Thursday, May 26, 2016

Reykjavik Street Art

 All throughout Reykjavik are buildings, walls, fences, and electrical boxes adorned with all manner of artistic expression.
 From the hastily scrawled "tag", to the homeowner's DIY design, to the fine artists' fantastical expressions.
 Some are deeply thought and finely designed, others are simple and fun. Some may be social or political commentary.
 But the bright colors and bold designs give the already colorful city an exciting aura, and walking the city center has an air of discovery. Each building can host a hidden image, each garden has decorative pieces, even the sidewalks in some places are adorned.

 Travel blogs have begun! Look for more posts from Iceland and Sweden in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Finnish Air Force Museum

While on our journeys around Finland we had to swing by every military site we could find (Mr. Crafty is a Military Historian.) We stopped in at the Finnish Air Force Museum, which was filled to the brim with artifacts and machines.
The space was packed with old machines, some were very rare relics dating to the Finnish Civil War. Some were fully restored, some bore the marks of fighting, a few were just pieces dredged up from lakes.
For these planes all that remains in the impressively crafted wood propellers.
 In addition to the machines are a smattering of amusing models, wearing authentic uniforms, and engaging in presumably accurate activities.
 Like doodling at his radio post...
 These guys are my favorite, disseminating leaflets above Leningrad in their winter gear,
 Additionally, there were dozens of dioramas showing historic airfields and planes. Literally hundreds of miniature models were painted in every imaginable design and shapes. Most of the models and dioramas were actually from Japanese Model Clubs!

 Outside the exhibit continues. The newest machines were set out, only barely decommissioned.

Radar arrays from the Cold War also were set up with diagrams explaining their use in the lakelands of Finland.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Anomaly Con Report - Steamin' Good Time

It was another great year at Anomaly Con! I was lucky enough to be able to give a number of talks and demonstrations, and attended discussions of punkery, art, and social issues. I did two workshops making cuffs, one was with enthusiastic youth for Mini(on) Con. I also talked my brains out about textile history and industrialization. Turns out, I can yammer on about it, basically uninterrupted, for at least an hour...

I also has fun vending art instead of my usual cuffs and bustles! Much like my sewing I was able to work while folks watched, which means there was never really much "dead" time. (Is there ever dead time at cons? Are we ever not surrounded by fun folks? Maybe it's just because I carry a flask...)
And, I made enough money to get some goodies from other artists...

 Prints from Chaz Kemp, singer, drummer, fae extraordinaire, and dang good artist! I was sad to see Pandora Celtica put on their last performance, but it is always a joy to see those faries!

 Wee comics from local folks - A very creepy horror tale from Melanie Gilman (are you reading As the Crow Flies?) , and the first bits of an ongoing comic from Dylan Edwards (Read more, it's good!)

 A larger volume from some very nice local guys, it promises to be part of a much bigger series just as soon as pesky things like "life" stop getting in the way. I had spoken to them last year about the project, and it was inspiring for me moving forward on my comic.

And lastly, I was lucky enough to be next to David Malki, and I felt like it was time to replace the Wondermark strip which has been hanging on my fridge for 6+ years... I come from a book loving family, this is my life!

It was a wonderful weekend (as you can see from the two weeks I spent recovering before making this post!) I'm looking forward to next year, and already hatching ideas for more stitchery workshops. Steam on!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Steampunk How-to - Bustlin'

For most Victorian costuming, the top is the tricky bit. Getting a fit that is both true to your body, and true to the style can be daunting. For this project I did a mummy draft in corset to work from for making the pattern - see this post for more!

The bustle, however, while less technically difficult is still an important element! The most important factor, is to have enough of it... I had no shortage of fabric, and made generous cuts to ensure adequate yardage. 
The mannequin is a bit busty,
and does not respond to corseting.
First, if you are lining the skirt, cut and sew your lining to fit. That is, the lining should seem like just a large straight skirt. If you are not lining (or your lining fabric is a bit weak,) you will need some strips of sturdy fabric or ticking ribbon for holding up the folds.
Next, you will want to be sure that your fabric is plentiful. For example, I had 20" of waistband to be this part of the skirt, so the top of my skirt was 24". The lining (and distance from waist to just above floor) was 40", so my outer layer was 52" long.
Soooooo much sewing!
Thirdly, it is best to hang the skirt up while you create the pleats and ruffs. If you have a helper, wear it while they work. If you have a dress form or mannequin, be sure it is at the right height, and if you plan to have a cage or bustle pillow, put it on! (On the form, not on you.) If all else fails, clip it to a hanger and dangle it above the floor at the right height. You will have trouble getting good folds if you lay the skirt flat.
Then, start pinning. I start with the seams, pinning my folds through to the lining below. I try to place the folds at fairly steady intervals, working down. It may take some guesswork and re-pinning to get the right amount of lift. Don't forget to leave enough to fold over and hem! After pinning at seams, if you want more folds, mark a line straight down the fabric and pin along it.

After trying it on, hand stitch each fold. It only takes a few stitches with button or quilting cord to be reasonably sturdy. If you do, in fact, plan to be running from angry mobs of MRAs you may wish to sew a bit extra...
Votes for Women, Tools for All!

The finished skirt should have volume and swish! Note that stiffer fabrics will give the best results, particularly if Madam does not wish to wear bustle prosthetics. 

 The finished product, in front of the organ, at Anomaly Con 2016. I'll do another post in the future about some of the finishing details. E'ry day I'm Bustlin'!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Finland Travels - Kierikki Stone Age Center

On our way down from the Arctic Circle we had to make a few stops! I was on the lookout for sites of archeology and traditional culture, and of course beautiful natural beauty. 
We got all of that, and some learning, at Kierikki. The site includes a nice museum with interpretive material in English as well as Finnish. There's a mix of general information about Europe in the time period, the probable lives of humans at the time, and actual artifacts from the excavations here.

And a living history village! A number of reconstructions were built along the river, each one outfitted more or less as we expect they would be thousands of years ago. From the tanning hides and fire pits, to storage pits.
There were examples of traditional craftwork, using tools from the stone age. Many of these items were made by folks at Estonian Craft Camp as well, the tools were modern but the techniques are unchanged!
And of course, how could we skip the opportunity for a photo shoot? We need a few more longhaired rockers and we can start our own Scandinavian Metal Band.
Down by the river was a sunken storage house, for keeping food in summer and winter. In the Neolithic this settlement was on the ocean, and seemed to provide enough food for year-round living without agriculture. Seals seemed to have been an important source of both food and trade materials.
There was a row of these thatched long houses, often several connected so one could more between them without going outside! It seems like an important consideration in the long dark winters...
Since these ancient peoples would have also hunted for much of their food there were examples of traps and snares.
Most were constructed based on a mix of archeological evidence and ethnographic examples. Hunting remains very important to the Finns and Lapps, but more and more as recreation instead of a lifestyle.
Some traps were a bit cruel, trapping the animal alive. Below you see a circle of snares, and a small fall trap.
And how about this diabolic looking piece? I'm presuming they have a safety set up on this, as I imagine it would kill a human as readily as any large animal!
A classic pit trap, complete with spikes in the bottom! Simple, yet effective.
A very large fall trap. This seemed to be for trapping bears, which have great significance to traditional spiritual practices. Trapping a bear would be extremely dangerous, but also very important.
And finally, a box trap. The resemblance to a modern "humane" trap is uncanny...
A friend to guide us on our trek....
As with many spots we visited in this part of the country the ground was very wet and spongy. Great growing conditions for many of the native berries, not so great for keeping one's boots dry. Thus, a walkway built above the soft sections of forest.
The entire area along the river seems to have been occupied in the Neolithic and Early Bronze age. That indentation is a likely house site, and will be excavated in a coming season. Such indentations are common along this section of ground.
This season's active excavation, complete with grids and sifting bins. Despite the age of the site there is not a terribly thick layer of silt to work through.
The museum at Kierikki was fascinating and engaging, and the reconstructions are a wonderful touch for the history enthusiast. We sat and had our lunch around a fire, and enjoyed the forest walk. If you're ever in the area I would highly recommend!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Airship Spotting

 In preparation for Anomaly Con I've been playing with sepia and nibs, and so I present - Airships as illustrated by someone who has a fear of heights and has never been on one.