Today, I have the pleasure of sharing an inside peek into Katherine Gleason's world. Katherine is the author of the new book Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian Futurism. Thank you Katherine!
1. What does your workspace/design/creative space look like?
My work space tends to be cluttered. In addition to my desk, which holds my computer, I have a big table that moves around the apartment. That table takes on many roles—ironing board, dinner table, origami work surface. The cats also like to sleep there, especially if I have clean laundry on top waiting to be put away.
This is Luca in action!
2. Do you save your mistakes/ or designs you don't love right away -or ditch them?
I save some mistakes and toss others. It depends on my mood and level of frustration. I am primarily a writer, and I do save lots of drafts of pieces I’m writing and often have printouts of manuscripts—or bits of manuscripts—floating around the apartment and in my bag. I am more likely to throw out a craft/art mistake than a writing one, although I do try to conserve materials. Right now, I do have a number of blunders and partially completed craft endeavors hanging around.
3. What's on your "next to try" list?
Oh, wow. I always have such a long list! Right now I’m making a bunch of the DIY projects from my steampunk fashion book. I should explain—I conducted all the interviews and wrote the text for Anatomy of Steampunk, and we hired Noam Berg to write directions for the five sewing projects in the book, and Won Park, the origami artist, wrote directions for five steampunk accessories.
I used to say, I don’t sew. But while working on this book, I took a class at the Textile Arts Center with designer Adrienne Antonson. She calls it Deconstructed Sewing, and it was super fun. Earlier this month, I completed the Cycling Breeches that we have in the book. (Basically, you take a pair of pants, cut the legs short, and use the cut-off fabric to make cuffs and button tabs.) I’m making spats next, and then I’ll try the Steampunk Gauntlet that Won created for us.
4. Do you ever work with recycled materials?
Yes. For sure. Recycled, upcycled, and repurposed. The pants I used to make my cycling breeches were a thrifty find on eBay. The material that I’m using for my spats is from one of those dust bags for shoes. I’ve also worked with paper mache—reuse those old newspapers!—and have the itch of an idea to create something from the fabric of discard umbrellas. Taryn Zychal, who makes the sweetest dog coats from upcycled umbrellas, inspired my interest in this material.
5. What music do you listen to when designing?
It depends on the project. When I’m working on a book, I usually find one album that becomes the soundtrack for the book. A bunch of years ago, when writing a book on Wicca and witchcraft, I listened to the Brahms sting sextets over and over again. With the steampunk book, I listened to the musicians in the book—The Uprising of the Gin Rebellion, The Extraordinary Contraptions, Marquis of Vaudeville, and Painless Parker. And sometimes I just wanted it quiet. I was talking to so many people and handling so much incoming information that I really needed some silence.
6. How do you organize your supplies?
Organize? What’s that? Stuff is basically crammed into drawers, and I spend way too much time looking for things. Like, where are the scissors?
7. What books/magazines do you read?
The New Yorker, back issues of Nest magazine. Right now I am working my way through Melville House Publishing’s Art of the Novella Series—forty-some short novels by classic authors!
8. How would you describe your personal style?
Clean bohemian. Or downtown arts professional. Also, I like to mix patterns and am obsessed with plaid and gingham checks right now. Hum... maybe that does not sound very professional?
9. Do you have a collection of anything?
Over the years, I’ve started collections and then given up. For a while, I was into ceramic elephants, then it was rabbits. But I got rid of them. Too much dust. I do have a bunch of original Edward Gorey books. That is my only real collection. Other than cat hair. Does cat hair count?
10. How did your book come to be made?
Last year, I wrote Alexander McQueen: Evolution, a book on the fashion designer and his runway shows. While researching that book, I got really interested in the Arts and Crafts movement from the turn of the last century and also in the way that contemporary designers reuse and recycle Victorian and Edwardian looks. So, the neo-Victorianism of steampunk caught my eye. Plus, I was drawn to the conversation that steampunks are having about technology and our relationship to it and how that plays out in the realm of dress. I’m also fascinated by the DIY aspects of the culture.
As I am relatively new to the world of steampunk, we hired Diana Pho, who is a real steampunk pro, as a consultant. And Diana wrote the book’s introduction. Not only can Diana dress the part, but she writes and edits the multicultural steampunk blog Beyond Victoriana, blogs about steampunk on Tor.com, writes academic articles about steampunk, and presents panels and info sessions at cons nationwide. The book honors the individuals who have built the steampunk movement and is packed with photos and info about these designers, musicians, artists, and enthusiasts. We included ten DIY projects in the book because we really want people to be able to participate—and get steamy! The books is great for people who already embrace steampunk, and it’s also excellent for people who are new to steampunk, and for those who want to stay up-to-date on fashion trends. (Steampunk has been totally trending!) And, of course, the book makes an awesome gift. (I mean I’d love it if someone gave me a copy!) All those photos! It's available at bookstores across the country AND can be ordered online at IndieBound, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
11. The all important question (from Ravelry) what is your favorite swear word?
A number of years ago, I was writing about a character who is an anthropomorphic pig. My pig used “Crumbs!” as a curse word. I tried to adopt it. “Crumbs!” can be fun to say. But sometime only “Oh, f*ck” will do.
12. Name 10 things probably no one else has ever done:
( I really can’t think of ten, here are two!!)
- Huh.... I’ve written directions for a number of origami books. We had an illustrator who lived out of town draw the instructional images—about 300 spot drawings. So, for each book, I used to make about 300 models—a model for each step—for her to draw from. And we shipped them to her via Fed Ex. Gack.
- One time I made a nipple out of seed beads. (Yeah, nipple as in breast.) I’d seen a call for submissions for The Nipple Project, and I just had to try. The finished piece was shown with about 150 other handcrafted nipples at a gallery in Santa Ana, CA.
You can get yourself in the running for 11 fabulous Quayside Publishing books including Katherine's
Want to make a Steampunk blaster gun? Dowload this great tutorial to see what simple common elements its made from!
You won't believe the simple materials this cool gun is made out of!
the full totorial from on how to make this Steampunk Blaster Gun
And if you are going to be in Burbank, CA on November 15th a 4 PM you can meet the author Katherine Gleason, Donna Ricci and more of the fabulous people invloved with Anatomy of Steampunk please join us for a fun time at Clockwork Couture. Follow Clockwork Courture on Facebook.
Come dressed in your favoite Steampunk outfit!
More about the New Race Point book: