An exploration into the complex ideals of Steampunk and traditional skill sets.
My Final Major Project is a character based concept that explores traditional craftsmanship, steampunk and a subversion of Victorian ideals. I have conveyed character through the application of hardware to suggest a steampunk theme, whilst sticking to the ideals of functionality within steampunk. The traditional elements come from an exploration of leather work and hand crafted tailoring techniques, both are skill sets that have been around for centuries. Lastly, I have researched into Victorian themes in steampunk, as it is ingrained into the culture. However, steampunk involves re-imagining rather than recreating history, which has resulted in a strong feminist undertone, opposing the gentle femininity expected from the period. Steampunk females are more utilitarian, wearing corsets as an empowering symbol to reject oppression, pairing them with garments that allow ease of movement.
On this project I have collaborated with a Leather worker to create leather pieces in a traditional manner utilising traditional saddlery techniques. I have also worked with a client who is an amateur fire performer and avid cosplayer. Through these themes I have designed for two separate characters, a performer (fire spinning) and adventurer (cosplay), using the concepts to create a cohesive piece. The project is titled as 'the dragon' both in the literal sense because of the fire performance and due to the connotations of strength and power, traits typically associated with men. Dragon’s are also associated with hoards of treasure, linking back to the adventurer who would be adorned with trinkets from her travels.