Thursday, August 8, 2013

Steamfest Australia 2013

It was a weekend full of Steampunk fun. Last weekend, I attended the brand new Steamfest Australia – a music festival/convention held in Ipswich. I was lucky enough to be attending with EDAS (European Defensive Arts School) for the weekend. We were there to provide demonstrations on the Bartitsu club and just play around for fun. While I got free entry to the event, I did however mean that I was up with the crows to get out there and set up our site. It’s about an hour drive from my place on the northside of Brisbane (thank god for the motorways), but it still meant that I had to be ready and on my way be 7.30am on a Saturday morning. I did pack my car the night before.

The event itself was quite interesting. I give full props to the organisers who did a fantastic job considering that this was their first event. One of the major drawcards was unable to get a visa into Australia and had to pull out at the last minute, which was a real shame. And the event did have its issues. Poor advertising of the event itself and the event program, few activities other than perusing market stalls and listening to music. So, there is definitely room for improvement.
On the other hand, EDAS we there to provide entertainment. I took along my shade so that we would be able to keep the sun off ourselves when we were resting between sets. And while, I didn’t participate in the cane, boxing or sword as it has been too long since I last attended training, I did run a calisthenics session each day – with public participation. We looked stupid, but the background music of the bands was a perfect accompaniment to our exercise.
As for what I wore…

Despite the fact that I have two safari ensembles for Steampunk, I decided to go against one of them. Namely the version that I made with shorts, which I was planning to wear on Saturday. Looking at photos of myself in the images, I just don’t like the look on me. Let’s face it, I have a high waist and short legs, so skirts look much better. Of course, I decided this two days before the event. With that in mind, I had to come up with a quick new ensemble from what I had in my wardrobe. In the end, I came up with this.

My character is the Madame of the harem. The idea being that I keep the harem girls safe and secure. And that’s what I have tried to create with the influence of India in my ensemble with both jewellery and the sari, yet still maintaining the element of the English influence through the bustle and corset. I really like how the outfit came together, so much so that I am thinking I might develop the costume more in the future and keep it as one of my costume options. I also really like the idea of being able to use parts of my wardrobe for more than one costume. I was originally just going to drape and tuck the sari, but decided in the end to sew it for ease. The bulk of the fullness that hangs over the back of my bustle is pleated onto a piece of twill tape that ties at the waist. The front section the pins across to meet it and the remainder of the sari is draped across my body and over my shoulder. The belt helps keep it all in place and gives me somewhere to hang items such as my keys and weapons. I topped it all off with one of my black character wigs, plaited down my back.
Then on Sunday, out came the safari outfit. The colours are all muted as were used throughout the Victorian period when on safari. My fabrics are all cotton as well, so it breaths nicely. The outfit is made up of two skirts and an apron, a blouse and a vest, with my Victorian corset and bustle pad underneath. I decided to be blonde for the day and went with two long plaits in my hair under my safari hat. I love this outfit, so was more than happy to wear it.

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