Steampunk Clockwork Spider Brass and Copper Wi...

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This has been a passion for me ever since my dear sister introduced this genre to me about 2 years ago with a NY Times piece. I was smitten from the start, becoming a Google addict in order to look up the genre and its myriad components. My main fascinations have been the fashion side of it, such as jewelry and clothing. Here’s where I hit a snag, though. It’s DANGED expensive!! I mean, really financially prohibitive, especially for someone like me who lives hand to mouth pretty much. I’ve managed to get lucky from time to time in acquiring the pieces I need. Vintage shops and the Salvation Army have been very good to me on occasion. Rummaging around in all of my junk I accumulate has provided other good finds.

What bugs me at times though is how obscenely expensive some of these creations are. I can understand that many of the parts are handcrafted, maybe genuine gold, silver or precious stones involved, but not everyone can afford this stuff. Why should this only cater to the disgustingly rich? That’s about the one aspect of this that actually makes me angry. I know you can save up your money for one special item, but some would say, why spend all that money on a TOY? Well, some people spend thousands on sports equipment in pursuit of their recreation. Still, artists are not the most wealthiest of people, unless they are damned lucky. And all these average folks who attend these conventions; those things aren’t cheap either. Especially if it’s on one side of the country and you live on the other. I could never go, because I don’t make enough money to even live on my own, but that’s another issue. I would love to ask all these Steampunk artisans, who are your clients? How much money do they spend on your products? Do you think it’s fair to charge thousands of dollars for your work? I love the clothing, but I can’t shuck out $500 for a lace-up corset with antique brass embellishment. If I knew how to sew, I’d make the damn thing myself, but I’m only mastering sewing hems at the moment. I’ve done sketches of outfits I’d like to create, or get my sister to make, because she sews wonderfully. I was hoping I could get her to put together a bustier or corset. I was thinking from an olive-drab fabric, maybe a light canvas or something of that nature. It would need to have stays to keep its rigidity, but I thought of adding lace-up gussets for comfort’s sake (I don’t think I should suffer for my fashion tastes). Otherwise I’d be doing what Elizabeth Swann did when she was stuffed into her fancy dress–passing out.

I would love to acquire a set of goggles, ones that have lenses you can move, funky brass fittings and the like. I just don’t have the mechanical skills to make a pair myself, and the ones I’ve seen for sale online run into the hundreds of dollars, if not thousands.

I gaze wistfully at the wonderful pics of Steampunk conventions, and would love to go, but there we go right back to money. Can’t afford it, and I am so envious of those who get to go. It’s the kind of people I’d like to meet, because it’s a delightful melange of creativity. It’s art, it’s writing, it’s technology, it’s period costume design. I love all these aspects, but I can only admire from afar, because most of it is out of my reach to possess. It’s why I began making my own jewelry creations on a budget. I’d hoped to make things to sell at reasonable prices for folks. I may not use 24K gold in my pieces, but I’d like to think what I make is quality work. A majority of the components I use in my pieces are from costume jewelry I’ve dismantled, or actually making the pieces myself. A trademark piece I’ve come to use in my pieces are small wire coils I fashion myself with the aid of a coiling tool. I make others that begin with pre-twisted wire that I then coil into tubes. Depending on the way I wind the wire, they can get this helix pattern running the length of the coil, which really adds to the look. I want to be able to get some watch gears to incorporate into my designs, but haven’t found any good places yet.

There is so much to the Steampunk world that people don’t realize. It’s books, it’s role-playing, it’s fashion, alternate history, and accessories. There was a Comic-Con in NYC recently, much to my annoyance, and there were pics of people there, dressed up in all sorts of genres, some of which were Steampunk. Some guy even made a Steampunk Iron Man, which I just went wild over. It was incredible. That’s what I mean about the amazing creative elements that go into this subculture. You have to have a sense of art style, history, design, whether architectural or artistic.

That’s the only downside to this subculture. The impression I get is that it’s for wealthy intellectual folks who have a lot of money and time on their hands. I could be wrong though; please correct me if I am. I’d love to chat with other Steampunk aficionados, because I’m still pretty much of a fledgling at this point. My dream though is to have an outfit. A corset, some kind of funky belt, and goggles. Care to barter for it?