It was a visit to the Japanese section of the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) which started the latest flight of fancy at Steampunk Towers.
The low light conditions necessary for displaying the ancient and valuable fabrics there meant my snatched photos were of very poor quality, but I was inspired to try out (or maybe invent) some sort of samurai steampunk after seeing the amazing costumes and I needed some points of reference.
First I had to repaint the face of my chosen figure. I managed to find a chap with suitably high cheekbones who worked rather well, once his bland smile and vacant staring eyes had been removed and replaced. Scraps of black and gold silk and damask fabric were cut and handstitched to make his clothes.
Junk jewellery is my favourite resource – those bags of single earrings, broken bracelets and knackered necklaces sold for a few pounds by enterprising charity shops. I found a bracelet panel that worked as a breastplate, once I’d aged it a bit. A lone earring and a couple of shell charms went well on the helmet. Leather and foam scraps, a piece of drinking straw coated in copper tape and one of those plastic ring pull things from a drink carton were all pressed into service. I painted up a little sword charm and found a sheet of metallic plastic mesh I knew-would-come-in-handy-one-day to make the armour, and my tiny warrior was complete.
The perfect display space was a little bamboo box I’d found in The Works a few weeks back. In homage to the museum display, I mounted the helmet on a dowelling stand. A bead and yet another junk earring, shaped like a mask, completed this to make a kind of mannequin head and my tiny warrior now crouches (almost) menacingly beside it.
Is it steampunk? You’ll note I refrained from adding gratuitous gears and cogs to the costume. However I feel he would grace any steampunk convention. Time will tell.
If you head to this website’s HOME page, you’ll be able to check dates and venues for our forthcoming sales in Essex, East Sussex and Shropshire.