Category Archives: Hopeless inhabitants

Portrait of the author as an eldritch abomination

I’ve been messing about a bit with self-portraits this week, and this is my Hopeless take on me.

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Clearly I am some sort of eldritch abomination! Obviously, I have tentacles. I’m not sure why I’m a lamp stand from the waist down – It could be that I was a trial run for Mrs Beaten. I imagine that I have been left in a dark corner of a largely forgotten room, but if people approach me I will tell them terrible things.

What would you look like as an island resident? We’re always open to art, and to cosplay, so if you’re a resident with the time and inclination to send us something, we’d love to share it. If you don’t have direct contact with us already, just leave a comment and we’ll pluck your email address from wordpress and drop you a line.++++++++++++

Balthazar Lemon

Balthazar Lemon is the father of Melisandra, grandfather of Salamandra. He shipwrecked on the island of Hopeless Maine as a young man, and took up inventing. He’s rather good at this – having built the lighthouse, restored the church organ, and undertaken assorted other strange and wonderful projects.

He has what appears to be a weird fish fetish. This may have a great deal to do with Salamandra’s missing grandmother, who was a mermaid and who swam away when she got bored.

Balthazar is a significant presence in Hopeless Maine: Inheritance (the second half of The Gathering in the Sloth Comics publications). He also features in prose novel New England Gothic, and remains an influence on the island through his creations.

Balthazar is the embodiment of eccentric invention. It is also his considered opinion that all the best projects have a bucket in them somewhere.

Alicia Poe – a Hopeless Ghost

I am the ghost of the girl you killed

Over and over when you silenced me

Every time you deprived me of peace

Told me to be nice, say nothing of anything

That is not nice even as it happened to me.

I am the ghost of the girl not allowed

To cry in the night, in pain, in fear.

Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about.

I am the ghost of the woman you killed

Over and over, when you denied me

The right to be myself, to have my feelings

When you shut down my thoughts,

Ignored my needs, turned my pain

And my despair into irrelevant nothing.

Locked me in the house for my own good

Then in the attic since I could not be trusted

To act in my own best interests.

Saying only you knew what was right for me

Only you could say what was good and proper.

You said nothing is more tragically romantic

Than the untimely death of a beautiful

Young woman. And how you smiled

When you said that to me.

I am the ghost of the woman you killed

And I have all the time in the world

For my revenge.

(Art by Dr Abbey, poem inspired by the art, and a bit of a snarl at Edgar Allen Poe, who really did say something to the effect that the death of a beautiful young woman was the only real subject for literature)

Jed Grimes

Jed Grimes runs the Hopeless Maine hardware store. However, sourcing on Hopeless is a bit haphazard. People who make stuff tend to want to sell or trade it themselves. Mostly what Jed sells is stuff he has scavenged, and he’s a really good scavenger. He also plays the long game. When a ship flounders off the Hopeless coast, most people are out there looking for exciting things they can use or eat straight away. Jed takes home bits of wood, and nails.

He’s really into nails.

Jed is also the sort of person to take a length of heavy ship’s rope and pick it apart for usable threads. He’s almost as much into string as he is nails.

If you’ve read Hopeless Maine: Victims, you’ll already know a few other things about Jed. His life is complicated, but, no spoilers for the people who haven’t got that far.

Young Salamandra

This week we bring you another Dr Abbey art.

There is an extra story to tell with this one, and on this occasion it is more about the materials than the image. That textured paper was my grandmother’s. I inherited her art equipment, and had quite a stash of paper and oil pastels that were hers. It’s been good putting the paper to use, and I’ve wondered repeatedly what she would make of this process. Hopeless is very different from the kind of art she used to do.

I’m fairly sure that some of the colouring materials used in this were from Dr Abbey’s family as well, and that it is a meeting of people in a rather magical way.

James Weaselgrease and the bear

The above image comes from The Gathering. The young man on the right is a very young James Weaselgrease (to use my son’s steampunk performance name). He is the child in this story who Salamandra rescues and to whom she gives her bear.

 

James Weaselgrease and the bear

 

She gave me this small toy bear

Torn, battered, restored with care

Softness in my open arms

Best of magic, best of charms.

 

Old toy bear to ward off fear

Wonky face and sewn up ear

Damaged but not yet destroyed

Comforting, my spirits buoyed

 

Courage with a messy face

Saved, repaired and full of grace

Saw who I could choose to be

Found the hope to uplift me.

 

Nights are long and dark and grim

Demons tear us limb from limb

Days are cold and grim and grey

Much to steal your life away.

 

Even in the darkness, light

Find the means to live and fight

Fill this time with something good

Do the best, the most we could.

 

In each tiny action seek

Kindest ways, protect the weak

Every chance there is for joy

All your wits and strength deploy

 

She gave me this bear to hold

Ease my fear and make me bold

Do for others what I can

And this is how my work began.

 

Image at the top by Tom Brown, poem by Nimue, bear by Dr Abbey.

These Our Revels part three -Darkbox.


Next to last in the series of These Our Revels, which started with a concept  from Hopeless, Maine and has been brought into the world by a concerted creative effort lead by Fiona Sawle and Nimrod Lancaster.  This stunning eerie photo was taken by  Gregg McNeill of Darkbox Photography during the Sanctuary event.

Gregg has this to say  about this plate-

” I love this plate. Exposure time was a trim 4 seconds because it was taken out doors, under a marquee, so lots of ambient soft UV light. It’s only the second time ever I’ve made portraits outside at an event. ”

There were additional challenges due to the weather conditions that day, and their Marquis  nearly blew down overnight.

Steampunks in general, and our people in particular are absolutely bloody amazing.

Darkbox Photography have a patreon which can be found here. Please do support their work!

A girl with no name

One of the main characters in the first half of The Gathering is never named. She’s deliberately a manga satire, she’s the big eyed, be-ribboned innocent,  but she’s also something else entirely, and nasty with it. In the script, she’s The Poor Little Me – a reference to the Eliza Carthy song that inspired her. Where that was too clunky, I’ve also called her Ribbons, but she doesn’t really have a name, she’s not that sort of girl.

Ribbons

I will be your friend, your best friend

I bet I’m the first pretty girl who

Ever wanted to be friends with you. I bet

Even the unpopular girls mostly do not want

To be friends with you. You’re so alone.

You are so odd, so awkward, so unlovely

It is as well I am so good and kind.

I’m very generous, everyone says so.

And now I take pity on poor you.

Poor little you, unloved, unwanted. Here I am

For you, here to be yours and in return

You’ll be so glad to do what I want

So happy with anything to make me smile.

Poor you, not much to smile about, is there?

But I can put up with you, I’m so kind

And you will be my best friend, my most

Loyal, devoted, trusting, obedient friend

So grateful because you know you don’t deserve

A friend as pretty and lovely as me.

I will be kind to you and you will say

How kind I am, how nice, how sweet

You will say I am the best, the very best.

I will be patient with your mistakes and failures

You are so slow, and clumsy, and sad.

Poor you. Poor little you. So hard, being you

Never happy, are you? Poor you. So sad.

So hard for me, being around you all the time

So tiring, with never enough joy to feed on

Never enough life in your marrow for me.

But I try, I do my best, it’s so hard

Being your friend, you are so useless

So weak.

Poor me.

Poor little me.

Art by Dr Abbey,

These Our Revels continued.

Hello people (and others) Here we continue the story of how an image from Hopeless, Maine was made real by Nimrod Lancaster Fiona Sawle and  others in the steampunk creative community. Part one can be found here.
On the making of the masks and outfits
Nimrod made one version of his own mask, but two of Fiona’s
The body of each mask was Fosshape but the attached parts around the edge were mainly EVA foam sheet. plus two of his were wooden dowels. For the edge of Fiona’s I used two layers of EVA foam with stiff wire in between to make it stronger and pose-able. The top spike on his was 3D printed as was his medallion. The glass cabochons were painted using nail varnish and then Mod-Podge behind to give strength. The Fosshape was coated in liquid latex and then acrylic paints mixed with latex were applied over that. Fiona made her handbag from scraps of fabric left over from the outfits. The fabrics were sprayed with Dirty Down spray in various colours. The shells dangling from Fiona’s mask were collected from the beach in the Bahamas in February. Nimrod’s mask also has  dangling sharks teeth. Thin black fabric was glued behind the eye and mouth holes. The tentacles are removable for ‘ease’ of storage!