Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Posts tagged “design

Soup Of The Day with Steampunk Photographer Charli Anderson-Farrar

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is photographer and Steampunk Charli Anderson-Farrar, Mastermind behind the awe inspiring Pagan – Steampunk project ‘Shades’, which you may have seen exhibited at The Asylum back in August. Good morning Charli, my dear, thank you so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us?

I have indeed, and I hope you like it! I’m a bit of a cheese addict, I’m not ashamed to say it, and I discovered a wonderful creamy cheese and bacon soup recipe on geniuskitchen.com a while back that I adapted to be more to my taste by using Blacksticks Blue cheese! This recipe serves 6 and takes about 1 hour and ten minutes to complete.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 Starchy Potatoes

355ml milk

8 slices smoked bacon (you can use unsmoked if you wish but Blacksticks and Smoked Bacon taste amazing together!)

115g Blacksticks Blue cheese (you can substitute this for another blue cheese or stilton if you prefer)

475ml single cream

Salt and pepper to taste

 

METHOD

  1. Boil the potatoes until soft.
  2. Drain, then transfer to a pan with the milk and blend thoroughly. Grill the bacon until crispy then cut into small pieces.
  3. Crumble the cheese over the potatoes and gently stir it in until the cheese has melted. Then add the cream and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add the bacon now if you wish to infuse the smokey flavour. Bring the soup to the boil, then remove from the heat.
  4. If you did not add the bacon before boiling, place it in the bottom of the bowls or in the soup tureen. Serve the soup over the bacon immediately.

 

Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t you have a seat here by the fire and tell us all about the main concept for your exciting steampunk project Shades ?

The idea behind “Shades” was initially going to be a staged version of a British myth, prompted by a topic in my university course, but I was encouraged to move away from British Myths and ended up doing a Greek one instead. The idea stayed with me though, and it quickly moved into the idea that those things that go bump in the night, the traditional zombies and vampires, were not the only things that hide in the shadows.

I was more interested in the stories that many people have forgotten over the centuries. These are Gaelic and “Celtic” tales, pre-Christianisation spirits and Gods, word of mouth stories passed down for centuries and often lost to the mists of time; the Courts of the Ancient Fae, the Aos Si, tales of Banshees and Phantom Horsemen, personifications of Human Evils and even Humans themselves touching the darkness with their desire for power and wealth. I love the origin stories of natural phenomena, such as Will o’ the Wisps (gas lights in marshes) being the lanterns of pixies causing mischief, or how fire came to the world through the theft of Faerie Fire. These stories are more open to interpretation, as there are fewer popular preconceptions and film visuals dictating how they should look, dress, act or think, which will allow me a certain freedom from modern cultural influences when it comes to creating the aesthetics of the characters.

 

And what inspired you to merge forgotten myths with the Steampunk aesthetic?

Even those that move in the Shadows have to move with the times. The television series “Grimm” shows fairytale creatures in the modern setting of Portland in the USA, hiding in plain sight, while the film “Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters” shows the God Hermes as having a day job at a Courier Centre. I already knew that I wanted to create my images in an alternate-world setting, as I felt that just bringing them forward into the modern era was a little bit limiting in terms of fantasy design and that was something I really wanted to keep a hold of – I didn’t want to just mimic Grimm and Percy Jackson by having old objects in a new setting. I wanted the objects to still be aesthetically relevant.

The alternative-world opens the way for even greater creativity surrounding the character and costume design of these fantastical creatures, and because of this, I desperately wanted to include a Steampunk element. While not exactly “modern” in its primary aesthetic, Steampunk is something that I love and cherish, and with so many possibilities and creative avenues to explore within the genre, there is something there that will cater to all the characters that I have planned. Not only that, it gives me an excuse to utilise modern ideas with a much older aesthetic.

 

It certainly is a marvellous and original idea, oh and  I see you have brought some photographs along to show the orphans?

DSC_4319DSC_6644DSC_6800DSC_6851

Those look marvellous! Who designs and creates the costumes for each character?

I do! I did some theatre and film design studies a while back, so I had some experience in designing costumes and props already. Originally I had planned to have a local seamstress make them, but I couldn’t afford to pay her as the whole project is voluntary. She wasn’t willing to work in that way, which I can understand, but it did leave me in a bit of a pickle. So I re-acquainted myself with the use of a sewing machine and revisited some of my old stage costume and prop-work from when I was at school to get myself back into the swing of things. Some of the outfits, like the Wisp, are put together from charity shop and Ebay finds or donated items, while others, such as Lorell the Embodiment of Fire, are made 100% from scratch.

 

That is amazing! And what is your ultimate vision for the project to be presented to the public? I have heard whispers of a book or possibly a performance piece?

Yes, eventually I want to get all the pictures together into a photo-book, perhaps with some short stories or essays in to compliment the images. I also like the idea of presenting the project in a slightly more interactive way than a traditional exhibition – I want people people to be interested in the project on an educational level, as many people don’t know the history of our country from before the Roman settlement. I’ve always felt that if you give people the opportunity to get involved and interact with things, they tend to be more interested and remember what they have learned.

 

Indeed! I am aware that Shades is a collaborative project, is there any way that the good folks gathered here can get involved or support the project?

Well, one way to support the project is to make a donation of money or materials, either to the one-off donation box on the Shades website, or you can sign up as a Patron on Patreon. Most of my Patreon earnings go towards Shades, and those that don’t help support other projects that I am currently working on, which in turn also generate interest in Shades, so either way, Shades wins!

Another way people can get involved is by supporting the exhibitions. I keep a list of exhibitions on the website, so you can come and visit, or if you are a festival or event organiser, we are always interested in hearing from people who might like to have Shades displayed.

Finally, if you keep an eye on the “Get Involved” page on the website, you can see if we have any voluntary openings coming up. These are usually for models, but I do occasionally need specialist skills that I can’t personally do, and these will go up there as well. I also sometimes take requests for work experience and portfolio development opportunities, but I don’t take requests for secondary photographers.

 

And where can we see the costumes displayed, learn more about the project and keep up to date with future developments?

The outfits can be seen “live” at exhibitions, though currently I don’t have any confirmed shows coming up just yet. I have just finished my application to take part in Asylum X in August, so hopefully I should have some news on that soon! Otherwise, you can check out www.charli313.wixsite.com/shadesproject where all information regarding Shades is kept. You can also follow the project on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheShadesProject/, follow me on Twitter (@charlianderson) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/CharliAndersonCreations), see pictures on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/charliandersonfarrar/ or check out my Patreon for special Patron-Only updates and exclusive behind-the-scenes pictures and footage! (https://www.patreon.com/charlianderson).

I sometimes take my work to other kinds of shows, depending on the theme. For example, the Lorell outfit is dedicated to a gaming community of the same name, they I recently took the outfit to a game fan convention to display there, so keep your eyes peeled for those odd occurrences too!

 

And finally, the all important question, on which the fate of the world may hang… the kettle is singing so which is the brew that inspires your creative endeavours, coffee or tea? (and how do you take it?)

Always tea for me, as coffee gives me headaches! NATO standard, milk with two!

 

Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, Charli, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready and the little urchins have their rosy noses pushed up against the glass in anticipation so shall we start dishing it up?

No problem, I’ll grab those bowls for you! And if you ever have a particular British spirit or God you’d like to see me represent, I’m always up for a challenge, so drop me a line sometime!

 

We certainly will my dear, and I hope you will come back and visit us again some time! 

Thankyou all for joining us in the soup kitchen today, I will see you next week when Poet and Science Fiction authour Kevan Manwaring will be telling us all about the launch of his new Eco-sci-fi Thriller Black Box! 

Until then, Blessings on your brew my dears!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Soup of the day: With Steampunk treasures from Jamlincrow

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is Joe, creator of the beautiful steampunk inspired jewellery  at Jamlincrow. Good morning Joe, thank you so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us?

I’m rather partial to a good vegetable soup, until recently I had always dipped lightly buttered bread in my soup. However, the other day I hollowed out the top of a baguette and filled it with cheese and shoved it in the oven as a little experiment. Hot crusty bread with lashings of melted cheese was quite the treat to accompany my soup. So that is what I have brought with me today! 🙂

 

Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t we take a look at some of your lovely creations, have you brought some along to show us today?

Well, let’s see, what have we got…… ah yes I have this magical key necklace featuring some splendiferous clockwork watch mechanics from a bygone era. Also a sprinkling of Amethyst to mesmerise all that gaze upon it!

Jamlincrow-Key.jpg

 

What else can I rummage up? How about these cufflinks, with some rather special Tissot watch movements. Quite the extravagance for the discerning gentleman!

Jamlincrow-Cufflinks

 

Or maybe a tie bar would be more the ticket…

Jamlincrow-TieBar.jpg

 

A lady such as yourself would look rather fetching with a colourful dragonfly fluttering around your neck. Careful, not to dangle him in the soup though!

Jamlincrow-Dragonfly.jpg

 

They really  are  marvellous, I especially like the key and dragonfly necklaces! How long have you been in the business of making steampunk jewellery?

Thank you so much for your kind words! People do seem fond of my dragonflies and keys…. I think being able to customise by choosing their own colours adds to the attraction 🙂

I reckon I must have been steampunking around with jewellery for about 5 years now. It doesn’t feel that long, time flies when you’re working with watch parts and winged insects 😉

 

Oh yes I suppose it must! And what inspires you when you set about making a new design?

 

I’m lucky enough to have found my soulmate, who is a constant source of inspiration to me. In fact she is the reason I started my Jamlincrow journey in the first place!
So my work is often guided by insightful mutterings from my better half 🙂

 

Oh what a beautiful story! Now then, you have a lovely range of jewellery in your shop but if a customer wanted something special do you take custom orders?

 

Yes indeed! I get all sorts of requests, so people only need tap at my chamber door and ask the question…… don’t be shy.

A lot of my custom requests are for steampunk plug earrings (for people who have stretched ears). I seem to have carved out a little niche for myself making those.

Jamlincrow-Plugs.jpg

 

Goodness! Whatever next! And, where can we find your work displayed, featured or for sale?

 

Although I always have plans to get my website up and running, I would say my Etsy shop should be your first port of call for now 🙂
jamlincrow.etsy.com

I am also an official supplier to the National Maritime Museum who stock some of my items, including my watch mechanism cufflinks at The Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

Jamlincrow-Cufflinks-Royal-Observatory

You can also keep an eye on what I’m up to on my Facebook page!

facebook.com/Jamlincrow

And finally, the all important question, on which the fate of the world may hang…  the kettle is sing so which is the brew that inspires you more when you are creating, coffee or tea? (and how do you take it?)

TEA?!?! Yuck! What a disgusting thought. I’m all about the coffee 😛
Usually an Americano or two in the morning, moving on to a Cappuccino as an afternoon treat, each with 1 and a half spoons of sugar. Wow, no wonder I don’t sleep well :/

Coffee? I think I do have a little jar around somewhere, yes here we go…

Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, Joe, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready and the little urchins have their rosy noses pushed up against the glass in anticipation so shall we start dishing it up?

Most definitely. We can’t sit around here nattering all day when their are empty bellies to feed!

 

Thankyou so much for joining us in the soup kitchen today,I hope to see you all again next week when another exciting guest will be helping me dish up some tasty soup so, until then

Blessings on your brew my dears!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Elevenses: Wizmas Witch Hunt Wagonettes

 

Wizmas! Hurrah! The jolliest, snowiest, most expensive and pointless day of the year is just around the corner: The day all citizen MUST (that is, LOVE TO) celebrate the victory of the awesome ruler of the universe, Wiz, over the inferior, primitive powers of the green goddess and all her ridiculous minions. (Are we doing well? We think we are doing well)

 

This morning you find us sketching plans for our Wizmas Witch hunt Wagonette. Every Wizmas, up and down the country, locals band together in fantastical contraptions and chase down any suspected witches, capture them in cages or sacks and lock them in the stocks where they are pelted with hot plum pudding until they confess. They are then transported to The Witch Holes in Slakeland.

 

So, poor Mrs Baker, we’re no sure what she is going to do – hopefully not try to disguise herself as Albert again, that caused untold difficulties last time…

 

But enough of the worries of others, we have our own necks to consider! So, on with the show…

 

Our Witch Hunting Wagonette Design…

IMG_0047.JPG

As for the engine it is a simple four stroke powered by gunpowder tea which we saved from our recent visit to the Temple Of Heaven on the Jentacular Landmass.

But of course we wanted something that looked and sounded beautifully complicated and fabulous so we opted at first for the Daimler 1889 V12 design …. but then we got carried away and modded it up a bit to look a little more like the 1914  V8 because well, being an octopus eight seemed more natural…

But before we hoist on our goggles and roll up our shirt sleeves…sorry? Well how very dare you, of course an octopus may have shirt sleeves!… we simply must have a little music to tap our tentacles to as we tuck in to the delighful treats that our lovely werewolf butler Klapka has nosed out for us this morning… Oh my goodness! Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake made by Ashley at Baker by Nature click on the picture to go to her recipe…

salted-chocolate-caramel-cake

 

 

 

 Wish us luck! We wish you all a very exhilarating morning and hope everything you catch brings you good fortune and plenty of cake. We invite you back to join us for Tea @ Three on Thursday so until then please be always,

Utterly Yourself


Soup Of The Day: Steampunk Adventuring With Bone Shaker Boxes

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is Shannon, creator of the steampunk adventure boxes at Bone Shaker Boxes. Good morning Shannon, thank you so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us?

Here is a simple Bean Soup made from an old Ham Bone you can get at the local butcher!

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 potatoes, diced
  • 8 cups hot water
  • 8 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 (16 ounce) package frozen corn
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

  • Melt bacon grease in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in hot bacon grease until vegetables are slightly tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir potatoes into onion mixture; cook and stir until golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir hot water and chicken bouillon together in a large pot until bouillon is dissolved; add onion mixture, ham bone, diced tomatoes, corn, tomato sauce, black pepper, and salt.
  • Cook soup for 4 to 6 hours. Remove ham bone from soup and let rest until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from ham bone and stir meat into soup.
  • Serve hot with biscuits

 

Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t we take a look at these amazing boxes that you make, have you brought some along to show us today?

Yes I did! I brought along the Tea for One box, the Radio Box, Father Mike’s Vampire Kit, and the Traveling Tea Set so we could share a pot or two, and it serves 6 so if anyone else is about they can join us!

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Oh yes please a cup of tea would be marvellous and I’m sure the urchins would like some to! It is such a brilliant and original concept, do tell me, what inspires you when you begin to create a new box?

I am a very practical person and usually a need is what starts the process. An example would be the Tea for One boxes I make. When you travel, especially here in America, hotels cater to coffee drinkers and if you are a tea drinker you usually have very poor, if any, choices for teas. I decided to make a portable box that if you can get 8 oz. of water you can make a pot of tea anywhere (as long as they allow open flame), so the Tea for One box was born. It comes with its own teapot, cup, stove, and fuel. Then I have created areas to keep tea, sugar, spoons, strainer, and everything else you need to make the perfect pot of tea. Once you set the pot on the flame it takes about 10 minutes for it to reach 185° (F) or 85° (C), the perfect temperature for tea.

I have also created boxes from the story I have about Queen Victoria’s Secret Service. I create the boxes they would need to protect her and her family. The Radio Box and Father Mike’s Vampire Kit is from that series. You can read all about it and the stories that go with the boxes on my website http://www.boneshakerboxes.com/ and go the “About” section.

I try to make the boxes as practical as I can. The radio box has an MP3 player in it and you can listen through the headset or the built in external speakers. Other boxes have been portable bars, backpacks, and lap desks, just to name a few.

My boxes are usually very functional and are built to a quality standard that I expect you to use them and with a minimum of care should last you a lifetime. I want these passed down to your children so they can create their own character or use the same box they grew up watching you use.

I’m sure there are many adventurous souls out there who are already imagining the splendiferousness of toting around their very own Bone Shaker Box! Tell me, do you make each box as a custom order and, if so, how do you work with your clients to get a box that’s ‘just right’ for their Steampunk alter ego?

All of my boxes are one of kind! I will not repeat them, I built it once, why would I want to do it again? Now with that said, I will keep a good design idea (Tea for One boxes), but I always change something including the theme. So you never have to worry about someone having the same item as you. I started out making boxes for myself or for friends and now it is about 50/50 on original design (mine) or custom box for a client’s specific design/need.

I work very close with the individual, I provide pictures and feedback all through the process. Customizing the box to the individual is what makes it fun for me because it usually adds a level of complication. “How am I going to fit this into the box and make it look like it belongs there?” is a question I have asked myself many times.  It all works out in the end and I usually get to see tears when I present the finished project because the person was involved throughout the process and seeing their personal items displayed how they imagined (or close) just brings out all the emotion, and that can’t be priced into any box. Seeing the person fall in love with something that I made, is just the greatest thing.

Besides the boxes themselves, are there other Steampunk props and curios that you create?

Yes, I started out with a jewellery line as well. It was very popular and I got a bunch of complaints when I dropped it, but it was tough to get raw materials in the quality I wanted and keep pricing down. I also do leather work, and have made leather armour, belts, flask holders, restraints. I am a reasonably competent seamstress and have made a few costumes, but the boxes are my passion, I just love making them.

And besides your online store where else can we find your work displayed, featured or for sale?

I do have an Etsy shop, and I have been a featured artist at DragonCon’s Altered History Museum for the last 4 yrs. My work has been in multiple blogs and online magazines, plus I was featured in “Just Steampunk” magazine last year. I just filmed an episode of Ghost Finders (My first TV show) that will feature a new box called the Clairvoyant’s Box based on Georgiana Eagle the Queens Clairvoyant. She reportedly did upwards of nine readings with the Queen to try and contact Albert, so I made a box that she could have used during these readings.

I also travel the Southeast U.S. doing different conventions every year and just love meeting people and seeing the reactions when I show them the boxes are actually functional. Plus I have the usual social media sites as well:

https://www.facebook.com/BoneShakerBoxes/

http://boneshakerboxes.tumblr.com/

https://www.pinterest.com/boneshakerboxes/?etslf=8756&eq=bone%20shaker

 

And now the all-important question, on which the fate of the world may hang…  which do you prefer, coffee or tea? (and how do you take it?)

I am a mood person when it comes to hot beverage. If I want to relax or I am feeling a little blue I prefer tea (English Breakfast is my favourite). However I do start every day with a cup of coffee, and both are with cream and sugar.

Splendid! Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, Shannon, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready and the little urchins have their rosy noses pushed up against the glass in anticipation so shall we start dishing it up?

Thanyou so much for having me here and I am so glad I could help with the children. Hopefully you will have me back again and we can talk more about The Queen’s Secret Service and I may even have a tale or two for the urchins while they eat.

Oh that would be wonderful Shannon, thankyou I… but wait a minute I think… is that an octopus hurrying down the street towards us? Why yes it’s Collin! It’s not like him to leave the parlour without Max I wonder what could be the matter?

Oh dear! Collin informs me that Wizmas – the season of Witch Hunts and ill will to all women over the age of thirty  – has begun! I had no idea! I must find my toupee and false moustache at once, please excuse me, I have a lot of arrangements to make and a large bottle of brandy to buy…. 

blessings on your brew my dears!

 


Soup of the day: With Lynn Cecil

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is talented artist and writer Lynn Cecil. Good morning Lynn, thank you so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us?

Good morning, Mrs. Baker. Thank you so much for inviting me to your kitchen. I have brought along ingredients for my favourite soup: cheddar bacon potato. The recipe is fairly simple:

  • 4 large white potatoes
  • ½ large white onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • Pinch of dried dill
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp of pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 6 strips of crispy bacon
  • 1 ¼ cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 ½ cups of milk (2% works well)

Boil peeled and cubed potatoes until a fork goes through (firm, but not too soft). Cook diced onion in a pot until clear. Add chicken broth, flour, and spices, stirring well.  Add lightly mashed potatoes to broth mixture. Add milk and half of the cheese. Bacon may be added here, and/or saved as a topping. Cook for approximately 10 minutes. Serve in bowls and top with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon. Enjoy!

Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t you tell us all a little more about your amazing artwork? Your illustrations are beautifully detailed, what inspires you when you sit down to create them?

Thank you for your kind words! This past year I was very inspired by flowers, butterflies, gardens, and garden objects as I created The Butterfly Garden: A Coloring Book in Four Seasons, with 72 illustrations. I use a Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.05 and the tip is so fine that I can create intricate patterns and designs that I could never achieve with my oil paints. I’m also inspired by the steampunk genre, forests, geometric shapes, and patterns. Here is one of my illustrations entitled “(Spring) Magnolia with Eggs, Keys, and Locks.”

 

015-spring-mandala-magnolia-with-eggs-small-size

 

That is stunning Lynn! And where can we see or purchase the book and your other artwork?

You can find images of my artwork on my website, www.lynncecil.com, under “Illustrations,” and “Artwork,” then search the subcategories for specific styles. Since moving, I haven’t signed on with a new art gallery, so people can contact me directly by e-mail (on my website) to purchase artwork.

I published The Butterfly Garden: A Coloring Book in Four Seasons with Kyte-Lost Books, a small company that I started in order to publish my artwork, and the book is available through Amazon sites around the world, and at select Indigo stores in Canada.

You’re not only a talented artist, but a writer as well, tell me, how did your interest in writing develop?

I started ‘writing’ when I was two. I would sit at my little desk and scribble on paper, and when my parents asked me what I was doing, I would answer, “I’m working on my tesis.” My dad was working on his doctorate at the time, so I guess I just thought that’s what people do—they write. I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and at five, I decided I wanted to be an artist, as well. I started writing stories and poems in elementary school, but it wasn’t until grade 8 that I had a teacher who assigned fiction writing as part of her class, and encouraged me to be a writer. I love language, the way it sounds, the meanings of words and their history. Writing, like painting and drawing, is such an integral part of my life, that I find I am almost always thinking about my current story or book, or what my next painting or drawing will be.

Outside of Ordinary is a marvellous collection of women’s travel stories, which you co edited with Catherine Bancroft, would you like to tell us a little more about that project?

Outside of Ordinary is an anthology that gave women an opportunity to write about how travel had impacted their lives, made them see themselves and the world differently. We were very fortunate to have so many women submit such diverse stories about their travels around the world, and to have Second Story Press publish the book.

You also have a  fascinating Steampunk series growing online which combines your amazing artwork and your fabulous writing skills, would you like to tell us about Beauty and Phin and Their Unusual Correspondence?

I am so glad you like this series! I started drawing postcards a few years ago. I hadn’t really illustrated anything in years, because I mostly painted in oils, often on very large canvases. The postcards became a way for me to work on a smaller scale, to develop my drawing skills again, and soon I had several hundred cards. Inspired by Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine series in which two characters that have never met communicate through postcards, I decided to have ancestors of characters from my YA fantasy book series write to each other through postcards in Their Unusual Correspondence.

In Book 1, Beauty Ether and Phinneous Finn are heartbound, but as Beauty is a Silken and Phin is a Raiven, they are forbidden to be together. Their correspondence begins when eighteen-year-old Beauty ethers to Paris, France in 1819, leaving Phin behind in Chillon, on their home planet of Airthe, which is like a steampunked Earth. As Beauty explores early nineteenth-century France and other parts of Europe, Phin becomes obsessed with analyzing the Silken strand in an effort to find a way to defeat the dragon clades that have invaded and taken control of Chillon.

I haven’t posted any new images for a while on my blog, as I am changing the format of the layout and I hope to publish the stories one day. Here is the new version of Beauty’s first postcard to Phin, using art paper for the background.

001a-elementography-small-size

Elementography 001: Hydrogen

001b Elementography small size.jpg

Beauty Ether to Phinneous Finn

 

I’m also working on Book 4 of 5 of The Inkmarked Chronicles, my YA fantasy series, which connects to Book 1 of Their Unusual Correspondence. I have many more postcard books planned, including one in which Beauty corresponds with a young man named Poe who is fascinated with ravens.

Ah, we love a good bit of Poe-Punking here in Lancaster, Lynn, how marvellous! The artwork on the postcards is captivating and the story concept is so intriguing, do you have plans to publish the series and, if so, would that be as a book do you think, or as sets of individual postcards?

I would absolutely love to have Their Unusual Correspondence published as a series of books along with The Inkmarked Chronicles. I would also like to have the image portion of the postcards published with blank backs so they could be sold as actual postcards that could be mailed and/or collected. Each of my characters has his or her own style of illustration and own series of postcards. Some of the series are over 100 cards long, others only around 30. The longer series would probably have to be separated into two or three books to keep them a similar length.

I really hope you do achieve that goal Lynn and when you do you must come back and tell us about it! And do you have any new projects planned for the coming months?

Yes—too many, as is always the case! I am working on several projects at once, right now. During the day, I’ve been working on small oil paintings of birch trees (6” x 6”) and of single shells from the South Pacific on a black background (4” x 4”), which will be on my website, soon, and am planning out my next series of larger canvases. When I’m not painting, I’m writing. Evenings I’ve been working on my next hand-drawn colouring book, one that is steampunk-themed. Here is one of the illustrations that is fitting for today, entitled “Tea Cup and Teapots.”

 

063 Tea Cup and Tea Pots small size.jpg

 

Oh that is stunning! Max and Collin would love it! Which brings me onto the all important question – which do you prefer, coffee or tea? (and how do you take it?)

Coffee in the morning with milk and a little sugar. Chai tea with milk in the afternoon or evening (please tell Collin, I’m sorry about the milk).

I’m sure Collin will forgive you!  (albeit with an affected shudder, Octopi are very good at those!) Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, Lynn, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready and the little urchins have their rosy noses pushed up against the glass in anticipation so shall we start dishing it up?

Yes! But, before we do, I want to thank you so much for inviting me into your wonderful kitchen and for your kind interest in my writing and art. It has been such a pleasure to meet with you this morning and prepare this soup as we talk.

So, shall I ask the little ones to come in for some soup?

Marvellous, thankyou my dear, it has been an absolute pleasure!

I will be back in the soup kitchen next Wednesday with a very special steampunk assistant – Shannon from Bone Shaker Boxes. Max and Collin will be back in the parlour tomorrow with more Tea @ Three and of course Peril will be reading some fabulous fiction from his Lovely Library on Friday.

Blessings on your brew my dears!


Soup Of The Day: With Spanky Spangler Designs

 

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is Denise, creator of the awe inspiring jewellery and Steampunk sculptures at SpankySpangler DesignsGood morning Denise, thank you so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us

Yes, I have a rather wonderful and tasty vegan recipe I found on one of my jaunts around t’internets. I can’t remember where I found it but the ingredients are; 10 tomatoes, a vine of sweet cherry tomatoes, a large onion, 6 cloves of garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, 2tsp Garam masala, a can of coconut milk, 2tbsp tomato paste and 300ml veg stock. 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Chop the tomatoes into quarters, half the cherry tomatoes and cut the onion into chunks and separate the layers, place on a baking tray with garlic (in its skin) and drizzle over olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Roast veg in the oven for about half an hour. Once veg is roasted, transfer to a large pot (don’t forget to remove the sweet and sticky roasted garlic from its skin) and add stock, tomato paste, coconut milk and stir well. Add the spices and more salt/pepper to taste then bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Carefully transfer to a blender or processor a few cups at a time and blend until smooth, or chunky if you prefer (you could use a stick/immersion blender too). Serve with a swirl of reserved coconut milk and croutons or crusty bread. 

Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t we take a look at some of your stunning creations, have you brought some along to show us today?

Yes, I have brought along some of my insect brooches, some sculptures and my Victorian inspired jewellery some of which use vintage and antique clock and watch parts, movements and cogs, along with vintaj brass and sterling silver charms, chains and findings to hold it all together.

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Your steampunk sculptures really are amazing, what inspires you when you sit down to create each one

I have always had love of nature, in particular creepy crawlies. I was an odd child and I used to spend hours searching the garden collecting insects and spiders and observing them, watching the way they moved as they scurried and across my hands… A lot of people find them disgusting and are even afraid of them but I find them fascinating and when I became interested in steampunk it seemed natural to me to try and create clockwork versions… On some strange level I guess I want people to find them as interesting as I do but without the negative reaction. 

And where do you source all those amazing materials?

I usually find bits and pieces at markets, antique fairs, car boot sales and pestering local watch tinkerers but I mainly make purchases online, Etsy and EBay have a vast array of antique and vintage clock and watch parts!

Your insect sculptures have a particular resonance in light of the recent decline in bee populations and the development of robotic pollinators, was this intentional at all and do you think it is important for art to challenge us in the same way that dystopian fiction can?

Yes, the decline in bee populations has influenced my work, although robotic pollinators could pose a problem as Charlie Brooker has shown us in his televisual show Black Mirror (Hated in the Nation)! And yes, it is important for art to challenge our perceptions, our reality and also to show us possible future scenarios if we don’t change our wicked ways! I much prefer our fuzzy little helpers get the support they need to survive what we have done to them in our search for perfection, rather than relying on robots, that’s if the technology could exist! I have just recently started selling my jewellery on EBay, they allow a percentage of money from a sale to be donated to charity, I have set up my insect brooch listings on EBay and Etsy to donate 15% of each sale to the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust because they are so important to our survival! 

You also produce some amazing anthropomorphic illustrations would you like to tell us a bit about those? 

My anthropomorpic illustrations take influence from whimsical childhood memories; Alice in Wonderland, Brer Rabbit, Wind in the Willows, Rupert Bear and Tales from Fern Hollow, along with my obsession for collecting Sylvanian Families! 

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Your beautiful creations have captured the hearts of the Steampunk community, tell me, besides your online store,where else can we find your work displayed, featured or for sale?

My work is only for sale online at the moment although I have exhibited at a number of art galleries in the past, including The National Glass Centre, Artsbank Gallery and The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle. I also sell my bits and bobs at conventions, craft markets and Lou Lou’s vintage fair. Details can be found on my website. 

And now the all important question, on which the fate of the world may hang… which is the brew that inspires you more when you are creating, coffee or tea? (and how do you take it?)

Tea of course, with a splash of soy milk, but no sugar as I’m too sour to sweeten!

(Or perhaps ‘sweet enough?’) Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, Denise, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready now so lets start dishing it up. 

Max and Collin will be All Punked Up in the parlour tomorrow for some tantalising Tea @ Three and Peril will be reading some fabulous fiction from his Lovely Library on Friday. I will be back next week with another exciting steampunk guest to help me out so until then,

Blessings on your brew my dears!

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