Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Steampunk Lab -- A Resource for Creativity

During my internet meanderings today, I found an interesting steampunk artist resource, Steampunk Lab.

"The goal of steampunk lab is to be a central repository for steampunk projects. We hope to show you a wide variety of what is out there for your own artistic inspiration, as well as help you along the way to building your own steampunk inventions. From guides, to help forums, to part location, we will have it all.   With over 200 projects and more added every day, find inspiration for your next invention, or just browse around at the creativity of steampunk pioneers and dabblers."

 The site is divided into the following categories: 
There is also a Forum where inventors can exchange ideas and ask questions.

If you wish to register and submit your own works directly onto the site, all it takes is your email address, a user name, and a password.  Browse, share, and above all, Enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Steampuffin’s 1st Annual Steampunk Form & Function Design Competition

     To my surprise and delight, the president of ModVic and SteamPuffin, Bruce Rosenbaum, contacted me on Etsy and asked if I would post some information about his current Steampunk contest here on my blog. 
     Though the awe of being requested to assist with the efforts of someone so influential in the steampunk world is still making my brain tingle, here we go.

      Modvic and Steampuffin are creating a Steampunk Form and Function Design Competition in partnership with the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham MA.  There will also be a short film documentary shown – SteamFusion: How Steampunk artists infuse modern technology in Victorian homes and objects.

      They are looking for Steampunk artists who are interested in entering the competition and to possibly be featured in the documentary.   The deadline is September 5, 2010.

(The following is a direct cut-and-paste from their contest site, to communicate the requirements most accurately.)
  • Entries will use primarily authentic Victorian objects, salvage items, clothing or antiques from the period of 1850s to early 1900s. Entries will creatively incorporate/infuse modern technologies and conveniences into the design of the authentic Victorian objects. All Steampunk design solutions should function and work as the designer/craftsman has intended.
  • Designs can include lighting or clock solutions, but will judged based on the innovative use of the design application.
  • Steampunk Design solution designed and produced by the person/Team submitting the entry (not purchased from others or made from a kit).
  • Submit only actual work; not designs in process.
 Entries will be judged based on the following:
  1. Creative use/modification of primarily authentic Victorian objects, salvage items, clothing or antiques as the basis (skin) for housing modern technology. Invention may also include recycled items to promote environmentally-friendly reuse designs
  2.  Innovative re-use of the original purpose of the object or new use of the object
  3. Seamless blending of the old item and new technology leading to a feeling of ‘permanence’ to the Steampunk technology design solution
  4. Use of cutting edge technologies within the Steampunk design
  5. Possibility of reversing the design process for future designers to incorporate new technologies into the Victorian objects in the future
Prizes include: 1st  Place - $1,000, 2nd Place - $500, 3rd Place - $250, Honorable Mention $100 and People’s Choice.  Also – ‘Steamies’ awards will be given to the winners.

The entry fee is $25 per item entered into the contest, with an additional $25 per item late fee for items submitted after September 5, 2010.

The main contest flyer is on SteamPuffin.  You can go to the "More Information" site page to learn how and where to submit entries. 

"All Steampunk design projects will be exhibited at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham MA from October 22, 2010 to May 10, 2011.  In addition, all chosen design solutions will be available for online viewing and sale on www.steampuffin.com."

      Please pass a link to this post or to the contest itself to any steampunk artist you know who might be interested.   Good luck to all who enter!  It is sure to be an amazing collection of fascinating pieces.
~ DS

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Victorian Shaving Ritual

We of the steampunk community may have a fascination for Victorian-esque clothes, furnishings, and jewelry, but to take the immersion in history one step further, let us see how they shaved their faces!

The "Living the London Life" blog post by Shahan Cheong (a university graduate in his twenties from Melbourne, Australia) on Holmseian.net simple states,

"For a man to be seen with anything other than a moustache, a full beard, or a cleanshaven face was considered almost sacreligious in the Victorian era. Beards, muttonchops and moustaches were acceptable ways in which to wear facial-hair, but to appear in public, or indeed, before one's own household in morning-stubble was considered highly unpresentable."

 As such, the ritual of shaving needed to occur whenever stubble appeared.  The author describes the steps involved in his post here.

In order to recreate these steps, you will need a razor (straight or safety), lathering soap, hot water, and intestinal fortitude.  (I also recommend consulting a professional to teach you how to complete the process safely.  Do this at your own risk, or not at all!  This is more for information than instruction.)

Otherwise, enjoy your time spent shaving, knowing you are doing it the way they did in Victorian times!

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Visit to a Steampunked Home"

     If this is not the most amazing Victorian-esque steampunked home you have ever seen... you get your money back!
     Yes, really.   Posted on Steampunk Workshop, these images and descriptions from the 1901 Craftsman style Victorian home of Bruce Rosenbaum in Sharon, Massachusetts will blow your steamy mind.


Monday, April 5, 2010

World Steam Expo May 28th - 31st, 2010 in Dearborn Michigan

"The Premier Steampunk event of the Midwest welcomes you one and all for an event the likes the world has yet to witness. Join us for 4 days of wonder, amazement and splendor as we cater you to an event 120 years in the making. From special guests, unique programming, concerts, contests & more."

Look forward to a Mad Science Fair with explosions, Victorian High Tea with treats, and a Masquerade Ball with dance lessons.  Abney Park and Tartanic will weave their web of entrancing music around the crowd.  Phil and Kaja Foglio will be present to represent the wonderful webcomic, Girl Genius.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Breaking News: Hummingbirds Spark FREE SHIPPING Offer!

 (My main feeder on the evening of a previous year, full of thirsty ruby-throateds! they emptied a 36-ounce feeder at least once per day.)

Just saw my first hummingbird of the 2010 season at my feeder!  Yay!  I just adore the little guys.

To celebrate their arrival, and for my blog readers, if you make a $50 total purchase from my shop and enter DREAMSTEAM50FS, you will receive free shipping to the US and Canada; this offer will be in effect until I decide it is not.  (Aren't you glad you read this?) =)

Use code DREAMSTEAM50FS at checkout to redeem this offer in my steampunk jewelry shop located at DreamSteam on ArtFire

Thank you for supporting handmade!

Victorian Era Music Goes High(er) Tech - Wax Cylinder Players


    Here, I have gathered some authentic Victorian-era music and presented it for your consideration.
      Many such songs were recorded on brown wax cylinders, which represented the most revolutionary new technology of the day.  Those well-to-do enough could purchase the cylinder players and listen to music in their own homes, something that was unheard of previously.
     Everyone else desiring to would go to arcades, where they could pay to listen to music through individual listening tubes, or to music halls where they could hear live music, recitations, comedy, and other entertainment.  To read more about the history and culture of the music hall, read this excellent narrative: Victorian History: Music Halls.

Of the 22,000 titles released on wax cylinders, only six percent are known to exist intact  today.

 Close-up of music box drum cylinder and comb

Actual cylinder song recordings:

"The 'bump' sound that is heard at the beginning of this selection is common among mid-1890 recordings, created by the recording phonograph as it started cutting the blank cylinder." 

More Resources
These sites provide background information about each song and any recording oddities heard therein.
Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project, University of California has many more rescued pieces of music from the Victorian era.

Another collection by an enthusiast and curator of cylinder and disc music resides here: Robert's Delightful Old Schmaltz 

The site Tinfoil.com has an archive of complete two-minute wax cylinder recordings.

If you want to browse through an extensive Victorian antiques collection, click on the link under the photo, or go to:  One of a Kind Antiques 

(If these pieces do not make us appreciate advances in music recording, nothing will!  Enjoy the nostalgia.)
 ~ DS


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