Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Things I learned going to the Steampunk Festival

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending (and was actually a featured artist) at the first annual Steampunk Festival, held at the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation in Waltham, MA.  There was a huge turnout for the event, especially when one takes into consideration it was the first year for the event-- over 1300 people attended.  Hats off to Christine Gill for the excellent job she did in putting the event together.

I wish I'd had a bit more time to get a more steampunk outfit together, but unfortunately, after many  difficulties, most of my time was spent constructing the leather corset from hell.  Here were a few things I was reminded of, since it had been a while since I'd last strapped myself in to a corset of considerable stiffness. 

First of all, be sure to dress the lower half of your body before you put the corset on, since getting on shoes, socks, pants/skirts, etc. usually involve bending at the waist.  I, of course, did not remember this little tidbit of information, and I'm sure you can all just imagine the contortions involved in getting the rest of my clothes on.

When I designed my corset, I did not use a busk because I decided it would be neat if I could make the corset reversible to the red brocade.  As a result, I needed another set of hands to lace me up, and since I was going to the event alone, I went fully dressed. 

This brings us to the next thing I quickly figured out.  Driving in a corset is far different to driving without one on.  When the gods decided to scramble my genetic makeup, they decided to be generous in the area corsets are designed to restrain.  With a corset, there is only one place for those curves to go, and that is up.  It wasn't much of a problem until I decided to sit down and attempt driving.  Sitting only shifted the corset further up, and all that had already been pushed to the heavens, got pushed up even further, practically drowning me in my own cleavage.  Funny? Okay, maybe a little.  However, cruising down the highway at 80 mph, when you no longer have the stability of resting your arms by your side, is a little precarious-- athough I can only imagine the image from passing vehicles had anyone bothered to look over.  I'm just glad I didn't get pulled over or get a flat, though my dear husband had the sense to ask if I had anything stashed in the car that I could potentially cover myself with should the need arise.

The event itself was great, and the musuem was the perfect setting for a steampunk event.  Though not everyone was dressed up, the steampunk outfits there were all amazing, and it has definitely motivated me to complete a few more articles of clothing.  I think next on the to do list will be a bustled skirt, and underskirt.  And maybe another corset, complete with steel boning and a busk.

Though I did love the snug feel of the corset while at the event, I must admit that it felt so incredibly nice to get out of it for the ride home, especially on such a hot day.  And that brings me to my final point, though this was not figured out until the day after, when I awoke to sore muscles around the ribs and back.  I guess wearing a corset involves using muscles you don't normally use-- perhaps in keeping you so terribly upright and pulled in.  Still, a small price to pay, don't you think?

Here are some more pictures from the event...


Unknown said...

No photograph of you in said corset? I so wanted to see. Sounds like you had a lot of fun though. Congrats on being a featured artist.

Cali MacKay said...

LOL!! I usually avoid pics of myself. I promise to post one if I ever manage to get a half decent one.

Great hearing from you, Max!! And thanks, though it would have been totally awesome to actually have a book to promote. Maybe next year, or the year after.

Matt Sinclair said...

Max stole my question!

Some pretty cool looking contraptions, though.

Loved your description of trying to drive in one of those get-ups. Sounds like you'll need an assistant next year.

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow!! Awesome pictures! I'm so totally envious of you being able to be there. It would be so much fun to be surrounded by all things Steampunk.

Although ... there's no way I'm ever getting into a corset. You are such a brave girl!

Sarah Ahiers said...

So Jealous!
I have a lot of experience in driving in a leather bodice and yes, you are right. Very Difficult

Anonymous said...

I would like to travel back in time and buy a drink for the person who invented the corset. Yes, I think I would. Now things have moved a bit beyond the insitutionalized chauvinism of fashion and male hegemony, I can appreciate corsets just about guilt free. This is nice.

Oh, and steampunk is rather awesome too. I now need a leather waistcoat and gadget belt, with matching hip flask for my vodka. Yup.

Cali MacKay said...

Matt, next corset is getting a busk so I can get myself in and out of it myself. lol.

Jemi, Fallen, it was loads of fun!! Highly recommend finding one near you if you can. Fallen, sounds like you're already having too much fun!

Simon, I'm with you. I love corsets-- and love steampunk too. You'll need to track down an event near you. And then take pics! : )

Amanda Borenstadt said...

What a bunch of fun! :)
LOL- the corset story. Loved it. :D

Anonymous said...

It looks like fun. I love the look of this genre.

Cheryl B. Dale said...

I didn't want to see pix of you IN the corset. I wanted to see pix of you getting inTO the corset!

Cali MacKay said...

Medeia, I think the aesthics of the genre are one of the main reason for it's growing popularity. I truly love the playful and adventurous feel combined with the elegant.

Cheryl, luckily there are no pics of me getting IN to the corset, since it would leave you pissing your knickers from laughter. ; )