Tuesday, 3 April 2012

My Steampunk Bed

In 2007 a friend and I were talking about our plans and projects.  His girlfriend interrupted very matter-of-factly, saying that our plans were never going to happen.  She said that because all she heard was talk and was completely blind to the fact that there were stages of planning and arrangements that had to be made before anything physical could have been implemented.

She had no insight as to the details of what we were talking about.  My mistake was in not letting her know that she was talking in complete ignorance.  When I asked her why she said that, she said that if we had ANY intentions whatsoever to carry out our plans we should stop talking about them and just do them.  I realized that she's just a very stupid woman who can't see anything past the bridge of her nose.  I personally prefer the company of those who like to challenge their boundaries and think big, in other words, people with a vision.

People without visions are very mundane, negative, exhausting, and stale.  They can never use their minds to create, only consume.

My friend and I had plans that incurred expenses.  Instead of giving up, or compromising, we chose to employ patience as a resource.  To help keep our projects alive we talked about them from time to time and brainstormed, exploring possibilities.

My plan, a four-post bed, is well under way.  The structure of the bed is complete; I just have a ton of aesthetic elements that I haven't gotten to yet.  It stands over seven feet tall. When completed, this bed will have included:

1. metalworking (cleaning, cutting, welding, grinding,  and possibly bending)
2. woodworking (and finishing)
3. painting (metal)
4. architectural design
5. painting (artistic)
6. framing
7. sewing (drapery)
8. electronics (wiring) and possibly
9. stained glass
10. tatting
11. mosaic (possibly)

What can I say… to much is never enough.

I didn't possess all the skills mentioned above so I did what I could and sought assistance, or education, where needed.  I didn't have the funds for the entire thing so I went to the local dump and found bed irons, cleaned them, welded them together and made four lamps for the tops of each bedpost. 
(I haven't stained the plywood above the lamps yet.)
I was about to painstakingly remove all the heavily laden rust from the bed irons when someone told me that If I get most of the rust off, there are paints that can be used over rust and the metal underneath will be fine.  I was so happy to hear that.

 A friend of mine was getting rid of old warped two-by-fours so I used that for the interior of the bed.  He couldn't recognize them after I cut them down and stained them.

What was the inspiration for this masterpiece?

I've always considered New York City my home and since I'm no longer there I wanted to incorporate architectural elements from NYC to remind me of home.  While I was visiting the city one day I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and noticed the architectural elements of the Manhattan Bridge.  I saw the same industrial pattern on the George Washington Bridge and on the girders that support the trains above Myrtle Ave and Broadway in Queens and Brooklyn.  It was a metal X in a square.  There and then I decided to use that architectural element for my bed posts. 

While at the machine shop the guys would occasionally joke with me saying that I was going to be sleeping on a bridge.  At first they couldn't figure out what I was doing.  Some thought I was building a cage.  All they saw was me cutting tons of small pieces of metal. Afterwards they were blown away.  One woman said that I should get a black sheet with yellow stripes down the middle so that it could look like a street.  We laughed.

 Every time, and I mean EVERY TIME someone sees it for the first time, I get the "WOW" factor from haters and admirers alike, so I know it's coming out pretty awesome.  On several occasions people have told me that it is very masculine.  That's perfect because I didn't want anything "pretty".

The funny thing about it is that when people asked me what style I built it in, I honestly couldn't say because it has elements from different time periods. I use to say that it's primarily Industrial with touches of Victorian and Gothic. It actually is steampunk. While I designed & built it I had no idea that a steampunk genre even existed much less the word itself. As I was finishing the for metal bedposts my friend with the ignorant girlfriend came and described my bed as steampunk.
“What's that?” I asked him.
“Google it,” he said. So I did and found the genre of my heart. I love steampunk and I love my steampunk bed. 

Even though it's not finished and probably won't be for a good while, I'm happy with it.  It is beautiful, it is original, and provides me with plenty of storage above and beneath.

This bed is a big reason why I haven't been painting to much but I'm not down about it because I consider it a sculpture. Granted there are many things I would've done differently but for being my very first project in metal I think it's great.

I welcome all comments (ESPECIALLY if you're into steampunk).