artwork by Araceli Rodriguez
A Few of my Favourite Things
by Sally-Ann Livingston ~ aka The Navigatrix
Whenever anyone asks me to pick favourites – be it films, books, music etc., I always struggle to line up my likes in linear fashion and see who ends up at the front. With me, it’s more of Sphere of Wonder containing circles made up of concentric lines and divided blurrily into categories. So when the Ambassador once more invited me to be a part of this wonderful celebratory event and unveiled the theme, so many things rushed forth for my attention that it has taken me months to think about what to include.
♡ Steampunk can be a family activity.
One person sprang to mind immediately however – my brother Matt. I wouldn’t be writing this without him, nor would I have explored the Steampunk realm so thoroughly. He and I set up Etsy shops at almost the same time. We’ve always been the kind of siblings who are best friends. We live near each other and often bounce ideas off each other. He’ll find me bits from the charity shop to upcycle and I’ll give him jewellery findings or sewing tips. We often share a stall at Steampunk events and have a great laugh together.
At ‘Steampunk Stamford on a Train’, Nene Valley Railway
Matt isn’t the only family involved, however. My husband and our daughter have been swept up in the steam, creating their own characters who are unrelated to mine yet part of the same crew – the crew of the Gargantuan Class Airship “The Unpronounceable”.
Prof. Noodles, Mr. M.C. Norbert and The Scamp
OOC Family / IC Crew portrait
♡ Steampunk encourages storytelling
‘The Scamp’, now 7, is creating a rich story around her character which includes brass dragons, magical coconut milk (allowing her to simply assume the form of what seems to be a young girl), being a tinkerer and ship mechanic, stealing fudge and concocting plans over a Steampunk luncheon, with Dr. Cornelius Porridge, for powering airships with unusual fuels. Mr. M(echanically) C(ivilised) Norbert, dwarf pygmy gorilla (and we like to think, Geoffery’s distant cousin) won the competition for best Steampunk pet. Though as he was mind-linked to Professor Noodles at the time, I rather think it was our dear prof who may have been the pet…
Stories are a large part of my products too. Each piece of jewellery and every accessory conjures ideas and images as I make them. One line of tribal steampunk products got rather over-excited and an entire fictitious culture was created, giving rise to The Aether Nomads Project.
photos courtesy of Alternate History Photography
This collection of images is a highlight for me. Holding props created by ArcaneArmoury (yes, Matt’s shop), a costume based on my design and created by Wiserabbit (TheWiseRabbit on Etsy, headscarf and necklaces by myself, make-up and photography by Alternate History Photography
I do hope that tattybustles catch on!
Abi of Wiserabbit is a wonderfully talented lady whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for years, having met at LRP, and count among my most treasured friends. How wonderful that through twenty years of Live Roleplaying to have met such wonderful people, a few of whom also dally in the delight of Victorian inspired science fiction fantasies.
Images taken at Asylum 2015, in the grounds of Lincoln Cathedral
Matt and I were fortunate to enjoy the company of the lovely Genevieve last year at Asylum. I marvel at the last few years and – permit me a little name dropping -am so proud of these images, with costume and props by people who have costumed and ..er..propped(?) Professor Elemental and taken by the photographer who is one of the Steamgirls. I’m a little starstruck.
Mainly though, I am honoured to work collaboratively with such talented and really lovely people.
♡ Steampunk is all about creativity and cooperation
This is why we love crowdfunding
♡ Steampunk music
Here are a few examples, the three albums that I’ve thrown a few pennies at (as have hundreds of others) in order to help these wonderful artists manifest their dreams right into our eager, waiting ear’oles. 😉 Somehow or other, I have a tangible connection with all three which is so very meaningful to me. Not wishing to come across as egotistical but don’t we all love it when our lives directly influence something that gives us pleasure and a sense of achievement?
With Steampunk, it is all very up close and personal in the nicest possible way.
I need to list a few favourites in brief and in no particular order before I find myself writing a book rather than a blog post (that Sphere of Wonder grows each day!)
♡ The costuming – goggling at other folks amazing attire!
♡ The contraptions – especially those made with imagination and ingenuity, of whatever skill level.
♡ The community – I love feeling that I’m a welcome part of something that celebrates diversity. *Shout out to Lincoln Steampunk Society!*
Necklace by TheNavigatrix with etched elements by ArcaneArmoury (plus added Spoons!
Speaking of diversity, Steampunk offers a warm welcome to those of all nationalities, ages and abilities and is a wonderfully accessible hobby/lifestyle.
It is this broad scope which have allowed me to offer two opportunities for ‘creative socialising’ :
♡ The Aether Nomads Project – a free global community art project based on the concept of a nomadic Steampunk Tribe. Here’s our Facebook Page and our Blog
This is one of my favourite things because of the wonderful people involved who have taken my little idea and run with it! I love sharing ideas 🙂 *Waves a glove to fellow Nomads*
♡ Steampunkable – this is really quite new. Inspired by the clever modifications to wheelchairs, mobility scooters, braces and other aids that I’ve seen both at events and online, I decided to start a group for those of us dealing with disabilities and/or chronic illness and doing it Splendidly! If you’d like to join the group, put your request in here.
I myself have wonky collagen (aka Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic disorder) among a few other labels. This is why you’ll see my work appear in bursts and then hear nothing for a while. Steampunk and online shopping platforms allow me to craft a life for myself that is sympathetic to my physical needs and fun for all the family. I can work from home, yet Skype and message friends across the globe. I can work within my abilities and pace myself (which I’m rather good at, unless I get carried away writing long blog articles…oops.)
If you pushed me to answer what is my Favourite thing about Steampunk, it would have to be…
image courtesy of Pixabay
It is the people who are drawn to this creative playground, this cognitive casserole, this celebration of Splendidness who make it what it is. Yes, we’re all human and sometimes we don’t play together as nicely as we could but the value we put on community and good manners means that we keep this engine oiled and running smoothly most of the time.
It is simply a pleasure to be in your good company.
Wishing you a happy Steampunk Hands Around the World month,
Sally-Ann ~aka The Navigatrix
To see what else is happening for Steampunk Hands this month, visit The Official Link List