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Weathering- a moral conundrum...

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Post  Pheobsky on Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:35 pm

I suppose this is quite illustrative of my quarrels with steampunk in its current form -I'm not particularly seeking to change anyone's mind, rather am curious as to what other people think -so with out further ado I shall present my case:

I'm not terribly keen on the techniques of weathering, distressing etc. for quite a number of reasons (although I hasten to add not when concerned with props or other such storytelling devices) My first reason is well illustrated by the example of pre-distressed jeans. If I am to buy a pair I want them to be new & relatively unworn, as that way they'll last longer & I'm quite certain that given some time they'll be more than well worn in!
I will admit there is quite an attraction to old objects & there is a great beauty in ageing & decay; but if something is able to have this attraction -it shall gain it with time! To mutilate modern objects & furniture, to make them look old seems pointless, as is if will age without collapsing- then it seems an act of destruction to attack it & speed that up. However if it won't last that long anyway then enjoy the newness -an object is always new when it is created even if it was made thousands of years ago. Why should something made to emulate a style from the Victorian period (or other) pretend not to be new.
I suppose I'm lucky in that I've got quite strong ties to the past, but I want the past & current to blend- they aren't separate so take them for what they are & blend them in a wonderfull mish mash! Rather than the past being dead &purely lived something that people play at -it is as much a reality as now. Steampunk in my eyes because it acts a stewpot, so that the dandy may tote an ipod & show his stylish foppery, so that the engineer may use the lazer-level while it is widely accepted that he still uses the monkey wrench &so the Lady may amble to the rolerdisco while wearing her full finery!

Treating it as part of now, rather than simply playing at being victorian- enjoying it & taking it to wonderfull hights using the best of both, but not denying its newness, but basking in the greatness that such things can happen now- to me to deny the blend & pretend something is purely from one period seems to deny the very best that steampunk has to offer!

Hopefully that's not too convoluted & unclear -& sorry about it, if it is....

---edited to make a little bit clearer---
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Post  JingleJoe on Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:45 pm

I understand your point, you like your steampunk stuff to look new if it was made recently (as it would have been in it's own era!) but I like stuff that looks old and battered and bruised and I can't be arsed waiting many many years for that to happen to all my things that I keep preserved like a museum. So I will bash it with a hammer now and 50 years of wear and tear will happen in seconds Smile
This is not because I want to pretend it came from Victorianna (although I do Laughing) it is because I like things that are bashed and broken but not too broken Wink

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Post  Herr Döktor on Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:01 pm

I'm inclined to agree; although sometimes, when something is brand-new, and liable to rapidly wear in, I have been known to give the process a head start: for instance I have an aluminiun spectacle case, which when new was obviously going to scratch, tarnish, dent etc. very rapidly, so I dropped it on the stony ground, gently kicked it, and so forth- that way, when I did accidently drop and scuff it, I didn't feel so bad! Smile

On the other hand, anything old that's been unsympathetically over restored- YUCK! Not Good!
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Post  Siliconous Skumins on Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:18 pm

Personally I like things in both "as new" and "distressed" looks. Though I suppose it depends on the item in question - some things just look better new and shiney, while others simply look like they SHOULD be aged and battered.

I have finally gotten back onto a couple of unfinished projects, one of which is a steampunk telephone. I am still deciding about it's final finished looks, but am pretty much decided on it being "aged" in a way that it looks like it has been in daily use for a number of years, but will still have certain parts polished up in shiney brass and copper.

I also have a very early electric table lamp (which I just got lucky with and found a glass shade of the correct age, YAY!), it still had the original cloth insulated cable - which I had to remove for safety reasons - and was in totally original condition, and unused for many many years. As far as I can date it, it seems to be from around 1910 - and even back in 1910 the lamp base was artificially aged to look older, from new.

So there is nor reason why any steampunk style item should not be either "new" or "aged" as both looks were common in the era on which steampunk is based around. It all comes down to personal preference and the item in question. Wink


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Post  Elisha Rush on Sat Oct 25, 2008 2:46 am

Well - I see your point.

Faux aging can be appropriate at times. Other things should be new and shiny.

The really hard thing to do is get something to look like it is in hard daily use and will be for many years - think of the handles of a wheelbarrow, for instance.

And there is a major distinction between broken in and broken down.

Just my 2d worth.

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Post  Mad Maxine on Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:26 am

I have three modes of operation in this regard:

1) I buy most everything in a used state;
2) I buy something new that I really like and wear it to a frazzle (I'm hard on my clothes and gear), thus very quickly causing a used quality; and
3) I rarely throw anything away, even if it's half worn out.

Weathering mission accomplished.
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