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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Featured Etsy Shop: Arcane Armoury

There are so many wonderful Etsy shops out there! I've decided to  feature some of them that are, in some way, relevant to The Navigatrix. So, every month or so, there will be a new designer/creator/collector/artist to meet...but I knew who I was going to feature first:

Matt of Arcane Armoury at the Victorian Steampunk Society's 'Weekend at the Asylum event in Lincoln, September 2012 

I'd like to introduce you to my younger brother Matt. He's the reason that I have a shop in the first place, encouraging me to take my little Steampunk hairclip idea and build on it. 

Having grown up playing Lego, building Airfix kits, painting fantasy miniatures and building replica film props (from the cardboard Ghostbusters' Proton Pack to a wood, plastic and metal version of a 'pulse rifle' from Aliens), it's no wonder that Matt became a modelmaker.

At the age of 14, he did some work experience at Jim Henson's Creature Workshop, back when they had a branch in London. For his A-Level in Design Technology, he made a fully animatronic Troll head, affectionately known as Cornelius.

Matt now has 16 years of modelmaking experience under his belt and has worked in various areas of the craft. He's been an in- house architectural modelmaker, done exhibition design and has also done some film work: 'Daylight Robbery', 'Kangaroo Jack' and Five Seconds to Spare'. 

Now he concentrates on his own business which he began in February 2012, with occasional modelmaking excursions to the capital. I spent a couple of hours at his workshop recently (not that I've far to go!) and caught up with what he has been producing lately. With kind permission, I can tell you - and show  you - that he is working on a microphone stand, commissioned by a new band called Alice's Night Circus

So, over to Matt:

1. How did your shop get its name and what was the main inspiration behind opening your shop?

"I wanted something for the name that implied a history and Magic about what's found there. I'd spent many years as a professional model maker working to the designs of others; opening the shop gave me a chance to persue my own interests and designs.
2. What do you create and do you have a signature product? If so how did it come to be?

I'll make pretty much anything ! I built a prop for the lovely Kato of Steampunk Couture recently , and I'm currently working away on a prop for a band , but I've made a desk light and I have plans for a steam clock.
I guess my signature pieces are the weapons , they have a continuity of design style ...I think in time people will come to recongise one of my pieces from the CNC [C] details , and crisp engineering style I hope I convey. I guess they arose from the fact that while there are many builders of Steampunk weapons, I find many far too over complex and busy. I wanted to make pieces that could look like they dropped through a warp hole and had been made by some distant artisan in a functional but decorative way.

3. Where do you find your inspiration and what makes you different from the other people that make what you make?

My inspiration comes from real world items like the original Babbage Calculation Engine,and I guess I like that very functional but ornate look they gave to components back then. I guess what sets me apart from alot of Steampunk  Weapon makers is my use of the real materials brass,copper,wood and steel. Many steampunk guns are painted Nerf guns and they look good if you're on a budget , but there are lots and lots of gold painted Mavericks about because they are easy to do. I do the odd Nerf mod[ification] but try to add real customisation to them when I do .
 I want my pieces to be considered display items as well as convention props. You get no chipping of gold paint if you're using brass, and the weight of each piece is solid and satisfying .

Another Steampunk Weapon prop in progress.

4. What do you enjoy most about your craft?

I guess one of the things I enjoy the most about what I do is that moment the piece comes together , little elements work nicely as you build them  and then you see the piece as a whole item and think "yeah that will find a home somewhere". It's very important to feel the design "click" aesthetically. Whilst my style may not suit everyone's taste, it's my vision of how steampunk would be ...and that's the great thing about the steampunk genre, it can be whatever you want,  all things are possible and it's great to see them all mingle at conventions. 
5. What is your best advice to newbie Etsians just opening their shops?

My advice to new Etsians is simple: get a good range of stock in and make things to suit all price brackets. I have badges at  £1.25 and Rifles at £350.00 and guitars at  £795.00. Keep the range broad, I think variety is key.

6. What are your top 3 favorite shops on Etsy and what do you like about them?

Favorite 3 Etsy shops is difficult... there  are so many run by such wonderful people. I have a soft spot for The Navigatrix because it's run by my sister and we both opened at around the same time. I'd have to say  Steampunk Couture as I love Kato's style and she has become a good friend recently and I love the sculptures of  Kreatworks.

7. Where else (other than Etsy) can you be found online?

I have a domain for and but as yet the websites have not been built, so Etsy is the place to find me or you can follow me an my Arcane Armoury facebook page . I often post shots of current projects in progress.

8. Do you have any coupon codes / special sales / upcoming or current promotional events going on in your shop?

As yet I haven't produced any coupon codes, though I'm considering doing a  give away when I reach 300 likes on my facebook pagemaybe a gun ring or a custom engraved plaque. Look out for the latest in a range of steampunk pistols I'm hoping to get on Etsy before Christmas.

Thanks, dude! 

If you've enjoyed this visit to the Arcane Armoury, do share this blog post with anyone who might appreciate it. 

Matt is also a member of the Etsy team In Here Life Is Beautiful, a group of keen, imaginative creators and sellers of vintage treasures.

Matt is always happy to discuss commissions. It doesn't have to be steampunk or sci-fi. 

If you know of any UK Steampunk events that welcome traders, do get in touch. We both had fun at 'Asylum' in Lincoln - our first trade stall and our first Steampunk event (though we are both seasoned Live Roleplayers). Thanks for reading ♡

Me and my 'buv' :)