Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wherever the Wind Blows -- Pocket Watch Compass Necklace

Greetings, all!  Over the weekend, I posted my most recent creation for sale in my studio.  I am particularly happy with this piece because I think it has a true steampunk theme and aura.

The detailed cast brass compass rose has some beautiful sky blue enameling at the center which really makes the star 'pop'.  Since sea birds are often regarded as good luck by sailors of the oceans, I wanted to include them in the necklace as well; these two birds-in-flight bring good tidings and some spare brass gears that they found along their journey.  

As for the finish of the metals, I experimented with several metal paints before deciding to remove the coatings ... mostly!  The result was that just the most tenacious bits of two layers of color remained, and after a little bit of sanding and adding some super secret ink in strategic places I got the weathered look that I wanted.

For sale in my ArtFire shop, as usual.  There are several more photographs of the necklace as well as a short narrative about it on my studio page at this location:  
~ DS
(update 7-2-10 -- This necklace has been sold.  Thank you very much!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to Create A Steampunk Outfit

     If you are hoping to upgrade your steampunk outfit, or are just starting one, you may be thinking, "what do I need to include to make my costume steampunk?"
     I have a short answer and a long answer for you.
     The short answer is:  goggles, hats, gadgets/jewelry, Victorian-style shoes, and attitude, or any combination of the above!

     A long and well thought-out answer I will not venture to reinvent today.  The topic has already been written to death on the web, often very well; the article that I like the best can be found here: Deconstructing Steampunk by Camilla at Costume Craze.  
     Mission accomplished, foundation in place (or, lines cast off for departure, if you prefer airship lingo)!  Here are some resources you can use to make your own outfit utterly tip top.

An excellent source of Victorian garment patterns for sale/download: 

Costume patterns from the 1840's to the 1890's
Specializing in the Bustle Era

"Welcome to the Enchanting World of Victorian Clothing"

How about a video sewing guide to help those seams zip along as planned?

They also have more videos for do-it-yourself fashions of all kinds on their site.

For supplies and for finished costume items, try:

Hats! Glorious hats!  Topsy Turvy Design
"Costume Accessories for Stage, Film, and Play"
Victorian, Renaissance, 18th Century, Burlesque

      And of course, if you want some unusual steampunk-inspired jewelry, you may wish to take a look in my studio, Steampunk Jewelry by DreamSteam.

(No, I could not resist a shameless plug!)  My items have wandered toward the "inspired" of late, and a wonderful customer recently purchased many of my better pieces, but there are a few pieces still for sale that I feel qualify for out-and-out steampunk status (think pocket watches and gears!).

     These sites should give you a great start to creating your dashing steampunk ensemble.  You may also search this blog for keywords "fashion" and the like (the tag cloud helps) to find sellers of accoutrements I have reviewed in the past.  Are you a member of my blog and care to post or link photos of your outfit? Please do!  Enjoy, and best of luck creating.

~ DS

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Tale of Two Roses: Rose Cameo Brass Brooch and Gilded Black Rose Brass Ring

I got a couple of pieces finished over the weekend!  Yay!  It was waaaay too hot to go out and target shoot on Saturday.  Ninety degrees is my limit to be out in all day.  (Okay, so I went to a shoot last weekend and it was 96 that day and I shot very well, but I am trying to learn my lesson!)

The first I will mention is a brass brooch pin with some vintage/antique beads and the image of a gently unfurling rose bud under a glass cabochon.
The technique: Although I had a plan for the oval opening in the center and weeks earlier had ordered glass cabochons to fit there, I eyed the brooch base for a long time, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it, and then as usual, I just went for it.  The brooch got a little bit of gold leafing to highlight certain spots and give the piece a little shimmer to contrast with the dark antiquing.  The star filigree bead from my grandmother's jewelry collection got a little bit of antiquing to contrast with the brass shimmering.  =p  All in all, I like how if turned out.
(Update 7-2-10 -- This brooch has now been sold.  Thank you!)

The second piece: a gilded, bold black rose on a brass filigree ring.
The technique: I wrapped thin brass wire in a "star" pattern through the center of the filigree section and around the petal-shaped metal base portion to be sure it would remain in place.  A polymer black rose topped it off nicely.  Then I got gold leaf crazy.  It was mostly for fun, and an experiment of how I can secure pieces together with wire rather than glue which makes them much sturdier and thus higher quality, IMO.  If someone likes it enough to purchase it, that's great!

Both of the pieces are for sale in my ArtFire studio, where one may peruse and buy any of my jewelry without signing up for anything.  But if you do sign in to ArtFire, you can leave feedback (they call it Kudos) for my shop once you have received your purchases, which I would appreciate greatly. 

And ... Welcome to my newest blog followers! Thanks to all of you fine ladies and gentlemen for reading my musings.  Please do tell your like-minded friends and family about this and/or my studio.  (Psst... on occasion I will post discount offers for my shop here, available only to those who have discovered this blog.  Gadzooks!)    I hope you enjoy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Joe Pogan's Nuts-n-Bolts Animals

Artist Joe Pogan creates whimsical animal sculptures using found metal objects.  In just one piece, one may find screws, spoons, shotgun shell brass, coins, nuts, scissors, and bolts!
Not technically (or vaguely?) steampunk, but I think the use of materials is rather clever.  Go to http://www.joepogan.com/ for more.

Photos from joepogan.com

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Steampunk-Inspired Print Shoes

Typewriter Keds Slip-Ons.  Can you QWERTY with your toes?

     I enjoy looking at shoes.  I spend more time browsing than buying, but browse I do.  Out of curiosity, I decided to see what a search on 'steampunk shoes' revealed.
     Victorian era styles are a given.  Classic, sleek, stylish.
     Then we find others -- those that bring steampunk to the masses commercially.  Not handmade, not vintage, but still a slight reflection of that which NeverWas.  Did not know such items existed?   Neither did I!  Behold a few examples of such steam-inspired wizardry.

     For between $60 and $80, you can have your very own pair of steampunk Keds.
     They have sixteen pages of steampunk, goth, pagan, noir, etc. styles on the  Zazzle.com site, which is from where the above photos hailed. 
(I have never ordered from them, nor am I affiliated with them, so I cannot speak to their customer service.  Just thought these shoes were a cute way to show one's enthusiasm for steampunk, casually.)   Enjoy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Metamorphosis: Butterfly Pocket Watch Pendant - Before and After

I often ponder how to upgrade pieces I have already created but have the potential to be more steampunk than they are.  After receiving some inspiration from, of all things, a handmade gift tag given to me, I changed the accent pieces and added some "weather" to one of my favorite pendants.  Here are the before and after pictures:

                                                  Before                                                   After

The butterfly did not actually change in color (just the lighting and photography), but I did add some brass-colored highlights in places to jazz it up a bit.  A brass finding and a six-spoked watch gear replaced the other brass watch gear and clock part at the bottom center.  I also changed the copper chain out for a bass one; it better matches the pocket watch case.

This nifty trinket was for sale in my ArtFire studio: Bronzed Filigree Butterfly Pocket Watch Pendant.  Please feel free to browse the rest of my shop as well.   (Browsers welcome, buyers adored, indeed!)  It sold on 8/10/10; I truly hope the buyer enjoys it.  This was one of my favorite pieces ever.

~ DS

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Steampunk Style Test

What is your Steampunk style?

Are you The Aristocrat, The Gadgeteer, The Scientist, The Explorer, The Officer, The Citizen, The Air Pirate, or The Ragamuffin?

The answers you choose in The Steampunk Style Test will reveal your true Steampunk self!

Though I might fancy different answers amongst the multiple choices based on my current mood, my final answers produced this result for me today:

"You are the Explorer, the embodiment of steampunk’s adventuring spirit.  For you, clothing should be rugged and reliable, and just as functional as it is attractive.  You probably prefer khaki or leather, and your accessories are as likely to include weapons as technological gizmos.  You probably wear boots and gloves, and maybe a pith helmet.  Most of what you wear is functional, and if you happen to wear goggles people had better believe that you use them.  In addition to Victorian exploration gear, your outfit probably includes little knickknacks from your various travels.  Above all, you are a charming blend of rugged Victorian daring and exotic curiosity." 

After finishing the quiz, you will see a detailed analysis and graphs comparing your answers to those of your peers.  (It asks for your date of birth, for which you can easily enter something close but not exact, if you want.)  You may also choose to be matched with others who got similar results, or to share your results via the standard social networks.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bully Bidet

     Most of us have seen the "steampunkized" electronic gadgets such as the iPod, the USB key, the computers and peripheral gadgets.  But Patrick Brawley brings an anachronistic touch to something we all use every day.  The toilet.   He calls it his Post-Steampunk (Teslapunk) Antique Toilet/Urinal of the Future.

 Find the Flush Capacitor!

     Perhaps such matters are not usually discussed in polite company, but this one was so clever, I just had to mention the unmentionable! (Yes, I know it isn't actually a bidet, but I imagine one could mod it!)

     Humorous modifications to the commonplace lend a strange allure to this golden throne; for example, it has a laser targeting system pointing to the bottom center of the bowl, perhaps for use during (or after!) those rough zeppelin rides.  A lighted control panel with multiple gauges and flush control button completes the ensemble.
A video of the device in action can be seen here.

     Thank you, Patrick, for bodging analog technology to something even lower-tech, rather than the usual steampunk vice-versa.  The dichotomy is refreshing.  Literally.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Steampunk Tattoo Designs

So you want to show the world your dedication to what might be in the world of NeverWas?  Then you too can have your body modified to shout, "Steampunk lives!"
What am I going on about?
Steampunk Tattoos!

by French artist Stephane Chaudesaigues
     Of course, if you fancy getting one done, you should be sure that it is something you want to look at for the rest of your life.  All the standard warnings and nay-sayings about getting a tattoo understood and aside, IMO you could do a lot worse than a well-drawn steampunk-themed image on your skin.  (Check out this site for Q&A about the process and how to avoid the most common mistakes when getting a tattoo.)

Photos from WebUrbanist.com. Second photo from right, bottom, tattoo by Anil Gupta.

    Here is an article that contains even more images for your consideration and inspiration:

For even more ideas and photos 
of steampunk tattoo designs, please see:  

Even if you shudder at the thought of needles and pain, you may be able to use these ideas in some other fashion such as engraving, painting, sewing, or sketching.   Enjoy!



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