The trials and tribulations of
An independent designer.
An independent designer.
ver the last few days, I’ve posted some images of my Steampunk design, and a few people have asked me what “SteamPunk” is? So here is a brief background, and some further ramblings on the subject.
Born as a direct reaction to “Cyber Punk”, “Steam Punk” gives us a retrospective view of the future. Taking its inspiration from Victorian writers such as Jules Verne this genre projects itself forward into a fantasy future where technology, as we know it, has never existed. Just like H. G. Wells’ “Time Machine” we enter a Victorianesque world pre-occupied with time travel and exploration, where everyday objects are driven mechanically, powered by the rhythmic click and whir of brass cogs.
I was brought up watching the Jules Verne films such as “The Time Machine” and “20.000 Leagues under the Sea”, and I’ve always felt there was something seductive about these evocative, Victorian worlds, upholstered in velvet and filled with the endless possibilities of clockwork. So, it seems to me that “Steampunk” is just an extension of these imaginary worlds. But actually, in recent years, for me, these imaginary worlds have become more substantial and tangible and the concepts of wheels within wheels, and the rhythmic movement of time easier to imagine. Because, for the past 16 years, I’ve been keeping honey bees, and there is nothing on the planet that will ground you more, or connects you to the endlessly turning of the seasons, than a bee.
I’m now privileged to be able to mentor new beekeepers and one of the first things I say to them is that, “To become a good beekeeper, you must first become a good bee”. These tiny industrious insects, live in complete darkness, communicating by touch, sound and scent. They exist on a microscopic level and are so hard wired to their environment that they are reacting and adapting to it before we’ve even realised the wind has changed, and to truly understand them, you need to first understand the seasons, the atmosphere, weather systems, etc. and then how these all effect the flowers, trees and crops.
After a few seasons of doing this you quickly come to realize that there are far greater natural, forces at work here, far bigger and older than the human race. Relentless forces, marching on in never ending circles, driven by lunar rotations and on into the universe, ever revolving, ever spinning, always ticking. And if the universe were driven by clockwork, then these insects and bees are an integral and essential cog in this greater revolving machine, and it’s humbling then, to finally understand, that the human race… is not.
Of course, time and clocks are human concepts, but these, natural, seasonal cycles are clock like, so it’s not such a leap of faith, for an active imagination, to then picture it all driven by celestial cogs. whirring and turning, and my “Steam punk” design is an imagining of this universe, full of maps, and gears, and scurrying clockwork jewel beetles feeding on brass and amber flowers.
I’m now working on another design which explores these changing seasons, and the cycles of my bees. I thought it would be nice idea, to photograph the plants around my apiary as the seasons moved on, and then to use these in the design, but it’s turned out to be a lengthier and more involved task that I first thought… I’m still working on it. Sometimes I’ve wondered why I’ve given myself such a lengthy project, when all that will happen is someone will roll up the scarf, wrap it around their neck and never know that it pictures a year in the life of my wonderful bees. But then I think…I will know…and now, of course…so do you!.