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Archive for the ‘Jewelry’ Category

The first panel I went to at Comicpalooza, last month, was Friday at 10 AM, it was a make-n-take. The beautiful and lively anime voice-actress Claire Hamilton helped me and the other attendees create a tentacle necklace. I had so much fun in that make-n-take. I mean who doesn’t love tentacles?

Making Tentacles at Comicpalooza

Making Tentacles at Comicpalooza

We were all provided with polymer clay in a vivid selection of colors. The clay comes in four sectioned off areas. We each took one of those small sections in the color of our choice for the tentacle and a half section in another color for the suckers. We pulled off enough off the bigger section to roll and shape it into our tentacle. Twisting it around until we had it the way we wanted it. Then we took the half portion of a small section of clay and used the edge of our comicpalooza badges to slice it into small pieces. We rolled those into tiny balls for the suckers. We were each given a toothpick and used it to make the indentions in our suckers. We stuck the suckers onto the tentacle. We also used the toothpick to punch a hole in the clay so we could string it onto a cord for a necklace.   When we were finished we used special hand held dryers like blow dryers but hotter, to firm them enough until we could get them home and bake them. Heating our Tentacles

Once home we baked them in our kitchen ovens at approximately 110 degrees for about 30 minutes. When you try this in your on oven, please be aware oven temperatures vary so keep an eye on the tentacle to make sure it doesn’t bake over or under the needed time.

Here are some youtube videos on making tentacle necklaces:

Making tentacle necklaces is fun, easy and … very Steampunk. A tentacle necklace make-n-take is also a great panel to do for readers at a convention.

                                      ~          ~         ~

 Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space, which is as crazy and as entertaining as it sounds. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

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Today we welcome Trish from Sin City Steampunk!

Sin City Steampunk — Creating Wearable Art

sin city 5My my name is Trish Ellis of Sin City Steampunk. We’re an online emporium, but I also do local events in Las Vegas such as First Friday.

sin city 4I make wearable steampunk art and my line includes pendants, bracelets, rings, pin on art, earrings and hair clips. My men’s line includes ear studs, cuff-links, and  tie clips.

sin city 2New additions to my line include goggles, money clips, and iPone 4&4s phone cases. Being in Las Vegas, I’m also adding flasks and shot glasses.

sin city 3So come and visit www.sincitysteampunk13.com for some unique steampunk creations!

sin city 1

~Trish

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Artist Michael Treat

Artist Michael Treat

The airship just landed in Minnesota at the twin cities. I’ve loved Minneapolis and St. Paul ever since the Mary Tyler Moore show and today we’re here to welcome aboard Steampunk Artist Michael Treat. “This way, “ I say and we are soon in the parlor and he’s sits on the  hand carved, chenille upholstered settee.

I slide down into the matching cushioned side chair and offer him some freshly brewed coffee rather than tea. “ I notice you’re known as a coffee snob and you created a fabulous collection of wine and coffee art. Since most writers are heavy coffee drinkers and people love to go to coffee shops to read, the literary world also considers coffee to be pretty important, so I have to ask, what is your favorite coffee or coffee shop?”

Holding the porcelain coffee cup, he takes a sip. “My favorite coffee is most definitely light roast. Ideally, I prefer something above a New England roast and a tad under a Full City roast. I usually prefer beans from Latin America; Guatemalan, Bolivian and Peruvian beans are some of my favorites. Lately I’ve been brewing coffee from the Dominican Republic. I also enjoy coffee with African origins. Rwandan coffee is fabulous. I’ll only drink dark roast if I roast the beans myself. I produce a really nice Italian roast all my dark roast friends love.

Whenever I can get them, there are beans from the Yemeni Republic that are limited to a few harvest weeks in the summer months that are THE BEST I’ve ever tasted. The soil and altitude they grow at are unique and the quantity is extremely limited. I like to sit and watch the beans change colors inside the glass roasting chamber with a new, brilliant color about every fifteen seconds or so. Now that I made my previous artistic hobbies into my job, home roasting coffee has become a hobby of mine that I truly enjoy.

As for going out for coffee, Minneapolis is full of great coffee shops. My neighborhood has a few that I frequent including Fire Roast Mountain, The Riverview Café and the Blue Moon. There is also a wonderful biker themed coffee shop in Uptown Minneapolis that is open late called Bob’s Java Hut. One of my new favorite haunts is in St Paul called Quixotic where they handcraft each cup you order.”

“How  yummy. Apparently coffee goes as well with art as it does with reading and writing.” The coffee cups rattle slightly as the airship lifts off. “I’ve been wondering, what inspired you to take your art in a Steampunk direction?”

He set his cup down on the mahogany coffee table and leaned back against the deep red cushioned seetee. “For me, I think it all started when I began working with materials that are dominant in the Steampunk genre including leather, unbleached fabrics, lace, grommets, eyelets, tack and  wood. Oh–and of course all of those metals! I very much enjoy working with brass, copper, wrought iron and rusty steel with all of their tarnish and patinas. I enjoy working with each material individually, and combining them in new and different ways.

As I learned more and more about the genre, and researched what it was about,  I realized I had found a place to incorporate those elements and the styles into just about anything I could imagine. I love the Steampunk genre because of the modification process that Steampunk allows, and often even demands!

I also really feel a sort of kinship with the American Old West. I admire the optimism that came along with all the hardships and uncertainties of that time period. I also enjoy how that unique creativity, optimism and sense of possibilities and vision is reflected in those who live the Steampunk lifestyle today.”

We both set our cups down and I refilled each with the steamy dark brew. “It’s wonderful you were drawn to Steampunk with your art for the same reasons most writers are drawn to the genre.  In fact you are a writer yourself as you write comics, what similarities and differences do you find in the creative process between literate and visual art?”

“Drawing is a skill that is incorporated into just about everything I do. Whether it’s technical or totally expressive, being able to draw has served my creative process well. I’m a fan of graphic novels because they challenge writers to present the fundamental elements of a  story to the artist to then fill in the visual needs of the piece. I still enjoy text based novels as I like to create my own images in my mind to complement the story. It’s also fun to see someone else’s interpretation of a writer’s ideas or to be the person who gets to share your images with others and help create the story for that new audience.

I took a class with Allyson McGhee (NY Times best seller and Pulitzer Prize Nominee for Shadow Baby) in 2004 and completed an alternative assignment: a comic page with two or more characters discussing a pair of broken glasses. I chose that assignment over an essay about my job; at that time I was a corrections officer in a maximum security prison.

The next day I showed it to the class and Allyson and my fellow writers received it with unexpected praise and enthusiasm. At the end of the course, she told me, “I know you want to write novels, but you should really consider doing something with your cartooning and your ability to draw well.” That advice stuck with me and I began to seriously study cartooning and comics. In 2005, I even ended up creating a comic strip versions of the chronicles of Gary “The Walkingman” Hause on his website.  Walkingman Cartoons

He showed me The Adventures of The Walkingman. “This is better than my favorite Penney Dreadful. Indeed, you ar quite a talented writer as well as an artist. Keep it up and you can’t go wrong with advice from award winning, best seller author Allyson McGhee.” We both set our cups down on the coffee table and I brimmed them full of more strong coffee. “You work in all these different artistic areas comics, jewelry, sculptures, collages and paintings. What is your favorite?”

“While I enjoy each artistic area in it’s own right, I think I enjoy comics the most. I get to make one thing and technology does the rest – thank you Mr. Guttenberg and your printing press. I also like that it’s the first art form that I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with other artists/writers and not do all the work on my own. I also enjoy working on projects that defy one clear category.”

“Your comics are soo good, I can certainly see why you enjoy that medium but all your art is fabulous. I especially find your Bonzo sculpture intriguing. Tell me about it?”

“Bonzo was a 1/6 scale scratch figure I started without any clear picture in mind. At that point, I was just learning how to work together the brass, copper, and wood bits you see in the piece. His creation covered two projects for me: making a from-scratch steampunk-themed robot figure and creating a vehicle in the same scale/size. He has a driver/partner whose a cyborg that has some fun accessories I made totally from scratch as well.

Bonzo, an original steampunk creation of Michael Treat

Bonzo, an original steampunk creation of Michael Treat

Bonzo and his driver, B Scott Quigley, are a delivery and conveyance team. Basically, they’re like a Victorian era version of FedEx and your local cab company combined into one.

I learned a lot from creating these two including metal and wood working, leather craft, basic mechanics, and image reduction, a technique which I used for making tiny gages on the instrument panels.

People who see Bonzo are most impressed with his head sculpt but it was actually the easiest part of the piece to complete. The hardest part was his core. Putting that together was tough! And his hands. They’re totally functional. But a whole other story.”

After another sip of the rich, smooth coffee, I set my cup down. “A Victorian era FedEx, I love that. You mentioned you began Bonzo without any clear picture in mind.  Do you usually sketch your art out before beginning your sculptures, jewelry, and paintings? What is your creative process?”

“I do a lot more of that now. I like to have as clear of a plan of what it is I’m trying to accomplish before I execute the creation process. However, there are times when I just have to pick my material and my tools, and just allow a piece to manifest.”

I grabbed my fan off the table and with a flick of my wrist I spread it, fluttering it in front of my face. It gets a little stuffy in the airship. “You are so talented.  I was wondering how young you were when you first became involved in art?”

“My talent was first noticed in third grade when I got a drawing published in a school paper . I drew an armored car that I used to see driving by the school yard daily. Drawing for me was just something that happened, until I decided to take art seriously and pursuit it professionally, most of the art I created just sort of happened. Now, I work in such a way that I regularly create a space for my creative process to happen on a daily basis.”

I shut my fan and placed it in my lap. “You put that so beautifully. It’s the same process for writers, at first we write when in the mood but to write professionally you have to make your own mood. It’s hard to explain that sometimes to non-writers or beginner writers but you said it so well. Apparently that’s another way in which visual art and literary art are similar. Speaking of your art, your wonderful creations, what are your personal favorites and why?”

“Generally, I don’t get too attached to my own work. While I’m proud of what I produce, for me it’s sort of like being a chef who prefers to cook for the enjoyment of others and have someone else prepare a dish for him or her at the end of the day.

I do have one specific coffee collage that I created that I do really like. It has an old west/Victorian/Steampunk feel to it.

Kitchen Art: Coffee Mug Collage No. 5

Kitchen Art: Coffee Mug Collage No. 5

More recently, I’ve been doing some cityscape work, for the LoLa Art Crawl, an event by a group to which I belong called the League of Longfellow Artists, I created two cityscapes. I was inspired by Checo Diego’s “You Are Here I” and “You Are Here II” drawings. With that inspiration, as well as being inspired by the skylines of the Twin Cities, I created a pen and pencil sketch of each skyline and transferred those drawings to 40″ x 60″ canvases. I find that I can look at those two pieces and feel happy with how they turned out. I also very much enjoyed talking with people about those pieces, and I really enjoyed going through each skyline with natives to the area and picking out points of interest that I incorporated into the drawings.”

LoLa Art Crawl, Site 14: Merlin’s Rest: Mike Treat, Smirking Tiger, with St Paul Cityscape and 2 wine paintings.

The cups began to rattle again. “We are landing. Let me ask just one more question. It’s about your Etsy gallery, I love the name Smirking Tiger and your logo is so simple yet stunning, what inspired you to come up with that name and logo?”

“The name of my Etsy shop, and my business, is a good example of how my artistic skills can benefit others, but not necessarily my own immediate needs. My wife, Brenda Peterson, and I brainstormed to come up with a name for my business. After deciding on Smirking Tiger, it was definitely a challenge to determine how to draw a relatively simple representation of a smirking tiger for the logo. It was tough!

I probably sketched two full pads of ideas out with hundreds of rough images and ideas, eventually getting to the point of doing some decent finished works of tigers, but it still didn’t seem quite right. I was missing the mark on  my goal of creating a simple, eye catching image that evoked curiosity and piqued people’s interest in what this whole “Smirking Tiger” thing was all about.

That’s when my wife showed me the Chinese symbol for king, and a description that said the following: “Facial markings on the tiger’s forehead resemble the Chinese character for King (and interestingly enough, the Korean character for Queen), therefore, the Chinese see the tiger as the King of Beasts.”  Here is the picture that she originally showed me.

King Tiger

King Tiger

Since my astrological sign is also the tiger, my wife then suggested I modify this symbol to incorporate the smirk where the straight lines originally were. I was approaching a deadline when I needed to finalize my new logo. I put aside my perfectionism and went with her idea. I worked in the smirking expression form and a couple of physical characteristics of what a smirking tiger might look like.  From there, my new logo was born. What I originally considered my “temporary” logo, I’ve now adopted as my personal brand and avatar.”

 Smirking Tiger logo.

Smirking Tiger logo.

He grasped onto his settee and I onto my chair as the ship rocked slightly. “What a wonderful story, it makes the logo even more interesting. I hate to say it but we have landed. I must bid you farewell so you can return to your studio and create more stunning Steampunk art.

Michael Treat creating a wine painting at the LoLa Art Crawl

Michael Treat creating a wine painting at the LoLa Art Crawl

But I and all the Steamed readers can always visit you at  Smirking Tiger on  Etsy,  Smirking Tiger on  Pinterest and your Smirking Tiger Steampunk Figures on Pinterest as well as Smirking Tiger Steampunk Jewelry on Pinterest plus Smirking Tiger on Facebook & Smirking Tiger on  Twitter

~

Maeve Alpin

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Today we welcome Sally-Ann Livingston of The Navigatrix.

Serendipitous Adaptations

by Sally-Ann Livingston, Creatrix and Owner of The Navigatrix

 

I always loved stories. …and making things. That’s how I ended up with a Degree in Design Representation (modelmaking) in 1996. Hoping to break into SFX modelmaking, I spent three years doing various work in the fields of product, advertising, museum display (I made half a Hindenburg for Singapore) and, mostly, architectural models. The world of film was so hard to break into and so, inevitably, came the stress-induced crunch. I left modelmaking to retrain as a Montessori pre-school teacher. Along the way, I also learned to be a Reiki Teacher Practitioner. I left teaching to set up my holistic practice full-time, then became a mother in 2008.

 

Funny thing, change. We resist it and yet it is so necessary to our survival. I think one of the things that draws me to Steampunk is the adoration of an age in which huge changes were made, the human survival skill of adaptation blossomed in a very materialistic as well as spiritual way. I can now appreciate, from my meandering career path, how important it is to creatively adapt to whatever is happening around you today.

 

So, I found myself in a new house, settling into motherhood, beginning my Reiki Practice business all over again. My brother (another modelmaker) moved in nearby and began to set up an Etsy shop. Through talking to him and a friend, I began to get really interested in Steampunk to the extent that I began to put a costume together. I made a couple of accessories and suddenly had the thought that I could sell them. I asked Matt if I could put them in his shop and his reply was the spark that re-ignited my creativity: “Why not make your own shop?”.

 

I have gone by many names in the past. Well, that’s what happens when one of your hobbies is Live Roleplaying. My most recent pseudonym, however, is my first Steampunk character and also the first I have created without following rules or guidelines. You may recognise the name Sophia Cardea if you’ve heard of Brass Goggles. She is the guiding concept behind The Navigatrix, an independent woman who has a skill at find her way through life, both geographically and metaphysically. From a practical point of view, I started this shop as a mum on low income, making what I could with what I’ve got. Having started by buying my materials through local charity shops, I soon realised that this was a good way to run a business. Each of my designs are one off creations due to the limitations of my materials. I do use a few new elements but for the most part, I upcycle second-hand, found and remnant materials. My items are inspired by Steampunk and the Neo-Victorian movement. Even the quotes I use are from founders of new age popular metaphysics (that have lead to books like The Secret and the ideas of Louise Hay).

 

My intention is to create a successful business that as well as providing a gratefully received stream of income for my family, also supports local charities regularly and encourages others who, like me, begin with not much more than a good idea, a steaming kettle and a heart full of enthusiasm. When change stumbles over you, take the opportunity to become inspired! Wishing you all Happiness, Health and all kinds of Wealth,

 

~Sally-Ann

 

The Navigatrix and Arcane Armoury will be sharing a stall outside Lincoln Castle for Weekend at the Asylum, Europe’s largest Steampunk event, Trading on the 8th-9th September 2012. http://steampunk.synthasite.com/

 

Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheNavigatrix

Blog: http://thenavigatrixatetsy.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Navigatrix-Steampunk-inspired-Original-Crafts/239246576161938?ref=hl

Brother shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArcaneArmoury

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First off, I’d like to announce the winner of the ARC of God Save the Queen:

Romance Reader Enthusiast

Also, INNOCENT DARKNESS is book of the month over at Novel Novice. There’s going to be tons of fun stuff including a Steampunk writing contest.

Next off, we have a special contest for you today!

Christine Cavataio runs http://www.steamheatdesigns.com – which makes *very* beautiful Steampunk jewelry. 
 
Here’s what she has to say about why she loves to make Steampunk designs:
 
For the past 30 years I have been an artist and the style of Steampunk has been a part of much of my work. I started out as an artist creating paintings and then moved into graphic art and illustration as a career. The style of Steampunk comes very natural to me since I have explored the contrast of design in industrial elements along with the detail and flourishes of the Victorian period. Although in the past I have depicted these in my illustrations now it seems to work best for me, in a creative sense, to put these ideas into jewelry design. It’s great to develop pieces of art that people enjoy wearing!
 
She has made this beautiful Steampunk bracelet for one of YOU!  All you have to do is tell us what kind of Steampunk jewelry you’d design if you could (it could be serious or silly, realistic or totally impossible). 
 
 
 
 If you need inspiration make sure you check out Steamheat’s site. You can also follow her on twitter
 
Thanks to Steamheat Designs for donating the bracelet. Contest open in North America only.  Prize will come directly from Steamheat Designs.  One entry per person. Contest ends July 8th, 11:59 PM PST .

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Jim Best is the director of youth ministries at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles, Illinois.  He creates jewelry and clockwork creatures in his spare time and is a member of the Promethean Society.  He has a new Etsy shop called Clockwork Curiosities and can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Jabsloth.

Confessions of a Steampunk Jewelry Maker

 by Jim Best

I want to begin by thanking Suzanne for letting me stretch my virtual pen and introduce my own two cents into Steampunkapalooza.  I apologize for my ramblings in advance, but this is what happens when you give a preacher a podium.

I get laughed at a lot.  Okay, some of it I bring on myself, and some of it is just because I am more than a little eccentric, but last year at TeslaCon 2, several people poked fun at me because during the dance, I stopped to pick up little bits of broken jewelry from the floor and put them in my pocket.  I get the same reaction when I stop to pick up a rusted piece of metal on the street, or go to the hardware store and peruse the nuts and bolts looking for something interesting.  The people at Ace have learned to stop asking me if I need help finding anything.

 People a lot smarter than I have talked at great length about what has drawn people to steampunk over the past few years and turned it into the movement that it is today, but for me it came down to one major point.  I had spent most of my time doing things like playing computer games or watching TV; activities that, while fun, created nothing lasting.  I felt like I needed to be doing more.  I felt like I should be adding something to the beauty of the world.  Seeing some of the amazing creations of people at steampunk events around Chicago and Milwaukee, I knew I had to try my hand at creating things as well.

  The first piece of jewelry that I tried to create was really basic.  I wanted a pin that would look like a clockwork bug.  I had a nice watch movement to use as the base, but was having problems finding something I liked for the wings.  I was sitting at my desk with the idea of looking online for ideas, when my eyes glanced down at a flattened penny I’d been given at the Frenzy Universe booth many years before.  I have no idea why I’d kept it all this time, except that when I was given the pressed coin, the girl at the booth told me to “take it and make something out of it.”  Holding it up to the watch movement, I knew I’d found my wing.

Since that day, I’ve made a lot of jewelry.  Most of it I give away to friends, some I sell, and some just clutters up the house, waiting for its moment.  And for me, making the jewelry has really solidified what I love about steampunk.  Whether it is making an airship out of a flattened penny, some wire, and some watch parts, or turning some broken metal found on a dance floor into a clockwork beetle, when it comes to steampunk fashion and art, absolutely nothing is useless!  Everything can be turned into something beautiful and wild.

This right here is my own steampunk philosophy.  Everything and everyone has a purpose!  It may not be the expected thing; we’ve all seen pepper shakers turned into ray guns, or mason jar lids turned into goggles.  And it may not be what society tells you is the proper use; I’ve seen copper toilet floats turned into mechanical owls, and cardboard and spray paint turned into the fist of an emperor, so none of that matters.  We don’t have to worry about what society tells us our place is, or worry that we’re not doing what is expected of us.  We are steampunks, emphasis on the Punk!  And in steampunk nothing is useless and nothing is junk.  We all have a place in the world.  We are all useful and all beautiful!

–Jim Best

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Today is the last day you can participate in the YA Trick or Treat Party (I’m giving away buttons.)

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow.  If you’re writing Steampunk come join us at the Writing Steampunk yahoo group,  make sure you say you learned about us on Steamed.

Artist Brigid Ashwood makes beautiful art–I’ve been drooling over her designs for years.  She is part of a brand new company called Secret Scents, which makes beautiful lockets filled with beeswax-based solid perfume.  They have a wide variety of designs including Steampunk (love the butterfly), Vintage Romance, and Victorian ones designed by Brigid Ashwood, Lisa Steinke, and Ash Evans.  There are many, many scents to choose from  provided by Mystic Memories Artisan Perfumes.

I have the butterfly teacup one from the Victorian collection (in sepia, they also have it in color).  As pretty as it is in the picture, it surpassed my expectations when I actually held it in my hands.  It’s beautiful, not too heavy or too big, nice quality, and the tea linen scent is nice and light when I wear it (I prefer very light, fresh scents.)  The beeswax perfume isn’t greasy and it’s not overpowering to wear a locket full of it around my neck.

You can also mix and match and customize your locket by choosing if you want our locket brass or silver,  what scent you want it in ( or no scent at all), you can even have a custom picture (which might make for a nice holiday gift.)

There are other collections, including so cute it burns with pictures of whimsical little creatures and butterfly wisdom.  All the designs are just so pretty (or cute) and would be great for your fave Steampunk outfit, going out, or a special gift.

As a special trick-or-treat Halloween surprise, one of you will win one of your very own and will have your choice of any of the regular lockets from their collection.  All you have to do is tell me which one you’d wear and where you’d wear it in the comment box!

Contest closes Sunday November 6, 2011 ay 11:59 PM PST.  Winner chosen at random. Contest open to those in the U.S. only.  

 

 

 

Suzanne Lazear writes steampunk tales for teens.  Her debut novel, INNOCENT DARKNESS, book one of The Aether Chronicles, releases August 2012 from Flux. Visit her personal blog for more adventures.

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