Steampunk is renowned for its welcoming environment. Go to an event and you’ll see people of all races, genders, ages and abilities. For some people, existing in the real world can be difficult. They use aids to assist them in their day-to-day life, but they can be clunky and drab. That’s where Mina comes in from Gothianna. She’s been designing and producing steampunk accessories and jewellery in Salford, Manchester for over two years. She trades on eBay and Etsy when not standing at various events throughout Britain.
In 2014, Mina was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. One of the significant symptoms is a weakness of the muscles which meant she required living aids to assist her with raising her son. “I went into the local mobility shops and was dismayed to see that the limited range of aids were all fashioned towards elderly people or people with little appreciation of the more alternative ways of fashion,” said Mina. “My main issue came when I was invited to a wedding. I had a great outfit but my living aids make it look so ghastly! So I had to go without and suffered, leaving the event early.” It was then that she struck on the idea of modifying them herself. She did the same thing with her wrist and knee supports.
Living aids provide inspiration
Fast forward to a few months ago and she was contacted by a client about a custom job. The client had seen Mina’s work on Etsy and had discovered that she had modified her own living aids. She explained that she has Aspergers syndrome which affected her ability to cope with bright light and loud noises. However being a young student she didn’t want to miss out on going to clubs with her friends. The problem was that being exposed to the noise and lights of a club would make her extremely tired and she wouldn’t be able to enjoy herself as much.
“a friend suggested that perhaps ear defenders and goggles would make it possible for me to go to a club. Obviously, the standard designs of both would be a little unsubtle, but, if decorated, they could pass as a slightly odd choice of accessory for a steampunk attire,” she wrote.
The brief was simple enough: Modify a pair of ear defenders and goggles into a steampunk style. The only specific requirement being that the goggles had grey tinted lenses and completely surrounded the eye.
From this one commission, a creative spark has lit inside Mina. She’s applied for an enterprise grant from her local council to research producing living aids and she hopes to put that money towards a 3D printer. That alone will allow her to produce made to measure items as well as custom modifications for each item she makes. In the near future she’s looking to customise back braces, adult neckerchiefs, joint supports, ring pens and walking aids. And that’s just the beginning.
How you can help
Mina is currently researching her idea and is looking for feedback and support about it. Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below and we’ll pass it on to her. Alternatively you can contact her via the links below: