My Steampunk Runneth Over

This summer, I've been taking a break between projects and spending a little time doing other things...like becoming obsessed about NEW projects! My husband and good friends know that when I get a wild idea for some new crafty insanity, it's best to step back and smile in a non-threatening manner until the dust settles or I fall over unconscious, whichever comes first. The last major fever was when I learned how to make clothespin dolls and spent the next few months making roughly three a day. It wasn't until later someone told me the idea was to create angels or little girls as the nearly two hundred that festooned my shelves comprised of everything from elvish warriors to juggling clowns to puff-coated Victorian ladies walking golden-leashed afghan hounds and Native American families in beaded costumes with pet water buffalo.*

So since I'm writing a steampunk-y WIP, the fever almost predictably flowed over into impending doom. Some people have stars in their eyes--I have gears. I was seized by the idea of making some steampunk art. This may turn out to be a good thing as my walls are bare save for sticky notes and calendar reminders that I'm often late for something, and I gave myself a very small budget in which to indulge. I remember Holly Black advising that it's good to do other arts to fuel our writing because it uses a different part of our brain, forces us to use our hands and think in new dimensions. And that was just what I needed! Herein lies the first attempt:

It all started with a cheap frame and an old book with faded pages.

Book and frame

Then I destroyed liberated some images from magazines, old notebooks, calendars and those helpful free guides to pet care found in unsuspecting stores. Add to that some craft hooks and gears (shamefacedly admitting that I am actually putting gears on it and calling it steampunk and not even ones I scavenged honestly from broken watches; I'm too impatient for that right now).

Steampunk pre-collage

I comforted myself that the images that were coming together were inspired by Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy, which has legitimate steampunk elements inherent in it and I wasn't wholly pandering. I think of it as a peek into the mind of Dr. Marisa Coulter, one of my favorite characters from the series. (Unfortunately, I couldn't find an image of the golden monkey or an ermine for Lyra, but the polar bear was awesome as was adding a curl of blond doll hair!)

Coulter Collage2

Finally, we pull all the insanity together behind glass and drill some tiny holes into the top of the frame, screw in the hooks and thread some machinations for Dr. Coulter with old brassy beads I used for the dolls and voilĂ :

Steam shelf2

My first attempt at steampunk art! This is the sort of thing that's been lurking in the back of my head along with the chattering crowds of three untouched WIP ideas and a ton of useless errata like what's for dinner and when to pick up my kids from camp. It will reside here on a library shelf until I make its mate and hang them up together on the wall.

I hope that you have some similar exiting geekery happening in your world to fuel your through the summer months and really get those synapses cracking! Care to share? I love to hear other people's inspired insanity!

And I'm already thinking about the next Steampunk Tea Party... Bwahahahaha!

* No, I'm not kidding. My madness is a blessing and a curse...often repeatedly while gluing @#$%^&*! tiny pieces into place with a tweezers and a hot glue gun.

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