Brooching the Subject: a Study in Edwardian Jewelry, Steampunk Fashion and Hamsters

Whelp, our first month of Bootcamp is coming to an end. It was just the creative kickstart I needed for 2015. I was on the road for 3 weeks, so having an assignment with a hard deadline kept me accountable. Oh, and the subject matter was super fun and, coincidentally, educational!

Our "mini" for the first week was to draw lots and lots of Edwardian brooches. Now, I love me some sparklies, but I didn't know what made a piece of edwardian jewelry 'edwardian.’ Enter the internet:

Deriving its name from the era of Prince Edward VII (1901-1910), the notorious playboy of the British monarchy, this period became known as a time of lighthearted luxury. The end of the 19th century was a time when the rejection of the industrialized, “machine-made” jewelry caused an about face in fashion and design almost overnight: jewelry went from large and ostentatious to ethereal and delicate, borrowing feminine motifs from 17th and 18th century styles. Typically, an Edwardian brooch is very ornate, symmetrical, contains garlands or vines, colorful facets & opals and fine, tarnished metal work. Notable footnote: Outside of England in all other parts of Europe, this era is also known as La Belle Époque. Good to know!  Look at the gorgeousness of all this stuff I found on Pinterest.

and here are my sketched interpretations:

Some vintage baubles that I spotted at a consignment shop in Virginia:

During my trip, I met my step sister’s granddaughter for the first time. She is 4 years old and has a male pet hamster named “Wendy.” Isn't he/she cute?

I just had to sketch him/her:

And finally, our assignment: to create a journal cover using the drawings we did of our Edwardian brooches.  I came up with two designs: 

One pretty belle époque lady:

And one adorable french hamster surrounded by a wreath of sparkly gems and “carats:”

As this bootcamp class is part of Lilla Rogers’ MAKE ART THAT SELLS series, I chose to submit the journal cover that I was most likely to buy: "Le Beau Chou Chou" which means, "the pretty little pet" (I'm  a sucker for animal characters!)

One more thing. During my second week in Virginia, I was invited to attend Marscon with my friend who was doing recon to see if her steampunk jewelry booth might fit in next year. That was a fun unexpected surprise! What a bunch of lovable nerds. Here we are dressed for the occasion. My friend, Lois of Victorian Magpie put together the corseted outfit I am wearing in this picture.

At the conference, we attended a Shakespearan reading of Star Wars.  I also attended a discussion on the influence of history on what we call “steampunk” today. Guess what? The Victorian and Edwardian eras most definitely had an influence on this style. While the jewely movement of the Edwardian era was a direct backlash to innovation and machine made products, we mustn't forget that starting with the Victorian era, great advancements were made in science changing 19th century society in profound ways.  The most obvious innovations were trains and ships (both steam driven) as the primary methods of moving goods, materials and people. Hence, steampunk! Here are some photos from the conference.

This is a Colonial Jet Pack Man. Duh.

So there you have it. Full (sparkly, symmetrical, vine covered) circle! UPDATE: The Bootcamp gallery went live Tuesday, January 27th. Check out all the fabulous classwork and everyone's unique interpretations on the same theme.