materials that will be powered entirely by alternative energy sources (wind, solar, steam)."

Video of Infernal Device Collaborator Todd Cahill and some of his other work, including steam engines.

You may read about some of the challenges that the team faced and apparently overcame, as posted over the months on their Kickstarter page.  I am glad that the sculpture was finished, even if it did not win that particular competition; perhaps it will make an appearance at steampunk venues in the future.

(Seen this work of art in person, or know where it might be seen in the future? Please leave a comment and let me know.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kinekt Patented Moving Gear Ring

This high-quality stainless steel ring is for sale at Kinektdesign.com with a lifetime warranty  for a mere $165, and here is what they have to say about it:
"The patented Gear Ring is made from high quality matte stainless steel. It features micro-precision gears that turn in unison when the outer rims are spun (as can be seen in the video)."

Two words.  Absolutely. Squee.

You may read a review of this ring on The Gadgeteer.  This bloke did a video of his new ring, from un-boxing to lots of gratuitous rotating of the parts.

That is all!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Steampunk Automated Wine Bottle Corkscrew by Rob Higgs

Steampunk Wine Uncorker/Pouring Machine by Rob Higgs

Sculptor and maker Rob Higgs, has built a very complex contraption which, when wound up sufficiently, will uncork a bottle of wine and pour you a glass without spilling a drop.  The design has Victorian and steampunk influences throughout, and I want one, even though I have no place to put it!

It is 65" tall, weighs 771 pounds, and was inspired by the eccentric machine drawings of English illustrator W. Heath Robinson.

The uncorking process, demonstrated and explained:

An interview with the designer, and footage of the machine being constructed and then functioning:

If you are interested in owning one of these devices, you may contact corkscrew@bullworks.net for pricing and further info.  The price? Six figures, in USD.   Bulletworks.net has a page dedicated to the devices.  Cheers!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stunning Spats for Summer!

Since the weather in the northern hemisphere has become unseasonably warm very quickly this year, I for one do not relish wearing tall boots.  The fashionable answer to this predicament is spatterdashes, also known as "spats".  This piece of clothing has military origins in the 19th century.  To read more about the history of spats, please read the Wikipedia article here.

Here are a few examples of spats that I found reasonably priced, and attractive for a steampunk outfit. (I focused on spats for women; men's spats are usually readily available, but appropriate and well-made designs for the steampunk female foot are not as easy to find!)

Black Leather Spats by VampireOodles on Etsy

Brown cotton and copper spats

Woolen Lace-Up spats by Monjiocreations on Etsy

Black Leather and Cloth Spats by Eidol on Etsy

Also, TotusMel makes some lovely tatted ankle corsets, which can be worn with dressier shoes.

Tatted Lace Ankle Corsets by TotusMel

If you prefer to try to make some spats yourself, WikiHow has an article on ... you guessed it - how to do it!

I hope this information points you in the direction of a few options to spruce up your gams without overheating your feet!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mechanical Owl Sculptures - Mechowlies!

Mechowlie by Kimberly Hart, from Etsy

These are so cute, I had to share news of their existence. They are for sale on Etsy, at about $100 each.  Here is what the artist says about them:

"All of my MechOwlies have very pronounced details, such as big round eyes, lil' beak, tucked-back wings, and little itty bitty details that make each one special! They are very unique creatures, and none of them are exactly the same.
They look like metal, don't they? Actually, the entire thing is handsculpted from polymer clay and finished with mica powders for an awesome metallic effect. Every little detail is done by hand, such as the many rivets and panels that you see. He can have coloured eyes, gears and watch innards, wind-up watch mechanisms, touches of gold and silver, and all sorts of other details as well."

She also sells mech birds and mech tentacles.  View her work on DeviantArt.


Related Posts with Thumbnails