Jun. 8th, 2010

jadegirl: (Spinning Wheel)
I would really not mind living there. While my own home decor aesthetic is far more Arts and Crafts Movement than traditional Victorian, and I hate electric ranges the media center is really quite brilliant, and could be done just as easily in a quarter-sawn oak frame. Stylistic differences aside, this really, really works for me on a more philosophical level. Indeed, why shouldn't everything we interact with be beautiful? Beyond Victoriana posted a link to a commentator who took issue with steampunk aesthetics, declaring them "ironic", positing Datamancer's gorgeous laptop as some sort of statement of irony relating to the conflict between the past and the present. I just can't understand looking at that and seeing some sort of 'snark', as opposed to the statement; "This is a part of my life, and beauty is important to my life, so I have made it beautiful." Irony is a dangerous concept, I find - easy to attempt to engage in as protective coloring, and just as easy to become the filter through which one may observe everything, which is a 'safe' place I imagine, as you never have to hear someone expressing distaste for your darlings.

Back on Beyond Victoriana an interview included some interesting commentary on conformity - noting that brown seems to be a very popular color in steampunk fashion. I had to laugh, because I'm a ruddy faced redhead - I look great in browns, and wear them frequently. Analysis and questioning is needful, even required, but can go overboard. Cory Doctorow had some interesting comments about what he calls the "lie of steampunk", that underneath every steampunk "remake" (not sure what he's referencing here) are huge factories and corporations. One of the specifics he mentions are Nerf guns, which are frequently repainted and modded. I can see his point a bit, a new Nerf gun is a plastic product most likely made in a Chinese factory under unknown, unresearched labor conditions, something which is of great concern to me - I wince inside when I hear people talking about steampunk cloths at H&M, for example, because of my concerns about labor. On the other hand, I can go to thrift shops and buy clothes to make over because I have the *time*, and someone else can buy from the boutique steampunk crafters because they have the *cash*, both commodities/privileges not enjoyed by all. My conclusion, and it feels like a weak one, is that while we have to examine/question these things we also have to decide on a point where we *stop* questioning them, and make our choices. Life is entirely made of various acts of compromising our principles, we just have to make sure it's a compromise we can live with and respect.

Speaking of modding thrift store finds, I went to the Housing Works street fair this Saturday, and made a few scores. One was a brand new skirt that had lovely detailing that gives it a lot of swirling movement - in a 2XL, or 20-22. I bought it anyway, ripped out the waistband and resewed it, cut a couple holes in the empty waistband, and crocheted a long chain - now it's an ankle length drawstring skirt with even more fullness and drape. My machine sewing still stinks in that straight lines are apparently beyond me, but each time I sit down and sew something on the machine I walk away having learned how to do it even better next time. Tomorrow I'm taking a red lace dress that my mother gave me (which looks like a frumpy sack on me) and turning that into another skirt, I hope. Velour "workout" pants from Goodwill are being made into bloomers suitable for going to the free Pilates classes at the park in, and I have *no* idea what I'm going to do with the terrible leather pants. (It was a "give us cash and stuff a bag full" sort of sale, what can I say?)


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