Lady Artisan Goes Steampunk
So I made my first Steampunk journal and posted it on Etsy yesterday. It was a challenge for me but fun and satisfying to complete it finally (took me quite awhile to engineer this one).
The spine wasn’t as difficult as you might think. Truthfully, I hate doing limp bindings where the text block is sewn directly onto the cover/spine and there are no boards to stiffen the covers. I find it very difficult to sew the signatures in place along the spine that way, for some reason. I much prefer sewing onto tapes or simply sewing the text block together with a simple stitching pattern and then attaching the tapes or the spine reinforcement to the boards/covers as a whole. Much easier for me. But I really wanted to use copper mesh for the spine so I decided to do a rather simple sewing pattern to attach the signatures to the spine. I added the center embellishments separately from the text block sewing. The rivets came much later. The overall sewing wasn’t too difficult with no limp covers to get in the way.
Once I had the text block complete, including the spine, I worked on the covers. I already had a vague idea of making some kind of hinge to attach the covers to the spine/text block and was thinking I’d use rivets, copper tubing and, perhaps, leather hinges. Serendipity struck. A polymer clay group I’m on (CITY-o-Clay) sent through a couple of posts about making your own wire hinges and I knew that’s what I wanted to use for this book. I figured it wouldn’t be much problem to make the wire hinges and then use rivets to secure them to the covers and spine (ah, so naive).
My plan was to use leather on both covers and dye it a mellow tan color. I decided to do my corners a little different than normal. Usually I’ll trim off a triangle of leather at each corner so the leather is “mitred” together as evenly as possible on the inside corners. You get a slimmer corner that way. This time, I thought it would look better to simply fold the leather over on itself. I wanted the corners to look a little bulkier. The basic leatherwork was pretty straightforward. I had actually sketched out a design of the book earlier (see above photo) and had an idea of how I wanted to attach the clockwork embellishments but once I had the leather completed and stamped (but not dyed), I started laying out the parts to make sure the design would work. It did with just a bit of tweaking.
My biggest challenge with this piece was the clockwork designs. My problem is that I’m too anal to just take a bunch of gears and watch parts and glue them together in a somewhat artistic pile. I want the pieces to look like they work together, the clockwork to look like it just needs a bit of winding before it gears up and and you find yourself being transported back in time to meet Jules Verne. Which means that I spent a heck of a lot of time finding just the right gear or part to place next to the last one that was attached. It took quite awhile to find all the pieces that “fit” together properly.
I was very happy with the final piece. The book itself lies flat so sketching, journaling, drawing, painting (watercolor or acrylic should work) are all easy enough to do in this journal. The next one is definitely going to be larger.
This journal can be found in my Etsy shop along with the fun story I came up to explain its history.
Originally produced by a small, unknown manufacturer in southern Illinois called Stughmeier & Sons, this Temporal Displacement Book (TDB) is only one of seven TDB’s purchased from the company between 1842 and 1845. The day following the sale of the seventh TDB, the whole factory completely disappeared without a trace.
Each book was purchased by a separate individual in a private sales meeting made available by invitation only. The buyers were all chosen carefully for their adventurous spirits, interest in the unusual and fantastical, and, of course, for their obscene wealth.
This particular TDB that’s currently for sale is believed to be the first one made. It was purchased by Maximillian von Zeit, a close friend of the company owner, in June of 1842. Although von Zeit disappeared in the Fall of 1842, this book was recovered from his family’s estate earlier this year.
Unfortunately, the Time Displacement Unit (TDU) built into the book, is not currently functioning. But a resourceful individual may be able to restore it to working order. Seller is NOT responsible for personal, temporal or financial damage that may be caused by tampering with the TDU without sufficient knowledge or understanding of its workings.
Whether the TDU works or not, this is an excellent book to use as a personal or art journal. Apparently von Zeit used his TDB regularly to go back to 1842 and “erase” his journal entries, leaving plenty of space for someone else to chronicle their own adventures. Although his only living descendant, Joshua von Zeit, believes that it’s more likely his great-great-great-grandfather Maximillian actually went back to 1842 and stole a second book.
At the present time, the locations of the other six (seven?) TDB’s are unknown.
On a side note, the pictures of my journal also show off the small photo set I made using builder’s foam, scrapbook paper, and glue.