måndag 7 november 2016

Steampunk persona: Leonidas Tengbom, book collector

I was going to write about one of my new gowns, but something else came out, so instead in this post the Costuming Engineer proudly presents to you Leonidas Ylvar Tengbom, distinguished book collector and conservative steampunk gentleperson!

(I will use "ze" and "hir” as gender neutral pronouns.)

Leonidas Tengblom at the recent bazar in Göteborg, a bit tired after a day of searching for new book treasures.

Leonidas Tengbom lives in a large house in the part of Sweden that is called Bergslagen, where ze lives with hir husband and a pet squirrel called Flogiston (but ze would never admit how fond ze is of the pet - "It just happened to move in when I happened to feed it! I cannot help that Flogi prefer to sit on the armrest of my favourite armchair!") At home, ze prefers to spend most of hir time in hir library, researching odd historical topics or conserving old and fragile books, or taking long walks around the small lakes with hir husband. Hir favourite season is the autumn, and if there had been any people taking walks at the same paths as ze does, they would have seen hir stop frequently to enjoy the smell of moss, fallen leaves or a fir tree in the sun.

As the chairperson of the International Society for the Keeping of Old and Dusty Books, Leonidas Tengbom often get to travel, in search of book or for conferences and work groups. This ze does under much mumbling and grumbling, and always claiming that airships and zeppelins should be avoided (modern contraptions, cannot be trusted! and the steam submarines are even worse!) but for some reasons, ze often ends up with using them anyway, as they after all are a decent bit more comfortable than carriages. At the numerous meetings for other book collectors, keepers and researchers, ze transforms from the quiet reader to the outspoken and social chairperson and researcher for a few days, before going back home to enjoy the quite days at the countryside again.

Recent findings - notebooks from the Köping alchemy group
And finally - a word of advice. If you meet hir, do not ask about hir latest research project unless you are willing to spend quite a while listening! "Oh, currently I am researching the alchemical group that formed around Carl Willhelm Scheele in Köping a few years befor his death! How nice of you to ask! Not many people know that he became active in an alchemical group when he moved to Köping. With his brilliant mind, he soon become an important member, and the group seemed to make progress, but not for long. After a while he and the rest of the group split, over an heated argument about the moral of some of their experimental methods. That is why the group is not known today - without Scheele, the group did not make much progress. Scheele would not let the group publish the findings he had made with them. But, you know, he must have forgiven at least one of the members, because at his death bed, he married the group member Sara Pohl, in order for her to inherit his pharmacy. It seems he wanted her to be able to continue her alchemical work after all! I first found this mentioned in this book that I found when I ... "

Steampunk convention

As I write this, I am on my way home from SteamCon in Gothenburg. It has been three very very nice days, and now I am happy and tired and a little bit sad that I have to go back to reality. (I know, I English was my first language, or just if I was less tired, I should be able to come up with some more varied and precise adjectives. As it is, I will just write lots of "nice" and "amazing" in this post, so now you are duly warned!) 
I found a "box backpack" friend! So here you get a sneak peek of my ghost detection box. Also, look at her amazing haircut! Almost make me want to cut off my hair too.

The convention had a number of different workshops and discussions/lectures. I have made false metal mini book covers, a small chemical "volcano", and hair jewellery. But what I liked most was to talk to all nice (I warned you!) and interesting people. One day, I and my friend Karin just grabbed some random people who looked nice and asked if they wanted to have "fika"  (coffee and sweets) with us. They said yes, and I greatly enjoyed our discussions (for example, why is there so much brown and orange in steampunk? And are there sub-sub-cultures in English steampunk?). Steampunks are so nice and generous people! And it is fun that there is a nice mix of ages.

Of course, it was also very fun to look at people's clothing and accessories. So many different takes on steampunk! And as I am embarrassingly fond of being photographed in my steampunk and historical garb, I also greatly enjoyed wearing both my two new outfits ("the ghost detection box" and the "conservative steampunk gentleperson goes 16th century"), and my old favourite, the 1886 uniform dress. I will post about those later.

Here comes pictures of some of all the nice looking people I met. Of course, I forgot to take many of the pictures I wanted, so this is just a small selection.

My friend Karin as the mechanic, showing a fellow mechanic some intricate detail of the adjustable wrench (skiftnyckel in Swedish). Karin won first price in "best composition" costume contest category - congratulations, well earned!

There were a number of well clad gentlemen.

Marianne, in her archaeologist persona, looking great both in day wear and evening wear.

These two won first price in the craftmanship category of the costume competition. They had amazing level of detail, especially on the weapons. Hard to see in this picture, but his arrow tip is a flask of green liquid, with light in it!

This was all photos I remembered to take. Next posts will also be steampunk - they will be on my ghost detector box, and about my 16th/19th century cross over outfit.