Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

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


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