Friday, August 26, 2011

Plague Doctor mask

HOW, pray tell, has the amazing image of the "Plague Doctor" escaped me all these years?? The engraving below is from the Wikipedia entry on plague doctors, who were employed during outbreaks to treat plague victims. These doctors were "often were second-rate doctors not able to otherwise run a successful medical business or young physicians trying to establish themselves." Some doctors wore these beaky masks which were filled with "aromatic items" in an attempt to protect themselves from the infected, putrid air. I'm willing to bet that wasn't terribly effective... what an odious job to take on!

Doktor Schnabel von Rom ("Doctor Beak of Rome"), engraving by Paul F├╝rst, 1656

Apparently the plague doctor image has been incorporated into Steampunk imagery, and I am fully on board with this-- just Google image search "plague doctor" and some really cool artwork will come up. However right now I just want to collect and present images from one artist in particular, a leather mask maker in Penn Valley CA whose shop I found on (where else?) Etsy. His name is Tom Banwell and everything in his shop is absolutely fantastic! He has a website at but it looks like most of his sales are made through his Etsy shop. There's a whole steampunk section but I'm going to rifle the "sold" items for additional plague doctor mask images-- the photos are so delightfully spooky!

black leather
"Ichabod" in black leather

white leather
brown leather

 These masks are definitely added to my mental list of things to jump on when it magically starts raining money. They are priced in the $300-$400ish range-- very reasonable for such a marvelous hand-wrought wearable work of art. It's a perfect addition to my imaginary Steampunk Victorian library in my imaginary tumbledown haunted country farmhouse. (sigh) ...Last but not least, please allow me to present the dapper (but rather sinister) "Dr. Beulenpest".

(...More steampunk delights from the artist on deviantART.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ornament Field Test goes well!

Does this little fellow look as if he has been hanging out in the weather unprotected since March? No, he doesn't! I was very surprised when I examined him closely after months of direct exposure to overnight freezes, downpours, hail, 100+ degree temperatures, and sunlight. Evidently the Krylon matte clearcoat spray I use to seal the stain is pretty darn good. Even the waxed hemp cord strung through him seems to be holding up well.

I still would not recommend that everyone who buys one of my ornaments should feel free to leave it hanging out in the elements, but I think this field test shows that an outdoor covered porch environment would suit my Wise Leaves and Cheerful Acorns just fine. I'm so pleased!

The rest of my little leaf and acorn friends can be viewed in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Camera test


Here's a few pics I snapped of some cheap glowsticks I picked up after a show Saturday nite, to try out the digital camera my brother sent me... they were already losing their brightness by 3am but still looked very pretty in the darkness of my room. I left them collected in a drinking glass sitting on the bureau as a colorful nite-lite. I like the top photo best-- it looks like some sort of sea anemone, glowing away alone in the depths of the dark ocean.