Tesla and the Lamplighter

The wifey and I watched a great short animation the other day. It’s called Tesla and The Lamplighter. It’s a cute non-verbal story about a lamplighter helping to revitalize Tesla’s love of inventing.

While there are an intro voiceover and an outro voiceover no characters speak. With the quality of the animation and the flow of the score, it doesn’t need them to. At fourteen minutes long it’s the perfect length for your midday stretch. Or just long enough to eat a snack.

This short is the first release from CAROUSELpictures. There are two ways to pay them, you may rent it for three bucks. Or buy it for $6.50.  If you feel like the teaser is something you see yourself watching more then once, then, by all means, please buy it. But if you’re only going to watch it once renting is the way to go.

I’m very interested in Vimeo as a platform for independent creators. Vimeo does not compress your video file as much as YouTube does, and with a way to set payments for your work. It shows promise of slipping into the void that will occur when YouTube has to reinvent itself to keep up with current demands of content creators and advertisers. With my current interest in getting my own short film out to the world, I’ll have to look into this more thoroughly. 

Please follow the link below and enjoy a teaser of Tesla and the Lamplighter.

Arwen, another steampunk tinkerer.

gun 1.1Hey all, it’s me again with another interview of a steampunk maker this time it’s Arwen from Slovenia. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

My real name is Arnea, however, most of everybody who knows me call me Arwen. As Hazel Grace would say, “I am quite unextraordinary.” I am an INFJ personality type, I love Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy, books, Florence and the Machine, WoW (World of Warcraft), LoL (League of Legends), Skyrim, LOTR, apple and cinnamon tea, and chocolate. Haha!

I am a 20-year old who has found herself, due to a series of rather fortunate events, living in a world much different from what I was used to.

I moved to live in a small town in Slovenia that is surrounded by untouched large forests, hills, and mountains. The nearest bigger town is around 90 kilometers away. However, this country has a touch of Shire to it, and that’s what I absolutely love. Technology wise, we have some cellphones, a laptop, and no TV. It is the way of life my parents along with me chose to have.

 

Being able to fully understand how life works “outside the system”, I discovered certain affiliations and talents I couldn’t have exercised before, when I was completely integrated into the ordinary schooling and living system, along with the much familiar factor of the “internet disturbance”. In other words, being “outside the system” and away from usual obligations, I learned a lot about myself, including how I am very much a tinkerer! (something like Tinkerbell, only the hair being red and minus the wings,and you know, magic)

Having abundant free time led me to the idea of creating, and modifying pretty much anything I could get my hands on. From drawing  Lion King characters, to making home decorations, to messing around with carpentry in my stepdad’s workshop, and finally, creating and modifying steampunk weapons. I realized it is only when you have “nothing to do ” that you figure out your hidden talents.

gun1

Is there much of a steampunk culture in a country like Slovenia?

Slovenia being a tiny country, I have not yet had the impression of it being into the theme of Steampunk. Perhaps it is because, to a certain extent, steampunk isn’t defined as much, or maybe  the “geeks” of this land are just hiding in their holes and I have yet to find them. I hope it is the latter.

The only people who I have “met” so far who are into steampunk, is a bar in Murska Sobota, called ” Bunker postapocalyptic steampunk bar”. I haven’t visited them yet, but so far , they seem really cool. They serve foods and beverages you’d  find in a fancy post-apocalyptic restaurant, their staff is fully dressed into steampunk clothing, and you get to enjoy your food and stay in a very cozy, steampunk themed place. I invite everyone in Slovenia or close to it , reading this, to come check them out.

s-l1600

What inspires you most about steampunk, and what elements do you like to incorporate?

For me, steampunk is all about being able to improvise. Let’s imagine you really do find yourself living in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world. You have accustomed yourself to the brutality and dangers of your surroundings, as well as the scarceness of resources. Your weapons are rusty and handmade, but there is your personal touch to them. You shot dead a coyote in the wilderness and ripped out its tooth, used that old strap of leather you had and strapped it to your shotgun’s barrel. Or you traded some fur for a mechanic to improve your crossbow, and now it’s a semi-automatic with gears turning. Thinking of steampunk like that, I try to incorporate the very “mainstream factors” of steampunk, as well as everyday objects like watches, chains, little copper jewelry, leather…anything you’d scavenge in a real dystopian world. I believe that adding a bit of the unordinary makes steampunk items the real deal.

gun 2

Do you have any favourites of the pieces you have made? Why?

Being fairly new to this sorta thing, all my items are my favourites. Someone else might see a cool looking Strongarm nerf gun that was modified into steampunk, but I see 26 hours of work, 6 layers of acrylic, and that pesky mechanism that wouldn’t work at the start, so I had to call my stepdad, whip out 7 million different tools I can’t even name, and firemen, to be able to repair it. This is, I believe, the case with all beginners that decided to create something out of nothing. You see the process in which the item was made, and you are proud that you made it to the end.

My very first shotgun, aka Harold, was sold just a few days ago on ebay. I wasn’t emotionally attached to him anymore, but just the thought of my creation being somewhere half the world away, gave me this amazing sense of accomplishment and joy. I still have two guns for sale, as I am trying to make some money so I could continue my projects.

You can find projects on Ebay under http://www.ebay.com/usr/arwendor1997?_trksid=p2047675.l2559

gun 2.1

Final question, unlimited resources what do you make?

If I had unlimited time and resources, I would definitely embark on bigger and more requiring projects. I don’t know what that would be, but I always strive to do something new. Would it just be bigger guns, or maybe even some other steampunk stuff like decor, furniture, cars, spaceships, aircrafts? Haha! I don’t know. However what I do know is that I have discovered something that brings me joy when I do it, and I think that is the most valuable thing I could get. The money that I’d get from selling my items is not and never will be the top priority. I would also love to have infinite resources so I could just give my items away to friends and other people, who would be joyous to have my stuff in their homes.

That would make me really happy. Too bad everything in our current world costs money, you know. Thus even our passions and hobbies depend on it. But one must not lose hope. The system should and will fall one day, and if we do find ourselves in a post-apocalyptic world, the most valuable thing we should clean, sharpen, refill, polish, repair and keep safe, is our humanity and goodness.

gun 2.1

Thank you so much for your time and I will definitely visit Bunker when I make it across the pond.

Blakemake and his Ray Guns

Have you ever been trolling the internet, seen something awesome and thought “I wish I could talk to the person who made this”? I was lucky enough to stumble across a sculpture of a ray gun and got the chance to talk with the artist.

Hey Blake, let’s start with who you are and what you do.

My name is Blake and I operate under the name Blakemake for most projects. I have always taken things apart, my mom used to get me used VCRs and stereos on trash day so I wouldn’t take out working ones apart (after a couple hard lessons we both learned.) I work almost exclusively in sculpture, I make action figures, bobbleheads, metal castings and found art pieces like the ray guns or lamps.

 

From taking apart VCRs to building ray guns, what inspired the idea of making ray guns out of old tools?
The ray guns from tools idea came a long time ago, and it’s a pretty natural progression from pistol-shaped tools to ray guns. A broken drill may look interesting or beautiful as it is, but could often look a better with a little tinkering. It’s still a broken drill, but has a new life as a sculptural piece.

 

 

I completely agree they really are beautiful pieces. So beautiful in fact I dread to ask, how long does one take to make?

The pieces generally take a long time to complete, though I don’t spend that whole time working on them. The Henry V Boltcaster, for example, I have been working on for 3 years off and on. Realistically I probably spent 80 hours on it. Many only take 20 or so. I get sidetracked by other projects, or simply don’t have a part that will match what I want the piece to be, so I have to wait until I find it at a thrift store or the scrap yard. I have a collection of visually appealing parts that will all probably be used for something, but try to keep the hoarding to a minimum. Most of the parts come from complete but broken objects that can’t be fixed or aren’t worth fixing. I’ll some time on a slow day to break something down as far as I can, and categorize the objects for project use. Some things are obviously a lamp base, or gun barrel, or trigger mechanism. Then when I have a piece I don’t quite know what to do with I can dig through my parts pile and see if something fits, or just get some inspiration.

Henry V Boltcaster **REDUCED**

I enjoy the image of you at a thrift store with the most random assortment of things in your cart. What about steampunk inspires you?

Many of my pieces are closely related to steampunk, though strictly speaking many do not appear to be actuated by steam or have some of the other design factors. The mindset I am in when I make one of these is that energy in the future will be less limited in form, so I sort of imagine a tinkerer that builds weapons that can harness and release this energy in new and creative ways. They often use old tools because they were built more sturdily than modern ones, and already have the look and feel of a weapon. When I am making a piece, I like to make it a complete weapon system. It needs a targeting mechanism, an indicator of what ammunition or power it uses, and trigger, and generally some reference to a classic sci-fi or real weapon.

Death To All **REDUCED**

The old will always be sturdier than the new. Everything seems to be on a 2 year cycle of breakage. Where can we find your work?

Generally my work can be found on Etsy and Reddit as it’s completed. I also post to Facebook under Blakemake.

Last question, If you had unlimited resources and time what would you build?

If I had unlimited resources and time, I would probably have a fabrication shop that focused on bronze casting, woodworking, and sculpture. I have a series of projects I’m working on that are a little more fine art in concept but will resemble the work I am doing currently. I am planning a foundry for my workshop now, which will hopefully amend my found object sculptures, and plan on doing housewares like lamp sconces and cabinet pulls, mostly for the house I bought last year that is very old and has a lot of copper and bronze on the exterior. I want to be the house in the neighborhood all the kids think is haunted.

You will have to get in touch once you’ve got that going I would love to see what accents you could add to a house already covered in bronze and copper.