I believe that Steampunk is more than just brass and watchparts. It's finding a way to combine the past and the future in an aesthetic pleasing yet still punkish way. It's living a life that looks old-fashioned, yet speaks to the future. It's taking the detritus of our modern technological society and remaking it into useful things. Join me as I search for items for my house that combine the scientific romanticism of the Victorians with our real present and imagined future.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Writing on the Wall
My friend Patrick recently took this beautiful picture of the ceiling in the reading room of the main building at the University of Texas. Built in 1937, it made me realize that while using text as a decorating element has risen in popularity in the last couple of years, it is by no means a new phenomenon. (It says "The benefits of education and of useful knowledge, generally diffused though a community, are essential to the preservation of a free government. -- Sam Houston")
Here's another example from my library/dining room:
("I get a warm feeling among my books." --Anthony Powell) Although a less lofty sentiment, it suited the ambience of the room. While the reading room's phrase is painted, mine is done with Wonderful Graffiti, which makes it incredibly easy to create something suited perfectly to your environment -- you choose the color, size, font, and words. It goes on like a sticker (it's a bit harder than that -- you have to burnish it with a flat edge -- but easily done in an evening), and can come off without any permanent damage to your walls. (It's perfect if you rent.)
What quotes to use? At first I came up nil, but then ran across this one at the beginning of Cory Doctorow's new story: And I won’t always be this way, When the things that make me weak and strange get engineered away. —Jonathan Coulton, “The Future Soon” It has just the right sort of quirky appeal that I'd put into a bathroom. In my experience, if you just keep your eyes open, an appropriate quote will come across your radar. (And please, share any good ones you come across here.)
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As soon as my walls are painted, I'm going to put this above my door: Cui ci sono dei mostri. I hope I spelled it right here, basically means (or so I've been told) Here there be monsters.
Gold leaf calligraphy. :-)
Nice library! I especially love your hanging light, where did you find it?
The light is from Rejuvenation -- www.rejuventation.com
z'rrza -- love the 'here there be monsters' -- perfect!
It's neat to see your home after reading your blog for some bit of time now.
I love the decor, but I have one complaint. At least in this photo, the white walls appear very distracting and overwhelm all the steampunky goodness around them.
Have you thought about / are you planning to paint? I good rich orange, red or burgundy would work well.
I keep imagining a white ceiling, then orange paint one foot down from the ceiling (leaving a white band). Then orange stops for another white band around the writing. Then burgundy down to the baseboards.
What do you think?
Perhaps you already have painting plans of your own!
I do think a warm color on the walls would add ambience. I just got a pretty round mirror and plan to stencil around it in gold or bronze after repainting the room it goes in. You could stencil a great border around your quote to make it stand out.
For a quote, something keeps running through my head, something like "within these four walls I travel the earth/all the ages." Am I purely making this up or does someone remember a quote like that? What am I thinking of?
I've always thought the fancier Arabic scripts were wonderfully decorative... it's hard to find a Roman-alphabet font that can compete with them.
Some nice examples on the Smithsonian's website:
Here's a nice quote, in my opinion.
"I cannot live without books." --Thomas Jefferson
very straightforward, no?
Love your blog! The picture of that ceiling reminds me so much of the Alex Johnson Hotel in downtown Rapid City, South Dakota, which opened in 1928. There aren't a ton of pictures online of it, but a google image search of the Alex Johnson Hotel will show some of the similarities. I adore the chandeliers - they have the Native American symbol we all unfortunately recognize as the "swastika" incorporated into them. [ http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3448/
3741730376_eeea1f9482.jpg ] and [ http://farm4.static.flickr.com/
I like that the hotel has chosen to keep them original rather than modify them, ignoring that a symbol so pure at the time was later used to represent something so evil. The symbol is also found incorporated into to mosaic tile in the lobby.
How cool is this comforter?
I could go on and on. Anyway, it's an amazing hotel and great historical place to stay at or just visit.
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