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Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Secret Language of Steampunk Makering and Finding Inspiration in Everything

Some people are just born Artists. They live, breathe and sleep, Art. In fact, if they have an accident and bleed, I bet you 1,000 Art Gallery Openings that the spilled blood would magically ooze into some Monet worthy landscape or Dali-esque dripping clock. These people are the reason I have an infinite supply of Ibuprofen on hand. They give me a headache. Not because they are so talented or it comes so easy to them. Because they take for granted the gift that they were born with and can often be heard dismissing some indescribably ethereal piece of work as "Oh that?-Meh, it's ok I guess. Not my best work."
Actual Monet that looks like it was made with blood

Real Artists wear bath robes
 These are the same people who jump out of bed in the morning looking like Super Models. You know who you are, now stop judging me, while I wear my bathrobe (at 2:38 in the afternoon) sporting 2 weeks of leg hair stubble. I am monkey girl Brassy and I am a WORKING artist dang it! 

Your own Dr Brassy does have to work at it and I mean WORK AT IT. I strruggle, I freeze, I get artists block, I stare at beautiful brass filigree till my eyes bulge out and I get...Nothin'. So I walk away and do something else that usually involves playing with the cats or rearranging my sock drawer by color. You know, really important stuff.

BUT THEN! I spy something out of the corner of my eye. It could be something completely innocuous (I always wanted to use that word in a blog post. I have NO idea what it really means but I think it has something to do with getting a shot in your arm), and BAM! I've got inspiration, so off to the studio I go, to maker something before the feeling passes and I am back to throwing fuzzy mice on a string to Cassiopeia.  Inspiration often comes from the most bizarre places. Like my Asthma inhaler was inspiration for a piece. The sample kitchen tiles that I got in the mail from Fasade/Home Depot sparked another idea (See below).
Wants to be a Steampunk Wall Clock

Steampunk Wall Clock Realized
The bicycle gears that my ex brother-in-law saves for me are also fodder for inspiration. Inexplicably, a garbage disposal replacement, became an inspiration and it was not just to remind my husband for the 10 Millionth time not  to put avocado pits down it. I can't tell you why or when these "Aha" moments happen-Just that they do and when they do, I run with it.

Dr Brassy Zombie and Sightmares ™ ©
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that being a Working Artist is 98% work and 2% Art. At least for me. I have worked far less hours, for far more money and had far fewer heartaches, at the many mundane jobs that I have held through my life. But at the end of the day, who is going to remember that nice lady in Human Resources that handed out the paychecks every Friday? No one. I am hoping history will remember Dr Brassy and her Sightmares ™ ©Pocket Watcher Eyes and there will still be a Dr Brassy Wikipedia Page that shows the world once loved that silly redhead from Mythbusters with the freaky eye jewelry (No, not the skinny hot one named Kari, the one that looked like a Zombie in that Mythbusters/Walking Dead Halloween Special Episode-Yea, THAT redhead!).

So while I am waiting for my airship to come in, my hot air balloon to dock and my submarine to reach port- I wanted to share some of my inspirations and finds, in the hope that maybe I can be your garbage disposal or your asthma inhaler (You know what I mean).
Now here is a piece from Bsueboutiques Supplies
Bsue Item #brox0205

Is it just a brass circle stamping (On the right)? Or is it a magic porthole to another dimension (On the left)? Is it a window? A magic mirror? You decide! It can be anything you want it to be. I wanted it to be an underwater dive helmet window to a world under the ocean. So that's what I did. Or maybe it's the porthole into a radiation chamber where our hero is trapped and needs to be rescued. Or maybe a containment locket for an Alien life form. decide what something is, or wants to be, based our your vision.

I've been going around the house this week looking for things to 'Steam'. Everything from my husbands eye protection work glasses (made him a chain with gears so he can hang them around his neck), to "Steaming" his walking cane with filigree. Everything is fair game and anything might be commandeered to be taken apart and made into something else. Believe it or not, this helps me with my jewelry design. I come across the best ideas for my jewelry, when I am doing something else totally unrelated. 

Brass drawer-pull base plates

See these drawer handles? I think they might be bracelet cuffs in the future, but it also got me thinking about metal stamping.

Why am I not doing that?

So I did.I bought thin copper, brass and aluminum sheeting and I started stamping it to make my own designs. I have so many ideas on how to use these. Cuffs, pins, hat pieces, corset inserts, cane wraps....the list goes on and on. But the initial inspiration? An antique brass drawer pull base plate.
Printed metal sheet
Ask yourself. Is it a piece of copper fitting for your kitchen sink? Or is it a mini submarine? Is it an empty glass perfume tube? Or is it a teeny tiny light bulb? Is it a brass pipe fitting? Or is it a goggle lens holder? Is it a curtain hanger rivet? Is is it a top hat exhaust/air hole?
Goggle makings

See the secret that each and every piece holds. See what it wants to be. The life it wants to have. Then use your hands and your talents to breathe this new life into what was merely a supply. Like a metamorphosis, give it a brand new purpose, make it alive.

 If you are one of those people (Unlike me) who doesn't really need to even try. Then I apologize for taking your time, Oh and the Louvre called, your next exhibit is Thursday and your book publisher says Volume 6 is due. For the rest of on.....

This was another pile of "Really wants to be something else"-Stuff in my studio. I got a request Monday from the nicest lady who wanted to know if I could make a camera themed top hat? "Hum", I wondered. How to give the appearance of an antique camera coming out of a top hat without it being so heavy, that wearing it makes you feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame? Then inspiration hit!

*Glass Art bubble courtesy of B'sue Boutiques Supplies Item# base08904-
Large round filigree brass porthole also from B'sue. Bsue Boutique Supplies on Etsy


And this is what I came up with. It feels like an antique, very fancy camera. It has elements that say "Camera", without adding 20 pounds of weight to the hat.

I am still working on the LED lights for behind the lens and some more brass filigree to mimic the shutter, but the gist of it is very camera-like and the customer, so far, is thrilled.

I will be sure and post photos of the finished piece on my Facebook Fan Page Here:  Dr Brassy on Facebook

and to my Facebook Business Page here:  Dr Brassy Steampunk on Facebook
Camera Hat by Dr Brassy

Just this one project has me so excited and rejuvenated that it has launched at least 6 other project ideas. Like incubated artistic eggs, one hatches and then the next and the next.....then pretty soon there are all these little Steampunk chickens, running all over Steamington Manor. It's a Zoo I tell ya!
I know...It's  a duck. Use your imagination...

Don't be afraid to get inspiration from other Artists. Emphasis on "Inspiration". 

Raku by Oscarcrow-Harry Wood
Like this little man. Gus the Gasmask Boy. The Raku helmet and the porcelain boy and arms are from the very talented Harry Wood of Oscarcrow on Etsy

I added the geared eyes and put him together. This is just for me. Just a friend to keep me company in the studio in my "Odd and Beautifully Weird" curio cabinet. He is now whispering ideas to me on a daily basis....or maybe it's still the voices in my head. Some days I am not sure who is talking, but I listen to who ever has the best ideas. 

This is another inspirational piece from Artist Tempest

Pewter bird skull by Tempest

I haven't yet figured out what to do with this yet. The bird skull is being saved for a brilliant moment to hit that will do it justice. It's currently hanging out with Gus and they are becoming very good friends.

Paris Architecture
This is another inspiration. A bridge, or maybe arch or column. I'm an Artist not an Architect, so maybe it's all three. Random huh?

Brass etching pieces remind me of this bridge and it's what got me really excited about the process after learning the basics at James Faraday Brass Etching Class at  Clockwork Alchemy 2013.
Etched brass and copper sheets
An antique lamp for inspiration

Laser filigree buttons for inspiration 

So I hope you have learned a thing or two or taken away artistic rejuvenation from this blog post. Always know, this is how I feel about all of you. Now go out there and maker something!!!!
Love .....Dr Brassy


  1. Terrific post (as always)! I know what you mean about finding inspiration is the oddest places (love those drawer pulls). Thanks for sharing!


  2. Love what you wrote and did with the doll pieces.

  3. thanks for sharing... tweaked my mind to do more!

  4. Dr. Brassy you are ALWAYS an inspiration!!! I'm gluing myself to the chair so I don't stop writing and go running off right now to fiddle around with my beads and wire!!! You totally rock!!!

  5. This is an entertaining - and highly relatable - blog post. :-)

  6. My first visit to your's great to learn a bit more about what inspires you!

  7. Hi Brassy! How did you get those nice clean stampings? I've seen a roller thing for metal stamping, did you use something like that?

  8. Yes, Christa-I use the roller thing. It's not made for metal, till I decided it was. I bought the Tim Holtz Version.