Tag Archives: Project a day

Steampunk Food

Going into a new area today; I made poppy seed, berry, black treacle pie and discussing it on Facebook started me wondering about Steampunk and food. Reading more on the topic of Steampunk and food  moved me toward a concept, not a clear path yet, just something I am exploring. Some people discus Steampunk food by means of use the of technology, others focus on appearance, and some delve into the use of traditional recipes but with variations and adaptations making use of new technology. these are all valid ideas but don’t really work for me and the concept I am considering. Start with Captain Nemo or Dr. Moreau and their innovation and food development as portrayed in the stories and you begin to see where I am going.

Mini orange tree (not sure where I got this image, others linked at end of post)
Mini orange tree (not sure where I got this image, others linked at end of post)

Steampunk is in the details and the innovation but with a distinct style and elegance to the harsh, cold edginess of ingredients, methodology, and presentation. To see what I mean, consider the elegance of a full Victorian meal with the etiquette and setting to go with it but with a sense of experimentation and drama. This is where my idea starts.

Technology improves availability and variety as much as it speeds processes. Long tedious hand prepared meals that keep you in the kitchen all day seem very out of place in this setting. The same is true of super quick, incomplete, and unimaginative meals. Where to go from there however?

Foil meals for fire, grill, stones, engines, lab equipment...
Foil meals for fire, grill, stones, engines, lab equipment…

Technology is important and the innovation inherent in the steampunk genre must be a foundation. Does innovation and drama counter Victorian style meals? When you think about it, there was huge innovation in every area during that period, even when dealing with food. So no, I think it rather fits if it can be seamlessly blended in.

Okay, so what kind of innovation are we talking about? At what point does innovation leave the realm of Steampunk creativity and reach into a more cyberpunk region when you are discussing food? VerticalGarden18Nemo used what was available in dramatic and nourishing ways as well as extensively using hydroponics and other technological innovations.

How it is Presented is Important
How it is Presented is Important

Molecular gastronomy is not something I have explored a great deal so I am unsure about its place in a Steampunk discussion. I see the reasoning for wanting to use it and envision some wonderful possibilities. The concept is very much at home in the steampunk setting. To fit the steampunk genre they must have a visual appeal in the high aesthetic or formal setting rather than the supper modern settings you often see in molecular gastronomy eateries.  But should we use only English aesthetic or etiquette?

Chef Arnold
Chef Arnold: by John B. Carnett Cook Shop: Dave Arnold does what it takes-and sometimes it takes a lot-to make your food taste better. John B. Carnett

Asian cultures and many others frequently prepare food at the table with great drama and presentation. This is a perfect fit to the setting and the period it is based on. As an example, I have a very practical set of metal chopsticks that break down and fit into a small metal case you can stick in a pen pocket or glasses pocket. Another travel set I have is an origami dish set that could be made out of a number of interesting materials and used anywhere. Mine are silicon but they could be of many materials. Something you see often in steampunk characters and settings is a propensity to be prepared for anything, and be able to do it in style. Think a tea set on your belt and a travel apothecary on your sleeve, with a cartography set on your leg, and an armory on your hip or back.575854_660728157277931_1046375079_n


Steaming things is almost too obvious and I just don’t see it as a major component despite the propensity of steam technology in steampunk settings. Flame is good but I am not sure if it is the method that is the best focus.

Ingredients and concept are important so it should focus on using ingredients or showcasing them. One idea is the, meal in a jar, type preparations I have seen in the disaster prepper groups and off the grid living groups. This method of preparing and storing complete meals for extended time ready to be simply cooked at a moment’s notice is an interesting combination with Steampunk innovation and lifestyles. The major point I see as relevant is the modification of traditional recipes to travel, to adapt to storage, and to make use of substitutions for location or special circumstances. Return to Nemo and you see the types of substitutions we mean. This use of available ingredients to alter traditional recipes being my preferred method of cooking, I may be a bit biased, but it fits so many aspects of Steampunk. 

Do we also include the method of growing and obtaining foods?

Adventurer meals and travel preparations from Victorian times updated in some ways and prepared to be enjoyed in style anywhere are a perfect example of where I am going with this. Food to be prepped for the lab and finished anywhere is another idea. I remember cooking a meal on the engine as we drove across country; it was a fairly traditional chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions in foil or iron pan type meal (could be clay too).

You are beginning to see the many other directions this idea could go. Formal Victorian meals with innovative twists are another. This is something I will need to explore further and experiment with but there are so many sources of ideas it will take some time and consideration.

Where do we get our food?
Where do we get our food?

Returning for a moment to the meal in a jar thoughts I want to look at the aspect of planning and preparation for quick use and quality presentation that fills a need in Steampunk. As the author of Design Artketing shows an example. Her plan for each week is to get all the ingredients together, prepare the jars for dinner, and maybe lunch. Each is stored as required by ingredients, most are pre-cooked. Each day, she just pulls one and spends her time on presentation or other things rather than preparation and stress after work. Another site uses them for picnics and work lunches, so they use mostly fresh ingredients. Still others use dehydrated, freeze dried, or other long term storable ingredients. Oh, the possibilities and the changes in container, ingredients, methodology, style, and concept this brings up.

Stored food
Stored food

I will quote Four Pounds Flour and Sarah Lohman’s exploration of Steampunk cooking:

“I think steampunk embraces the innovative and transformative, the implications of a super science without limits. Food that has those aspects in preparation, presentation, or taste seems to fit. Surprises, doing something completely unexpected with the available tools and parts. The more impossible seeming the better. I chose popcorn since it’s transformation is itself so remarkable. Toast actually has that kind of feel, bread slices vanishing into a metal box with two narrow slots to be returned with a new texture and taste.”

Meals for a week
Meals for a week

Where this leaves us is with many aspects and ideas for many situations and regions. As with any other aspect of Steampunk I think it is important not to limit ourselves too heavily and lose the innovation and creativity that draws us in.


(Quote) http://www.fourpoundsflour.com/what-is-steampunk-food/

(Image) http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2007-10/doctor-delicious

(Image, ideas) http://www.toquemag.com/food-drink/steampunk-cuisine

(Ideas) http://johnnahetrick.com/2011/11/

(Image) http://rainydayfoodstorage.blogspot.com/p/sauces-mixes-recipes.html

(Image) http://www.prepperpenny.com/chili-meal-in-a-jar/

(Image) http://www.homescoutrealty.com/chicago-real-estate-blog/bid/86823/Urban-Living-On-A-Budget-Glass-Jars

(Recipes) https://www.brit.co/12-in-a-jar/

(Tips) http://www.liveinthenow.com/article/recipe-round-up-meals-in-mason-jars

(Image, Ideas) http://sharehomedesign.com/20-vertical-garden-ideas/

(Image, recipes) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/50-things-to-grill-in-foil/index.html

Bugatti Veyron

This has been a day of ups and downs and extremes. In keeping with that, I did another supercar. a Bugatti Veyron turned Steampunk heavy on the Victorian accents.

Also, I am represented on the http://makesomething365.blogspot.com/ today!

In relation to that I did a quick review of my projects to see which ones followed the ideas in the book on the days they were suggested and which I put off or did not use.

  • Day 1 was small as suggested – jewelry
  • started from the idea given but strayed – GIMP
  • Suggestion 3 I saved for other days – paper
  • a little related in the concept – pencil and essay
  • collection related – Motorcycles and books
  • day 8 – I will not cut up a book
  • day 17 saved the eye idea for a later series still going
  • day 21 – not a love story but my husband was heavily involved in this one
  • day 22 somewhat related – modular gearing shelves stack to desired shape, a bridge is an idea
  • day 26 is almost opposite
  • day 27 is inspired by a dream as suggested, many are
  • day 28 fits but in a very personal not obvious way, all the images were from my Alma Mater or trips taken there
  • day 31 is not a path, it is the first of the eye series
  • 32 is almost ephemeral, it is a computer image
  • 33 is pens related – drawing of eye
  • day 34 working with wire does not fit that day but I use copper wire frequently
  • 35 almost fits it is an essay about steampunk development
  • 36 kinda fits, redid a project from another day
  • day 43 I did learn new techniques but in GIMP
Bugatti Veyron
Bugatti Veyron


Tesla Gallifreyan

I made a more complex quote today. I used the translator program from Sherman, but did it in sections and compiled them into a unit. I would like to hand draw it when I have more time and make my own design. This is a Tesla quote. Given a bit more time I would have changed the base materials for the foundations.

I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success...such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love...everything. - Nikoli Tesla
“I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success…such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love…everything.” – Nikoli Tesla

Gallifreyan Steampunk

Gallifreyan quote
” Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.”

This is a Gallifreyan quote I drew some time ago. The original translation is ” Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.” I may do a few more of these with other quotes to see what aspects of Steampunk I can incorporate that help it or harm it or accentuate it. The language format is based on the Gallifreyan writing guide from http://www.shermansplanet.com/gallifreyan


Steampunk Cub

As promised, here is the other Passport Steampunk mod I was thinking about yesterday. This one is a c70 Passport. I began with a very simple black and white image and built up all of it. The basic form is I think a 60s model, they really haven’t changed much so I am unsure. I am trying techniques and ideas in GIMP this week to improve my skill with the program and my ability to transfer ideas to the image. I am getting faster with the program also, for things that took much longer previously I can now focus on trying things or details of the image.

Steampunk Passport
Steampunk Passport

This one reminds me of the really early single person cars and bullet cars. The lines really fit the period and hint at hidden things in the bike. Swooping levers and curves are so rarely seen now, it is a detail and style out of the past.

Steampunk Passport

We bought a moped for me to take to work today. A Honda c70 Passport, also known as the Cub in other countries. In commemoration of that, I did a mod of a cub today. The image is actually a c50 from a Hell For Leather Magazine article. I am thinking I need to contact the Moped Army local chapter now 🙂

At any rate, I quite like the steampunk mod for this one and I have another planned with a very different panel style. I tried something new and turned the shadow into a reflective pool. Getting it to do that without messing up the motor was a challenge, but I’m fairly pleased with it.

Steampunk Cub
Steampunk Cub

Steampunk Ducati

Another Steampunk Ducati, very different vintage model and Steampunk styling. Obviously, I like motorcycles and supercars, Ducati is a favorite - that and most vintage European bikes.
Another Steampunk Ducati, very different vintage model and Steampunk styling. Obviously, I like motorcycles and supercars, Ducati is a favorite – that and most vintage European bikes.

I find cars much easier on the computer and bikes by hand or when actually working on one. The Ducati frame gives me a particular challenge in getting the texture and color right without losing the depth. that and the seats. I will have to consider a few options on my days off and try some things, maybe I can fix that. I love their frame design, it was one of the things that first drew my attention years ago, but it’s a beast in GIMP and Photoshop. Nice for drawings though. I want to paint some, but too big and detailed for a one day project, that will have to wait. I also find it interesting that most of my added gearing and linkage just blended into the design and is hardly noticeable now.

Zen of Steampunk

Yesterday upon the stair

I saw a man that wasn’t there.

He wasn’t there again today.

Oh, how I wish he’d go away.xxeez

To some, ‘steampunk’ is a catchall term, a concept in search of a visual identity. To me, it’s essentially the intersection of technology and romance.” Jake von Slatt put this in a way that fit some of my descriptions quite concisely. It is important to me in my evaluation of Steampunk to show what I find and what is there, not to codify and define it; I seek to analyze and evaluate not limit the reality. As Alan Watts Said “The whole point of Zen is to suspend the rules we have superimposed on things and to see the world as it is.” “There be those who say that things and places have souls, and there be those who say they have not; I dare not say, myself, but I will tell of The Street.” – H. P. Lovecraft. I agree with this sentiment and this is more my goal than a definition – to describe and show what I find and see. “The true purpose (of Zen) is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki

Individualism is not the first thing you think of when you think of Zen, but much of the teaching revolves around knowing yourself, seeing yourself as you really are, hearing your inner voice, and living in now. Previous essays have discussed the prevalence of an individual spirit and focus in both Steampunk and the age it arises from. For this particular discussion the whys of that direction are not needed, but we will look at them later. Louis XIV said “There is little that can withstand a man who can conquer himself.” This is an important distinction when you are looking at Zen related to Steampunk; Zen is not about giving into to self but knowing self and being in control of self. Act on needs not wants, as one quote says: Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind.

In both cases you see an active choice to seek the answer inside rather than from the voice of any governing group such as religion, government, society, or science. G.I. Gurdjieff said “Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.” Religion, science, government, and society made drastic changes, leaps, and changed focus based on this and similar concepts, it did not always stick, but the creative leaps possible during that time are impressive themselves. As one Zen quote says “If you do not get it from yourself, where will you go for it?

Machines, automata, and development are critical to Steampunk and were what made the Victorian age what it was. “As machines become more and more efficient and perfect, so it will become clear that imperfection is the greatness of man.” – Ernst Fischer. Willingness to take a leap, create something, build something, experiment without knowing what will happen – these are all things that made the development then what it was and that many people feel has been largely lost today. “If you want something you can have it, but only if you want everything that goes with it, including all the hard work and the despair, and only if you’re willing to risk failure.” – Philip Pullman, Clockwork.

Look at Zen and the adage telling you not to simply follow the paths of others: “Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.” – Basho This quest for knowledge is something dear to the heart of some of us. As Zen says “When an ordinary man gains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage gains understanding, he is an ordinary man.”  Are we in Steampunk seeking an aesthetic or a wishful nostalgia, or are we seeking a possibility, a chance that with risk and a new path, we could see something different. Perhaps it isn’t escapism as much as opening the mind to possibilities, paths, and knowledge.

The place of the mind, reason, and imagination is the place of strength, development, and expansion. You cannot achieve what you cannot conceive anymore than you can succeed without risk. “Therefore the Three Realms are only mind” Ma-tsu Tao-i. In research and scientific advancement, one critical point to true advancement and real science is to not approach a test, experiment, theory, or idea clouded by opinion or expectations. Look again to Zen: “Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.” Science then and now often sought to make life better and to serve humanity but “The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery. But the changes are what stabilize society, stagnation kills any society. “Life is change, change is stability.” Change is not final, even when to destruction, another change will follow.

Vast emptiness, nothing holy! Bodhidharma

Previously, we briefly touched the topic of Steampunk embracing the development at all cost attitude of colonialism and imperialism but eschewing the technology that became the dominant development. As Kurt Vonnegut said, “Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” The ethics were not relevant. “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
—Rumi. This is somewhat where Steampunk and much fiction lie, as does much science. But this reaching outside society and the restrictions of others to open the mind and imagination is what allows development, creativity, and innovation. “A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity.” – Robert Frost

 Texas Road near Monaville

Steampunk Vision and How Steampunk

Today’s painting is of the drawing done a few days ago, one of the eyes.Steampunk Eye

I am not entirely satisfied but tried a couple of new things I want to practice. I am also going to write a bit now about Why and How Steampunk.

My father was here looking at my site the other day. I was explaining why I started this and how mom influenced the project, my art, and what I am thinking about with this, even my choice of subject matter. I had to explain several terms like Steampunk and automaton to him and it got me thinking about the differences in our family and in reading or artistic people in general. Dad is very well read and educated but rarely reads things unrelated to something he is doing and he doesn’t read fiction, never has. Mom did, she introduced me to several of the classic science fiction and Steampunk fathers like Asimov and Jules Verne. But the difference is in how they viewed fiction and writing in general. Fiction, for mother, was not superfluous, it was a way to write about or examine an issue or situation in a somewhat more disconnected and less immediate manner. Fiction authors have always tackled the issues of society from social to religious, scientific to governmental. Science fiction is especially known for this practice. The depth of what-if evaluation in genre such as science fiction, Steampunk, cyberpunk, or alternative history (which can fall into several genres) is often intense if focused on one issue or development. Steampunk reaches many of these topics but focuses on what-if of technology based in steam, gears, and style rather than electronics, efficiency, and computerization. Mother appreciated good writing, science, and educational material in most forms and genres. Dad must be shown the connection first and then is unlikely to connect personally to a fiction writer; it just isn’t how he thinks. My brothers on the other hand all read fiction and many other types of books, but each approaches them differently, as did my sister. I approach everything as an opportunity to learn, grow, enjoy, and experience; books are just a favorite experience for me. I will enjoy reading about a place almost as much as going there if it is well written. On the other hand, a poorly written story, however good the story itself is, will never engage me and will likely irritate me. Steampunk is something only mom and I enjoyed as far as I know, and for her it was because of the quality, the evaluation, the lessons, the imagination, the depth, and the style; it was never a major thing, just something she knew and had a style she liked.

This returns me to a topic from weeks ago and the broad appeal of Steampunk. My mother was to most people the most unlikely candidate to have read or discussed Steampunk. But topics like that gave her connections and relatable points to people she may have not been able to reach otherwise. Individualism and intelligence was important to mom, so what-if scenarios were somewhat of a hobby. She had a project for all of us every time you spoke to her. More often than directly discussing Steampunk, we discussed related concepts and ideas, which is why I have issue with something requiring use of a term. Gears, steam, Difference engines, other ancient types of computing devises, architecture, Victorian or related styles, how things adapt, what things could have changed each aspect or would have simply faded these are all aspects in Steampunk that are of interest and value to people completely unconnected. Historical and cultural evaluations are often enhanced using fiction and what-if scenarios. Artistic and architectural studies are enhanced using fiction or scenarios to understand its place in society and how it was both impacted by and impacted each facet of society. Writing, reading, drawing, or working in a genre like Steampunk helps you understand culture, society, people, technology, materials, art, history, development, government, religions, architecture, and why each of these things develop. A well written Steampunk story will not just keep the same style if it is a what-if future story or even near present. Because it must examine the impact of the change in technology and style on the culture, government, religions, styles, development, population growth, and use of resources and environment. If it simply rote uses technology in an unchanged or shallow cultural development, it is not well written and it misses the what-if part of Steampunk. The depth you go into in that evaluation is different and depends on the story, but the small details are impacted by how much of that detail and depth you have considered. Dune is an example of an author with way more background, development, and depth than are directly written in. It is obviously there, and it makes the story a rich pleasure of immersive fiction and knowledge. This is what I love about what-if stories and the cultural and scientific study inherent in them. Even a simple drawing or piece of art has part of this background. Why the placement, materials, style, why the clothes, colors, lighting, or architecture are used in inherent to the depth of the view and evaluation.

When Steampunk

When Steampunk

Much like every other aspect of Steampunk, when is a challenge to answer accurately. The reason for this is you first need to define what aspect you are defining the beginning of. First use of a term is a common modern designator for the beginning of a genre; personally, this seems inaccurate, though understandable for non-interested parties. In some genre you see a designation from when someone within the genre and someone unconnected used the descriptor term; this is not necessary in Steampunk. First appearance of solidly representative works is another common time factor. Discussing Steampunk in particular, you see disagreement on this one, not based on difficulty placing writers in the genre but of disagreement when the genre began and what it is. Several 19th century authors are pivotal to Steampunk and for many people define the genre, yet most people say they are precursors and not Steampunk. Several works from the 1950’s and 1960’s are undeniably Steampunk and even reached into mainstream production and popularity. Metropolis from 1927 is a major Steampunk work, often considered, as Wikipedia puts it, “the single most important early film to represent Steampunk as an emerging stylistic genre.”

Authors from each period discussed.
Authors from each period discussed.

Given these time references and that representations continue through present, it is interesting that many listings designate Steampunk as having emerged in the 1980’s as a sub-genre of Cyberpunk. First use of the term in a title did not emerge until the 1990’s but that is hardly a key point other than to say it was in common enough use by that point authors were taking advantage of the connections and connotations of the word in a title rather than using the work to show genre. I have trouble with the concept that you need to use a term to fit a genre; it should be obvious on its own. Also, a term usually comes about after a genre is established, simply because there is nothing to describe until it is established. Given this, the genre obviously was in place prior to use of the term, yet even I would be challenged to actually choose a start point for the genre. One point to agree with not beginning the genre in the 19th century is that they were using current and speculative technologies to consider what-if not what many consider outdated or bypassed technologies. Overall, what I see is a distinct and enduring disagreement with no clear answer. If you read my earlier essay about the development of Steampunk and cultures in general, then you will see part of why I find it unlikely a clear and accurate designation of when it began is possible.

on a side note – I missed yesterday due to husband’s birthday and plan an extra project tomorrow to fill, we shall see.

Steampunk Vision Elaboration

My project today is a GIMP version of Steampunk Vision part the first to go with the version I did of the second.
My project today is a GIMP version of Steampunk Vision part the first to go with the version I did of the second.

Kept it a bit simple today. I see a number of distinct differences between the styles of drawing between these first two. The eye shape in particular and the skin and eye details are quite different even before painting or GIMP. This one also gives me an idea for some masks.

Steampunk Eye the Second

I decided to do a series of the Steampunk Vision. They may not all be done immediately, but I continued the theme today.

Again, the tiny canvas is my base for the drawing. I do not have time today for the 2 part project of drawing and painting, but I did a GIMP version. The GIMP version will be nothing like the painted version. Main difference being, the painted version will try to accentuate each piece and the inter-connectivity. The GIMP version is a piece of art and accentuates other details and aspects. the focus of a piece changes quite a bit when going paper to canvas to computer. The three medium lend very different styles for me.

This didn't copme out at all as planned and I am glad, I like it how it it and it would have been to close to the painting otherwise. It gives a whole different aspect to the drawing.
This didn’t copme out at all as planned and I am glad, I like it how it it and it would have been to close to the painting otherwise. It gives a whole different aspect to the drawing.
I like the detail in this one.
I like the detail in this one.

Steampunk Vision

Okay, I really like the tiny canvases my husband bought me. I did a drawing on one today, I prepped it a few days ago. I then painted it. Having never painted anything with a human part, I am extremely pleased with it. I liked the drawing.

The concept for this sketch came from a Photoshop drawing and a Thief image from some time ago.
The concept for this sketch came from a Photoshop drawing and a Thief image from some time ago.
There are three types of metal in this. The torn away flesh revealing the gears were a bit of a challenge, as were the eyelashes.
There are three types of metal in this. The torn away flesh revealing the gears were a bit of a challenge, as were the eyelashes.