Toy Goggles!

I’ve been through several toy goggle prototypes. I’ve discussed ideas with Amelia (of Airship Isabella), with our own crewmates, and with co-workers who aren’t involved in steam. With all the great ideas and suggestions and experimentation, we still hadn’t settled on how to make them. When we discovered Amazing Putty Mold and Resin Casting on our own, we finally found a winner!

We started using the mold and resin for cameos, buttons, and other projects, and then we thought “why not the goggles?” At first, we were going to make a mold of a plastic bottle cap that had a hole drilled out of the top to use as the “cap”, then use vinyl to make the rest of the goggle piece. However, my first officer had a better idea. He suggested that I make the goggles out of clay as one whole piece. I make a lot of clay trinkets and little models, so sure, why not goggles too? I took one of our unmodded goggles to use for reference and made some small clay goggles out of clay. Then the mold making was a whole new experiment. It took a chunk of wasted putty, and several bad molds before we figured out a better way to make the mold. It’s hard to explain, but how you fashion the mold takes some practice sometimes. But we did it! We found something that works, that we really like.

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I made three sizes from small to teeny. We will only be selling the standard small size, but can take custom orders. After the mold was made, it was about 20 minutes of waiting for the resin to set in the mold, then I painted the top part with rub-n-buff, and then wrapped the rest in fabric. I wrap them much in the same way that we wrap the real goggles, but I don’t use leather and I use superglue (and tacky glue). I made the straps out of a combination of the fabric and elastic.

As you can see in the photo below, we went with a flat top instead of the lens-like top. It was easier to make the mold if we left the top open which resulted in a flat surface. It still looked good, so we stuck with it. I might make improvements later on down the road.

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Niji the Radical Cat assisted me in modeling the mostly finished goggles. I bought Niji from Radical Works, and she happens to look good in our new goggles! I didn’t close the goggles off with the elastic yet, because I think it’s better to do that when they are bought. That way the person who bought it can have it measured according to the toy they want to put them on. I figure, you can either put them on toys you buy from us, or toys you buy from someone else! In fact, if you don’t want to use elastic, you can fashion the end of the goggles with more fabric, with velcro, buckles or buttons, or whatever you want to do with your new goggles!

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Mimes in Steampunk

If you’re a Mime hater, then you haven’t met the right Mime! You might not even recognize most of the modern Mimes of today, because Mimes are not all the same style of art form. Most people think of Mimes as the french mime, wearing stripes with a white face and black accents around the eyes. People who don’t like Mimes will typically envision the annoying french Mime that follows you around, mocking you to get a laugh…

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Mr. Bean dressed up as a mime ❤

… but that’s not the only Mime in the world and not all french Mimes are annoying. There are some amazing Mimes out there. There are funny Mimes, musical Mimes, and inspirational Mimes. But how are Mimes, Steampunk? I have two answers for this!

First of all, Mimes originated well before the 1800’s (where Steampunk is rooted), but there were famous Mimes well into (and past) the Victorian Era. The Mime dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans where they performed mimes called “hypotheses” in front of thousands of people at the Athen’s Theater of Dionysus.

The famous Jean Gaspard Batiste Deburau, son of a touring Bohemian acrobatic family, brought miming to Paris in 1811. He performed at the Funambules on the Boulevard du Temple until he died in 1846. He was well known for his character Pierrot. He was the godfather of all the Pierrots of Romantic, Decadent, and early Modernist theater and art.

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Mimes continued past the 1800’s into the present. Marcel Marceau (22 March 1923 – 22 September 2007) was an internationally acclaimed French actor and Mime, most famous for his persona as Bip the Clown. Marceau performed all over the world in order to spread the “art of silence” (L’art du silence). His first US tour ended with a record-breaking return to standing-room-only crowds in San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and other major cities.  He was one of the world’s most renown Mimes. Marceau’s art became familiar to millions through his many television appearances.

Marcel Marceau

Let’s look at some modern miming that you may not have even known was miming! You can find Pantomimes in the big cities like New Orleans and New York City. I’ve even come across Pantomimes in Denver, Colorado and even here in Oklahoma City. You know those statue or robot guys who sit or stand perfectly still and silent with a tip jar at their feet? Those are Pantomimes! Can you imagine holding a pose for hours, let alone more than 5 minutes – just try it yourself and see how tiring it is!

neworleans2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA New York City. Statue of Liberty. Mime

We have a Mime within our local Steampunk community that we support and love. He’s your typical white-painted silent Mime, but he doesn’t rely on annoying mockery to get a laugh. In most cases, he’s a target for humor and a great sport about it (as long as it’s not mean or hateful). He laughs (silently) with us and his humor fits the crowd. I remember the first time we met Sixpence at Clockwork Con in Austin, TX. He wasn’t wearing stripes, and instead he wore a rather dapper white vest. We sat in on a Miming Panel (video linked at the bottom) in which they taught us about what Miming was. They made us laugh and even took requests. It was a lot of fun. Then we met his lovely lady Mime, Citrine, at the Sky Commodore’s Ball. What an adorable couple! As hard as Cameron Hare tries to stay in persona when dressed up as Sixpence, he is a real person who is talented and easily approachable. You can find him on Facebook too!

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Clockwork Con is also where we met Steam Powered Giraffe – The Spine, Rabbit, and The Jon (former member). They were in that same panel with Sixpence and just as hilarious.

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The Spine, Rabbit, Sixpence, The Jon, Mr. Saturday, and Cpt. Coppertop (Me) at Clockwork Con 2012

Remember earlier on, when I said that not all Mimes are silent, and that there were musical Mimes? That’s Steam Powered Giraffe! They aren’t the typical Mimes you think of when you think of Mimes (how often do you think of Mimes anyway?). They are a very talented group of men who take on the role of robots. Unfortunately,  The Jon is no longer in the band but they have a worthy addition to the band named Hatchworth! They perform humorous skits as well as singing. They use sound effects and precise movements to bring their robot personas to life. I can only imagine how much concentration it takes to do all that while also singing and playing instruments. Yep! They play instructions too. We weren’t kidding when we called them talented. They also do their own make-up and graphics for their website. Rabbit often does live streaming, sells his art on DeviantArt, and is super active on Facebook. This band is what they do for a living and they work very hard at it. We’ve seen them at events where they are manning their vending table non-stop while they’re not on stage performing. We’ve had wonderful experiences with them and they are super personable (despite being crazy busy). If you see their names on a flyer for a local convention, check them out! It’s well worth it.

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So, where is the second part of the answer on how Mimes are Steampunk? Because they make themselves part of the community! Steam Powered Giraffe’s costumes are steampunk in different ways, from goggles to dieselpunk  and even the type of robots they are qualify as Steampunk (or Deiselpunk in The Spine’s case). It’s more so in the background story and the style that captures the Steampunk essence. No one is just Steampunk, you have to make it Steampunk. Steampunk is all about the creativity, the crafting, and the fusion of Retro-Futuristic scifi. Being part of the community with a creative persona and the right elements, and there you have it… Mimes In Steampunk!

Steampunk Community Toymakers

We’re not going to cover just any kind of toy in this article… we’re talking about softies! We’re going to talk about our toys and other toymakers in the Steampunk Community! First and foremost, we want to tell you about our toys here at Airship Horizons. We call our brand of toys Steampunk Mascots. We have two types of mascots, the “Dapper” Mascots and the “Pet” Mascots.

The Dapper Mascots are all typically made from the same pattern and come with two accessories, which you can mix and match, and even purchase more accessories! Most of the Dapper Mascots end up sold with a Vest and Tophat, or Vest and Tie. We are working on some new and improved Goggles for them too! We have an assortment of accessories, from sew-on mustaches, monocles, flowers, and other little things. We also have some scented toys on the table… right now we have Chocolate, Vanilla, and Sugar Cookie aromas.

The primary Dapper species are Dodo Birds, Jackalopes, and Monsters. The Monsters seem to be the most popular, so you’ll see a lot more of these around. Halloween will debut Skeleton Mascots (made from another pattern). For Christmas, we have a pretty awesome Dapper Snowman “Mr. Merriweather”, and some Yeti’s to come! You might even see some Steampunk xmas hat accessories! Easter will bring a bunny mascot to the table (very likely scented with chocolate). Who knows what else we might come up with!

The Pet Mascots are varied and are sold without any accessories included. However, you can buy accessories to put on them too (with the accessories that fit or can be sewn-on). Some customers have been pretty creative with our toys! The Pet species are a range of random toys, but we regularly make Free-Standing Owls, Miyazaki’s (consisting of Chibi Totoro, Soot Sprites, and a Soot counterpart we’ve created called Flurries), Octopods (including both adults and cute little babies), Squids, and Platypus. We hope to add a Cuttlefish and Axolotl to the table in the near future. You’ll be seeing seasonal toys on the table, such as special little ghosts, bats, imps, and maybe even little tarantulas! Easter will have special scented bunnies. Just wait and see!

We, also, take commissions! If you don’t see what you want on our table (or on the Mascot facebook page) you should still ask. We have resources for finding or making patterns. If we don’t think we can make what you want, you have a list of other toymakers further on in this article that we can refer you too!

Here’s a look at some our Dapper Mascots: 
These are some of the Pet Mascots, with a few creatively dressed:
This is our new and improved Squid:
Here’s a sneak peak at our Holiday toys – unfinished:

We are currently working on a Cuttlefish pattern (hopefully in it’s last draft), an Axolotl (still in early draft), and we have a pattern trade with Jesse Thaxton for her octopus. We’ll be making her Octopus on a smaller scale and promoting her very cuddly BIG octopus! In the trade, she has our new Squid and hopefully we’ll be seeing some BIG squids on her table! We have other plans in the works, but that’s all we have to share for now.

As you may have guessed, we are willing to trade patterns with promotional respects (on a case by case basis). We can’t trade any of the patterns that we did not make (which includes any patterns someone trades to us). The way it works is, we will make and SELL toys made from patterns we receive. Anyone who buys (or admires) one of our toys, made with your pattern, we’ll let them know that it’s your pattern and that you make toys too! In exchange, you get to make and sell toys from our patterns and agree to promote us to anyone who buys (or admires) a toy made from our pattern. We will even post your name on our list of pattern credits which will be posted at the vending table. We can’t guarantee that we will trade with everyone; as it depends on how much time and space we have, and what types of toys we’re interested in… but if you are interested, let us know!

Now that we’ve promoted the heck out of ourselves, it’s time to get to our toymaking friends in the community!

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A Captain’s Authority

A Captain’s duty is to his (or her) ship and crew. A Captain leads the ship, takes care of his crew, and this is his number one priority. It’s not his concern what happens outside of his crew. However, within a Steampunk Community, a Captain is viewed as an authority figure within the community. The Captain is responsible for his crew and, therefore, if someone on his crew is a problem in the community it’s up to the Captain to fix the issue. It’s a great idea, but let’s be realistic.

We are not real Captains with any real authority. We don’t actually have a real Airship. We can’t force people to behave the way we want. We are not responsible for other peoples actions. Everyone is responsible for there own actions. All an Airship crew really is, is a group of friends (whether it’s social or business oriented). In most social atmospheres, you can’t avoid groupings of friends, and they usually have each other’s backs. Steampunk is no different. This isn’t to say that Airships are bad or that Captains are useless. Airships are great because they give people a common purpose within the community and they are one of many ways to get involved. Often times, being apart of a crew gets your foot in the door for other things (like vending and paneling). Airships make you feel part of the community in general.

Like I said before, it’s a great idea that Captains be responsible for their crew. Despite the reality of what authority we truly lack, we are not without some useful power. We have the ability to kick someone off the crew. This may sound harsh, but it is the bottom line of an Airship Captain’s true power. A good Captain will give his crew mates the benefit of the doubt (especially if you’re friends), but you’ll also be honest with your crew when they are wrong. You’ll encourage (perhaps even demand) a code of conduct from your crew. A Captain can, for the better of the community and his Airship, provide an outline of what is not acceptable behavior. A Captain can, and sometimes should, intervene in heated situations to the point of calming down his crew or having everyone take a step back to civility. A good Captain will provide advice and direction to his people when they are met with sensitive or difficult situations. A Captain can act as an intermediary between his crew and others within the community. However, don’t expect a Captain to get in the middle of personal affairs (private arguments and issues outside of the hobby). What people do in private or on their own time, is their own business. Captains do not have the right to pry or butt-in.

With that said, if all else fails… if someone causing problems within the community won’t listen to their Captain, they can be kicked off the crew. This means you don’t have the backing of your crew, they won’t be taking your side, and you don’t get any of the benefits that your Airship provided. This may include not being invited to social activities, not having a table to sell merchandise on, not getting free passes into conventions, no longer having access to tools (for making things), and the list goes on. All of these things could be reasonable disciplinary actions within the Airship crew, before having to get to the point of walking the plank. Being kicked off an Airship could make it difficult to get accepted to a new crew… not to mention the embarrassment alone.

A Steampunk Captain doesn’t have any real authority, but we do have have the ability to be responsible Captains and that does come with hard choices. It’s not unreasonable to expect an Airship Captain to take their role seriously within the community. Do good by your crew. Do good by your community. This is what it is to be an Airship Captain.

 

~~ Captain Amelia “Coppertop” Reinier of the Airship Horizons

Steampunk Community Guidelines

A couple of months ago, the Steampunk Community I’m a part of (SCARS) had some pretty bad drama between some of it’s members (as any community will have occasionally). I was inspired to do something about it. Knowing I can’t make anyone act a certain way, I thought “How do you help inspire the right behavior?” and begun writing out some guidelines of how I believe a community should behave. Now I know there’s a couple of places where the guidelines seem to contradict themselves, but keep in mind that it’s written to inspire the mindset of the individual and how they should act. Please feel free to borrow these and modify them to suit your community. I welcome feedback and suggestions. Inspired by the social guidelines from Burning Man and the Code of Conduct from the Camarilla, I present to you the Steampunk Community Guidelines.

 

Steampunk Community Guidelines

 

The South Central Armada of Renegate Steampunks (SCARS) is comprised of Steampunks of all backgrounds. We are a community built on the love for all things Steampunk. We understand that because we are different, we cannot always agree. These are guidelines to help our community grow and communicate despite those differences.

 

Respect Each Other

We must all respect one another. This can mean a lot of different things, such as respecting one’s wishes to be left alone or respecting another’s opinion on what is or is not Steampunk. We may not always agree, but we can always give respect to one another when interacting in the community. You do not have to like one another, but respect the community enough to not let that dislike bleed into the group.

 

Personal Resonsibility

You are responsible for your own experience, your own actions, and your community. By following this philosophy, you help everyone to get out of the community what they put in individually. No one but you are responsible for your fun and your actions.

 

Be Real First

Simple idea. Remember that you’re just acting out a role, and even if you don’t like a character in the game, the player might be a vastly different person. If you don’t like the way RP is going, step out of character and take a moment to talk with the players involved. We’re all here to have fun.

 

Have fun and help others have fun

Everyone is here to have fun. So, it is the responsibility of each of us to make sure that everyone enjoys the community to the best of their ability. If you see someone frustrated or seemingly not having any fun, please take the time to interact with them and see if you can help them enjoy the community.

 

Provide a Positive Image

Whether this is on the street or at an event, we will often get questions about “What is steampunk?” While our answers will always differ, the image we provide will have an impact on those outside of the community. We always want to be remembered in a positive way.

 

Inclusion

Anyone may be a part of Steampunk. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community. There is no wrong way to do Steampunk. We accept all forms of Steampunk.

 

Self-Expression

Steampunk is filled with talented artists, performers, and engineers of all kinds. It’s a huge part of what makes up the Steampunk community. Everyone puts a lot of work and heart into their creations and many of us do this for a living. There is no “right way” to create art and self-expression. We should all respect each others art form, whether you like their work or not.

 

Community Support

As a community we promote working together and sharing. Collaboration between people generate creativity and some of the best works of engineering and artwork the comminuty has to offer. We also help promote and protect our social groups, merchandise, art forms, and our members. Without this support, we wouldn’t be a community.

 

Participation

We encourage our members to participate; whether it’s going to conventions, making things, posting in the forums, playing in the LARP or creating stories, volunteering, etc. The more people that participate, the more fun and profitable our community can be. By joining in on the activities you avoid loosing steam!

 

Dealing with Problems

We will not always like everyone in our community. If you have a problem with someone in the community, please find a way to resolve the issue privately or find a way to avoid airing out issues in public. Remember, it is sometimes best to sleep on an issue. Our outlook often changes after we’ve had time to cool off and think about it.

Freedom Of Choice

No matter what happens in the community, I am free. No one can tell me what to do. I’ll do whatever I want to do. I will act how I feel like acting. I’ll say what’s on my mind. I’ll make my own decisions regardless of anyone else’s opinion. Everyone else is free to do the same.

With that said… I choose to be a part of this community. I want people to respect me within the community. I want the community to like me and perhaps even admire me to some degree.  I want people in the community to be happy. I don’t want people to be sad or angry. I choose to try my best to ignore the drama, and I choose to listen if you have something meaningful, honest, or constructive to say. I choose to try to stay positive and try my damnedest to share the love! I may not always succeed and I may be stubborn as all hell… but at least I’m determined… to do good by this community.

My generally preferred mode of thought is to think in a positive way. I’m not being told what to do. I’m being given guidelines of what will make Steampunk a community. I am given the knowledge to know what will earn me respect. I am given the warning of what will prevent or damage friendships. I am given a choice of how to make myself a positive force in this community. I am given the power to help this community grow and give staying power to us.

I am free to make my own choices and so is everyone else. I know that me and my crew aren’t the only people who have made these positive choices. For that, we respect you!