Category Archives: Steampunk Aesthetic

New Zealand Scrapbook

The Hobbiton page in my scrapbook

As I mentioned in my last post, I made a scrapbook for our New Zealand trip. My arts & crafts projects tend to lean more into making Steampunk accessories and jewellery, so this was a new experience for me. I didn’t want to throw away all the mementoes I had collected, and this seemed to be the perfect way to preserve them. It would be a way to relive the trip, I thought – and even putting it together gave me a great deal of satisfaction.

I had some problems getting an actual scrapbook. Spotlight had all the gear for scrapbooking except for the actual books! I thought about ordering online, but ended up popping into Target on the off chance they would have any. They did! Just ONE! But one was all I needed.

Double-sided tape is the scrapbooker’s friend. So are really sharp scissors. I had bought these in preparation. I decided the sensible thing would to be set out the scrapbook to follow our day to day adventures. And off I went.

We went to Zealandia and the Cable Car Museum on the same day.
The Larnach Castle Page

Items too bulky for the scrapbook were put through the photocopier, such as the Larnach Castle Christmas ornament and my patches from Lumsden and the Steampunk Headquarters. I included several coins in New Zealand currency for a bit of bling; they were thin enough not to cause any issues. I also photocopied a few photos to add colour and backgrounds to some pages. As I haven’t taken any scrapbooking classes, I have no idea if I was doing anything the right way. I just arranged things to my liking.

The Steampunk Headquarters, Oamaru, page in the scrapbook.

It took me a week to complete the scrapbook, working about an hour a day after dinner. When it was finished, I gave it to my husband to flick through. his comment: ‘I wouldn’t have thought this would have turned out so well. I didn’t think we kept so many souvenirs. How did we get all of this home?’ ‘The magic of saving mainly flat items like brochures and maps,’ I replied.

My next goal is convert my handwritten diary into a computer file. That way, I can add in details that I may have skipped while travelling.

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Filed under Adventures, Art, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Art

Steampunk Headquarters, Oamaru

The pinnacle of Steampunk artistry.

I was sorry to leave Larnach Castle and Dunedin; there was so much more we could have seen and done. Visiting New Zealand was beginning to feel like a European tour; the fjords of Scandinavia, the snowy peaks of Switzerland, Scottish moors, English farmlands, with the extra excitement of its unique wildlife. Our next stop was going to be another highpoint of the trip: Steampunk Headquarters in Oamaru. The drive was as scenic as anything we’d experienced previously, with rocky tors looming along the ridgelines.

On the trip between Dunedin and Oamaru, I expected to see the Orcs or the Rohirrim, when I caught sight of these rocky tors.

I was still burdened with my cold, but the excitement of seeing Steampunk Headquarters burnt a lot of my discomfort away. Adrenaline is great stuff! When I caught sight of iconic train outside the Headquarters, I squealed with delight. My husband rolled his eyes, he isn’t a Steampunk Enthusiast. This outing was for my benefit only.

The Airship

When I walked into the entry, I immediately started blabbing about being Steampunk Sunday, Queensland, Australia on Facebook. The lass had heard of me! She was going to wave the entry fee for both me and my hubby, but my hubby insisted on paying. Then it was a walk into Steampunk heaven.

The Mega-Galactic Pipe Organ
One of the numerous Steampunk vehicles on display.
When you need to cross a lava-hot terrain.
Another vehicle in the process of being constructed.

I could easily share the dozens of photos I took, but my drooling over everything would get boring. Then again, this IS originally a Steampunk blog. We also spent some time in the gift shop.

The Tank
One of the cosplay outfits on display.

We spent a couple of hours in the Headquarters, then we headed off to Christchurch, our last stop in New Zealand.

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Filed under Adventures, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Art, Steampunk Genre, Steampunk Headquarters, Steampunk Sunday

Darling Dunedin

Larnach Castle, Dunedin

From Lumdsen, Dunedin was a pleasant three hour drive. The scenery – like all of New Zealand – was dramatically pretty. I was beginning to feel weary as we finally reached the outskirts of Dunedin, but it turned out that Larnach Castle was another half hour drive from the city centre. It was worth the extra drive: dry stone walls, witchy marcrocarpa trees, glorious views of the Otago Harbour, and Pukehiki itself was quite lovely. And then – THE CASTLE! Oh, it was lovely, just like a Scottish Manor mixed in with a Queenslander’s verandas. We were staying in the Lodge, as the castle is basically a museum.

The view from our window in The Lodge, looking over Otago harbour towards the sea. There is supposed to be the Dunedin Volcano in that view.

That night, we attended a banquet in the Music Room of the castle. It was an imposing room, and the food was perfection. As it was decorated in the style of the Victorian era, it felt quite Steampunk to me.

On of the chandeliers in the Music Room of Larnach Castle.
The Music Room during the day. The banquet’s tables and chairs have been cleared away.
The view from the fountain to Dunedin. The fountain sits in the circular driveway in front of the castle.
The Alice Garden of Larnach Castle.

After the banquet, I had another rough night, coughing frequently. I felt sorry for my husband, because I thought I was keeping him awake after he spent the day driving. But he was so tired, he was able to ignore most of my coughing. I managed to get enough sleep to make up excited for our plans for the day – The Royal Albatross Centre in the morning, and afternoon tea at the castle in the afternoon. Stay tuned for that update, where I get to meet a stampede of Ferraris.

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Filed under Adventures, Dunedin, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic

A Town Called Lumsden

When I was in my early twenties, my great grandmother and my great aunt went on a bus tour of New Zealand. When they came back, great grandma said she regretted that they never stopped in the town of Lumsden, the tour bus just drove through it. The bus driver did announce that Mrs Lumsden (great grandma) was in Lumsden. For some reason, this story always made me want very much to visit Lumsden.

They named a whole town after me…

I still wasn’t well, but the day of rest in Te Anu had knocked the worst of the cold on the head. Part of my improved outlook was knowing I was finally going to see Lumsden. I was prepared to be disappointed, but at the same time I was rather hopeful that Lumsden was something special. Whenever we mentioned the town, people had heard of it, and the café in particular. It was famous for its cheese rolls.

The welcoming committee: the Llamas of Lumsden. When we stopped to take the photo of the sign, they came over to see what I was doing. (They are alpacas, not llamas, but I wanted the alliteration.)
The Steampunk toilets of Lumsden
Inside Café Route 6

Lumsden embraced its name. There were Lumsden-named parks and buildings. It felt surreal, seeing my maiden name sprinkled everywhere, with such exuberance. There was no problem in finding Café Route 6 – it was across the road from the public toilets. even the toilets proudly proclaimed they were ‘Lumsden Toilets’ from a sign shaped like the front of a steam train (Steampunk!).

In the café was a whole red Chevy. This turned out to be the post office! We sent a parcel home from there. By now, I seriously was in love with the town. It was so much more magical than I could ever have hoped. There were Lumsden souvenirs on sale, and I bought my father a coffee mug and bought a t-shirt for myself.

The Lumsden Post Office

We had lunch at the café, but we didn’t have one of the famous cheese rolls. I was feeling better, but the thought of a cheese roll made me squeamish. My husband went with sweet rolls and coffee for both of us. They were delicious.

We wanted to get on Dunedin before sunset, so we couldn’t spend more than a couple of hours in Lumsden. But I’d love to go back, and maybe spend days there.

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Filed under Adventures, Lumsden, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic

Has Steampunk lost its puff?

Steampunk is no longer a mainstream genre not like ten years ago. It isn’t referenced in mainstream shows like NCIS or Castle (and NCIS is still going!), nor are there the flood of Steampunk genre books that we all enjoyed when it was at the height of its popularity. There are still outposts of enthusiasts, but even some of the long-term fans have fallen to the wayside.

Lynne Lumsden Green in Steampunk Cosplay

How do I know Steampunk has lost some steam? On Facebook, many of the Steampunk sites I followed have ceased posting – many haven’t posted anything for years. It’s harder to source Steampunk genre movies and literature. Strangely, this trend hasn’t effected Steampunk cosplay and it is still as popular as ever. Well, you can’t argue that the Steampunk Aesthetic isn’t a great looks for everyone.

So, where does this leave the Steampunk Enthusiast in 2022?

Steampunk isn’t dead. It will never be completely forgotten, just because the subculture is no longer top of the pop culture. You just have to dig harder to find it. You can still find books and anthologies in the genre, and the recent animated series, Arcane, was certainly leaning hard into the Steampunk Aesthetic. Arcane has a second season coming post-2022. Professor Elemental is still singing and writing. The Girl Genius Comic still updates three times a week. I’m still getting Steampunk stories accepted.

The fires may have subsided, but the coals are still red hot.

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Filed under Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Cosplay, Steampunk Genre, Subgenres of Steampunk

Anthology Kickstarter for ‘Once Upon a Future Time’

Link to ‘Once Upon a Future Time’Once Upon a Future Time

Want to see a fabulous anthology with me in it? Want to get in on the ground floor for discovering a new publisher? Here you go!

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Filed under Anthology, Australian Author, Australian Steampunk Author, Kickstarter, Neo-Victorian Retrofuturism, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Author, Steampunk Feminist, Steampunk Genre, Writing Career

Language Fun

Eine Balloonfarz

I had hoped that this meant ‘one balloon fart’. However, is appears that ‘fahrt’ means ‘ride’. In German, a fart is called a ‘furzt’ or ‘pupser’.

Sometimes it is more fun to not have a translation!

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Neo-Victorian Movie Fashions – Part Three

 

 

Bram Stoker’s Dracula may not seem like a Steampunk movie on first viewing. But any movie with Doctor Abraham Van Helsing should be automatically slotted into the Steampunk genre, because he uses modern technology to fight vampires, such as electric lamps which could be attached to a prospective victim to act as a deterrent. He is also one of the original ‘mad scientists’ of the literary world – not the action figure portrayed in some movies and comics. (However, Carl from 2002 movie Van Helsing has my undying admiration for his gadgetry.)

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Mina Harker’s green walking dress, worn by Winona Ryder and designed by the late Eiko Ishioka.

Dress designs for the movie were by Eiko Ishioka. There were many gorgeous dresses in this film, but my personal favourite is the green walking dress worn by Mina , played by Winona Ryder, the original Manic Pixie Girl. Dracula was written and set in the 1890s. It is the dress Mina is wearing when she first encounters Dracula.

replica

A fairly accurate replica of the dress, with which we can better see the details.

Since Dracula was published in 1897, we can use that as the benchmark time period for the  movie costume. The most striking feature of the dress is the clever use of pleats to add ornamental details; the fabric is folded like Origami. The multiple waterfall folds of the bustle creates contrasting diamonds of colour. The unusual dag hemline of the white blouse is accentuated with more pleats. Are these features historically accurate?

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A waterfall pleat decorating a bustle in 1875.

The above dresses are replicas garments based on historical designs from the late 1800s. Waterfall pleats were certainly used in the Victorian era, and the multiple pleats on the green walking costume is quite likely to have been used in reality. The Victorians were never shy about ornamentation. I was unable to find evidence of a Victorian-era blouse with a similar dag hemline, which isn’t to say there weren’t any.

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Walking dresses from 1886

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Walking dresses from 1898

As you can see from the two examples above, the silhouette of the green walking dress resembles the 1886 fashions, with the larger emphasis on the bustle. However, the silhouette does lean towards the more slender skirt of the 1898 illustration, and certainly conforms to the jacket-with-blouse combination. The hat on the right in the 1898 illustration also resembles Mina’s hat in style and size, even if the decorations aren’t a match.

Both the walking dresses above are from 1890. As you can see, there is a flourish of embroidery on the lapels and cuffs of the jackets. The dress on the right is even a similar green to Mina’s green walking dress.

Overall,  I would say that Eiko Ishioka’s creation fits right into the era of the movie. Since we can ‘modernise’ Mina’s character with Steampunk gadgets, feel free to give her a cross bow with a stake for a quarrel, or a sunlight raygun.

cosplayer

Cosplaying Mina

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Filed under Cosplay, Fashion, Movie Costumes, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Cosplay, Uncategorized, Victorian-era Fashion

Neo-Victorian Movie Fashions: Part Two

 

Helena Bonham Carter is the Corset Cosplay Queen, as she has played many characters in historical movies that have required her to wear the most gorgeous costumes. The 2013 ‘The Lone Ranger’ movie was set in 1869, and so Red Harrington  – the character played by Helena Bonham Carter – wears Victorian-era inspired costumes. Red has red hair and wears red clothing; in Australia, we would have nicknamed her ‘Blue’.

lone ranger helena bonhamcarter costume by Penny Rose.jpg

Red Harrington’s costumes were designed by Penny Rose.

Red went through a series of costume changes. Rather than try to break down the accuracy of every costumes, I have chosen two main outfits to discuss. Oh, and we will also discuss the major Steampunk prop of her costumes: the prosthetic leg that was also a gun. This was actually to the most Steampunk gadget in the movie.

THE LONE RANGER

Neo-Victorian Costume Number One.

As previously mentioned, the movie is set in 1869. Crinolines were the dress-shape of the fashionistas of that era …and Red’s costume is certainly the right shape.

red-silk-dress-from-the-late-1860s

Red Silk walking dress of the late 1860s. The silhouette is very like that of Helena Bonham Carter’s costumes.

Red’s crinoline is also in the right colour range for the era, and ruffles were a popular way of decorating the skirts of a crinoline. There had been a time when a hoop skirt would be absolutely enormous, but in the late 1860s the worst of these excesses were in the past. In the next few years, crinolines would be replaced by the bustle. Red does not appear to be wearing a hoop, and she should be. (However, she is also well away from the centres of fashion and may have resorted to petticoats instead.)

1871

Note how quickly the crinoline was replaced by the bustle. Ruffles never went out of fashion. This dress was the height of fashion in 1871.

1860-photograph-of-crinoline-with-ovecoat-hat-and-muff

1860 photograph of a woman wearing a crinoline, an overcoat, a muff, and a hat. The style of Red’s hat, shrug, and dress silhouette is closer in fashion to 1871 than to 1860.

The little lace jacket that is part of the movie costume appears to be a boudoir jacket being worn as day wear. Above are a range of jackets:

  • a boudoir jacket circa 1860;
  • 1861 lace jacket over a mourning dress;
  • A mantle/caplet from 1888.

As you can see, the boudoir jacket is lacy like the little jacket that is part of Red’s outfit, but the cut of the jacket is more like a modern shrug or a caplet.

Red’s buttoned shoes are spot on for the era.

Helena Bonham Carter plays Red Harrington in The Lone Ranger.jpg

This second outfit also sports a strange little caplet trimmed with lace, over a dress with at least three visible layers. As you can see, this dress does loosely resemble a high fashion gown from 1870, from the House of Worth in France. The Costume is a mishmash of fabrics and colours compared to the Worth dress, but that can be put down to Red’s flashy tastes. The parasol is spot on for the era.

1870s-house-of-worth

1870 House of Worth gown.

The closest equivalent period garment with dramatic sleeves I could find was this tartan dress below. However, those style of sleeves turn up again and again in the Victorian era.

royal-stuart-tartan-with-green-fringe-late-1860s

Royal Stuart Tartan Dress circa late 1860s

lone-ranger-red-shotgun-leg-movie-is-set-in-1869

Red Harrington’s prosthetic leg with hidden shotgun.

It was this clever gadget leg that inspired me to look harder at Helena Bonham Carter’s costumes in ‘The Lone Ranger’. For me, it is the gadgets that really make the Steampunk Aesthetic. As a cosplayer, I would wear a ‘tattooed’white stocking and a modified shoe to mimic this prosthetic leg.

gun-leg

The problem for costumers is that people forget that the Victorian era was lo-o-on-ng. Fashions changed. It is hard to put together an authentic historical outfit, particularly when the accuracy of the outfit hardly matters in a fantasy Western/Steampunk movie. I think Penny Rose did a great job of using Red’s outfits to give the audience a deeper insight into her character. That is inspirational work.

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Filed under Cosplay, Fashion, Movie Costumes, Neo-Victorian Retrofuturism, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Cosplay, Uncategorized, Victorian-era Fashion

Tomas Barcelo’s Steampunk Cannon

tomas-barcelos-steampunk-cannon-02

tomas-barcelos-steampunk-cannon-03

worn-as-backpackmanoverable

the-cannon-ball

Seriously, one of the best gadgets I’ve seen in a long time.

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