Sep 08 2009
I have decided that this is the year I am going to quit saying, “someday,” and start doing the things I have wanted to do. When I had the opportunity to go to Dragon*Con this past weekend with my daughter, I went. In the organization’s own words, “Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the US.” I have no idea how many attendees there were, but the event took over four hotels in downtown Atlanta. It was unbelievable — the costumes were amazing, the panel discussions enlightening, and the celebrity guests were quite charming. I personally spoke to Patrick Stewart (that’s right, Jean-Luc Picard himself), Bonita Friedericy (General Diane Beckman from Chuck), and John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox, Enterprise — but my daughter recognized him as the coroner on True Blood).
But, what really caught my attention were those dressed in “steampunk” costumes — women in beautiful Edwardian dresses with bustles and men in fun leather riding coats complete with goggles. And they carried the coolest brass-looking gadgets. Steampunk denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used (1800s), but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of “the path not taken” technology, such as dirigibles, analog computers, or digital mechanical devices, presented as if they were in common use today.
I had run across a little bit of steampunk art on the internet several years ago, but had no idea how far this art had come. If you have the time, Google steampunk on the internet, or look at steampunk art on etsy.com or artfire.com. For the artist, it is a wonderful mix of found art — brass parts, watch gears, and cool keys.
I was exhausted when I got home, but had to make my own version of steampunk art the next day. I created an ATC (artist trading card) with paper punched gears rimmed with crimped quilling paper — I used both 1/8″ and 1/16″ wide paper and used my gold leafing pen to color both sides so it looked like crimped metal. The keys were clipped from some scrap collage paper I had in my stash. I found the old typewriter key font online which really went with the theme. I added a small piece of torn handmade paper for texture and glued all of the pieces to parchment card stock mounted onto chipboard for stability.
I have spoken about creative inspiration in several of my previous posts. The next time you are inspired by the events in your life, create your own ATC. They are the perfect size for creating miniature works of art that allow you to capture the moment without spending a lot of time. I will definitely be making more ATCs in the future.