Category: Steampunk

Watch this S.P.O.T.

I am going to promote another’s blog in this latest entry, because I frankly think it’s worth reading and deserves more readership. It’s another WordPress blog called the Society for the Promotion of Tentaclebeasts, and I believe its creator is named Stevie Miller. I came across this via the Steampunk group on Facebook and what initally snagged me was the great logo design for it. I was already picturing it on a t-shirt, because I thought it lent itself so divinely to print medium.

So, I had to check out the actual blog, and I was hooked. It grabbed my attention from the start, had me poring over the episodic stories intently, and my overactive imagination happily provided me with visuals as I read. I found the characters charming and intriguing, including the tentacled ones. I was trying to imagine what they looked like in my head, how big they were, the colors they were described to be. You’re dealing with Victorian era, with a dash of women’s lib for good measure, as in the female protagonists are just as bold as their male counterparts. The tentaclebeasts (I LOVE that word!) are also just as much genuine characters, because they have their own parts to play in these tales, and I look forward to more.

I also discovered S.P.O.T. has a Facebook page, which I’m sure I will be joining soon, because I am genuinely enchanted by this. It looks like a lot of fun, and I’m sure the creator of this is also enjoying it. I even like the template for the page, rather like a worn leather portfolio or blotter, with frayed threads at the edges. Visually, it adds even more character to the stories. It is worth a read, it is worth taking a look at, because if it affected me this strongly to write a blog about it myself, it’s worth passing along to other readers.


Viktor Oliva: The Absinthe Drinker. The origin...

Image via Wikipedia

This is my project for this soon-approaching Halloween. I typically handle door duty handing out candy to the kids (and occasionally rude, drunk college kids). I love doing this in costume, and I frankly don’t care how old I am. This year’s idea is quite ambitious, and I would really love to see if I can make this happen.

So, this is what I want to do. I plan on dressing up as the Green Fairy, steampunk style. Now, to educate you on the Green Fairy, it’s a reference to the euphoric drink, absinthe, which is a lovely shade of green. One of its euphemisms was the ‘Green Fairy’. When talking to my sister, who is a seamstress extraordinaire, we thought it might be fun to put a twist on the character, and absinthe certainly has a niche in the steampunk genre.

The main feature of the costume I believe will be a corset. I am either going to have to have one custom made (which I know will be obscenely expensive), or find one and embellish it. My sister won’t be able to make me one, because she has her hands full already with her family, and I have no intentions of overburdening her with something like this. So. I need to come up with a style for it, what colors of green I plan to use, accessories to be used for this project. I also am pondering some kind of wings with a mechanical aspect, and that’s going to be a bit tricky as well. I thought maybe some kind of knickers with striped tights would be a fun bit, and add a bustle feature to the knickers/bloomers. I’ve only a few preliminary sketches at the moment, so I’m not anywhere with a concrete idea. One thing I think will be part of it are long gloves. I do believe I have a pair somewhere in my closet that go past my elbows, and I thought maybe cutting off the fingers to them might be a nice look. Some kind of intricate necklace or collar would be a nice addition as well, maybe coordinating bracelets over the gloves? Not sure about a hat; I thought I’d just play up my hair in some kind of tousled style with some jeweled clips. I think the metallic elements should be a brass or antiqued gold color. As for the green, I’ll need to play around with it. Maybe go based on the color of absinthe? I thought the corset might be nice with some kind of metal fasteners up the front. The wings would need some kind of strapwork which could be worked into the corset, either separately or incorparated into the design. The wings might be interesting to be rudimentary, combining the mechanical with the organic in the form of a metal frame and feathers.

I am going to put out a call for artists out there who could possibly help me with this, because I very much want to see this come to fruition. This is a serious challenge, and I really want to make it happen. I want to build this thing, but I would love some collaboration from fellow artists. Maybe we can do an exchange for pieces; I make something this artist doesn’t, they make something for me I’m not able to do. We both leave happy, knowing our work has gotten out there and is appreciated. I want to read your ideas in my comment section; pictures, what have you that you think would help me make this come to life. I’d love to meet fellow artists on WordPress and talk shop anyhow, so I think this would be a great opportunity to make some new connections.

Utopian flying machines, France, 1890-1900 (ch...

Image via Wikipedia

I could not wait to get home from work so I could begin writing this latest entry, because it was just too good to not put aside. It was a charming little article about steampunk on a bass-ackwards little site called I had assumed that the acquaintance who posted this to my Facebook feed had done so for humourous reasons. Most definitely in the humour category. I thought at first the site was a parody, like The Onion or better, Landover Baptist. Amazingly, this site was entirely serious about showing the evils of subcultures to the vast unwashed. The piece was titled simply; ‘What is Steampunk?’  I began reading the article and could barely keep myself from falling out of my chair with hysterical laughter. If this site is an honest parody, they’ve done one of the best jobs I’ve ever seen, but if for real, it’s quite sad that there are people who have nothing better to do in their lives than to hunt far and wide for examples of ‘sinful’ activity.

The author of the piece wanted to explain to his devoted and uneducated flock about the dangers of the steampunk subculture. Basically it was about sexual fetishes, weird emo behavior, drug use, just a sloppy, random accumulation of things. He tosses in what some term as the godfather of steampunk, Jules Verne, and to make things worse, could not even spell the name right!!! He spelled it Julias Vernes. I shudder at the sight. Frankly, I thought his grammar skills were blasphemous, and his manners, for all he claimed to be a devout Christian, were appallingly rude. The comments section were full of outraged (and rightly so!) responses. The author’s replies were peppered with vulgarities and homophobic rants.

The article; and I think calling that assortment of poorly spelled words is an insult to all decent writers, just degenerated into raving about the amoral depravity of folks who engaged in the steampunk genere and other vague weirdness. He also kept confusing cyberpunk with steampunk, and I think there’s a distinct difference between the two. Cyberpunk, think William Gibson of ‘Neuromancer‘ fame.

In defense of steampunk, maybe there are some who channel the genre in erotic venues; I’ve seen it, so it’s not a myth. But to say EVERYONE who enjoys the subculture is a sick freak is inexcusably ludicrous and offensive. He had a picture that he claimed was some kind of steampunk erotic toy. I had no idea what the heck it was; it could’ve been a steampunk paperweight for all I know. Heck, it could’ve been a battery charger!

Tyson dear, let me offer you some advice; get a real career and stop the hack job. You’re a tremendous embarrassment to serious journalists and those who enjoy writing and good grammar. Aside from being an absurd rant on a kooky religious whackjob site, it was one of the most execrable examples of writing I’ve seen in a while. Now I admit to not being a professional writer myself; I don’t hold degrees in writing or journalism, but I take great care in what I put out. I do my best to be coherent in my posts.

This site does not deserve sympathy. I’d love to instigate a flash-mob of the piece and just bombard the comments section of that particular article with as many rebuttals as possible. This guy needs to be seriously owned, and given an education on what he supposedly thinks he knows. You have to see the site to believe it, because it really is that crazy. It’s Michele Bachmann crazy, and I derive a warped sense of pleasure reading the crazy things she says. This ChristWire site is just like her. Steampunkers of the interwebs, let’s go leave our mark. Ignorance should not go unpunished. I’d like to toss out a word of thanks to Raven Digitalis, who found this glorious little nugget of absurdity. Bravo.

I am attempting to start up a business selling my handcrafted jewelry, and these are just a few of the pieces I have made. Some of them are from my own personal collection. I’ve been meaning to take more pictures of what I’ve made since, so hopefully this will motivate me to do so. I’d really love to make this a part of my life, because art is such a tremendous influence in my daily routine.

I’ve often wondered if jewelers took on apprentices to learn the trade, because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I have dedicated a great deal of my own time learning techniques, different kinds of semiprecious and precious gems. For someone with no formal training, I’d like to think I’ve done pretty well so far on my own. I’m not really sure if going back to school would exactly help me in this area; what I’d like to be able to do is learn hands-on experience. I’ll also admit frankly, that I am looking for a new job. Haven’t quit my present one (which would be incredibly stupid), but I’m taking a chance that someone out there might see this and take a closer look. I could be your diamond in the rough.

After a brief sulk over my latest post, I am feeling better and now am calling on fellow costume fiends for assistance. Halloween is coming, and I have not even begun to assemble this year’s outfit. Last year was a bust, because I was in New Jersey visiting my sister and her adorable little girls. I did wear a Gryffindor baseball shirt, though. I was hoping to go as a raven faerie this year, but I may not have the time to create all the necessary accessories for it. SO, as a back up plan, I am contemplating alternate ensembles. I’m trying to use what I have in my wardrobe, so as not to spend a lot of money on it. I considered a steampunk gal, but I don’t think I have all the right things to pull it off. I don’t want to do something ordinary; I want to push the envelope a bit. I generally handle door duty, handing out the candy. My dad hates Halloween; not really because of the holiday, but because of the non-stop doorbell ringing. He will typically retreat into his bedroom for the evening, every so often to emerge for some little thing or another. My mom doesn’t mind doing this, so it’s pretty much between the two of us.

My first standby would be, wacky as it is, some random Naruto-esque character. I got the headband and gloves seen in the cartoon on a lark (also because they were marked down really cheap). I found the gloves are rather good for driving, by the way. Anyhow, I have things in my wardrobe that might be suitable. I have this long black hooded duster that has a very timeless feel to it. Maybe if I wore a baggy tunic-style top under it, and some drawstring pants, that might pull off the look. Yes, I used to watch Naruto when no one was home. I thought of doing a little makeup to add to  the look. I don’t know many of the characters well, so I figured I could make up something. Maybe a red pattern around one eye, some kind of forehead mark?

I’m aiming for something from comic books, something in that kind of genre that I can put together without blowing my budget. Any of you costume aficionados out there, your suggestions would me hugely appreciated. Send me pics, if you like. I considered a Gothic Lolita outfit as well; I have several articles of clothing that would work. I have these knee-high leather lace up granny boots that would be darling. In past years, I have dressed up as a pirate, a Goth faerie, variations of witch. One of my dreams is to pull off one of those fabulously clad dancers from ‘Labyrinth‘; you know the ballroom scene with Sarah and Jareth? I’ve gotten quite good at creating masks, but I just don’t have the time right now to make one. I pondered dressing as a female Sweeney Todd, a la Johnny Depp. My hair, if left unstraightened, looks very much like it does in that movie. All I’d need to do is add some white streaks. I think I could get my hands on a vest like he wears (gotta love consignment shops).

So, there you have it. I’d love some new ideas to try; let me know if I can do them on a limited budget. That’s the other critical subject. If I ever find that cable for the digital camera, I’ll eventually upload pics. So, stay tuned!

Steampunk Clockwork Spider Brass and Copper Wi...

Image via Wikipedia

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?

I have fallen head over heels with this genre, thanks to my wonderful sister. She turned me onto it about a year or two ago and it has become a passion of sorts for me. I’ve gotten into the jewelry side of it with a vengeance, though finding the appropriate items for it has been devilishly hard at times. Being the ever-resourceful scavenger I am, I’ve landed some excellent finds here and there. I like to cruise the clearance jewelry at places such as Hot Topic or other unique stores. It was at the former that I scored some of my prize pieces. Earrings with cog-wheel dangles. I bought several pairs marked down, took them home and dismantled them. I turned these babies into awesome links. I took filigree bead caps, hammered them flat, then attatched them to the cog-wheel piece with jump rings. Tedious work, but worth the effort. I also made wire beads with the help of a coiling gadget, and that added to the effect. Another of my creations, which I was extremely pleased with, was a faux pocket-watch. I’m still trying to figure out what to put inside the watch case. I thought of hiding a little compass in there, but it has a magnetic closure, so that wouldn’t work. Maybe some kind of wire piece, something to fill the space.

Sigh. I cruise the internet for pictures of the genre, looking at the absolutely awesome fashion, which can’t be mass-produced. It also makes this fashion style rather prohibitively expensive, because they are one-of-a kind works. Hence, the crafters can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for their creations. I was drooling over pics taken from a recent convention, sighing with envy over the fabulously crafted outfits and lovingly made accoutrements by the attendees. This is also why I love this genre, for the high degree of artistic quality that goes into these creations. I am an artist by hobby, and I am very devoted to my crafting, whether it’s drawing, painting or jewelry making. Detail and authenticity is critical for people who are involved in this subculture. It is a celebration of the creative mind, which is something I hold in high regard. Part of it also is that I love costumes; I love coming up with ideas for them, I love making them and I love wearing them. That’s my idea of fun; imagination in full swing. My ambition is to get my hands on a pair of Steampunk goggles, though the asking prices I’ve seen are my life’s savings, and I am not a wealthy person at all. It’s very frustrating, and I’ve been contemplating attempting to make a pair on my own. How, I’m not quite sure, but I REALLY want a pair. And a Steampunk corset, with lots of antiqued gold grommets, snaps and buckles. A girl can dream, can’t she?

%d bloggers like this: