Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Steam-Powered Wedding -- Results of the Etsy Steam Team's Steampunk Wedding Contest!

The results from the Etsy Steam Team's wedding contest for their many talented and industrious steampunk makers have been released! (As it turns out, the winning entries were the ones I picked as my favorites waaaay back then. Squee!)

1st - Steampunk Wedding Ring by SteamSmithWorks

2nd - Brass Clockwork Key Bridal Necklace by Silver Owl Creations

3rd - Ladies Bridal Leather Top Hat by TomBanwell

Congrats to the winners, and a hearty huzzah and thank you to all who submitted their wonderful works of art.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Good Things Come in Tin! Sources for Victorian Holiday Music

Things that come in tins: cookies, mints, and ... music?  Yes!  "Tinny" can be wonderful.

      Tired of the usual holiday music being blared over and over and over by local radio stations everywhere?   Is the dozenth variation of Jingle Bells you have heard recently bouncing on your last merry nerve?  Perhaps you simply fancy some Victorian tunes.  In any case, I found a few collections of said music that would sound lovely in your parlor.

     If you prefer the traditional holiday songs, but want a different, more authentic sound, here you will find for sale several "Early 1900's Victorian Christmas Music Recordings" including many favorites of the period.

     For more secular sounds, Mr. Colin Johnson has created/sequenced and shared dozens of non-copyrighted works including the music from 235 Victorian and Edwardian operas in MIDI form.  (It seems that one may keep copies of the files using QuickTime Pro or similar programs.)  The Public Domain Music site contains hundreds more vintage songs in MIDI format with their lyrics.
      Want Victorian songs for your iPod? You may purchase an entire album or singles of sing-along (the old term for karaoke!) Victorian musical numbers such as, "I'm Henery the Eighth I Am," "Daisy Bell," and "After the Ball" here on iTunes.
      The site Tinfoil.com has an archive of complete, two-minute wax cylinder recordings of many more popular songs of the era.

 For those who would like a little more background information about the music of the Victorian era:

     This article on The Victorian Web gives a heady discourse on the music in the era of Queen Victoria; topics include composers, definitions of some newly-evolved musical terms, and how music affected society and vice-versa.
     I mentioned a bit about the music of Victorian times in my post about Victorian music and the earliest gramophone machines themselves, which used wax cylinders to store imprints that the machines translated into sound. (There, you will also find links to songs from the original gramophones, as well.)

     Though not nearly a complete dossier on Victorian music, I hope that this post leads you to something that you will enjoy.  If you have a favorite source for Victorian music and would like to share it, please post a comment.  A safe and happy holiday to you all!

~ DreamSteam

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Dreadful Courtship" - The Steampunk Lady Gaga

Just for a tiny break from the holiday rush and stress...

     [info]fera_festiva of LiveJournal brings us...  The 'Steampunk Lady Gaga'.  But take care to pronounce her name properly!  "The emphasis is on the second syllable - Lady guh-GAH. Get it right or she will be most displeased."

     Do view the page at the provided link to read the lyrics of "her most famous [song], the operatic work 'Letter' ... [It] is a ballad, telling the tale of a young lady whose suitor, hopelessly in love, writes her a series of missives while she takes tea at her club." You will also find a descriptive pseudo-biographical description of the star.
     The exchange of more Victorian words for actual lyrics shows the cleverness of the author.  While it will certainly be more amusing to those thoroughly familiar with the actual person and her music, this lighthearted parody is a fun read just to experience the use of language. (No, not that kind of language!)  Ta ta!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Trains, Time, and Terror: 3 New Steampunk Books I Would Like to Read

     Have you worn out your copy of Steampunk, or read the works of Jules Verne so many times that you see the Nautilus in your sleep? Then it is time to investigate some more steampunk literary offerings! Here are three books that sounded interesting and received good reviews.  I shall list the titles, authors, and brief comments, as you may click on the links to find full synopses.

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest, the author of the renowned novel Boneshaker, arrived on the scene in September 2010.  A dirigible carrying a nurse journeying to see her dying father is shot down during an alternate-reality Civil War. She boards a train to complete her journey, not knowing that Rebels have another plan for the train... and for her.  Available for Kindle on Amazon.com (but not for Nook).

The Return of the Dapper Men, by Janet Lee has been called a fairy tale and a graphic novel for adults; I think it sounds fun.   A reviewer for Banes & Noble summarizes it neatly, "Enter a world in between time, where children have played so long it's almost become work, machines have worked so long they have begun to play, and all the clocks have stopped at the same time. This is how this land has remained, until 314 dapper-looking gentlemen rain down from the sky and set off in different directions to start the world anew."  Who says adults cannot enjoy a good lighthearted yarn? (Not yet on Kindle or Nook.)

     On the flip side, Mark Hodder weaves a tale of darkness and fear in an alternate London in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack.  Werewolves and a ghostly version of Jack the Ripper terrorize the city; a poet follower of DeSade and a swordsman investigate these oddities while working under repressive laws designed to curb the "magic, drugs, and anarchy" and questionable ethics sweeping through their society. Published in September 2010, available for Kindle.

If you have read one or more of these books and would like to leave a comment on them, please do.  Happy reading!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

FREE SHIPPING on All Items in My Steampunk Jewelry Shop

     As a celebration of the holidays, I have made it so that from today until 12/20/10, you will get free shipping (to the US and Canada) on all items purchased from my steampunk jewelry studio.  We all know every penny counts these days.  Pay no shipping or handling on some truly wonderful gifts for those hard-to-buy-for people! (Not that steampunks are picky, mind you, just discerning. *grin*)

     Many of the items in my shop cost less than $20, and most are under $40.  They would make great stocking stuffers! Please pass it on.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why Do Steampunks Wear Goggles?

      Why do steampunks wear goggles?  A most excellent question!  I came across a fascinating discussion of the issue, and would like to share a few of the best answers and of course ask for your ideas on the matter.  Though there could exist as many answers as there are  individuals who love steampunk, essentially the central reasons seem to boil down to two - protection and identification.  The first is why people do/did wear goggles out of practicality, and the second is why steampunks wear goggles today, though some people have cited examples of when their 'costume' goggles came in quite handy.  Here are some of the reasons given to answer the question, "Why do steampunks wear goggles?" broken down into practical considerations and less practical but more imaginative ones.  (I wanted a more descriptive word than 'fantasy'.)

Practical reasons:
-Goggles are a trademark/icon/symbol of the Victorian age, even if workers in industry did not often have or wear much protective gear, it screams industry.  Aviators and drivers often did wear goggles.   When worn, they keep dirt, oil, sparks, wind and steam out of one's eyes.  Other activities in which goggles are useful are welding and woodworking, etc.
-An example of this: those who used their era's vast array of new mechanical inventions needed to protect their eyes from objects and substances, such as those who worked on rotary engines (end of Victorian period), who would wear them for protection from castor oil spray.  Steam from steam engines/machines could also cause serious eye (and other) injury.
-They can enhance vision (prescription goggles, perhaps?)

Imaginative reasons:
-Because steampunk has roots in literature and images of makers of things who could use the eye protection
-They are an affordable accessory (sometimes!)
-Goggles are a part of the steampunk "uniform". (They are also have roots as a fashion statement in cyberpunk, manga, anime settings.)
-One of my favorite lists: "Spitting cobras, metal shavings, ray guns, changewinds during time travel, actinic glare from metalworking, ectoplasmic observations, sandstorms on Mars.  Seriously, where are goggles NOT useful?" - Dr. Fidelius
-Just because they have a distinguished air about them (they 'look cool'!) 

To find your own answer, imagine that someone you know has confronted you with that very same question, and you have to formulate a reply.  Whatever the reason, the flair goggles bring to an outfit is reason enough to wear them, isn't it?

Why do you think steampunks wear goggles? 
If you wear goggles as a steampunk accessory, why do you wear them? 
Please leave a comment to let us know!

~ DreamSteam

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Behold the Mystery Box! A Sure Cure for Melancholy and Lugubriousness


     From the mind and hands of Clayton Boyer comes another wondrous piece of woodworking.  What mysteries lie inside the smooth sheened black wood, and behind the steampunk-inspired plaque announcing, "Dr. Boyer's Mystery Box - A Sure Cure for Melancholy and Lugubriousness"?  'Tis a mystery, of course, until you move the lever ... then it is even more so!
     Though some who viewed my earlier post regarding his wooden clocks may have discovered it on his web site, I simply had to feature it in a separate post because I must admit that this contraption made me giggle.  That does not happen very often, so I was doubly in awe of the power of the Mystery Box.
     The video below shows a thorough and elegant display of the mechanism in action from both sides in the style of a magician performing a complex trick; cheerful music reminiscent of a carnival side show completes the effect.  It might even make you smile.

     While perhaps not as utilitarian as his other pieces, Dr. Boyer's Mystery Box is certainly clever and fun as the maker obviously intended, and that is useful enough for me!  Besides, anyone who incorporates words such as 'lugubriousness' into their artwork wins my heart any day. 

~ DreamSteam

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

To See The Universe in a Tree - The Celestial Wooden Calendar and Orrery

Clayton Boyer's Celestial Mechanical Orrery
     Hobbyist woodworker Clayton Boyer from Kuaii, Hawaii, spends his free time creating wooden mechanical devices of all sorts; this one keeps track of the universe!
     When the lever is activated each day by hand, the 14 gears spring into action to update the month, day of the week, date, the solstice or equinox indicator, the zodiac sign of the sun, synodic rotations of and when Mercury Venus and Mars are in retrograde, and a "moon face ball" for the moon phase.  It can even account for months which do not have 31 days using a dedicated cam. 

Here is a video of the calendar in action:

     Amazingly, he says the device took just a couple of weeks to build, but the plans took four months.  How does one go about assembling something so magnificent?  Boyer says that "it's just step by step."  Isn't everything, though?

His clocks and other creations are just as beautiful.  The amazingly beautiful  "Torsion Tree Clock" was actually carved from part of a still-rooted tree.  The timer below is one of my favorites.

     Plans and instructions for almost all of his machines are available on his web site, and you will find many more videos of his creations on YouTube under the user name quilty1987.  If you would like to see how he makes the individual wooden gears that comprise his mechanisms, watch the video, "These Gears Really Work?" which shows many oddly shaped gears meshing and this video shows how to make them.  Enjoy keeping time with trees!


Have you created your own wooden clock or steampunk mechanism, and want to share? 
Post a comment and link on this blog!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tame the Wild, Weird West as the Steampunk Sheriff - Rugged Gear Star Brooch

Steampunk Sheriff's Star, by DreamSteam
     Between enjoying the wonderful indulgences of the holiday and recovering from it all, I finished my first American Steampunk piece of jewelry!  As usual, I spent hours choosing then deciding how to arrange the parts in the piece.  The main parts, including the pin back, are wired together with copper wire for extra security.  The multicolored verdigris finish I finished over the last two days; it turned out differently than any other copper item I have attempted to "age," but I learned some valuable lessons in the process (the musings on that can be found in my post entitled "How to Age Brass").

     To me, the filigree star lends a Victorian touch to this symbol of authority.  I wanted to begin my voyage into American Steampunk with a six-gun bang; I think it is a wonderful and unique piece.  Of course, this steampunk sheriff's star is for sale on ArtFire.  Like this piece of jewelry? Pass it on!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The New Home of the Steampunk Treehouse!

The Steampunk Tree House

Greetings, my readers!
     Do you remember the Steampunk tree house that was for sale, created by Sean Orlando of 5-Ton Crane Arts company and revealed at the Nevada Burning Man Festival of 2007? Of course you do. Well, it finally sold, and I have just seen it in its' newest home!

      Being a recreational brewer myself, I decided to watch the Discovery channel program "Brew Masters."  They opened with video of the premises of the brewery featured in the show, Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware, and there it was! I was very surprised and wanted to share the discovery.

     The owners pride themselves on their off-kilter approach to brewing and wanted something unique as a landmark for their home base. With brew names like "Namaste," "Immort Ale,"  and "Lawnmower," this is  certainly no ordinary microbrewery.   Here is the official story of how and why the brewery decided that the steampunk treasure was for them, and pictures of the reconstruction.

Steampunk Tree House Vulture
     Look here to see a time-lapse video of the installation once the massive structure reached the brewery, or view it below.  The tree house had to make a many-week long journey from California to the east coast; it arrived on June 16th, 2010.

      Always open to new culinary experiences, I did a search on their site to see if their unusual beer was sold anywhere near me; quite sadly, the closest store that carries their products is four hours from my home.  I will have to just watch their show and drool over (some of!) the ingredients they choose to whip into fermented delights.  Regardless of my lack of Dogfishead product, I hope they enjoy their one-of-a-kind steampunk work of art!

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Jewelry by DreamSteam - Brass Portrait Necklace, Copper Spiral Earrings & Upgraded Filigree Earrings

Beaded Brass and Skeleton Key Filigree Diamond Earrings
I felt up to doing a little jewelry today, and so made two new jewelry items and reworked another.  To the earrings in the above picture, I added the miniature skeleton keys; they simply needed "something" more, and the keys add something!

Watch Gears and Verdigris Copper Spiral Steampunk Earrings
This is a brand new pair of my spiral earrings, as the others already sold.  For this pair, I decided to add another chain and gear to each to see how that looked, and I am happy with the results. These also have a lot more verdigris (green) finish than previous copper pieces I have "aged" (apparently white wine vinegar and salt react more quickly and thoroughly with copper than any other types I have used). I found myself looking for other copper things to patina with it!

Tulip and Butterfly Brass Portrait Pendant on Brass Chain Necklace
This necklace is a work in progress... maybe!  The cute brass pendant was ornate enough in itself that I just chose to put it on a simple yet structured figure-eight brass chain and add the single matching pear-shaped bead (with accompanying tiny brass nut for good steampunk measure!)  I also aged the portrait in the center with some ink to give it a  less new appearance.  If I find the right pieces to add on, I may do so. (I did try several things but none really "fit".)

Of course, these pieces are all for sale in my ArtFire studio. If interested, do click on the links below the photos to go directly to the items.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Riese: Now Showing on SyFy - Supposedly


     I, for one, missed the episodes of Riese when they aired on SyFy (it must have been lost among all of the WWE wrestling), and so I searched for a way to see them.  The episodes are eight to ten minutes long (plus advertisements).

Watch the full episodes of Riese HERE.

     In case you did not see my post waaaay back in August of this year, 
Riese is a steampunk/fantasy television series which is now airing on the SyFy channel in the USA.  Click on the link to the post for more information more about the show and links to official show sites (and, if you like background stories, you might enjoy the provided links to scary propaganda from each side involved in the conflict).  While the show has met with some adoration and some harsh criticism, it certainly gives steampunk publicity, for better or worse.

I also intended this post to provide information on when the show airs.  The episodes are supposed to air every Tuesday and Thursday on the "SyFy" channel; unfortunately, when I looked on their web site, it was not on their show schedule at all.  (Web rumors say midnight PST, but I cannot confirm that.  If anyone has actually seen it on SyFy, please let me know what time and the time zone in which it was actually showing, and I will include the info here.)

What do you think of the show? Please do post your (politely-phrased) comments! ;-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Favorite Steampunk Supply Shop: Steampunk Supply

     I would like to take a moment to sing the praises of my favorite Etsy merchant.  Though her shop is very successful and I am sure she already has many devoted buyers, such dedication and willingness to help customers merits even more recognition. 
     This most excellent seller is Steampunk Supply.  She has always gone above and beyond to obtain and assemble the parts I need to make jewelry; I have made special requests of her several times, and she has come through every time, quickly and with a smile!
      Her shop description says the following: "Steampunk supplies, antique and vintage watch and pocket watch parts, clock parts, keys, buttons and charms for steampunk jewelry and art projects."  The sheer variety and quality of skeleton keys, watch hands, faces, gears, wheels, movements, cases, springs, and other parts for sale in her shop will simply enthrall you.  

Ornate Brass Antique Skeleton Keys
     I have no idea how she finds so many amazing materials and sells them for such great prices, but I bet that living in fabulous San Francisco helps! I am a little jealous (!), but thankful that she has shared her fabulous finds with us less geographically fortunate.  *grin*  In all seriousness, the supplies I have purchased from her shop have made my jewelry possible; while I have not always completed the projects I had in mind when I bought parts to attempt them, I almost always make something using the wondrous items.  When I have been able to complete a vision with her items, it is marvelous and often sells quickly.  (Several of my pocket watch pendants seen here were created from pocket watch cases obtained at SteampunkSupply; I did have a couple I found locally once a very long time ago.  The brass balance necklace contained a part from her, as well.)

     If you are looking for such supplies, run, do not walk, to Steampunk Supplies' Etsy shop -- then slow down and browse thoroughly!  Brass to copper, cases to faces... all shared to inspire steampunk artists everywhere. 

2/2012 -- Steampunk Supply is now closed.  I wish the owner luck in all she does, and I will miss her and her shop!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

DreamSteam's Steampunk Holiday 2010 Gift Guide

Egads! The holiday gift-giving season is again upon us, bringing trepidation to those who must ask themselves, "what am I going to buy for my steampunk friends/family?!"  Never fear, for I have found some ideas for you to peruse and consider!

Brute Force Studios has several choices for the hard-to-buy-for steampunk.  Handmade corsets, book covers, and leather and brass fans abound on their site.  (Clockwork brassiere, anyone?)
 In case you have not seen these yet, Harbor Freight carries charming, working brass transits and sundials/compasses almost all year long.  They cost between $10 and $26.  (I own both and have also given them as gifts.)

The steampunk handy-person might enjoy using a tool made in a different era.  Vintage tools are apparently becoming a big deal in a niche market catering to those who want the right tool for the job and to look stylish while doing it!  Vintage Tools has a wide selection of hand tools.

To use those hand tools, why not give the handyperson the plans to build their own wooden clock?  Clayton Boyer has created dozens of beautiful clocks from wood, and is selling the plans for many of them.  He recommends starting with the one simply called Number Six, but here is a link to all of the available plans.

Clayton Boyer's "Swoopy Clock"
For the steamy fashionista,  Pyramid Collection has skirts, shirts, jackets, and hats with buckles and style galore at fairly reasonable prices.

Alternatively, if you wish to support individuals who make their own steampunk items by hand, do look to ArtFire or Etsy.  Both have thriving steampunk categories, and if you buy there, you will make an artist very happy! (Links are suggestions, do a 'steampunk' search to find other wonderful artists on the sites.)  Jewelry, journals, goggles, clothing, toys, gadgets, you name it -- all can be found there in a twinkle.  

Steampunk Dangle Gear Earrings with 24k Gold Plated Ear Wires, by DreamSteam

These are just a few gift guide ideas.  I will add more as I find them.  Also check out the tag cloud on the right hand edge of this blog page for specific shopping topics that you may desire to see; many tags contain posts regarding and links to more excellent merchants that I have mentioned in the past (parasols, brooches, toys, jewelry, collectibles, clothing, and more).   Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Artistic Alterations: Making Steampunk Gadgets

Steampunk Keyboard by Jake von Slatt

     A blogger on our beloved aethernet once said  "Steampunk is inspired by Victorian science fiction and mostly consists of adding cogs and brass to things that don't need them. "  Admirers of steampunk such as myself will most certainly bristle at this assertion, both because we feel that it is not completely true, and because we know it is often the case.  Even I have been guilty of wanting to slap gears on something and call it steampunk, an urge I try wholeheartedly to resist, which is one reason it often takes a while for me to produce new pieces!
     So how does a steampunk artist modify something modern to make a steampunk device or make one from scratch?  Both Richard Nagy (aka Datamancer) and Jake von Slatt create stellar examples of the genre, and this article tells how.

     The general idea is to alter the appearance while maintaining its' function. In the case of creating a totally new object, the point is for it to make people ask, "what does it do?"   Sometimes it will not do anything at all in actuality, but in a possible world the function may amaze.  Imagination is the key!

     To read more about how Jake von Slatt creates his masterpieces, go to his site, where he has details and many photos of his projects.  Datamancer's site is here.  The content will inspire you, to create what is up to you!

~ DS

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spooky Steam: 2010 NYC Steampunk Haunted House

(NYC Steampunk Haunted house footage from 2009)

     For those readers inclined toward haunted houses, here we have info about the steampunk haunted house that is being held at the Abrons Art Center in NYC this week.  It will use suspense, rather than gore, to create "uncomfortable moments" and thrill the audience.  
     "Created by Bessie Award-winning artists, the Steampunk Haunted House is an integration of contemporary installation and performance art, and is an accessible, fun, utterly breathtaking experience. Unlike traditional haunted houses that rely on gore or graphic violence to horrify their patrons, this event chills, delights, and terrifies its audience without having to show a single drop of blood. "

Here a summary of the experience from the official 2010 steampunk haunted house web page:

     "In this truly immersive experience, audience members are thrust into a beautiful and terrifying dreamscape of neo-Victorian elegance and phantasmagoric clockwork horrors. Once inside, audience members are separated, until one by one, they find themselves alone, lost somewhere within the three sprawling floors of Abrons’ majestic century-old playhouse. From there, they must choose where to go, exploring innumerable twisting hallways, looming balconies, and labyrinthine cellars. All the while, a whirlwind of mechanical apparitions, wraithlike sleepwalkers, and gear-powered beasts hurtle through corridors and lurk behind every corner and within every room."

The group responsible for creating the masterpiece, Third Rail Projects with Zach Morris, also provided some photos of the sets as they were building them.   The Jaded Viewer's blog also has a review of the 2010 experience, including a walk-through.

The Steampunk Haunted House
October 28/29 from 6-9:30PM; October 30/31 from 8-11:30PM (15 minute intervals)
Abrons Arts Center, Henry Street Settlement; 466 Grand Street (212) 598-0400 $10-25  More info and tickets at henrystreet.org

Please feel free to comment on this post with links to any other steampunk haunted houses that you think deserve mention!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Darkened Heart of The Sunken Library - Mad Science Investigated

"Lee's case, open"  from Darkened Heart
   Delve into the world of mad science of yore!

       For many months, a reliable source at The Darkened Heart has been sharing extensive documentation of a fascinating journey into the unusual and macabre through the eyes of an intern historical investigator and scientist.  In the words of the writer, "This site is a reflection of what I found when I followed the ... bread-crumbs far enough into the Smithsonian archives. What follows is a true account, or as true as I can make with no budget and little time."  The results are truly spellbinding!

      The industrious intern provides us with scans of found documents which accompany and detail the relics that dwell in the basement of the Smithsonian museum.   There can be found colorful jars with probable body parts preserved inside (but from what creature or parts, it cannot be said), deadly weapons, medical instruments, potions with unspeakable powers and purposes, and dilapidated carrying cases which held said relics until they were opened and revealed to the world once more.

      For example, the description of the above photograph reads so:
     Inside, the box is crammed near-to-bursting with medical equipment and sample jars. It’s going to take some time to inventory all of this junk. There’s no sign of  mold, but the box’s interior sealed in a strange musky stink. The smell is oddly familiar, it reminds me of the Chesapeake at low tide.

        The intern also speculates about the found items and how they were used, backing up sound hypotheses by scientific testing of the objects when the intern has the materials and is able to do so without unwanted supervision by the guards.  Letters shared with the reader tell of outbreaks, experiments, and the unique history surrounding it all.
      I certainly hope that the intrepid intern will continue to survive the assignment (yes, survive!) and continue to provide insight into the instruments and minds of the scientists and medical madmen who once conducted their experiments in secret.   I highly recommend this riveting narrative; it is perfect for when you may wish to pour a draught of absinthe and cozy up to the fire for a dose of mystery ....

~ DreamSteam

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Turning (Gears) Japanesey -- Oriental Steampunk

Imperial Airship - artwork by James Ng
     Previously in this humble blog, I have discussed wild west American Steampunk and Dieselpunk.  So now we move on to another interesting mix -- Oriental steampunk.  (I use the word with respect; Orient means "east", and was the term used in the 19th century, so it makes perfect sense to refer to it in that manner when referring to a steampunk genre.)  The Asian part of our planet has a history rich with tradition and beautiful art and architecture.  It is those aspects which can be blended with steampunk in order to create something completely different.
     Some of the most wonderful examples of Oriental steampunk art are by James Ng, who creates computer-generated images which ignite the imagination.  His characters and subjects transcend the disconnect between technology and humanity that pervades today's societies; they seem to be at peace and one with their unique devices and robotic companions. 

art by James Ng
art by James Ng
     The use of classic Oriental symbols and motifs combines the warmth of tradition with the edgy feel of 'what if.'  You may purchase prints of James Ng's work from his shop here.

     Luxurious and expensive fabrics made and formerly commonly used in the East also provide an opportunity to meld steampunk and eastern style. ( This site seems to have a good variety of silk brocade fabric, though I have never ordered from them.)  In the LiveJournal community "steamfashion" one may find at least one post about Oriental fashion. (The whole steamfashion LJ section seems a magnificent source for clothiers and anyone seeking to spruce up their wardrobe in a steampunk manner. It covers "what is", "how to" and more.)  On other parts of the aethernet, I found talk of creating Victorian dresses out of pure silk brocade and wonderings about how else to integrate the fabrics into a Victorian aesthetic.  As ever, one may just choose to combine the two and see how it turns out!  Perhaps some leather spat boots with miniature paper lamp tassels atop the instep might be nice. (*ponders*)

    If you wish to learn more about the history of Asia during the Victorian period, here is an M.I.T. exhibition and essay entitled "Throwing Off Asia" in which "the remarkably swift "Westernization" of Japan in the late-19th and early-20th centuries was most vividly captured in popular woodblock prints. Images from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston illustrate the great political, social, cultural, and industrial transformations that took place." 

     I hope these sources will provide you some insights and inspiration from the Orient.  All in all, compared to other types of steampunk, this combination seems almost untouched by steampunk artists.  Perhaps we shall see more of it as steampunk continues to evolve and include so many cultures and forms of art.



Friday, October 8, 2010

Elegant Stamped Brass and Gear Earrings and Collections on ArtFire

I have two things to report in this post, both happy!  The first heralds some new jewelry, and the other has to do with the recognition my shop and pieces have received recently.

While trying a new technique for joining metal jewelry components together, I created these elegant earrings.  They include the detailed solid brass stampings, brass watch gears, amber Swarovski crystal beads, and 24 karat gold ear wires.  They are for sale on ArtFire

Among the features of the ArtFire site, there is one called "Collections."  People can choose their favorite items from the shops on AF.  (This is the same as "Treasuries" on Esty, but on ArtFire, artists may choose to be notified when their items have been included in one, which is very nice.)  Visitors may view and also vote on the collections; here are some of the collections which have featured my items in the last month or so:

ArtFire Collections Featuring Steampunk Jewelry by DreamSteam:

It is interesting (and sometimes surprising) to see which of my items people have chosen to include in their collections.  When they choose the pieces of which I am most proud, it makes me feel great.  I am very grateful for the recognition.  

If you would like to see the collections that I have curated, you may go here; they will not all be steampunk in nature, but will represent the best of the subject matter I could find.

I hope you enjoy seeing what other people have selected from the AF site; if you like the collections (or my jewelry!) and wish to share via social media, the standard options of Facebook, Twitter, RSS, and more are available for easy clicking on the left side of the collection page.  Thank you! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Decorating Nemo: Nautilus Squid Necklace Cabinet by 19 Moons

Atlantean Squid Necklace Cabinet by 19 Moons of the Etsy Steam Team

As usual, another great work of steampunk jewelry and art has come from a member of the Etsy Steam Team, this time, for a museum steampunk exhibit!

From 19 Moons' Facebook page:

"I am excited to be making this Ex-squidsite Nautical necklace cabinet for the upcoming Steampunk Exhibition with Jules Verne theme- here is an article featuring my piece."

The gallery will feature items that could have been on the Nautilus, Captain Nemo's wondrous submarine from the classic Jules Verne novel, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea The novel has been heralded as one of the very first steampunk novels of all time, and certainly one of the most famous.  At the opening gala, there will also be an hour-long interactive, group video game in which participants will have to solve puzzles and complete tasks.

Though the process started in June of this year, there is still time to mark your calendars and see the "Nemos' Steampunk Art & Invention Gallery."  According to Steampuffin.com:

"WHERE: Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Interactive Entertainment Experience (located in Patriot Place’s North Lifestyle Center, Foxboro MA, adjacent to Gillette Stadium)
WHEN: Saturday, February 5, 2011 from 5:00PM to 12:00 Midnight
COST: FREE if you are wearing any Steampunk costume (prize for best ‘Nautilus or Nemo themed’ costume)"

They say that the art exhibit will be available for viewing online in November.   The pieces featured in the exhibit will be for sale for $1000 - 5000 and up, and all will be photographed and made into a book Steampunk Design and Innovations, which will be available for purchase in 2012.

And last but not least, if you would like to exhibit and sell your work at Nemo’s Steampunk Art and Invention Gallery, you may call Bruce Rosenbaum at 781-784-0250 or email bruce@modvic.com for details.

Congrats to 19 Moons on creating a beautiful steampunk work of art, and on getting some well-deserved accolades.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Photos from the New Jersey 2010 Steampunk World's Fair and info on 2011 fair

 For your enjoyment... images of the finely-attired folk who gathered to celebrate steampunk.

East coasters, and all coasters, be sure to check out the plans for next year's
2011 NJ Steampunk Worlds' Fair!  It will be held in Somerset, NJ May 20th-22nd, 2011!  Pre-registration is now open.

A convention closer in the timeline is VCON in Vancouver BC this October 2010.  "Steampunk: from Alchemy to Zeppelins" is their motto.  The guest list looks quite exciting!

When: October 1–3, 2010
Where: Vancouver Airport Marriott
"VCON is the oldest general-interest science fiction and fantasy convention in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The convention has promoted the interests of science fiction and fantasy fan culture in Vancouver BC and its environs since 1971, offering events and exhibits focused on a variety of Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom interest areas such as literature, art, media, music, costumes, comics, games, etc."

Have a picture of your steampunk self or convention photos you would like to add here? Join the blog and post a link through comments!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Poll Results: What is your favorite incarnation of Steampunk?

Here are the results of our most recent poll: "What is your favorite incarnation of Steampunk?"

Victorian steampunk to the hilt, old chaps!
  31 (41%)
Dieselpunk -- I'll take mine with a shot of petrol!
  7 (9%)

Wild West steampunk -- Draw, pardner.
  2 (2%)
Gaslight Romance steampunk -- Ah, the nostalgia.
  4 (5%)
Cyberpunk -- Tech rules.
  5 (6%)
Fantasy steampunk -- Dragons and clockworks, oh my!
  14 (18%)
Sci-Fi steampunk -- Gimme that steam-powered R2D2!
  2 (2%)
Other -- I dunno, just make it anachronistic and cool.
  10 (13%)

Thanks to all who took the time to vote!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Twirl About Madly! Copper Spiral with Dangling Brass Watch Gear Steampunk Earrings

Copper Spiral and Brass Gear Earrings

     A kind customer once wrote that they liked my style because I made pieces that went beyond the "Gears! SQUEE!"  sentiment of most steampunk jewelry.  While I definitely do lapse into an odd state of bliss when I see exquisite watch parts, I do try to go beyond the usual when it comes to designing my pieces.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not.
     I think these work.  I made and sold (!) a similar pair years ago, and I wanted to perfect the techniques involved and even improve on the effect; the main difference is that the previous spiral earrings were not given a verdigris finish.  I happen to love how these turned out! They are the same length, despite the difference in the photograph; I wanted them to dangle as I took it, and I used the only decorative straight-ish thing I had as the hanger!
     Of course, these DreamSteam original design earrings are for sale on ArtFire.  I hope someone likes these enough to give them a home.  (They even come in a pretty red organza ribbon drawstring gift bag!)  These have now sold. (Thank you!) 

Edit 11/10:  Here is a new pair of copper spiral earrings for sale on ArtFire. I kept the design is similar, but added even more gears and more beautiful green verdigris finish!

Since I like these a lot, I will try to keep some earrings of this style in my shop at all times, so if these sell and you do not see more, do check in at my shop soon and/or leave me a note that you would like a pair.  Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Girl Genius" Wins Another Hugo Award!

Congratulations to Phil and Kaja Foglio, creators of the steampunk webcomic Girl Genius, on their second straight Hugo award for Best Graphic Story!

I have been a reader of their works for years, and am thrilled that their astounding artwork has again been recognized. If you have not seen the Girl Genius comic, I highly recommend starting at the beginning and reading all the way through!  The story alone is worth the time, but the drawing and colorization puts it over the top as a brilliant work of art.   They also have links to their other wonderful online comic stories: Buck Godot- Zap Gun for Hire, MythAdventures (based on Robert Asprin's Myth novels), and What's New with Phil & Dixie (published in Dragon Magazine in the 1980's).  Yes, I have read them all the way through, and adore them all.

One may notice that they have advertisements by the service Project Wonderful on their pages; I have run ads for my endeavors (shops and blog) there for a long time, with great success in terms of traffic generated.  Once, I wrote to Kaja herself, thanking her for the opportunity to reach so many steampunk fans and asking her to visit my humble jewelry studio, as she is a connoisseur of the style (I received a response from a nice team member, as I imagine they get oodles of email).  If it were not for their comics, steampunk and otherwise, I probably would have gotten 80% less shop traffic than I have; indeed, the destiny of their comics and mine are intertwined, as long as I can afford to advertise on their sites!

So, hip-hip-hooray!  And here's to many, many more successes for the Airship Entertainment empire.  You may wish to read an interview with Phil Foglio on the subject of their success.

Friday, September 3, 2010

You Hold the Key -- Victorian Lock and Key Copper Steampunk Necklace by DreamSteam

You Hold the Key... steampunk necklace for sale

 I love this piece.  In this steampunk inspired necklace, an antiqued Victorian style copper key dangles from a draped copper chain, ready to unlock the mysteries guarded by the exquisitely detailed miniature copper lock plate above.

The total chain length is an elegant 24" long. It has a matching copper toggle and ring clasp.
There are a pair of copper beads and some iridescent red glass beads along the chain as accents.

Inspiration / Story behind this Product:

Simple yet elegant. I was inspired by a necklace recently worn by the character Claudia on "Warehoue 13." The show is no stranger to steampunk, as among other touches the keyboard in their office was created by the master computer steampunker Jake von Slatt.

It is listed for sale on both Etsy and ArtFire.  Be on the lookout for a brass version of this necklace to be posted for sale soon!


Related Posts with Thumbnails