Zen has been on my mind today. This is a topic and combination I will explore more both in writing and art.
I designed this unit off a modular shelf unit I saw some time ago. I used gears instead of tubes and designed 3 possible shelf sizes to fit however is needed into the gears. Each gear can be added or removed separably for reconfiguration of the unit. The units are 1 foot in depth and internal diameter but could be any size, even mixed sizes, because they are gears, they can be fitted more solidly than tubes. You could do the gears out of metal and the shelves in wood or reverse.
Many of my furniture designs are done taking a piece of material or a piece of furniture I have or see and modifying it to fit my idea or a theme. This one is just a small wood spice shelf, seen in the center of the piece. It could be done with that piece or be redone in metal in the same color or tone. I have been redesigning pieces we have to fit the Steampunk Alice theme. I have not really been able to work on making them yet, but will have all the designs when I do. Not sure why the sides look so Klingon but they kinda do. The lines and the idea of the lines came from a gate or castle in Alice I think, not that it was like this at all, just where I went with it. Somewhat of the mirror mirror tone looking at it now isn’t there? Lots of influences and things blended. Maybe not strictly Steampunk but the materials and lines fit so it goes.
Photography and Victorian science is on my mind this evening. My curiosity arose initially on the subject of how photography impacted science of the age and expanded somewhat to how it impacted both culture then and our view of the age. ”
“Any dodge, trick and conjuration of any kind is open to the photographer’s use…. It is his imperative duty to avoid the mean, the base and the ugly, and to aim to elevate his subject…. and to correct the unpicturesque…..” Henry Peach Robinson
Two primary directions of thought seem to stand from the period regarding photography and it’s use when you are not looking at those simply opposed to it’s use in the area under consideration. One is seen in the quote above and relates to the artistic form and use of photography designed to please others and trick the eye. The other is one you see more in scientific arenas both formal and in the large amateur practitioner field of the time, though mostly concentrated in upper class groups. Bacteriology owes much of it’s development and direction to photography. Naturalism and the natural sciences that impacted many fields and aspects of life both owe a great deal to photography and by means of photography they impacted many fields of study and development. Meteorology in Europe found direction in photography and those looking to find technological answers to society’s ills found concrete images of their issues. By the end of the century, cameras were widespread and in common use. Many of these layman images were used in scientific studies such as meteorology, naturalism, and social and criminal studies.
“To understand the special burden of representation borne by photography as a witness in meteorology, however, we must reflect not just on the parallels that Victorians invoked between scientific photography and legal witnessing, but also on the impact of transformations in meteorology…” Victorian Science in Context edited by Bernard Lightman
My readings indicate several factors as dominant in the impact of photography. Accurate representation free from artist interpretation and viewer skepticism allowed experiments, observations, images of life, and models to be shared across distances and with many people. They also allowed a view that was held to be more trustworthy and true to life than even the human eye. Acceptable in life and word seems drastically opposed to what was acceptable in photography of the time. Victorian erotica and pornography stands beside a culture that held and taught such strict codes of social conduct whole languages of innuendo, plants, and fans grew. Courts accepted photographic evidence and many researchers used the images.
The Great Exhibition of 1851 saw a major explosion of photography and its impact as it showcased the new development of visual arts. Queen Victoria herself was the first monarch to be photographed and families began to more commonly have photographic family records. Families at more levels of society could have photographic records, when only limited access to good painted records existed. As photography spread, this grew increasingly true. Thus we see one area the spread of photography impacted science in culture simply by involving the middle classes. One no longer needed to be specialized to contribute or to see the results of another’s work, they simply needed to have access to an image and/or a camera. Combine this with the spread of individuality in backlash to religious and other wars that were devastating to middle and lower classes, with no regard for them whatsoever, and you see potential for a vast explosion of ideas and information distribution.
Steampunk is a culture based on the explosion of creative scientific ideas and the individualistic willingness to try and to experiment. Even before photography became widespread, the use of imaging technology was there and having the beginnings of this very change. Suddenly there was a known, concrete method of accurately recording and sharing images of how things really looked. Think of the impact on the minds of a frustrated populous on the edges of an explosion of ideas all boiling over. Obviously, a major change occurred in impact when photography moved away from exclusively prepared, considered views and images into the frozen moment as it happened of the cameras released late in the century. Even as a prepared piece or time consuming process, images returning from abroad and published in newspapers and magazines captivated the mind of much of the public. Archeologists, Trade expeditions, military excursions, and expeditionary hired someone often at great expense to document moments or discoveries of importance and return them from across the empire to England. These came accompanied by letters, artifacts, prisoners, animals, drawings, and verbal descriptions. Emotionally and mentally the world was both much larger and yet smaller than a few years before. Faraway places in the empire became more real, thus ideas from there or from the idea of there also became more real. We now look back on these descriptions, on the authors that inspired us and our mind connects images from the time and drawings from and about the time to those words.
Early exhibitions such as the one in 1842 spread the artifacts and descriptions of China but one cannot help but wonder if the much greater impact of the Japanese culture on the period late in Victorian age was related to the emergence of improved imagery. Many people relied on the drawings and reviews of the early exhibitions to learn what they brought. China was seen as to far gone from their period of greatness and held no appeal for a populous bound into rapid and unceasing development at all costs. Japan, on the other hand was only recently out of their high point and embraced the Western 19th century. This leaping headlong into the period and technology was appealing to the sentiment of the time. These exhibitions were becoming extremely popular and very well visited, thus they led to the Great Exhibition we all know. This would be the place that allowed the explosion of photography by showcasing it with the greatest technologies of the time and the best developments of the time. Many people when they think Victorian age, thing first of the Great Exhibition or the period right before or after that when so many of the technologies loved by the Steampunk world emerged.
All photography done by me. All images property of Bethany Jordan, as always. thank you.
- The World of Francis Cooper: Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvania Photographer
- By Jay Ruby
Today’s pieces are all developing ideas. They are complete pieces in themselves but based on drawings by others. Probably the storage shelves are the least recognizable from original. However, I chose these because they each inspired drawing or images in my mind I want to develop more before working on. The shelves use the Chinese influence that was growing in Victorian times because of the newly acquired Hong Kong. I also want to do some using the other influences that were entering the design and furniture heavily at the time and nearby. I quite enjoyed studying those influences in design classes. These influences appeal for several reasons: one, the styles tend to be dramatic and interesting, and they go well with steampunk. Two, the travel and incorporation of things from other cultures and places really fits my approach to life and Steampunk. Three, the influence of a newly emerging global society and the impact on life, science, design, economy, and more fascinates me and is a very helpful study when trying to understand people, culture, economy, and more. Four, they are interesting cultures and designs in and of themselves, and the aspects from their history that have similarities to Steampunk are work finding. without further ado…
Wood-burning and leather-burning are something I have always liked and wanted to do more of. Lacking an actual wood burning tool, I used a cheap soldering iron I had to burn the design into the box ( see right), top only. I wanted to see what it will look like stained, so I uploaded into GIMP. I like it. I will stain it as part of another day’s project, when I do the sides I think. The soldering iron’s single tip took a bit of getting used to and practice to get the strength, depth, thickness, and tone I wanted in each line.
I really like the combination of working by hand and computer for some things. I think I may do a version of the recent pieces in my art programs as well.
On a side note, I used my metallic paint to continue the painting I started the other day. It really is becoming a long term project.
This desk was a remarkable pain, GIMP crashed 5 times and my file was lost each time. Working on this version, I saved steps and am going to upload them as I talk also. I began with a sketch as I usually do of a steampunk desk with places for cats to play and sleep. The enclosed area is designed to open for them or storage as needed. The following is the original sketch I worked from.
I have Photoshop installed but no plugins and having never used it, I was to tired to use it instead of GIMP…GIMP was not friendly.I began the color stages with simple materials.The brass desk was too bare so I began to work. This is where things went bad. I did 5 versions beyond this, each entirely different, and I was each time unable to recreate what I had done. I had separated floor and wall, redrawn the entire sketch in GIMP with the trackball and was finishing up when I lost my first one. The following was my next step that survived. As you can see, I am patterning the desk and attempting to add shadows and depth. This was my third one that survived but my 4th design. After the next crash, I quickly did another and decided the program was shutting down, I was too tired to focus and the day is over.I like the idea and the base concept. I really liked my first and third pieces today, and am honestly too tired to judge the final one that I began the post with. I did leave a little Alice influence in with the clock and red carpeting but might add more if I did another version…not sure.
I may go in sometime tomorrow and add captions to the images, but I need sleep.
This is one of those rare moments for me of actually liking a piece I did. As I worked on this piece it just wasn’t going well, was just off somehow and all of a sudden I had a moment of “that’s it! Done.” I always have more to do on my pieces. This particular trait was one of the things prompting me to embark on this project; the need to post a piece each day limits the amount of obsessing over the piece I can do to my available time to work. Another aspect of this same requirement is that I must consistently work on my art in some form or another. This week has been rather heavier in the computer drawing than I am practiced with. I have wanted to improve my skills in this area for some time and have taken this a a time to focus and develop skills and traits beneficial to my art and life.
On this note of introspection that could lead to a long discussion, the automaton is going to sleep. One more very early morning and then I have a brief break from such sleep banishing torments. I hope you enjoy my pieces and my ramblings, I am learning to see my art in a new way already, even if it sometimes takes posting the piece before I feel that way.
Steampunk chair based on a basic Victorian rocker in metal, done in GIMP.
Steampunk Drink Automaton
Having a lot of time to think when training dogs or walking them around the lakes, I have a lot to discuss. However, extreme lack of sleep is beginning to tell on me and I am not certain I could be truly coherent. Tomorrow will most likely be a repeat of same automaton nature of my brain. I will briefly say I was thinking of people I have known and their diets through part of the day. Both lifestyle diets and those frequently on one diet or another. a trend is apparent showing two basic approaches to diet, regardless of details. One, is the deprivation, denial, and restriction approach. The other is a fulfillment of need, desire, or an attempt of similar.
Deprivation eating restricts some portion and often most of a persons eating, often to excess. Observation says this often leads to drastic deviations from restrictions and shortage of a sort that must be corrected by other means such as drinks or vitamins. This however, is not my point. My thought was how quite unhealthy this seems; not merely from a physical standpoint but from a mental and emotional standpoint. How does this constant focus of restriction, deprivation, and avoiding the things you crave or are interested in impact your other portions of self?
Personally, I do not diet. I have eaten fairly restricted dies, such as vegetarian, at times. But for me it is not a matter of restricting my intake, it is a result of paying attention to my system, my body, my activity, my environment, and my health to know what I need and what cravings are indicating. A craving for sugar is quite specific if you have learned to pay attention to the differences. Is it ice cream, soda, sweet tea, fruit, candy, what are you craving. What is going on in your life or system that is causing this. Now you should know what you really need. For me those particular cravings usually indicate a need for potassium, calcium, C, or a couple other things. Environment and local climate alters cravings and needs.
Anyway…back to the matter at hand. I drew a steampunk drink automaton in pencil very old using motorcycle parts as a base. I then uploaded into GIMP and added color. I made a decision to leave it partially shaded to highlight the feel of the drawing and the sketch quality. I hope you enjoy. I am also uploading a slightly different version of my color work. He runs on leather tracks set in wood and brass fittings and has an extendable, bi-rotational tray arm to maintain balance of drink tray.
Hey, it’s cool to actually see improvement in a skill. I did another GIMP project today. Started with another motorcycle but after 2 discards, went with a Mini Cooper. I drive a Mini and have been wanting to do this.
I’m actually pretty pleased with this one. Still some things to work on in how to use the program and details, but I’m definitely learning.
Working on the 363 day project, the blog, and actually putting my work out public however it resolves has really made me think of my mother. I would not be doing this without her input, direction, pushing, faith, and support. I miss her, but will continue to listen to her and the words she left behind. It seems simple to say nothing will happen with my art until I really focus on it and do it or until I show it to others, but in practice that is rather like pulling teeth.
I don’t think I have mentioned, probably should add it to the about, but all work on this site is property of the artist, namely me, and is not for open distribution without credit and notification. Please do not use my work for monetary gain without both crediting and allowing the artist commission. Thank you. See the official stuff is done for now.
Today I downloaded the GIMP program. I used it a lot years ago, but am ridiculously out of practice.
I’m not actually thrilled with the results, but got a lot done in setting up GIMP and remembering how to use it. This is definitely a skill I will be working on over this year to improve. But it is a start, and I have the program ready to use now.
I have been reading 365: A Daily Creativity Journal (http://amzn.com/B00BQ1RF3W) as I mentioned yesterday. This project started from the day 2 suggestion, though not everyone would readily see that. It is for a favorite animal 🙂 we have cats and motorcycles at our house, one current restoration project is a 1967 Benelli. I wanted to do a Steampunk design for it. I’ll try again later. I may actually hand draw it, or I’ll use it as another learning day for GIMP.
There are a couple of fonts used in the image today. I don’t have the names on me but will before I use them again.
This piece took much longer than I expected, I could have done it faster by hand and probably liked it better. But, it is good practice. It has some elements I really like. Tell me what you think and what your suggestions are.