Studio Saturdays at the Scene

Each Saturday, one of the contributing editors of ABS will share with you some of the things going on in their studio. We encourage you to participate by commenting to the post. And as an incentive, we will offer a small prize each week, given to one random commenter! Sound like fun? We hope you will join in…
This week’s winner is Rosepostcards! Please use the suggestion box to send your mailing address to us and Elaine will send your bead out right away!
Studio Saturday: Melanie of Earthenwood StudioThis week I have had a very busy, research intensive week working on a new series of porcelain jewelry component designs. I have been inspired by a genre of science fiction/fantasy called Steampunk. You see, my husband Chuck is a sci-fi fantasy illustrator, and we are both really interested in many different forms of fantasy art, fiction, and film. We have explored many different genres and Steampunk is my latest obsession.
So what is Steampunk and how does it relate to beads and jewelry? Steampunk is based on fantasy worlds where steam is a main source of power and energy, and the aesthetics retain many elements of the actual historical industrial revolution (steam) times (Victorian era, turn of the century, etc). Yet there is a distinctly futuristic quality to the worlds as well, a science fiction or fantastical twist.
So the look of Steampunk as an object style can be interpreted into jewelry and jewelry components. Think of brass gears and watch parts, compasses, tooled leather, vintage aviation and nautical elements, and highly detailed hardware from days of olde. These are the things that have inspired me this past week. I have carved a series of original porcelain 1″ tiles, which will be fired and molded, and then created into glazed porcelain charms, links, cabochons, buttons, and other components.

I have been chronicling my ideas, inspiration, and process on my blog during what I have called Steam Week, which began this week and will continue through to next week. Stop by the Earthenwood blog and take a look, there is some much more indepth thought and research as well as many entertaining video clips with Steampunk imagery from films that have inspired me for this new line. Above, my first finished jewelry piece made with one of my new Gear tiles, mixed with brass findings, mostly from Vintaj Natural Brass Co., hinged frame pendant from Ornamentea, and Austrian crystals.

Below, a video featuring some of the design team of the movie the Golden Compass, talking about the Steampunk style, with scenes from the film. This is one of the best, most conscise definitions I have seen of Steampunk:

Link to video on You Tube

So my Studio question to you is this: Have you ever been inspired to make a piece of jewelry or other craft from a book, film, or piece of music? If so, tell us about it. If not, tell us about one of your favorites movies, novels, or songs that you think could inspire you…

One winner will be chosen at random next Saturday, and will win a brand new Gear component, fresh out of the Earthenwood Kiln!

Melanie Brooks Lukacs is the ceramic beadmaker of Earthenwood Studio, who blogs from her Metro Detroit, Michigan home.

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14 Comment

  1. LampworkDiva
    February 16, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for educating us on Steampunk, Melanie! Cool new beads! Yes, I was inspired by the broadway version of Sweeney Todd to make the prototype Big Mouth beads that I blogged about back in December 2007. Steampunk is awesome inspiration!

  2. *melanie* earthenwood studio
    February 16, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I remember that blog post! With the theatre poster art. Nice! I want to see that movie very badly.

    Tim Burton uses Steampunk imagery in his films sometimes. I am thinking I saw some steamy things in Edward Scissorhands, in the scientist’s lab…

  3. Heather Powers
    February 16, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    wonderful post melanie! I’ve made beads inspired by my favorite children’s book:

  4. AJ
    February 16, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    My necklace “Belen-Gaard” which I entered into one of the ABS contests (October, I think) was inspired by a line in a song:

    “I slept in the darkest forest,
    and all the bats came down to rest by my head
    all rest by my head
    all around me, just like a cavern
    I drew them all in…”

    And my Beading For A Cure project for 2008 was inspired by a myth I read at pantheon.org about a giant with huge flaming teeth. A group of brave warriors defeated him and took the cinders from his mouth, and that is how man got fire! Pretty cool, huh? I think it was a Fijian myth.

  5. Melissa
    February 16, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    I love steampunk! Those gear links are gorgeous, Melanie! I am often inspired by poetry. Several ABS pieces were inspired directly from Shakespeare (come to think of it, several ABS challenges were from Shakespeare, right?). I used “Something Wicked This Way Comes” from Macbeth for a Halloween-themed piece last October. I also love Miyazaki’s films and many sf/fantasy authors, like William Gibson (and other cyberpunk writers), Emma Bull, Caroline Stevermer, etc., etc.

  6. Cynthia Newcomer Daniel
    February 17, 2008 at 12:20 am

    I’ve never thought about songs as inspiration, but I certainly have crated many pieces with a song “stuck” in my head the whole time. Sometimes I name the piece as a tribute to the song, and other times, I keep it my own little secret.

    I have definitely been inspired by novels and authors; The Great Gatsby is a favorite inspiration of mine, as is anything by Jane Austen.

    I love the Steampunk idea — the beads are marvelous!

  7. maryharding
    February 17, 2008 at 1:44 am

    I have been reading your posts about Steampunk all week and have found it fascinating, both the concept and how you have transformed these ideas into beads. A wonderful look inside the creative process. I look forward to more next week. For myself, I am often moved by a particular artist’s or poet’s work and have been inspired by the feeling of what they have created. This would be true of Frida Kahlo, Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson.
    Your first Steampunk inspired necklace is wonderful.

  8. Fab Fibers
    February 17, 2008 at 2:44 am

    The Steampunk is interesting, you have been working on some labor intensive stuff. I love seeing how you make your beads. Lots of work goes into them from what I see…
    Sometimes I feel really behind in the times! Good thing I have you younger girls to keep me enlightened about the world.
    Nature is most inspiring to me…although one time I made a beautiful set from garnets, jade, and dumorite after looking at the uphostery pattern on an old couch.
    Whatever it takes….

  9. *melanie* earthenwood studio
    February 17, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you all for your thoughts and your compliments! There are some great sources of inspiration listed here in your comments!

    Let’s hear more!

  10. Lorelei
    February 17, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Melanie, your first creation using the steampunk focal is Incredible AND inspiring!
    Lately I’ve been inspired by my favorite singer, Sia Furler. It’s all I can listen to in the studio. There isn’t just one song, but the whole cd is Fabulous.

  11. fredcat
    February 18, 2008 at 3:19 am

    Wow! This was so interesting. I never knew how these beads were made before.Thanks for the process

  12. Carlene
    February 18, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    I can’t say I’ve knowingly been influnced by a book or movie (or a sofa) but I made a bracelet that lookes like my cat! It’s snowflake obsidian and silver and he’s a silver tabby. For some reason I had it in my head to make a “Bob” bracelet. My next challange is to use tail hair off all three of my horses to make a charm of some kind. Or braided bracelet. So when I’m not around them, they’re still around me.
    Melanie, I espicially like your key and keyhole pieces. I hope you’re going to have a steampunk section on your website! They rock!

  13. Janel
    February 21, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    I love Steampunk week! I usually do woven seed bead designs, but now I really want to do something Steampunk style. I’ll need some of your beads, though! It’s been fascinating watching the design process.

    As far as movies go, I love Elizabeth. I’ve never been able to pay attention to the story line because I’m studying the costumes!

    Looking forward to seeing more of your Steampunk designs!

  14. *melanie* earthenwood studio
    February 23, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you all for your comments and compliments! It was great to hear abotu your inspirations!

    Congratulations to Fab Fibers, who won a brand new gear Steam Stone component! I will contact you asap for details!

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