Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tesla Triumph -- Hammered Brass and Copper Wire Steampunk Bracelet

Tesla Triumph bracelet by DreamSteam - for sale on ArtFire
     Whenever I see coiled copper wire, I think of the inventions of Nikola Tesla.   I believe the piece itself was a triumph of my ever evolving jewelry making skills, hence the name for this steampunk inspired bracelet.  

     So how did this piece come to pass?  I wanted to make another truly steampunk bracelet from scratch.  So I obtained my sheet of brass, cut it into strips, hammered it on my anvil, bent it into shape, and then removed any sharp edges. The brass clock gear at the center of the "cabochon" is vintage. To hold all of the pieces together, I came up with a wire-wrapping technique that was both strong and complimentary to a steampunk design.
     The bracelet has been "aged" to give it a rustic look; you may see verdigris greens, glowing copper reds, and grungy steampunk browns among the colors that the metal has attained.  To get the gorgeous patina on the brass, I used the vinegar and salt technique as described in a previous blog post.   It turned out splendidly!  I could have let it get even more developed, but I liked it the way it was and lightly waxed the metal to preserve it.

      I put a lot of time, thought and effort into this piece, and I hope someone else decides that they like it as much as I do! It will never be re-created exactly, even if I try to make another, as clock gears differ greatly.
     This bracelet is for sale in my ArtFire studio here (more pictures posted there).  If you like it or know someone who might, please feel free to Tweet it from that page or otherwise pass it along.  Thank you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Let Them Eat Steam Cake!

Honorable Mention - Professor Gearheart's Otherwhen Machine
      With the proliferation of cake and cupcake decorating shows on television, I am happy to find cakes with lots of technical difficulty and panache.  (Personally, I think it's crazy to pay someone to make cupcakes for you, even if you do order 1000 of them. It's a cupcake, sheesh! Maybe if I liked the little pastries more, I would be more sympathetic. But... too much frosting! Yuck!)  I must admit that I have watched some of these shows out of sheer curiosity!

     Cake Central held a steampunk cake decorating contest earlier in 2010.   There were representations of robots, cellphones, wedding cakes, radios, gas masks, and bugs.  Versions of steampunk "Hello Kitty" even made an appearance a couple of times.

Victorian Era Bionics cake

The top entries and honorable mentions can be found on this page of Cake Central.

Steampunk Squid Cake

     I liked the winning entries, but have included pictures of some that did not win, but thought showed a good bit of creativity.  You may view all of the entries here on Cake Central.

Steampunk bug cake
     As long as regular viewers of the foodie channels must restrain a groan every time a new cake show appears, we should demand that there be steampunk in the mix!  Perhaps the "Challenge" show should present that challenge to the chefs and see if any of them know what steampunk is.  Now that would be a fun cake show to watch.  *grin*

Monday, August 23, 2010

Halloween Approacheth!

Even though temperatures in my part of the country have not yet wavered an iota from all-time high summertime highs, my thoughts turn to late October's festivities.  Though we only get about four days of what any normal human would call "fall", I have always enjoyed the season.

Steampunk should not be marginalized to one day per year, but after all it is the one day of the year when almost anything goes, clothing-wise, which equals creative freedom!  Combining steampunk and Halloween may not be such a reach after all.  The ever-popular mad science has a place in the genre, for sure, and who can resist drinking their mystery punch from lab equipment? Not me! (Watch out for that Pyrex glass, though. If it hits a tile floor, you will see a demonstration of total disintegration!)  It is also a time to share steampunk with people who may otherwise not know about it -- co-workers, for example.

We all know what steampunk is to us. To adapt it your decor to the season, think grandmother's attic.  The darker side of Victorian decor can create a spooky aura.  Brains in jars suit the bar and food area, but more traditional pieces can help the rest of your home.  Try eerie black-and-white photographs in ornate frames for the walls; I have heard tell that there are wall decorations that change images as you walk past so that you feel watched.  Faux cobwebs and ripped gauze add age to the place for pennies (unless your house is like mine and occasionally has real cobwebs already, then you're all set).   If your furniture is less than Victorian, you might cover chairs and tables with vintage-looking blankets or cloth.

As for your costume,  just delve into your favorite idea and dress the part from there. The mad scientist, corseted pale Victorian lady (or go more gruesome at will), experiment gone awry, airship pirate (or captain), greasy dieselpunk wonder mechanic are a few options to consider.   If you want some thoughts on how to put together a basic steampunk outfit, read this post I made on the subject, or if you want to make your own goggles, here is my take on them.  Most people's internet posts regarding their own steampunk costumes involve some variation on the statement, "my Halloween costume is finished! I am a steampunk... something.  I think."  But it is the fun in putting an outfit together that is important, so no worries!  (Last year, I got asked if I was "Hellboy", because of my goggles, but I am over that. Mostly.   lol) 

Though I have no association with this site, Grandin Road, I spent over an hour perusing just their elaborate selection of Halloween selections and found them pretty interesting. They have indoor decorations, outdoor decorations, costumes, you name it.  They even have the Martha Stewart line of Halloween grotesqueness.... (Yea.  I thought it was not right, too, but there are some decent pieces in there.)  You can also find a link to other decorating sites in the "Tag Cloud" on the right of this page, under "Halloween."

And last but not least, pumpkins!  Or the carving thereof!  From UniqueScoop.com, I give you 100+  Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas.  I would have named it "many strange things to do with pumpkins," but I digress.  Here are more pictures of carved pumpkins on Waylou.com, as well.  I always feel a little bad about wasting a perfectly good gourd, but then I remind myself that at least the cheerful, large, orange, seedy fruit will not go extinct as long as the holiday is celebrated, so it will be okay.  I like the collection of original "geeky Jack-o-Lanterns that do something strange and unexpected" displayed in this article on MentalFloss.  The Instructables site has dozens of pumpkin videos.  Carve that thing out, add LED's, goggles, gears, fog, motors, or whatever you have in mind to make it your masterpiece.  Spooking the neighbors grants a bonus.

I hope this has been at least somewhat helpful in getting your fall off to a smashing good start.  Please feel free to post links to pictures or comments about what you are working on for your Halloween outfit or gala, as I love to see the creative ideas people have in their devious steampunk minds.  =)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vote in the Etsy SteamTeam Steampunk Wedding Contest!

     The attached photos are two of my favorite entries from the Etsy SteamTeam's latest contest,  steampunk wedding.  (Voting ended on August 21st at midnight, Eastern Time.)

Steampunk Wedding Ring by Steamsmithworks

      There were several clever and beautiful wedding-themed items created by the talented member artists of the SteamTeam.  The winning entry will get a prize from the previous winner's shop, and there will also be (was) a random prize drawing from all submitted  votes, so you can (might have) win something wonderful too!

Steampunk Bridal Necklace by Silver Owl Creations

Here are links to more entries, since the poll has now been taken down:


 (p.s. - I will post the winner as soon as that info is announced. It has not been as of 8/25)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Riese - Steampunk Epic coming to SyFy

"In a decaying world, a lone wanderer could save them all.  
Unless they find her first."

Riese.  The Canadian steampunk/fantasy series, Started in November 2009, will air on the SyFy channel.  It had a loyal following on the web before the show's marketers forced the writers to take it down pending its' release on SyFy.

According to the official Riese site: "Riese is a fantasy-adventure based web series that chronicles a mysterious wanderer named Riese, (portrayed by Chatelain). A life-on-the-run from a world with a dim future, Riese and her trusted wolf companion, Fenrir flee their dying land of Eleysia in search of freedom as they are hunted by assassins of ‘The Sect,’ a terrifying religious entity. As she tries to piece together her mysterious past, Riese will take on a life and death journey with the balance and the fate of the world lying in the palm of her hands.

Narrated by Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary), the 10-part series stars a cavalcade of talent from the world of popular speculative drama including Christine Chatelain (The Bone Collector); Sharon Taylor (Stargate Universe); Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island), Allison Mack (Smallville); Ryan Robbins (Caprica); Patrick Gilmore (Stargate Universe); Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica) and Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary).
The series will also be available via Sony’s PS3, Microsoft’s Xbox and Amazon."

Some links with information on the show:



I, for one, missed the episodes when they aired on SyFy, so I searched for a way to see them, and found it!  The episodes are eight to ten minutes long.

Watch all of the full episodes of Riese HERE.

While waiting for the epic series to be televised, you can supposedly play the alternate reality game (ARG) from the domineering Sect's point of view on thesectishere.com.   More of a resistance fighter?  Then you may solve the riddle at the first site and and aid the resistance at thisisnotthepath.com (this site was not functional when I went there).  To do either, you will have to filter through pages of frightening pro-Sect propaganda; I did not find the actual game, but more persistent folk should be able to do so!

 The most useful and informative source of information I found was the actual blog for the show. 

Huzzah for a steampunk show on a major network!  Best of luck to them, and I hope to see the show soon!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hold onto Yer Gear Spurs! -- A Gander at American Steampunk

     Since I brought up the topic of the wild west at SteamCon, it seems fitting that I should speak about their theme, "American Steampunk."  (The aspect of the genre based on the United States' wild West, not simply Americans who "do" steampunk!)

     It pictures a steam-powered society without the constraints of corsets and monarchs; the well-defined class structure of the Victorian era was replaced with new strata of society and associated conflicts between those groups.   Despite the difficulties that came with the country's growing pains, the American west allowed for almost unrestrained individualism.  Steam-driven locomotives running on tracks stretching thousands of miles across an entire country enabled the settlers of the American West to venture far out into what was then the wilderness.  When they arrive, the established a society fueled by entrepreneurial gusto.  They believed that those who sought success could work hard and with a little luck, find it.

     Societies all over the world made advances in the use of electricity, steam power, and more.  Technology is often a result of ideas put into use during war.  The Civil War in the United States brought about new inventions in several areas: sturdy and deadly guns aplenty, spy balloons, rudimentary aircraft and other "horseless" vehicles to transport people and supplies.
      "Necessity is the mother of invention" could have been coined in those times, as well.  People used what they had on hand to accomplish tasks in their daily lives.  They did not have fancy stores to which to go and purchase items; at most, their town might have a general store for the most basic necessities of life, and everything else was made by individual craftsmen.  If something broke or wore out, they fixed it themselves or had it repaired by a qualified craftsperson.  This spirit of extending the useful life of items also lies at the heart of steampunk, which helps make the period a tidy fit for the genre.

     If you want a connection of all three groups and places (wild west, native Americans, and Victorian England), Queen Victoria herself attended Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show when they ventured over to Europe for a bit in the 1880's; the show included native Americans and cowboys alike performing amazing acts of shooting and horsemanship.
      About this time, cowboys (and girls!) and native Americans alike out West began to adopt some European fashion into their wardrobes.  In the absence of Twitter and Facebook, it is possible that the performers of Wild Bill's show liked the the Victorian fashion aesthetic that they saw, and brought back some of it to the West.

     The steampunk aspect comes into play when we delve into the history of that time and customize it to make something unique.  It is a celebration of what was, and an imagination of what might have been if a society had built today's devices with their level of technology and understanding.    This aspect of steampunk seems virtually untouched; I could find hardly any examples of it online, other than two large conventions coming up (SteamCon II and Wild West Con).

     As for what people can actually create that would be considered American steampunk, the possibilities are limitless.  Just take something from the wild, wild west and modify it to suit your desires along a steampunk aesthetic, and you're all set.  Perhaps a steam-driven single-action revolver.  A brass filigree tomahawk.  Or a clockwork bridle for a horse.  Limitless, I say!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Upcoming Cons -- Living in the Weird, Weird West -- SteamCon 2010 and Wild West Con 2011

     "This year’s steamposium will highlight the Weird Weird West or American steampunk, if you will. Imagine the age of steam on the wild frontier. You are invited to explore with us the world of roughriders on mechanical horses, mad inventors, mystical Indian shamans, and mighty steam locomotives. Picture airships instead of stagecoaches, and the precision of robotic sharp shooters. If western steampunk doesn’t appeal, there will still be lots of classic steampunk to partake of as well."

     The events, merchants, art, and other aspects seem to be in the planning stages.  Guest stars will include Jake von Slatt (steampunk maker extraordinaire), James Blaylock (author of Homunculus), and Shane Hensley (creator of the MMORPG City of Heroes/Villains).

Registration is now open. The price for one adult is $45 until November 7th.

Old Tuscon Studios in Tuscon, Arizona

"Events include:  music concerts  Steampunk  dinner theater  Steampunk  a tea party with a published author O.M. Grey  Steampunk  shows and presentations with The League of S.T.E.A.M.  Steampunk a charity fashion show  Steampunk  freak show art show  Steampunk  mercantile pavilion  Steampunk  ghost tours  Steampunk  street parade  Steampunk  street performers  Steampunk  high noon dual competition  Steampunk  fast draw competition  Steampunk  gaming parlor  Steampunk live action stunt shows  Steampunk  cabaret saloon shows  Steampunk masquerade ball  Steampunk  mad scientist lab  Steampunk  costume contests  Steampunk  courtroom discussion panels  Steampunk  how-to workshops  Steampunk  and much more!
Music Events every day, including:
Three Day Copper Pass is $45, events and concert tickets are extra.

I wish I lived closer to all these great events!!!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Memento Mori/Ossuary Poll Results

Greetings, all!

Here are the results of the most recent poll question, which was:"Do you think that memento mori/ossuaries have a place in the steampunk genre?"

A tidy 68% of folk answered yes memento mori/ossuaries "have a place in the genre of steampunk" (17 votes), 0% answered no they do not, and the remaining 32% answered maybe, if they are not too graphic and have other steampunk aspects to them (8 votes).

Thanks to all who voted, and do look for the next poll question to be posted soon!
~ DS

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dr. Evermor's Forevertron Steampunk Park -- Steampunk Before Steampunk Was Cool

Dr. Evermor's Forevertron in Wisconsin,USA, made by Tom Every
     Before naming the genre of steampunk was a glimmer in anyone's eye, an innovative self-described collector of junk saw the potential in the mechanical wonders that surrounded him, and in 1983 began construction on what is now one of the most impressive works of metal art in the USA.

"Dr. Evermor's Forevertron is the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world, standing 50 ft. (15,2 m.) high and 120 ft. (36,5 m.) wide, and weighing 300 tons. It is housed in Dr. Evermore's Art Park on Highway 12, in the town of Sumpter, in Sauk County, Wisconsin, United States." -- WikiPedia entry on Forevertron

     There, one will find fantastic weapons, gazebos, telescopes, animals, vehicles, robots, insects, and even pieces that defy classification in this massive park of the neverwas.  Dioramas containing all of the above each  tell their part of a story....

More of the Forevertron
     The story begins with Dr. Evermor (a character created by Tom Every of Brooklyn, Wisconsin).  The good doctor hails from Victorian times, and has created the Forevertron to launch himself into the heavens on a magnetic force beam to escape this world... after he has been reduced to the proper size to fit inside the glass ball in a copper egg of the Forevertron, of course.

     A huge orchestra of seventy metal birds, some up to 20 feet tall, made from brass bedposts, highway markers, and gasoline nozzles, have gathered to play some dramatic theme music to accompany the historic launch.

Forevertron peacock

The telescope provides a way for onlookers to view Dr. Evermor's ascent while Queen Victoria and Prince Albert take their afternoon tea in the nearby fancy tea house gazebo.

The Tea House
The Grand Telescope

     Some of the over 1,000 tons of materials used to create this tribute to the industrial age include: x-ray machines, engines, entire vehicles, a river barge, and the decontamination module of an Apollo spacecraft.  All of the designs were completed from Every's brain; he used no blueprints or calculations to balance the often precariously positioned heavy objects.

     Entering "Evermor" or "Forevertron" on Flickr will fetch hundreds more photos of this marvelous park.  The decades that the artist spent collecting the materials for his vision certainly paid off in the variety and sheer size and detail of the works he was able to create.

The PBS Travelogue mentions how to find the park:

"The Forevertron is located behind Delaney’s Surplus, across the highway from the Badger Army Ammunition Factory on State Highway 12, seven miles south of Baraboo, Wisconsin and seven miles north of Prairie du Sac. It can be visited on Monday through Saturday from 9AM to 5PM and on Sunday from 12 to 5PM."

all photos from Zuzu.com and Flickr.com
As of 2011, there were plans to move all of the sculptures of the Forevertron to the now closed Badger Army Ammunition Plant and create a national monument.  The base will provide all the power needed to support both the Forvertron and an artistic community; The Evermor Foundation Historical Artistic Memorial Sculpture Park, also named The Timebinder.  Once completed, the park will look like an eye when viewed from Earth orbit.
This video shows the works of Tom Every, his wife Eleanor, and their son.  They have all created hundreds of metal sculptures, each one unique.  It also contains interviews with the artists, and shows the base to which they want to move the sculptures.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Whom Shall You Telegram?" -- A Semi-Steam Tribute to Ghostbusters

Stand aside, you alleged "Ghost Hunters"!  From the minds and archives of The League of STEAM comes:

Whom Shall You Telegram?

     Below is a video of Mr. Potts demonstrating one of their contraptions for paranormal containment.  Wind up keys, gears, sparks, and steam!  Who could ask for anything more?

If you liked that invention do check out the LoS Net Gun in action.

     To read and see more about this intrepid troupe, go to The League of STEAM homepage.  They can be found at ComicCon, Maker Faire, DisneyWorld (giving a lecture!), conventions, nightclubs, and anywhere that "spooks and paranormal creatures might be hiding."  You can even hire their services to ensure your next social event is ghost-free!


Related Posts with Thumbnails