Someday, the altered art you make today will be
old, faded, falling apart, and someone else will salvage the bits and use them
in new altered art.It's the best that any piece of art can hope for

~ anon~

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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Upcycling Steampunkery !

For months DT upcycling challenge, Lynne of The Altered Element sent me a wooden games compendium. (piccy in previous post!) Lots of bits and pieces came in the box and they will keep me busy for months, but I decided to start by altering the box itself.
I have combined it with my May's personal challenge book challenge  that I set myself which was to work through 'Steampunkery' by Christi Friesen
I really like this book, its written in a very humorous, readable and it's easy to follow. It has some great projects in it. The Heart on the front of the box is the first project in the book and I more or less - but not quite - followed it closely. The only gripe I have with the book is with the box itself, not the content as it has started to fall apart, pages falling out, and it hasn't had a huge amount of handling.

Steampunk seems to be a buzzword in the art/craft world at the moment, but I will freely admit that although I 'know' what it is (I think) I don't totally understand it and fear that being 'fashionable' the true meaning of it may get watered down and misconstrued by us less than pure Steampunk purists. Googling it came up with a couple of points that hit home to me

I believe that Steampunk is more than just brass and watch-parts. It's finding a way to combine the past and the future in an aesthetic pleasing yet still punkish way. It's living a life that looks old-fashioned, yet speaks to the future. It's taking the detritus of our modern technological society and remaking it into useful things 


Steampunk takes you back to a past that never was, and flies you in a dirigible to a future that will never be.

see..... even these two explanations don't really tally! so what hope have I got? So with that in mind, this is not Steampunk, just steampunk inspired - NicksPunk!

So back to the box,  I painted it all over with black gesso, which gives brilliant coverage, and sprayed it with various cosmic shimmers. Then to give a glorious distressed look I applied 'Rusting Powder' if you love rusty things then you must check this out, you can rust almost anything! Its rather like an embossing powder, I used versamark to adhere the powder where I wanted it and then all you is give it a spray of diluted vinegar (the white stuff doesn't smell so bad!) and leave it to dry.. that's the worst bit because I just hate waiting but you cant speed it up with your heatgun, it just wont work.
The cog back ground was achieved by using some cogs from one of Sir Tims new sissix dies, sticking them to a piece of mountboard that had been covered with a bit of double sided adhesive film and then covering with some TSS Barn Red metal, I brayered over the top to pick up the cog outline and then refined it with an embossing tool. Added some Viva gold creamy painty stuff (like rub and buff) to add a bit more colour. Made a corner embellishment with some left over clay and the cogs in the corner are Sir Tims again but cut out of shrink plastic and then 'rusted'

The heart was made from the instructions in 'Steampunkery' I used my favourite clay Studio by Sculpey, I just love the stuff! Its a rather primitive heart which is hinged so you can see right inside my heart, not a place I often allow people!

Now the inside may seem a bit macabre, its not meant to be! I have been thinking about 'steampunk' and that led on to how things have changed in the technical/engineering world, but how basic things never change. Peoples need to be loved, the need to be accepted (so why cant men where corsets if they want - if you watch the above link to youtube, you will see how that thought came into my head) - in fact the very bones of us and the flowers in the meadow don't change.

Blimey I am getting a bit deep! I think I better be off to tidy the considerable mess I made (that's another thing that will NEVER change) and then think about how I am going to used the rest of the bits from the box and the yummy products I received in this month's DT pack.


  1. WOW! WoW! I don't really know what else to say! And you make it sound really easy - I love the heart, especially as you followed almost closely the's certainly all your own. Amazing piece.

  2. wow amazingly wonderful love everything the rusting powerder is like magic dont you think lol ok i admit i think its pretty cool stuff

  3. Really like your creations. I love anything rusty. In a previous post, I showed how I used rusted beer bottle tops on one of my paintings...the sky is the limit with rust!

  4. This is absolutely FANTASTIC! So much detail, and I just love the color and sheen! Gorgeous work!

  5. wow wow wow! You didn't tell me you were doing this lol [I know, you don't tell me everything !]
    It's beautiful. Love the colours x

  6. OMG NICKS! FABtastic! this totally ROCKS xxx

  7. Out of this world or from another world - whatever, this is incredible. Lynne M x

  8. Whose got a Skeleton in her Closet then????
    This is great Nicks, a lot of work, a lot of fun which made for a fabulous result. You make altered art a better place to be.
    Annette xx

  9. What an amazing piece of art. Stunning. Stopped by from Trudy's blog and I am glad I did you are one artistic lady.

  10. Really beautiful - I love the depth of colour and shine, it really reminds me of the 2000 leagues under the sea style but with a different theme. Lovely!

  11. Wow, this is amazing! KT

  12. I stopped by your blog to let you know I was going to feature you on my blog tomorrow, and what did I see, but this jaw dropping, dead gorgeous mixed media box. You are a fantastic artist and this piece proves it. Stunning and so many techniques and products. I'm sure you are quite proud of it, too.

    Anyway, to honor WOYWW, I will feature your blog as my blog of the day. Thanks for having such an inspiring blog. You are a truly gifted artist who I feel should have been teaching my AB class instead of me!


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