Photo Friday: Crunches, Mysteries and Corsets

This week's been a mixed bag: Some <insert appropriate descriptive curse word here> smashed the main side mirror while i was at a medical appointment. They did not stop. They did not leave a note. You have been reported. The police consider this a hit and run. We've been down one car since the incident as the car is not legally driveable in this condition. On a lighter note: Spotted Kermit dangling from a ute. (NB: I was a passenger at the time) And this colourful katydid-like bud hitched a ride for a while. (NB:I was stopped in the carpark when the photo was taken.) Current writing project: Mrs Hudson Investigates is now being edited. Had fun researching London Zoo, 1891. My second corset for Adelaide Oz Comic Con is almost complete. Thanks to Lynne for an extended corset workshop. I was just waiting on grommets for the lacing. They arrived almost 2 weeks earlier than expected. (phew!) Photos will be posted after the con (this is a secret project.) And there's a video of our corset workshop [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGUXxPAJtFw[/embed]

All video and photos © 2017 Karen J Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Costume Diary: A New Corset for Oz Comic Con

I've been accepted for a table at this year's Oz Comic Con in Adelaide.  Time for an new corset! First task was to draft up a new under-the-bust pattern, as I've changed since my last one. A new toile was fitted, thanks to Lynne Cook.

  

I used two layers of cotton duck for the structural part of the corset. The spiral metal boning was sandwiched between them, in sewn channels.  The pattern was cut perpendicular to the long grain, so the strongest part of the material would be around the body. The outer, decorative layer was cut to follow the pattern. This one has a pirate map theme, using left over material from one of my blouse projects. The metal busk was inserted, using an awl to create the holes for the 'knobs' (so the material threads were not broken, to reduce fraying and keep material integrity) and sewn in place. Boning channels were sewn in place.

  

I used 25 mm cotton bias to edge the top and bottom of the corset. Finally the grommets were inserted (these are size 0, black). Again, an awl is used to create the hole, to avoid breaking threads.

And here is the final creation - my new pirate map under-the-bust corset. Thanks to Lynne, of the Australian Costumers' Guild for her assistance in fitting. Now to see if I can get a second one finished before the con. Come by my table at Oz Comic Con to find out.

Photos © 2017 Karen Carlisle.

Firing the Imagination: Steampunk Hands Around the World #3

Certain groups seem to have a higher percentage of creative types. And steampunk is no exception. It's a creative culture. It nurtures the imagination - through a good book, a stunning costume or breathtaking images. But this is no cookie-cutter culture. Steampunk fosters individuality. Give a group of steampunks a box of similar items, and they will create their own, unique masterpiece; no two things alike. Writers, artists, costumers. We have the lot. And you don't have to spend a fortune. I found a second hand 'Nickelodeon Slime Blaster' (water gun). It resembled the old Mortein fly spray pump-action squirter. My imagination took over and, voila! A Pump-Action Fairy Eliminator. And hence was born my Steampunk Fairy Catcher outfit. It's so much fun wearing this outfit to conventions! Just let loose your imagination; what would you have made?

  

I started doing photography in high school. (What better way to get out of PE than joining the photography club and taking photos for the school magazine? Back then we did it all in a dark room, with enlargers and smelly chemicals). Steampunk has re-kindled my passion for the art form. It's not just portraits. There are some gorgeously intricate gadgets -themselves inspiring - with intriguing shapes. Or the way the light catches on the brass...

   

Then there's my greatest passion: writing. Where would I be without steampunk?

Over the years, I've started writing. Stopped. And started again. I just couldn't find my niche. I'd been a member of the steampunk community for about six years before I tried again. But what to write? They say: write what you know. So, I started writing a fantasy novel; a story that had been mulling around in my brain for over fifteen years. I got sidetracked by Viola. She wanted to tell her story. And her story was steampunk. I've now expanded my steampunk world, with two more planned series. Each is different. The Adventures of Viola Stewart were darker, Victorian mysteries (closer to gaslamp). The Department of Curiosities is a rollicking adventure. Then there's The Wizard of St Giles, set in the shadowy world we rarely see.

I can ferret around in familiar settings (like Victorian England or Colonial Australia), meet interesting historical characters (Tesla, Queen Victoria, Jack the Ripper), throw in a few of my own and see how they interact. Like costuming, I can immerse myself in history and indulge my passion for science and fantasy. I get to play the ultimate 'what if?' I get to cross-pollinate genres, postulate on alternative theories leading, or resulting, from historical events. I get to twist history. Or, if I prefer, I can create my own world, complete with steam-powered engines and cog-driven sentient beings.

Want some first-hand inspiration? Check out these drawings of how 19th century envisioned the year 2000 (in full steam) and what they imagined future space ships would look like: Science meets art in Le Sortie de l'opéra en l'an 2000 and Maison Tournante Aérienne (both from 1800s) can be found on the Library of Congress webpage.

So how has steampunk fired my imagination? Ideas come more readily and I speculate in many directions - adventure, paranormal, fantasy and science fiction - all enhanced through steampunk goggles.

Photos ©2013-2017 Karen J Carlisle All rights reserved.