We first met Lady Elstwhen (aka Stevie Pagano) at Steamposium in Seattle last year, and got to know her and her fabulous work more recently at GearCon in Portland, OR.
How would you define yourself?
A maker, an animal advocate and environmentalist, a transplant.
Even as a child I was a tinker, getting into my father’s tools and deconstructing things, making concoctions of household products and carving soap bars into cars and critters. In the early 90`s, that creative energy led me to my first job as a production artist in Los Angeles, where I was privileged to work with some of the most creative and talented artists in the industry. By the late 90`s, there was less of a demand for physical art production, so I moved to Oregon to work for studios in Portland doing 'physical' animation, props and characters. Falling in love with the pacific NW was inevitable, I have been here ever since. In 2009 I started Elstwhen, and began working on my own designs.
How did you find Steampunk?
Recently! Last year a friend introduced me the world of Steampunk at GearCon 2014. Before that I had been a resident of the Kingdom of Caid, and a Renaissance and Pirate wench. Although new to Steampunk, it to feels like home. Let’s start with elegant and detailed forms of dress, a costumers paradise, even the mundane dress as noble, there are amazing outfits to be found in all cos play genre, but none do "Best Dressed" like Steampunk! Then there is Chivalry, A fine concept, one sorely lacking in today's society. Eloquence of speech, is another welcome attribute, it’s not just the clothing one wears as much as it is a manifestation of you at your best. Being in an environment full of people so endeavored is inspiring.
It’s not pretty,... There are project bins all over, paints, sculpting materials, fabric, leather, crystals and gemstones, driftwood and copious amounts of glass-
wares. To add to that, there is always a a table full of Krakens, in various stages of production (they take about 2 weeks to complete). When I sit down at my station to work, its either totally quiet or I`ll play tracks with no vocals, sometimes an ocean documentary in the background with the sound off, and google earth up for quick reference. Their story's often come to me while sculpting.
Please share with us some of your inspirations...
If I haven't dated myself already,. Jules Vern, Robert Graves & Jacques Cousteau were my earliest influences as well as old maps with illustrations of sea monsters. This love of history, exploration,
mythology and cartography, still shows in my work today.
Since then, I have been inspired by another hero of exploration, Dr. Sylvia Earle, marine biologist & explorer. Queen Victoria would have liked her, she has boldly gone where few men have dared, and I do mean boldly! If you don't know of her, look her up. Aside from persons of inspiration, a few hours collecting driftwood, watching eagles fish and picking wild flowers usually does it for me.
What project/s are you currently working on?
So many projects,...The most ongoing at the moment would be "The Krakens of Elstwhen" Book - a work in progress. Surprisingly little has been written on the subject of Kraken, Hollywood tickled the legend in a few sparse spots,.. and as for a Norse mythos, they don't say much about it. I have decided to remedy that situation and expand upon the Lore of the Kraken. The tale of their origin, biology, species identification and behaviors, including stories of their captures and close call encounters along with plenty of full page photos. I have VI ready and am working on VII this year.
Do you have any advice for young steampunks?
Steampunk is so much more than just a look, albeit a great one. It is an elevated and refined state of being. Have fun, express yourself, honor the community and look good doing it.
A BIG Thank You! to Steve and Geahk from GearCon 2014/15 for introducing me to the awesome world of Steampunk. Another Thank You! to The Emerald Lady and Zeon Kitty from Steamposium 2014/15, for having Elstwhen at the shows. Last but certainly not least, Thank You! to all of you fellow artists and makers, You all rock! I look forward catching up with you soon. I am so grateful for your warm welcome and help navigating these new waters /air space?
Elstwhen supports the "Art in Schools" programs and The Seattle Aquarium`s` Annual Splash event.
Find out More at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/
Find out More at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/