Tag Archives: ren faire

Are You Going To Scarborough Faire? (Thoughts on Renaissance Steampunkery)

This year, Tom and I are continuing our tradition of a trip to Scarborough Faire, the renaissance festival in our area. Last year, we dressed up as a fairy and a pirate (our first trip to the faire in costume,) and this year we’ve decided to join the costume contest! You may be thinking,  “You’ve seen one renaissance costume, you’ve seen them all,” which is generally accurate, but not always true:

I was delightfully surprised by this lady jester last year!

This year, we were so excited to discover that the faire is having a time travelers costume contest, which can be anything from Dr. Who to driving up in a Delorean a la “Back to the Future.” Of course, if you’re familiar with the territory, this also means steampunk!

Now you may be saying to yourself, “I really don’t get that steampunk thing,” and rightfully so. It’s a broad genre of style. So, let me try to clear things up for you. Here are the best definitions I’ve come across so far.

Steampunk (noun): A sub-genre mixing Victorian and Edwardian styles with science fiction, often based on characters inspired by literary figures such as H.G. Wells.

Steampunk (noun):  A style that gives the illusion of living in a past in which the future came too soon.

Steampunk (noun): When goths discover the color brown.

See also steampunkery (noun,) steampunk-ify (verb,) and steampunker (noun.)

Okay, so that last one is just funny, but it’s true to an extent! Basically,  I’ve found that there are 5 identifiable categories within the steampunk sub-genre.

1) One has a more gothic, dark tone, often inspired by Tim Burton characters with lots of black, red, and black and white stripes, and even some dead or zombie makeup elements. Also incorporates some “carnivale” style.

Vistual example of goth steampunk.

2) Another has more of a fantasy tone (fairies and elves dressed in steampunk garb.)

A visual example of a steampunk fairy.

3) Yet another has more of a sci-fi tone (human time travelers and other sci-fi creatures in steampunk garb.)

A visual example of sci-fi steampunk.

4) Then you have the costume hackers, who “hack” existing characters from other genres (superheros, comic book characters, movie characters, etc.) and steampunk-ify them.

Visual example of a steampunk hacker costume. Iron Man, a natural choice.

5) The last style is simply made of a group of steampunk purists who enjoy creating historically accurate costumes mixed with scientifically functional machinery, and who usually have knowledge and appreciation of the literature that inspires the style.

Steampunk Lincoln says it's hard to find a picture of historically accurate steampunk costumes, but they're out there!

Also, you must know that there are people who do steampunk cos-play (costume play,) and there are people who dress in steampunk style every day. Those who have adopted the style as their own in their daily life sometimes don’t know how to respond to those who call it “costume,” but I say please don’t be offended! Costuming is all about transforming yourself into someone (or something) you’re not. When someone takes the time and effort to make or buy and assemble a costume emulating your style, that means they want to be, well, you. That’s a pretty big compliment. (Even with all the steampunk fails out there.)

Not so much with the steampunk tag. You probably violated the Etsy TOUs trying to get more views for your item, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

So, I hope that breaks things down for you if you’ve been unfamiliar with all things steampunk until now. Steampunk expert? Tell me what you think of my list in the comments below! Did I miss a category?

I’ll be posting pics for next week’s Make It Monday with tutorials on how you can make your own steampunk garb, including pics of the steampunk mini tophat I just finished! I’ve never done steampunk before (or made a mini tophat, for that matter,) so I’m pretty excited. I’ll also share other elements of our costumes just for your viewing pleasure.

Share the Love,

Chelsea

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Thoughtful Thursday

Whatever Weekend – I Turned Into A Fairy (Who’s Scandalously In Love With A Pirate)

Tom and I went to the ren faire yesterday and made lots of friends! Who doesn’t want to be friends with a fairy and a handsome pirate?

Here’s how my wings turned out:

My little wings! I took off some of the greenery, and replaced the elastic arm bands with wide brown satin ribbon. Much more comfy.

The final costumes:

Not to get too country on you, but is this what "buttin' a stump" means?

A coveted picture with Twig the fairy:

Her wings and costume are magnificent! I tried cellophane on mine, but couldn't get it to work. I'll definitely have to try again.

We ate renaissance pizza and baklava, and Tom drank all the rum.

I bought a sweet mini-parasol with scalloped edges and a hand-painted cherry blossom design. If anyone knows a way to water proof rice paper, let me know! I also bought a walking stick made of cedar from a man named Cedar (I’m not kidding. He lives totally off the grid in Oregon.) You can see both of them in the picture with Twig.

Tom and I both got henna designs this time – it’s usually something I do to relax while he walks around. For those of you who don’t know what henna is, it’s a natural plant-based dye used in Asia and the middle East. The paste is greenish, applied through a small tip, which dries on your skin. When you remove it, the stain of the design is left behind in a rich, terra cotta color. Mendhi is the art of henna, creating intricate designs on the hands and feet for everyday, but especially big events like weddings. It looks like this:

Tom's mandala design. I got a lotus design on my foot.

The designs have been Americanized, and henna is now an alternative to temporary tattoos, since the stain usually lasts one to three weeks.

We walked our butts off and watched the joust, the royal court dance, and acts like bellydancing, whip crackers, pub singers, and joked with the roving faire characters. When we just couldn’t walk anymore (plus, the faire was closing) we took the long trek out to the car and made the long ride back home, where we soaked our feet and watched an episode of ye olde Bones.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Share the Love,
Chelsea

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Whatever Weekend – New Blog! And Other Random Stuff We’re Doing.

Hi everyone! It’s a beautiful, sunny Saturday here in Texas, and I have plenty to keep me busy.

First is a new blog: http://patientsvoicewhocares.blogspot.com/. It’s a combined effort between my aunt, my mom and me. We’re writing about our (and others’) experiences in healthcare: what went wrong, what went right, and things you can do as a patient, friend, or caregiver to make a situation a little easier. When you visit, be sure to take part in our survey to the right of the page – “How do you feel about your current doctor/specialist?”

Next, I’ve been trying my hand at painting, which I’ve always enjoyed, but it’s never been my art of choice. I was asked by a pregnant friend if I would paint letters (that spell out her baby’s name) to match the nursery. He has a vintage sports themed nursery, so I copied the style of the bedding to match:

Letter painting attempt numero uno!

After posting this picture on Facebook, two more of my pregnant friends asked if I would paint some for them! I figured the letters could be my baby gifts to them, so I’m working on a Texas Rangers themed set (6 letters) for a friend who’s due any day now. The other couple decided to wait on letters until their little girl can decide what she wants on her own. The momma got an IOU and a nursing necklace at her baby shower. 🙂

In other news, I have some housecleaning to do. Boring.

I’ve also been working on our costumes for the ren faire next weekend! The base of my fairy costume is complete, and the wings are halfway done. I’ve still yet to find cello wrap for a decent price. I may have to suck it up and go back for the $5 roll. Tom’s pirate costume is complete! (Unless we find something that will work as a cool vest.) I found unlined khaki color linen pants for about $4 at a thrift store, and a large women’s matching linen tunic for $3 at another thrift store. I cut the pants legs jaggedly just under the knee, and I’m going to muddy/stain them and the shirt. We added his black and white checkered bandana (it’s huge – turban sized – he got it in Afghanistan,) his own worn leather belt, a sash made from dark grey Halloween netting, and various pieces of jewelry like shell necklaces wrapped around his wrists, hoop earrings, extra rings, and a feather in his hair (made by – who else? Mom!) Plus, we have a fake “bottle o’ rum,” with a skull on it, and he has a wooden waster (sword.) It’s all about the details. Here’s what it all looks like now:

Things you'll find in a fairy's closet.

I don't think most pirates have closets ...

Oh! One more thing – this is a cool site to check out the walkability of your city/neighborhood: walkscore.com  Our city doesn’t rank very high, but our neighborhood is 80% walkable!

Hope you have a fatastic, safe, and relaxing weekend!

Share the Love,

Chelsea

Leave a comment

Filed under Whatever Weekend