First, a painting. this is one of my favorites, a watercolor done based on the cliff dwellings I visited last year.
there is also a home project, mostly done. A shoji screen for the pantry we built recently. We still are changing one wall and have not done the door frames yet. I really like how the metal sheets came out in the center and on the frame above. This project completely changed about 4 times before getting this far.
The other is a painting developed when I was in Florida. Researching the older cultures in Mexico and Central America I designed this, using correct designs and architecture but mixed my own way.
I need to get my good camera working, this one is taking very pale images.
This piece is one of them I am working on right now, I am in process of more than one, something I am trying not to do. In my Steampunk game, there are item cards you can find, some are useful in-game, others are simply treasure. This one, could go either way frankly, but will probably have a limited use. The drawing is not quite done, but I am uncertain what direction I want to go to finish it. I remember seeing my friend’s grandmother wear a wrist piece for sewing that had several things on it. I have seen other ideas like that, some actually were used and some are expansions for the Steampunk theme. Which is this? I am not sure, but it also has a bit of armor to it being a hard leather gauntlet.
There are a couple of details I need to correct or smooth on the piece, but the foundation is there and it is mostly complete. I drew quite a bit of it sitting outside for lunch – pleasant but bad lighting for computer use.
This picture is a return to things more closely related to my game design. Obviously this needs some changes to fit on an airship but I was still working on lighting and other aspects. I would prefer it to be a bit smoother, but am pleased with several aspects of this picture. I started somewhat differently in this on than I have in several others with the first layer or two being simple washes of gradual color development. In the others I have started with shadows and highlights to mark specifics. Working on these also reminds me of the frequency with which you see people comment on Photoshop as synonymous with fake images…I started this with blank pages, not even white and developed the image just as if on a canvas….where is the fake part? I enjoy this type of art with the Wacom for the ability to combine styles I learned in traditional art forms without the requirement to sit in a studio for days…I can do this at lunch at work.
< This one is The previous drawing I said I was not going to finish right now. I decided to post it in the current state so you can see where I am on it.
Researching the STEM to STEAM process I found an interesting political, educational, and economic environment for the development. First, let’s look at some political activity on the subject. House resolution 51 is currently being reviewed by the Committee on Education and the Workforce and by the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. This resolution (H.RES.51.IH) is available online for review and a link can be found at STEMtoSTEAM.org where they also have links to add comments and petition signatures To council members to join the caucus – the now 50 member bipartisan STEAM Caucus. The bill is worth reading both to know what is being proposed and to see the reasons and research involved in this development. Some cited reasons for the proposal include the need for innovation in technology, the need for interdisciplinary problem-solving, artists’ role in manufacturing, artists’ ability to communicate technological data to stakeholders, artists’ role in development of technology, and the combined impact of both art and sciences on everyday lives of people. One component is the designation of STEM to STEAM month, which most of us in the Steampunk world have probably already heard of. It proposes alteration of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to include art and design in the STEM fields. Obviously, this is just a proposal right now and the actual details have not been written or approved, but the discussion is already prompting action nationwide. An article in Economic Development Quarterly (A Young Picasso or Beethoven Could be the Next Edison) in October showed studies such as one at MSU that found Honors Graduates from 1990-1995 from the traditional STEM programs that now own patents and businesses were those that received up to eight times the exposure to the arts before age 14 than the general public. Compared to the general public average of 34% of populace having had musical training at some point, STEM graduates on the other hand, showed 93% had musical training. There was also higher activity in other arts. This shows a distinct role in arts on those that complete STEM programs and those that really make use of that training to develop business and science. We need business and science development to change the face of business, the economy, and science – something recognized in this proposal. Artistic training fosters the ability to solve complex problems as they discuss. In 2012, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities published a paper on the five roles of arts, culture and design in economic growth and development. No recent data has been released from this committee. There was no 2013 data. The impetus for this development is definitely in the hands of teachers, professors, and parents. The government is slowly moving to change the funding programs to include arts, but the action to combine education seems to be, as I first heard grass roots. The other question related to this legal designation and political designation is how will curriculum regulations and standards be impacted or will they. Will they hamper teachers trying to combine curriculum or will they promote the effort? Will teachers find funding available or continue to see arts programs cut as many schools have thinned them down to cut what is often seen as unnecessary costs. Though one must also wonder how a society that places higher importance and funding on sport programs than any of the education programs in schools expects to prepare students for leadership and business in a global market. Sports may have benefits, but the focus at a school is education and preparing young minds for the future. STEM to STEAM research explores how to more effectively do this in a changing environment with changing needs. You can’t pick a list of data that prepares students if they know it. Life, business, science, and society require skills and the ability to implement, analyze, understand, interpret, communicate, envision, and adapt information that constantly moves and changes. There isn’t a list of formulas to do this, it takes a mind practiced and taught to learn, with the ability to take ideas art and connect it’s parts in new ways to other ideas.
Recently, on NPR, I heard a news program regarding a change in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) program nationwide that is developing. Specifically they are adding Arts…thus creating STEAM programs. This struck me as not only interesting but a very good idea, as well as very appropriate to my blog.
The process began in middle school and elementary schools with teachers in math and arts getting together to create joint curriculum. The reasons for this were sound then and have expanded and developed as the program gains momentum and is implemented more widely. Initially it seems to have started because artistic students, often well suited and very good in these fields never develop an interest or learn the basic skills necessary because the traditional teaching methodology simply does not work for them. From personal experience I can agree with this statement. I have taken quite a bit of math, engineering, and technology related classes at levels from elementary through college programs and done well in them. However, it was in spite of the set program and systems that I did well, not because of it. I felt many times that it was a constant battle to communicate with professors and other students and to get them to see I understood what they were teaching but I understood because my mind applied it the ideas and projects in my head not based on the pointless rote lessons I had moved beyond instantly because they were useless and slow. I had to explain in detail, every aspect of the engineering and proof of every architectural idea I put into projects that other students breezed through because they used the standard rote cookie cutter design that was both a waste of time and bad design. I learned a lot, far beyond the level of the class in question, but that was not the project. I worked significantly harder at each project to get a decent grade and I proved I not only understood the material but understood the process, the reasons, the calculations, the applications, the implications, and how it connected to other work. So why could I not just draw the simple box? Why did my grade not reflect my understanding? I cannot draw the simple box because I do not think like that, the waste of time and resources flew into everything I think and feel. The base design was wasteful, destructive, already designed, and showed no understanding of the material, just an ability to spit out what someone else said. I saw this in business, economics, physics, engineering, algebra, finance, calculus, and many other classes. I inherently understood the practical uses and connections to fields from art to bio-genetics, from English to manufacturing; however, the memorization of a list of formula was beyond absurd. Not only would it never happen, it wasn’t necessary in any practical sense.
What does this have to do with the STEM to STEAM developments? These are the very ideas and processes that are impacting these changes. Students that could be brilliant in these fields will have that chance. Students with creative minds will not learn they hate math but rather that math is part of their art. Looking into the future we see changes in every aspect of life, work, education, economy, and society. What does this mean for the future of careers? Critical thinking is something that develops with creativity, obviously not the only development, but an important one. The ability to adapt, integrate ideas, see possibility, develop ideas, and reach new pathways is already growing rapidly in importance in the job market. This development will only increase as changes occur more rapidly and in more aspects of life impacting every aspect of a career. One thing to consider is how much more quickly a small societal or other change can now impact the economy, and thus jobs at every level. As an example let’s look at another news story heard this week: they have developed a new genetically modified apple called the Arctic Apple that does not brown when cut. People are commenting to the FDA that they do not want it approved but the FDA has found no danger and will probably take the recommendation of the food service and food production industry and approve it. In some cities people will immediately change buying habits in regards to apples as they have other foods. Other areas will complain but do little. Food service will begin looking for availability to this type of apple and wanting less of others to save cost and processing. This means shippers, growers, pickers, fertilizer companies, those that supply fertilizer ingredients, processing plants, small towns supported by these businesses, and more will quickly be impacted. Construction may move to a new area, restaurants in one area will lose business or supply and another will increase, surplus supply will need new distribution channels, and people in all these impacted businesses are now impacted by one simple approval stamp. This particular one is slower than many because trees have to grow and that takes time, but many of these things can happen overnight. Weather can even change the total economy, as it is now because of the late crops in the south using the propane right before major freezes causes a shortage in many areas. I could detail a long line of impacted businesses and people from this. But this emphasizes the need for flexibility, adaptability, creative ideas for development, ability to move into temporary markets, ability to connect disparate and widely different ideas into a whole picture in the developing job market.
STEAM already has a government board examining it to alter the funding for STEM programs and many universities are implementing it already. Princeton is combining dance into this line…I need to look at how, I just can’t picture it. I will cover some of these ideas more in other blogs. I think this one has given enough to think about for one sitting.
Today’s Picture was drawn from an image at DressRepublic.com
The pattern is a little different, but recognizable. I love Sari, I was going to make my wedding dress out of the material but went with leather instead. Some of my roommates in Hawaii had beautiful Sari and we would get dressed up in them and I would go to temple with them sometimes for dinner and to watch the dancing. I loved it, they are gorgeous, comfortable, flattering, and incredible materials. I have collected some images from the correct period Sari and want to include them in my Steampunk game. Besides, they are great practice in how material moves and hangs with the types of materials used and the draping.
Obviously, this is not Victorian, but the lines mostly are and the boots are based on the shoes women wore at the time many places other than London. The open leather strap and boning corset is something I have been wanting to do but had to improve my skin tone first. The shear skirt is a new thing for me, I need to learn shear material. I did incorporate some methods I learned in my previous piece on the skin and hair especially – I think it worked rather better. This is very much a mixing of Steampunk styles and lines, but that was the intent in a way. I may do a similar one with a different skirt, I started with a bustle design but am not sure how well that came through. I am gaining confidence that the art for the game is going to develop.
Worked more on the rule system and actually making cards for the game today than the art, though I will do more soon. Last night was New Years Eve as you probably know, so all the noise made the kitties nervous. It also bothered our neighbor’s dog. Poor puppy is tiny and furless to be out in the cold anyway, at least he has warm holes to hide in, but he was quite wound up, with all that going on. So we paused in our work a lot to cuddle the kitties and reassure them until they calmly sat on the desks to watch us. I am waiting for warmer weather so we can finish the laundry room we are putting behind the house. We started it but rain caused us to stop work, since then it has been cold and frequently damp whenever we were here. This will allow us to finish setting up this room as office and art room. Right now, the washer and dryer share the space with us. Not an ideal layout, but it works since we rebuilt the walls, the vents, and redid the floor. Before that, it wouldn’t have been possible. At any rate, work on the game is progressing, and my practice with art on the Wacom is progressing. I had a little trouble with one of the people today – the urchin. He was slow and unfamiliar was part of it, but I am just not happy with the result. The other one I rather like. I also worked on one of the maps but am not keeping that one at all, that was very hard to get used to. For some reason that style work was much harder on the Wacom than what I have been doing. I will continue trying new things and styles until I am comfortable and will continue work on my game.
Working with my Wacom today I found myself doing a whole new style of art. For one thing, I have to learn portraits and people if I am going to do the art for the game. As such, I did several stages of a test male in a Victorian suit and cravat. I have an art style in mind that is somewhere between a slightly cartoonized old photograph and an old sketch. It requires either being able to draw all the right tones in sepia or drawing it all in color and making it sepia, so far I prefer the result of the second. I am beginning to remember more of the material recreation drawing I learned in college taking design. In the Interior design portion of my program we had a couple of classes that required exact recreations of a variety of design and construction materials using colored pencils. The Wacom is a perfect medium for a quicker version of this method. It is a good skill for this project although it can be very time consuming and I am out of practice. I am uncertain what my final art style will be, as I work, I find I like the images in color for the people. I may combine art styles and use different ones in different parts of the game if they blend together. I have been drawing in Photoshop. I tried GIMP but it doesn’t work right with my Wacom and I am not yet clear how to fix the problem. These are drawn only except for the one I made a sepia version of.
Continuing the study of Gastronomy and still reading Molecular Gastronomy (This, 2002/ 2006), I have been reading the study of taste and of what makes you feel full. This includes analysis of the differences and similarities to humans and animals as well as regional differences.
Studies of the brain show distinctive response to flavors (glutamate is a separate taste than the 4 basic categories of sweet, salty, bitter, and sour; also unami is really a taste) in people with basic differences such as handedness. The direct connection to language centers and motor activity is one of the more interesting aspects. Another is the sensitivity levels developed regionally of long periods (mostly studied in primates) such as the sensitivity to sweetness. You frequently hear about the impact of smell in taste, the interesting part in this study was that taste with no smell activated the same areas of the brain. This makes me wonder if the impact of smell is affecting flavor because it overrides some of the neurochemical response to the taste. How could we use this?
Another study done on MSG showed the interesting result that the hormonal response meant that the body registered the meal as primarily protein when it was primarily starch. This brings up interesting possibilities, if you are including correct nutrition, in how to impact the desires and satiety of people. Other flavors, their use and their timing in a meal also impact satiety. One can infer from that knowledge and the method taste molecules function why this is true and how to manipulate the process. “Not all taste molecules act in the same fashion. Whereas hydrogen ions (sour taste) and sodium ions (salt taste) act directly on the channels of taste cell membranes, immediately modifying the electrical potential of the cell by adding their electrical charge to its total charge, compounds of sweet, bitter, and other tastes (licorice, for example) bind to molecules known as receptors—no doubt proteins—that are located in the cell membrane, in contact with the extracellular environment.” (This, 2002/ 2006)
Another example of the all encompassing affect of taste that can be manipulated is the connection to vision. Most often translated as the better it looks the better it will taste, the results of research at Columbia show “the transducin that is specific to the cones and rods of the eye in taste receptor cells.” So apparently there is more to that but in a far more base level than commonly understood.
The use of flavors to heighten or mask other flavors is common in cooking but in gastronomy it reaches a new level. Many modern studies in food, taste, and satiety are examining traditions, understanding, and ingredients from other countries and combining the gastronomy between cultures. This means many of the results are, though refinements of that knowledge, more a drawing of knowledge from other places into regional understanding. We have returned in the field of gastronomy to the Victorian era passion to draw from contact with other civilizations and their results. The mGluR4 protein in the taste receptors transmits neural not sensory information and could be the first step in signaling satiety which is based not on fullness of the stomach but on signals of nutritional content. This means you should also be able to train a person’s response given time. The impact of flavors on taste varies given the mixes used and the specifics could be quite useful. Also the basic flavors have categories in our taste receptors. Bitter especial shows distinctive receptors and various bitter receptors trigger different areas of the brain. This seems truer in bitter than sweet or salty and could make some interesting experimentation.
Other aspects we shall look into at another time are thermal impact on flavor and taste receptors and the impact of sensation such as pain on receptors, brain, and biochemistry of the body. These are all easily manipulatable and modifiable aspects. Also, these are things that can be used to either trick or train the response of a person or animal. These studies have also led to medical treatments of viral and diabetic neuropathies and of rheumatoid arthritis.
Current results are that gastronomy is a varied science with impacts in many areas in and out of the kitchen and is heavily drawn from the 17th and 18th century works in the field. Steampunk in the kitchen could be a fascinating scientific work as well as very interesting fun.
Today we return to Steampunk in the kitchen. I try to keep a copy of all my books on my computer and more and more purchase and get books in that format to use on the phone, tablet, laptop, and wherever I need them. I have been reorganizing thousands of books and categorizing them into easy to find folders. This involves a lot of reading (something which slows the process immensely as I stop to read and get engrossed, as I am now, in a topic).
Molecular gastronomy is a topic that I have been unsure of based on little actual knowledge for some time. Turns out I have quite a bit of information on the topic. The late 17th and 18th century saw the first accessible research in this field and was when the term shows up apparently. Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s Physiology of Taste (1825) is one source of information from the period. To quote Albert Sonnenfeld in Molecular Gastronomy (This, 2002/ 2006 p. Preface): “The science of food, which Brillat-Savarin called gastronomy, was initiated earlier by chemists in the Age of Enlightenment, the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and belongs to the history of science. The kitchen was a laboratory like any other for famous doctor and pioneering chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier. In Germany, Justus von Liebig, working in the Age of Positivism, applied meat extracts to the soups that still bear his name. The test tubes were pots and pans.”
First, some definitions of Gastronomy (from Debevoises intro):
Brillat-Savarin called himself “le professeur.” Defining gastronomy as the intelligent knowledge of whatever concerns nourishment, the gourmet professor initiates his readers into a veritable eighteenth-century encyclopedia of natural history, physics, chemistry, cookery, business, and political economy.
Hervé This, our new millennium initiator, is more rigorously focused: Molecular gastronomy deals with culinary transformations and the sensory phenomena associated with eating. As a guide he achieves exemplary clarity for the nonscientist reader, and he is consistently entertaining.
Brillat-Savarin’s classic definition of gastronomy in the Physiology of Taste (1825)… (My formatting):
Gastronomy is the intelligent knowledge of whatever concerns man’s nourishment. Its purpose is to watch over his conservation by suggesting the best possible sustenance for him. It arrives at this goal by directing, according to certain principles, all men who hunt, supply, or prepare whatever can be made into food… .
Gastronomy is a part of:
Natural history, by its classification of alimentary substances;
Physics, because of the examination of the composition and quality of these substances;
Chemistry, by the various analyses and catalyses to which it subjects them;
Cookery, because of the art of adapting dishes and making them pleasant to the taste;
Business, by the seeking out of methods of buying as cheaply as possible what is needed, and of selling most advantageously what can be produced for sale;
Finally, political economy, because of the sources of revenue which gastronomy creates and the means of exchange which it establishes between nations.
All of this eliminates many of the faddish groups and chefs from the gastronomy roles but gives a new understanding of some other chef and bartender works. Living in Las Vegas I was not far from the well known Steampunk lounge there and saw a great deal of the concoctions and interests of the owner that changed my interest in the different terms and their application (we are not looking at the drink related field here). In his analysis of the difference between science and technology he arrives at the first difference in cooking and gastronomy being purpose: gastronomy is for knowledge, cooking is production of goods. Another difference is that gastronomy is science, chemistry and analysis. Cooking is technology, including experimentation, observation, and knowledge but not the same at all. His examples of the connections in the 17 and 1800s between scientific advancement and study of food are worth reading.
Some of the results and studies from that period have to be updated based on new technology and understanding but the foundation is solidly in that period. One must wonder was it science or necessity that brought about the development of many types of foods and uses of many ingredients that would be strange to eat if not commonly recognized as good food. Cookbooks are interesting but serve a gastronomist only in showing methods, ingredients, and apparent affects.
An analysis of them can show regional developments and indirectly reveal the reason varies processes are used and how they developed historically. This can direct you in your experimentation and study and can be fascinating information itself. As an example from my own reading, look at China: Only recently are ovens in use anywhere but the town baker if they had one, thus all the things we would bake are there pan steamed, fried, or cooked in some other method. This changes ingredients, ratios, results, and taste preferences that develop. By the same token if you look in a very cold mountainous region the ingredients are things that grow cold, can be stored, or are very seasonal. Compared to tropical regions where recipes tend to use readily available, fresh ingredients with less concern for storage. We know now that Brillat-Savarin was wrong in his analysis of the process of heat on the water in meat (it expands not compresses), however, his work is important to the fields of cooking and gastronomy. Advancement and understanding do not come without experimentation and study. If you begin research (as many do) knowing your goal and your fact you are proving – then it is not science, it is not research. The difference in that time was that most of these people were seeking understanding and knowledge – they were experimenting to find the fact or understand the apparent result. For us Steampunk followers, knowledge is the beauty; you study to see what happens not to duplicate someone else’s work. We want to know what happens and why. Understanding the history and uses helps this, so cooking and cookbooks are tools in gastronomy as are all the methods of science and lab work.
This, Hervé. 2002/ 2006.Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor. [ed.] Albert Sonnenfeld. [trans.] M. B. Debevoise. New York : Columbia University Press, 2002/ 2006. excerpts from The Physiology of Taste by Jean Brillat-Savarin, translated by M. F. K. Fisher, copyright 1949 by the George Macy Companies,. isbn 0 -231-13312-x.
The following page struck me as although interesting and gastronomic directed, very much a result of the fad seen today:
Beakers, Few groups could be as inspired by beakers as the Steampunk crowd, but my mind is currently overflowing with images and ideas inspired by a brief one line and single picture mention in an old Metropolitan Home magazine (March 2007, pg 142). The company that made the hand etched Pyrex beakers with floral designs, rising bubble designs and spiral patterns is out of business, but the image stuck. Following this, I found a blog reference to using Pyrex lab equipment in the kitchen with an explanation of the material differences between American kitchen Pyrex and lab Pyrex (http://www.thekitchn.com/why-dont-we-use-lab-beakers-more-in-the-kitchen-189036). I was sold! Not only is it practical and cool, but she is right, it is safe. This continued the thought of the etched Pyrex, obviously you can safely etch the equipment, the measurements and markings are often etched. So we know the strength is not at risk if the etching is done carefully and sparingly. In reality you would only want spare designs anyway but it adds that touch of beauty and elegance seen in the Victorian period to a classical lab tool still in wide use. Yes, the Pyrex is newer (Corning first introduced it in 1915). However, the safety added by using new equipment is worth the update in this case, especially since it is only a few years. You see lab equipment used as vases and decorative pieces frequently
but I liked the idea of having decorated lab equipment in the lab and kitchen (we know from previous posts I find bring the lab into the kitchen an interesting idea to consider). Beauty, elegance, simplicity, practicality, whimsy, and history brought into our lives – what could be better?
“Working with materials science professor Joanna Aizenberg, Noorduin discovered that altering the acidity or alkalinity of a solution could cause crystal blossoms to grow outward into a bell shape, or to make them curl inward. Combining these kinds of techniques, they could create tendrils, the nested layers of petals in a rose, and the delicate cup of a tulip—which Noorduin felt especially obligated to grow, because he is Dutch. He was able to grow even more complex structures, such as a stem, a leaf, and a flower, all contained in a vase.
Juan Manuel Garcia-Ruiz, a research professor at CSIC-University of Granada in Spain, demonstrated a decade ago that crystals could grow in unexpected curves and spirals. For years, he said, no one had believed that the crystal forms he grew, which so closely resembled living forms, were really crystals—assuming instead that there was just biological contamination.
He said the new paper brings a finer level of control to the process, showing how it is possible to modify the shapes.
Researchers not involved in the work appreciated its beauty and the effort to find ways to control the mineralization process. But when asked why these studies showing how to manipulate matter at the smallest scale were so pleasing to look at, they all had a slightly different take.
Hendrik Dietz of the Laboratory for Biomolecular Nanotechnology at Technische Universität München in Germany, wrote in an e-mail that the choice to build something beautiful is only possible once it’s possible to control matter at the small scale. Thus, the intricate sculpture-like flowers are a way to judge the scientists’ level of control.
“Beautiful (or funny) things such as DNA smiley faces etc should therefore not be taken easily as child’s play,” Dietz wrote. “There is serious science … that has enabled the authors to pull these things off.””