The Orillia Times' Roberta Bell interviewed Catie Raymond, during the lead up to the annual All Things Steampunk, and got a lesson in the steampunk movement. Here's what Bell had to say...
Each time she takes apart an old clock to find parts she can repurpose in her jewelry making, Catie Raymond is blown away by the intricacy of its design.
“It freaks me out that they actually made these kinds of things so long ago,” laughed the Coldwater-based salvage artist, who has made a career out of turning the old into new again.
Raymond, with her collection of anachronistic work, will be the featured artist Aug. 11 during Coldwater’s second annual daylong celebration of All Things Steampunk.
The steampunk movement — rooted in the idea of chronological inconsistency — integrates elements of the Victorian era with modern technology.
“I don’t know what draws me to it. I just love it. It’s so interesting,” Raymond, who sells her handmade jewelry alongside her other one-of-a-kind creations in her Coldwater shop, Off the Beaten Path, said, noting an important part of the movement is educating people about the past and about how technology was used and developed back then.
She wants her seven-year-old daughter — who, like most of this generation’s youth, is enamoured with modern technology — to know how we got to where we are today.
“Kids don’t get to see the work that went into the past,” Raymond said.
The steampunk movement started in the 1980s and ‘90s, but didn’t officially touch down in Coldwater until last summer.
The celebration began to take shape after a customer asked Suzy Burtenshaw, owner of Holly’s Beads, if she carried anything in the steampunk genre.
“This is a day where you feel like you’re in the early 1900s,” said Burtenshaw, who saw an opportunity to bring the past to life by sharing her research on the movement with others.
The inaugural event brought out more than 500 people, 200 of whom showed up for the Wye Marsh’s birds of prey show alone.
“It’s really cool,” Burtenshaw said. “It’s almost medieval with the owls and the hawks... and the falcons.”
In addition to birds of prey, All Things Steampunk features a costume competition, fresh-squeezed lemonade, craft tables and an array of eclectic art exhibits.
Everything from sculptures to mechanical contraptions and costumes to jewelry will be on display.
There is no other art event that actually takes place in Coldwater, Burtenshaw pointed out, noting the popular spring studio tour takes peole out of the village and into the artists’ homes.
“This is a way that we can bring art to the main street,” Burtenshaw said.
Five artists from the Coldwater Studio Tour — Debbe Bloom, Lou Robitaille, Wendy Lynne Rinehart, Betsy Waterson and Ann Hallet — will be participating.
All Things Steampunk is about getting people together and sharing ideas, said Raymond.
“I just like the creativity of it,” she said. “I love taking old things and making them... new and being able to use them again.”
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