As much as I've enjoyed sculpture over the years, I find myself revisiting something that at one time, made me cringe.
Ok, I lied, it still does, but let me explain. Florals.
Victorian Florals. You know, that stuff that's all over Victorian Era "Finery"?
It wasn't until I started doing wrought iron and collected various examples that I began to allow myself to like, well, floral work. It started with vines, ivy, which, are still manly, right?
Of course over the years I managed to avoid doing them in leatherwork. I managed for (Demon Spawn Sellout Name from Hell incoming) Tandy and The Leather Factory as a career, taught leatherwork and was quite good at it, according to critics.
Then in recent years, the steampunk thing. Slowly, the little sachet scented creepers started working themselves into things I actually found appealing.
WHAT!? The hairy Rock God chained to the Gates of Valhalla as a final test to those claiming worth to sit at our table in the Great Hall? The All-Father even shook his head to hide perceived softening of my tread. I propped Blondie's hammer in the door to hold it while I sat.
"Let me explain."
Steampunk. When I choose a direction, the first thing I do is see what in my mind, is lacking. Part of my desire and expression is contribution.
Anyone can copy something.
Throw a little angle to it or sprinkle rivets like they are going out of style in seemingly, calculated, engineered increments. Glue a gear on, a glowy light or steal your grandma's fun-fur thong from Woodstock (It is a thong right? Eeesh!), attach it to the corner and you have, um, Steampunk?
Ok. If you say so.
I look at the roots of the genre. Where it came from. What people did then, that inspires me now. Research material. Check. Easiest? Movies. Horrible choice, but its a start.
Books. Few pictures, lavender scented frilly tarts with attitude, and men suspect of having nocturnal dreams about their nannies. No. Cant let those damn flowers in yet.
Architecture. Getting warm.
Mechanical Devices. Getting sexy now.
It dawned on me, that what drew me to specific pieces, and really allowed me to paint mental pictures of being expressive during those times was the mixture of physical motion in contraptions of the era and attempt at making it appeal to a higher, art oriented beast of an enthusiast. We all look at Greek, Roman, Northern European art from time to time, (at least in my neck of the cultured woods) and you can see where these earlier forms of art carried over to mean, or inspire yet again a connection to the dedicated craftsfolk from earlier times. Natural representation in the form of trees, vines, leaves, and ugh, flowers abound. Theres little to none of it being used yet its an embedded part of the time.
Ok, ok, I'm starting to convince myself.
A trip to a local antique shop brought out the Faust in me, but the goat boy is carrying a big ass opened end wrench emblazoned with a rune of storm and smells like sweet, slightly burnt grease. Add a dash of metal shavings to make the skin glow. Mufasa, FOUR times, you're welcome.
There are some really good folk out there making some cool stuff. Do they need to impress me? Hell no. Does a lot of it?
We are all in charge of our own tastes. Awesome thing, nobody can begrudge you for liking, or disliking something. Years in various craft trades has taught me that human nature has hardcoded the desire to succeed and praise is always welcomed. Criticism, however, is always seen as negative. One needs to understand that in making criticism, they are usually (we all know that spiteful bastard or bitch that sees any negative response to an offering as reason to bring out the pitchfork and proceed to roast the perpetrator, slowly) just stating why they don't find something appealing to them. It's only our desire to impress others that gets in the way of understanding that.
So. I further narrow down what does and what does not "do it for me" about what already exists. I then, open up the mind shop, where very tool is available and no material out of reach. I never have to think about it long because the thing that smacks me right in the cringe hinge is things being out of place in time. The blanket excuse thrown around is so nauseating for me; I know people can only work with what they have available. Part of the fun? for me in immersion is not just lying to myself that I'm seeing something that didn't exist, but creating something that could have existed. My mind cannot wrap itself around not starting from scratch. Bless the tinkerer's lil hearts, I commend them on that fine use of a candlestick or that nerf gun, but my pursuit cannot stop there. I'm just not wired that way. Form, shape for inspiration, yes. A key element in my personal hell is, and always has been materials.
I don't seek to invalidate plastic, rubber, fun fur and pvc for the people that are satisfied with it. However, giving them that respect, I also impose do not disrespect me for turning my personal taste's nose up (or down) at the thought that I cannot settle for that. I could not expect to see a Greek column made from hydrastone or resin nor can I desire to create a steam driven piece of pneumatics from a modern screen door cylinder. it's not your problem, its MINE. I KNOW its a damn screen door cylinder and nothing you can do can make me lie to myself and immerse myself in any other fact- NOT when I know how, and can make one from materials I think would have been used.
Look, we all have seen our pet pursuits in the realm of recreation start with "what we got to get started." I've fought in carpet armor, shipping blankets, with rattan swords many times finding a place to create blue marks on various parts of my body. Refinement is in our nature. I'm just used to cutting out the settle part and prefer getting right into the hard stuff right away. My future endeavors and contributions to mine, and others enjoyment must start from within my own set rules otherwise I just wont be happy doing them.
We will revisit this in short time, a little further down the road and perhaps, more of what I have said will be much more clear and hopefully inspire further refinement. The All-Father seems pleased, and even Blondie didn't notice the booger I left on the hilt when I handed his hammer back to him. Such is my way.
Back in Chains for me.