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In the Lab Tess at Maker Faire 2010

Spanish Toy Theatre

This is the toy theater that I saw at the last Toy Theater Festival which made my heart sing. I realized in an instant how I could do my Captain Nemo toy theater, but give mine a Steampunk look which fit the sensibility of a renegade engineer. Of course, I have to add miniature three dimensional elements and some bling to give it more dimension. And give it some special effect lighting. I should walk around with a set of LEDs hooked up to batteries, because I try to light everything up with them! When I saw that lovely toy theater, I mentally crawled right into it imagining how to make the skrim in miniature & how to make it feel like water. This is the part of "making" that sends me happily to Planet Tess.

NEMOniacal Front View

This is a view of the NEMOniacal Steampunk Toy Theater from the front, and without its doors. There is a curtain of metallic ribbons above that hide the magnet for the doors, and hangs down low enough to hide the lighting which is wired to the ceiling. The lighting is all LEDs wired into a low voltage power cord and jack. There are two sets: one of the salon with it's view outside the Nautilus, and one of the sea floor itself, and the kelp forest. This set could also be used for other scenes from the book that take place outside the Nautilus, like saving the Pearl diver. To accomplish this, the back set piece is of the sea, with some three dimensional parts like coral, and rock faces and has it's own set of flickering blue lights. It can be seen through the Salon window, and sea life puppets can be moved in and out from the sides.

Nemoniacal Box

The unfinished cabinet is now primed. It's time to buy/scavenge the brass!

NEMOniacal Side View

This is the side view of the toy theater. It is covered with aluminum foil, brass tape, brass corner channel, and stamped brass Victorian style filigree. Then there will be dark gel and rust aging and a good seal of varnish. It is supposed to look very elaborate, with faux rivets and filigrees. Most of the side must be removeable for the characters and sets to be used in performance. I expect the pivot wheel straps will not be enough of a hold, and that more screw type filigrees must be used. The screws holding on the curtains in the front will be camoulflaged by filigree and accessible from the side. This model shows what must be removeable, though it is not in fact removeable because I am not a carpenter (yet, I fear). This is how the finished product must look after it has been made by the carpenter. I will be taking photographs of every step on each of the several projects as the design is finished.Click here to see the quality of my finished work.

Along with this toy theater and other miniature boxes, I plan to sell some jewelry and cards in Steampunk style, and some of the Christmas ornaments I make every holiday. My booth last year attracted adults as often as it attracted children. As I did last year, I will be making coloring pages and stickers to give away to the children, and will be also providing information for making their own toy theater at home. One of the coloring pages will be the Verne characters in the book with instructions on how to glue them onto cardstock for use. It is my view that this sort of play helps people young and old to resolve difficult emotional issues without acting out on other people. It is important for children to articulate their feelings and solve problems. Role playing and the spiritual symbolism of miniatures is as old as human civilization.

raw cocao pickmeups

After a lot of design work and assembling my metal booty, I was desperate for a Maker-Fuel snack. Saw a video on YogaMamma and wanted to tweak it for my own needs (raw honey is way too expensive for my budget). In a smallish bowl add two heaping tablespoons each of raw cocao, shredded coconut, agave syrup and coconut oil. Then 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseed & 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir well. With a small spoon from my demitasse set, I put small amounts into a mini ice cube tray and stuck it in the freezer. In a couple of hours they were a heavenly little rich treat of superfood for the brain! After sleeping on it, I solved a mechanical problem for the toy theater: how to keep the sets in place. Answer in my dreams: 3 cool wood or brass rods going clear through the top, with nicely capped ends and long enough to move a bit so that my kelp forest scene looks like it's underwater. I can use holiday ornament wire hooks to triangle rings on the back of the set frames and size them so that the set frame rests on the floor. I consider these little raw cocao treats as major Project Making Fuel pellets!

My metal stash

more of the metal stash

This is most of my metal stash minus my jewelry findings casket and my box of metal that has been collected for probably 20 years from all sorts of fix it jobs. The outside base will be an aluminum foil skin, like the Eastern European Szopkas I saw at the folk art toy museum in Santa Fe. They are Nativity scene creches in the form of ornate model churches, and simply cardboard covered in foils and metallic findings. They are exquisite and I am determined to be as detailed as they are. I can't take the chance of ruining a good cabinet, so I won't cut out the sides to make it more performable. This is a model, and will be quite beautiful for one or a few people to actually pay with. When I make my funding proposal, this model will probably be the grand prize. The wood on this model is not very thick, so I may have to reinforce where I attach the filigree and ornaments with escutcheon nails, which will give it a nice riveted appearance. The paint comes tomorrow to turn the entire inside black to test out the LED lights.This build needs to stand up to use. There will be velcro strips for attaching flat pieces, and maybe some sheet magnets as well. The front entrance must be removeable to dress the rods for the sets and to adjust, add or change out the lights.

Click here for Part Two.