Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Monday, March 29, 2010

All Things Steampunk, Redux

Browsing the past posts in a blog can be overwhelming.  Looking back over the wonders contained here, I found a few items that perchance warrant a little 'bump' to the top for your consideration, in case you missed them!

For Fun:

Steampunkopedia  - a guide to all things steampunk

Steampunk Name Generator - to add a bit of flair to one's alias!

the ever-popular Volkswagen VW Beetle, Victorian style

For your home:

How to 'Age' Brass

printable Victorian stencils with which to decorate elegantly

'Hard Country' Furnishings

My Jewelry still for sale on ArtFire:
(if the article links to Etsy, also look for the piece in my ArtFire shop, all are there) Please help give these unique pieces a home!

Blue Airship French Air Mail Stamp and Gears Copper Pendant

Brass Clockwork Gears Pendant and Brass Chain Necklace

Handmade Copper and Resin Soviet Airship Stamp and Tiny Gears Pendant

Rotating Clock Gear Ring with Hand-Hammered Adjustable  Brass Band

I hope that you find this voyage down memory lane useful and enjoyable!
~ DS

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ball Bearing Music Sequencer

 photo from Make magazine, Peter Bennett

      Featured in Make and Synthopia magazines, this interactive musical instrument created by Peter Bennet of Queens University, Belfast, has been dubbed 'steampunk' by some.   At the very least, it is a clever invention!

     Technically, this is called a tangible rhythm sequencer.  The BeatBearing houses eight columns of metal washers set in four rows.  One 'programs' the sounds by placing metal ball bearings in any desired pattern into the holes ringed by the washers.  To quote Bennet, from his YouTube video page, "Ball bearings are used to trigger (Roland TR-808) drum sounds. Visual feedback is provided from a CRT display underneath to indicate the current time and the state of each beat."

     Here is a video of the BeatBearing in action.

     For more information, see the BeatBearing home page.  If you would like to fashion your own tangible rhythm sequencer, Make magazine online has step-by-step instructions for you to use and links to download the necessary codes.


~ DS

Monday, March 22, 2010

In A Time That Might Be... SteamSmithWorks

     I would like to now mention the fine works of a very talented steampunk artist named SteamSmithWorks.

     This gentleman creates pieces of dazzling, detailed jewelry, some with moving parts! Exquisitely detailed brooches, cuff links, and pendants await the adventurer who makes the journey to this studio.
       Amongst the wonders for sale here you will find many airships of original design and related accouterments, such as airship pirate insignia pins (a must for any self-respecting captain!).

     Once you have made your purchases in SteamSmith's steampunk shop, venture over to his other shops.  I highly recommend the DragonSmith collection of elegant dragon jewelry.
      I recently purchased a silver and onyx dragon ring here, and was treated to excellent, friendly communication, fast shipping, and a stunning product!  It was even more beautiful in person than even the excellent pictures could convey.
      To sum up, if you are looking for a high-quality, original, wearable work of steampunk or dragon art, look no further; head to the shops of this artist.  I guarantee you will not be disappointed!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Steampunk Exhibition at the University of Oxford Museum

Museum of the History of Science
University of Oxford  2009 - 2010

Between 13 October 2009 and 21 February 2010, the Museum held the world’s first exhibition of Steampunk art. This extraordinarily successful exhibition showcased the work of 18 Steampunk artists from across the globe, and drew over 70,000 visitors to the Museum in the four months that it was on, and was enormously popular.

Steampunk Exhibition at the University of Oxford video

Official Site

Photo Album  http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/steampunk/album/

Friday, March 12, 2010

How to Draw Steampunk Machines

(Picture and Drawing by Huang, from CrabFu site)

 What comprises a steampunk machine? 

I-Wei Huang, the artist and maker of CrabFu Steamworks has created a wonderful guide explaining how to draw the various parts of a steam engine and related mechanisms.  It includes exhaustive explanations of how these parts function in a real steam machine.

He says that the essential parts boil down to the following: Flywheel, Oiler/ displacement lubricator, Governor, Condenser, Valves, Safety Valve, Water Sight, Glass, Water pump / tank, Gauges, Sprocket, Levers, and Whistles.  Simple enough?  Sure!  
Look up each part and gather images which help you understand and remember the purpose of each; then you can use the images to refresh your memory while drawing.  Familiarity with the workings of an actual steam machine will lend credibility to the amazing machine you dream up.

How do we begin?  Sketch "loosely" at first, drawing the main components of your machine, then add details over top of the initial drawing once the main parts are in place.  The human mind has an ability to fill in the blanks when viewing things.

"The #1 goal should be a well designed, balanced, and eye catching machine."  Above all, keep it simple and open.  Steampunk people want to see what makes things tick.  Enjoy!

~ DS

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Defending the Electronic Frontier" & The Appeal of Steampunk

Aside from those who glibly proclaim Steampunk dead and silly, many artists and modern thinkers have more thoughtful statements about why steampunk has pervaded the world so widely and means so much to those who adore it.

It has been said that the Steampunk movement is a reaction to the mass-produced, dehumanizing age in which we now live.  "Defending the Electronic Frontier," a stunning painting by Suzanne Forbes, expresses this sentiment more outwardly than anything else I have found.  She says that the painting represents, among other things, "the importance of defending your rights in the digital age."   With crossbows?  Bring it on!

This video from Maker Faire includes the artist's detailed description of many noble elements she included in the painting, such as the right to privacy and the right to live free of persecution for who we are. (Forbes' portion begins at about 4:40 into the video.)  Pretty noble, eh?

Datamancer and members of Abney Park also give their viewpoints on steampunk in the video.   Both mention the desire to see beyond the exterior --  to see what is inside, what makes things tick.  Or what makes the gears turn, as the case may be.

Rather than create an entry attempting to define Steampunk, which would present a formidable task indeed, I wanted to mention just these few ideas explaining why it has such appeal.  Some may just like the fashion, or the gadgets themselves, but this painting shows that there is an intellectual aspect to the phenomenon which has great relevance to modern people in uncertain times.  Besides, who doesn't like to imagine, "What If?" ....


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Steampunk Acronyms -- or "Computational Engine System Dialect Conventions"

Do you endeavor to add a touch of class to all of your communiques? Search no further, for now you shall speak fluent steampunk!

I came upon a post from the amazing Brass Goggles site.  Steampunk Emoticons, it promised!  I just HAD to look!  Though I think of emoticons as the little animated smileys that so many of us use, these lean towards the text variety.  Member Kabuki suggested that they have the title, "Computational Engine System Dialect Conventions".

Here, I quote the basic list, which has the originators' names after each.

-_Q      Monocle.     (Sir Andrew)
BTW      By The Way.     (Sir Andrew)
BTB      By The By.      (Sir Andrew)
WC      Water Closet  (traditional, mentioned by Rococoboy)
ByJ      By Jove!   (Sir Andrew, corrected by Heavyporker)
STOP      sentence end     (traditional, TheClockworkWasteland)
END      post end     (traditional, by Kabuki)
JOVE      By Jove alternative.     (Daeudi_454)
WAA      We are amused.     (RPFolkers)
HP      How peculiar.     (RPFolkers)
IS      I Say!     (BigGenNickYard)
QS      Quite so.     (BigGenNickYard)
WP      Well played.     (BigGenNickYard)
HH!      Here here!     (BigGenNickYard)
TB      Talking b*llocks.     (BigGenNickYard)
WWW      What what what?     (BigGenNickYard)
GSOC      Good show, old chap.  (MrFats)
WTD      What the Dickens?     (MrFats)
VF      Very Flash     (TheClockworkWasteland)
BTC      By the cogs!    (TheClockworkWasteland)
-O=O-      Goggles   (Sir Andrew)
THOB    Top hole, old bean.    (Wilibald)
WATT   What's all this then?    (CinnamonAndSpite)
--O-     Monoggle    (B. Fugu)
BRAWN   Badly Rendered, And Wanted Not - Replacement for spam (Simeon)
C|:)       Bowler Derby    (Otto Morgan)
"WP" equals "Well Played"
"HH" equals "Here Here!"
"TB" equals "Talking Bollocks!"
"WWW" equals "What what what?"   (NickYard)

 I verily believe that the BG community would take delight if they should see any of these "Computational Engine System Dialect Conventions" used out amongst the aether.

 Enjoy!           ~ DS

p.s. - Apologies for the sparse posts this week; I have had the flu since last weekend and my gears still will not wind all the way back up.  TB, indeed!

*see list above for definition


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