April 8, 2011

April Blissfull ATC Swap - Steampunk...

Courtesy of Toxel.com
Are you familiar with "steampunk"?
I must admit that until about a year ago, I didn't have a clue what the term steampunk represented. Curiosity got the best of me at that time and I went exploring.

It reminded me of Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, or the computer games Myst and its sequel, Riven. A curious mixture of Victoriana and the computer age. Gears and cogs coexisting with high tech. I was fascinated.
Can you imagine having a laptop that looks like this? Who even cares if it works? I'd just love to have it sitting on a rolltop desk for decor!
When Wendy at Blissfull ATC Swap blog set our theme for April as steampunk, I panicked. How could a gal who's been making artist trading cards in fabric translate this theme to a card? (Click here to see Wendy's post about our theme.) Back to the computer I went for more research.

Thankful for Google searches, I typed in the words "steampunk fabric", and these are just a few of the images that came up:
Courtesy of Nokhoo blog

Courtesy of Kaboodle

Courtesy of Milicent Brovovich blog

This was just the right amount of inspiration I needed. Thursday I got into the studio and made my design a reality. I decided that I would embrace the Victoriana aspect of steampunk and then add a twist.
I created the bodice of a dress with a ruffled blouse, and then tucked gears and a crystal heart behind the ruffles. The gears ensure that m'lady's heart keeps ticking, even as she hides her heart away for safekeeping.
You may have noticed that I even padded the bodice of the dress to resemble the proper lady's shapely form. (This is the side view of the card.)
I used sparkling beads instead of satin-covered buttons for my tiny interpretation. I linked tiny bronze jump rings together and attached them to the key to Madame's heart.
All of these details assembled to fit onto the front of a 2.5" x 3.5" playing card. In the image above, you're looking at my entire artist trading card - a tribute to steampunk. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind and I'm sending the original, not a digital image of my creation. I've called it "Mechanical Heart", and it's already on its way to my swap partner, Electra in Canada.

I'm thrilled with my efforts. This took longer than most of my other cards, but I think I nailed the theme. I think I also stayed true to my love of fabrics, sewing and garments.

I'm not sure why, but I kept picturing Peta Wilson as Mina Harker in A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen wearing this when I was working on it. (Sean Connery is also in this movie. Excuse me while I take a moment to daydream. sigh) Gosh! I think I'd even love to have a dress, like the miniature I've created, for myself.

I know that I'm probably letting the cat out of the bag for Electra (in the event she reads this post), but I couldn't wait to show you. I promise to show you Electra's card as soon as it arrives. It's coming all the way from Calgary, Canada to North Port, FL!

So what do you think? Be honest now. Do you think I met the challenge?


  1. Hi Donna, I think your ATC is brilliant. I've been toying with the idea of doing some mixed media for ages, and I've managed to accumulate quite a stash, but,,,I haven't got round to doing it yet. Your work has really inspired me. I think I'll give it a go. Blessings

  2. Donna,

    That is just exquisite. You are a talented lady. Have a great weekend. Finally figured out getting the photos on the Mac!


  3. Donna, you never cease to amaze me. It's brilliant! Lindsey and I are big fans of the steampunk style. I enjoyed your post very much. Have a nice Saturday! Twyla.

  4. Donna I adore your version of steampunk. You have done a truly spectacular job of research and replication. This is an amazing amount of detail in such a tiny venue. You really rocked your ATC! I love love love your romantic take on such an unusual theme. Happy weekend...

  5. I just totally looooooove it! Yeah! It does remind me of Peta Wilson in that movie. Cool!
    My favorite so far girlfriend. You rock...as always! :)
    xx, shell

  6. Exquisite Donna. Love the detail.


  7. This is stunning Donna - you nailed it alright! What fabulous detail you have created, and the theme is there in a beautifully rendered, subtle style. Love it!

  8. Met the challenge??? You SURPASSED it beautifully!! What a marvelous rendition in your own choice of medium! Outstanding...you sure do like a challenge!

  9. You did indeed meet the challenge! The piece is quite lovely. Just the right blend of Victorian elegance and subtle mechanism. :) Loved seeing the piece from several angles. Very lovely!!!! Theresa


Thank you so much for leaving a comment today. I'm using new settings on my comments so that I might respond to your messages to me. Be sure to come back to see my replies!

Blessings, Donna