Saturday, February 16, 2013

Artist Spotlight: Paula Sana from Vontoon!

Hey everyone and I hope you are having a Happy Saturday! I've had one crazy week and am really excited to get back into the swing of Let's Get Steamy 2.0! Today I'm bringing you some delicious Steampunk articles from across the pond! Hailing from Scotland, Paula Sana and Ronald Sulley form the duo that makes up Vontoon, a delightful shop on Etsy. While a lot of the features that I've shown have been artsy, I like to consider this duo more Industrial. They make the products you NEED if you want to start up your own persona in the Steampunk lifestyle, and while the decorative pieces are pretty and respected, these guys have the stuff that turns heads, makes people talk, and really stands out as something truly Steampunk. Please welcome Paula!

Hi Paula! Thanks for joining me today, can you please tell me a little bit about yourself?

Well, Vontoon is made up of a partnership between me and Ronald Sulley. We are from and work in Dundee Scotland. I am a former professional dancer and Ronald, a photographer and designer.

Wow cool! I hope you don't mind me googling the heck out of you once we're done here :) So what drew you towards Steampunk and what was your first experience with the genre?

My first introduction to Steampunk even though I had no idea what Steampunk was, as a child watching films such as Warlords of Atlantis and The Island at the Top of the World. I grew obsessed with style of Victorian times but with the sense of adventure. For me the coolest part about Victorian adventurers were the leather belts, holsters and harnesses.

They sure are sweet...I'm having a hell of a time deciding whether or not I want to create a Steampunk persona of my own...My first choice would probably be an airship pirate...all the leather and guns! :) Do you live the Steampunk lifestyle or participate in other aspects of the genre?

Our only real connection with any Steampunk book is being featured in Steampunk Fashion by Spurgeon Vaughn Ratcliffe, we try to avoid reading or watching to much about Steampunk so as not to be led subconsciously in our design decisions.  We don’t live the Steampunk life style and our interaction with the Steampunk world is very limited. Although our leather wear is really suited to Steampunk we always agreed that our interest in this area was really limited to practical, useable items. All our items are hard wearing and looked after could last a life time.  But saying that our client base of Steampunk is incredibly strong and very supportive so we always prioritise for our Steampunk clients. Our goal is always to integrate Steampunk style into everyday wear. Although we make costume pieces and some less than practical items, our main pieces are items such as shoulder holsters, thigh holsters, bags, garters with containers and holsters.

I really love that about you guys. I've owned a few Steampunk pieces that have fallen apart after one or two uses that make me go crazy. I love that you create works with the intention of making them last. Speaking of lasting, so you think Steampunk is here to stay or will fade away with time?

Steam punk like every movement has metastasized into a grotesque version of the original subtleties and intentions. The movement with experience ebb and flow and this is where Vontoon wishes to maintain the practical element therefore still have validity with in any market and not just Steampunk.  
You wont see Steampunk robot-ish arms, broken watches or cogs attached to anything and everything at Vontoon, if that’s what you like then fantastic but we have a more everyday based ethos. Our leather braces have been worn for weddings to give a bit of edge to a white wedding dress, our shoulder holsters are used by festival goers and all have the traditional sense of handmade quality items which comes with the neo-Victorian outlook.

Ha...I really like that answer. You make it sound like a kind of cancer that infects the I'm certainly glad that Steampunk has infected my own corner of the world...I absolutely adore the genre! So let's get down to your products...What materials do you use in your clothing?

All our leather pieces are made from thick quality saddlery leather. We like to make the items as unique as possible so leathers come in all colours and textures. To join the leather we use steel rivets which are chosen for their quality and longevity. Our items are built to last, we take great pride in knowing that people
could easily pass our items down generations. The items are constructed using only traditional leather working hand tools.

What (other than the obvious) makes your work "Steampunk"?

Our leather wear has a Steampunk sensibility, meaning , those Victorian adventurers with their leather and canvas equipment are always at the back of our minds while designing a new piece. We have more of a vibe than a direct visual influence.

How long does it usually take to make a piece?

This can vary, for a shoulder holster, usually about two hours but for a simple garter around twenty minutes. Although we have taken on custom orders which take about three days.

Nice, I'd love to have the money and lifestyle to be able to have one of your custom orders one day! So what's the best story you have about your work?

We have had commissions from clients for Cosplay costumes from SuckerPunch to a full leather body piece for metal gear solid character Psycho Mantis. The custom pieces we enjoy the most are for people like set designers and makeup artists who need leather holsters to hold wire snips or brushes as these are in keeping with our ethos of practicality and every day use. 

Oh my gosh...Seriously!?! That's fabulous. SuckerPunch was one of my first Steampunk Movies (I'm actually reviewing it here on the blog in a few days...) I love that you guys were part of it! So cool :) What is your favourite piece or work you’ve ever made?

Our favourite piece is the shoulder holster as it has been bought by such a cross section of people, Steampunk fans, people travelling the world looking for a safe place to keep a passport and tickets
festival goers, burning man has seen a few holsters and even for a wedding. Its a practical piece as well as being a real centre piece for any outfit.
We have sold several to individual clients in different colours and had request from day glow pink and green. We feel this is our most adaptable item.
Thank you so much for joining me today! I really enjoy your shop and have you on the shortlist for when I start building my costumes! 
 If you like Paula's work or just want to check out more of her and Ronald's designs head on over to their Etsy shop! Feel free to leave comments about what you find as I'm sure Paula will appreciate them AND you will gain an entry into the Grand Prize Giveaway for Let's Get Steamy 2.0! You want to see these kinds of leather creations in real life? You could be on your way to a trip to one of THREE amazing Steampunk conventions!

1 comment:

  1. The gear looks fantastic. I only wish you had something to fit my dad..he's 22 stone and 75 years old but I'd bet that leather bra and garter belt would make him a hero in his sheltered housing