Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spooky Steam: 2010 NYC Steampunk Haunted House

(NYC Steampunk Haunted house footage from 2009)

     For those readers inclined toward haunted houses, here we have info about the steampunk haunted house that is being held at the Abrons Art Center in NYC this week.  It will use suspense, rather than gore, to create "uncomfortable moments" and thrill the audience.  
     "Created by Bessie Award-winning artists, the Steampunk Haunted House is an integration of contemporary installation and performance art, and is an accessible, fun, utterly breathtaking experience. Unlike traditional haunted houses that rely on gore or graphic violence to horrify their patrons, this event chills, delights, and terrifies its audience without having to show a single drop of blood. "

Here a summary of the experience from the official 2010 steampunk haunted house web page:

     "In this truly immersive experience, audience members are thrust into a beautiful and terrifying dreamscape of neo-Victorian elegance and phantasmagoric clockwork horrors. Once inside, audience members are separated, until one by one, they find themselves alone, lost somewhere within the three sprawling floors of Abrons’ majestic century-old playhouse. From there, they must choose where to go, exploring innumerable twisting hallways, looming balconies, and labyrinthine cellars. All the while, a whirlwind of mechanical apparitions, wraithlike sleepwalkers, and gear-powered beasts hurtle through corridors and lurk behind every corner and within every room."

The group responsible for creating the masterpiece, Third Rail Projects with Zach Morris, also provided some photos of the sets as they were building them.   The Jaded Viewer's blog also has a review of the 2010 experience, including a walk-through.

The Steampunk Haunted House
October 28/29 from 6-9:30PM; October 30/31 from 8-11:30PM (15 minute intervals)
Abrons Arts Center, Henry Street Settlement; 466 Grand Street (212) 598-0400 $10-25  More info and tickets at henrystreet.org

Please feel free to comment on this post with links to any other steampunk haunted houses that you think deserve mention!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Darkened Heart of The Sunken Library - Mad Science Investigated

"Lee's case, open"  from Darkened Heart
   Delve into the world of mad science of yore!

       For many months, a reliable source at The Darkened Heart has been sharing extensive documentation of a fascinating journey into the unusual and macabre through the eyes of an intern historical investigator and scientist.  In the words of the writer, "This site is a reflection of what I found when I followed the ... bread-crumbs far enough into the Smithsonian archives. What follows is a true account, or as true as I can make with no budget and little time."  The results are truly spellbinding!

      The industrious intern provides us with scans of found documents which accompany and detail the relics that dwell in the basement of the Smithsonian museum.   There can be found colorful jars with probable body parts preserved inside (but from what creature or parts, it cannot be said), deadly weapons, medical instruments, potions with unspeakable powers and purposes, and dilapidated carrying cases which held said relics until they were opened and revealed to the world once more.

      For example, the description of the above photograph reads so:
     Inside, the box is crammed near-to-bursting with medical equipment and sample jars. It’s going to take some time to inventory all of this junk. There’s no sign of  mold, but the box’s interior sealed in a strange musky stink. The smell is oddly familiar, it reminds me of the Chesapeake at low tide.

        The intern also speculates about the found items and how they were used, backing up sound hypotheses by scientific testing of the objects when the intern has the materials and is able to do so without unwanted supervision by the guards.  Letters shared with the reader tell of outbreaks, experiments, and the unique history surrounding it all.
      I certainly hope that the intrepid intern will continue to survive the assignment (yes, survive!) and continue to provide insight into the instruments and minds of the scientists and medical madmen who once conducted their experiments in secret.   I highly recommend this riveting narrative; it is perfect for when you may wish to pour a draught of absinthe and cozy up to the fire for a dose of mystery ....

~ DreamSteam

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Turning (Gears) Japanesey -- Oriental Steampunk

Imperial Airship - artwork by James Ng
     Previously in this humble blog, I have discussed wild west American Steampunk and Dieselpunk.  So now we move on to another interesting mix -- Oriental steampunk.  (I use the word with respect; Orient means "east", and was the term used in the 19th century, so it makes perfect sense to refer to it in that manner when referring to a steampunk genre.)  The Asian part of our planet has a history rich with tradition and beautiful art and architecture.  It is those aspects which can be blended with steampunk in order to create something completely different.
     Some of the most wonderful examples of Oriental steampunk art are by James Ng, who creates computer-generated images which ignite the imagination.  His characters and subjects transcend the disconnect between technology and humanity that pervades today's societies; they seem to be at peace and one with their unique devices and robotic companions. 

art by James Ng
art by James Ng
     The use of classic Oriental symbols and motifs combines the warmth of tradition with the edgy feel of 'what if.'  You may purchase prints of James Ng's work from his shop here.

     Luxurious and expensive fabrics made and formerly commonly used in the East also provide an opportunity to meld steampunk and eastern style. ( This site seems to have a good variety of silk brocade fabric, though I have never ordered from them.)  In the LiveJournal community "steamfashion" one may find at least one post about Oriental fashion. (The whole steamfashion LJ section seems a magnificent source for clothiers and anyone seeking to spruce up their wardrobe in a steampunk manner. It covers "what is", "how to" and more.)  On other parts of the aethernet, I found talk of creating Victorian dresses out of pure silk brocade and wonderings about how else to integrate the fabrics into a Victorian aesthetic.  As ever, one may just choose to combine the two and see how it turns out!  Perhaps some leather spat boots with miniature paper lamp tassels atop the instep might be nice. (*ponders*)

    If you wish to learn more about the history of Asia during the Victorian period, here is an M.I.T. exhibition and essay entitled "Throwing Off Asia" in which "the remarkably swift "Westernization" of Japan in the late-19th and early-20th centuries was most vividly captured in popular woodblock prints. Images from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston illustrate the great political, social, cultural, and industrial transformations that took place." 

     I hope these sources will provide you some insights and inspiration from the Orient.  All in all, compared to other types of steampunk, this combination seems almost untouched by steampunk artists.  Perhaps we shall see more of it as steampunk continues to evolve and include so many cultures and forms of art.



Friday, October 8, 2010

Elegant Stamped Brass and Gear Earrings and Collections on ArtFire

I have two things to report in this post, both happy!  The first heralds some new jewelry, and the other has to do with the recognition my shop and pieces have received recently.

While trying a new technique for joining metal jewelry components together, I created these elegant earrings.  They include the detailed solid brass stampings, brass watch gears, amber Swarovski crystal beads, and 24 karat gold ear wires.  They are for sale on ArtFire

Among the features of the ArtFire site, there is one called "Collections."  People can choose their favorite items from the shops on AF.  (This is the same as "Treasuries" on Esty, but on ArtFire, artists may choose to be notified when their items have been included in one, which is very nice.)  Visitors may view and also vote on the collections; here are some of the collections which have featured my items in the last month or so:

ArtFire Collections Featuring Steampunk Jewelry by DreamSteam:

It is interesting (and sometimes surprising) to see which of my items people have chosen to include in their collections.  When they choose the pieces of which I am most proud, it makes me feel great.  I am very grateful for the recognition.  

If you would like to see the collections that I have curated, you may go here; they will not all be steampunk in nature, but will represent the best of the subject matter I could find.

I hope you enjoy seeing what other people have selected from the AF site; if you like the collections (or my jewelry!) and wish to share via social media, the standard options of Facebook, Twitter, RSS, and more are available for easy clicking on the left side of the collection page.  Thank you! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Decorating Nemo: Nautilus Squid Necklace Cabinet by 19 Moons

Atlantean Squid Necklace Cabinet by 19 Moons of the Etsy Steam Team

As usual, another great work of steampunk jewelry and art has come from a member of the Etsy Steam Team, this time, for a museum steampunk exhibit!

From 19 Moons' Facebook page:

"I am excited to be making this Ex-squidsite Nautical necklace cabinet for the upcoming Steampunk Exhibition with Jules Verne theme- here is an article featuring my piece."

The gallery will feature items that could have been on the Nautilus, Captain Nemo's wondrous submarine from the classic Jules Verne novel, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea The novel has been heralded as one of the very first steampunk novels of all time, and certainly one of the most famous.  At the opening gala, there will also be an hour-long interactive, group video game in which participants will have to solve puzzles and complete tasks.

Though the process started in June of this year, there is still time to mark your calendars and see the "Nemos' Steampunk Art & Invention Gallery."  According to Steampuffin.com:

"WHERE: Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Interactive Entertainment Experience (located in Patriot Place’s North Lifestyle Center, Foxboro MA, adjacent to Gillette Stadium)
WHEN: Saturday, February 5, 2011 from 5:00PM to 12:00 Midnight
COST: FREE if you are wearing any Steampunk costume (prize for best ‘Nautilus or Nemo themed’ costume)"

They say that the art exhibit will be available for viewing online in November.   The pieces featured in the exhibit will be for sale for $1000 - 5000 and up, and all will be photographed and made into a book Steampunk Design and Innovations, which will be available for purchase in 2012.

And last but not least, if you would like to exhibit and sell your work at Nemo’s Steampunk Art and Invention Gallery, you may call Bruce Rosenbaum at 781-784-0250 or email bruce@modvic.com for details.

Congrats to 19 Moons on creating a beautiful steampunk work of art, and on getting some well-deserved accolades.


Related Posts with Thumbnails