Steampunk inspiration and resources

Steampunk You Can Wear

Cosplay at the Asylum: Out and About

There were so many wonderful costumes during Weekend at the Asylum, so I decided to keep the costume contest participants for another post. Here are some delightful folks from around the convention.


Don’t Miss Longitude Punk’d at the Royal Observatory

Prime Meridian GlobeThe Royal Observatory is probably best known for being the home of the Prime Meridian, but I went there to check out an amazing Steampunk exhibit dedicated to “the longitude question.” Thousands of seamen lost their lives because they couldn’t be sure where they were when they were in the open ocean, so the British Parliament implemented a competition in 1714 and offered a reward of 20,000 pounds to anyone who could figure out how to calculate longitude when out to sea. Little did the Longitude Board know that it would be 50 years before anyone could find the answer.

The exhibit, Longitude Punk’d, is set up as a series of submissions to this contest and is intermixed with the Observatory’s collection of real and sometimes bizarre submissions. There are many buildings in the Greenwich Observatory complex, and this exhibition takes advantage of the historic Flamsteed House that sits on the grounds. There is normally already a gallery dedicated to longitude in the house, but for now the Steampunks have taken over that gallery as well as several other rooms as well as the courtyard to show their amazing contraptions and costumes.

The Commodor employed kiwi birds to keep him informed about his position.

The Commodor employed kiwi birds to keep him informed about his position.

Throughout the house you can read “The Rime of the Ancient Commodore,” which is a whimsical epic poem about one of the artists’ alter ego and his unique quest for the answer to the longitude question. His theory? Animals know exactly where they are, so if you can learn to talk to animals, all you have to do is ask for directions 🙂 Make sure to take the time to watch the series of short films embedded between display cases to meet the artists and find out the ideas behind their amazing creations.

The exhibit costs 8.50, but you also get admission to the Cutty Sark and the complementary and more serious examination of longitude at the Maritime Museum called Ships, Clocks and Stars any time within a month of your first visit. It will run between now and January 2015, so don’t miss your chance to get punk’d!

But even if you aren’t in town in time for the exhibit, there is a ton to see at the observatory for fans of the Victorian era, and I am going to post soon about their permanent galleries as well so stay tuned.


Steampunk at the Piccadilly Market

I admit, I was expecting something quite different when I walked through the ornate iron gates to St James Square. The Piccadilly Market is a more or less permanent, open-air marketplace that operates 6 days a week. There are merry striped tents and merchants selling their wares as one would expect, but I thought it was going to be bigger, especially because of the long list of traders on the market’s website. I was especially excited because there is a section of that website devoted to the Steampunk offerings there.

Different days have different themes, so I picked the day listed as the best for antiques. I don’t know if this means there are no antiques other days, but I was surprised to see that there really wasn’t much there in the way of vintage stuff. But, what was there was pretty awesome.

Annette Jones is a vintage trader and jewelry designer who is only at the market on Tuesdays. Usually she doesn’t allow photography, but she gave me permission to snap a couple shots of her lovely pieces on display. The average bauble was out of my price range (this pounds to dollar conversion is killing me!) but if you are looking for just the right cameo or vintage ring this is a great place to check out. I especially loved the addition of the lovely antique mirrors patrons could use when trying on the pretties

. You can check out her website for more information, http://www.annettejones.co.uk.

The best booth for Steampunk stuff was definitely one by Ahura Collectibles, which was more or less across the aisle from Annette Jones. The only sign on the booth is for kaleidoscopes, but the other half of the display featured gorgeous refurbished early telephones, leather-bound and wood-sheathed spyglasses and a wide array of vintage compasses. I picked up one of the beautiful compasses with a foldable sundial complete with wooden box for safe-keeping for 18 pounds. I had to think long and hard about which one I wanted because they are all unique, but I was especially drawn to this one because it had the word “London” on it so I thought it would make an especially good souvenir. I would have loved a spyglass as well to add to my Steampunk explorer ensemble I have started to compile, but I limited myself to a nautical keychain made of brass.

This booth is at the Piccadilly market Tuesday through Saturday, and at Covent Garden Sundays and Mondays. Find out more at the website, ahuracollectibles.co.uk

I thought I was going to be able to do a large photo spread about this trip to the marketplace, but because it was so small I didn’t really get as much as I’d hoped.

Can anyone tell me any other places like flea markets or vintage shops in London to visit in the next two weeks?


Gearing up for Steam Tour: Weekend at the Asylum

I think I may have just snapped up the last affordable room in all of Lincoln last night as I made my arrangements for Europe’s largest Steampunk Convivial, Weekend at the Asylum. If you were thinking about going but you are still on the fence, make sure to get your tickets ASAP! They sold out of the Saturday only wristbands in the last day or so, and the Empire Ball was already sold out weeks ago. I am sorry to miss the ball, but I did get tickets for Lady Elsie’s Fashion Gala (a formal fashion show followed by dancing and socializing) as well as a burlesque event so your favorite Steampunk Roving Reporter will be able to bring you plenty of shenanigans well into the evening during the convention, which runs Sept 12-14. I will be tweeting and posting all weekend, which is also the last weekend of Steam Tour.

The website for the event run by the Victorian Steampunk Society is woefully short of details, but you can get event descriptions and buy tickets here.

Going to be at convention and want to meet, and maybe even pick up youth very own airship bumper sticker? Leave me a comment and we’ll be in touch!

Bumper Sticker to go with my Steampunk Zine!

Bumper Sticker to go with my Steampunk Zine!

 


Steampunk “Under the Gunn”

I was only 8 years old when reality TV got its kickstart in the form of MTV’s The Real World in 1992. Since then the genre has given us a variety of ways to put people in a cage and observe their movements, whether they be conniving their way to love or rising above the competition to claim fabulous prizes. I will admit that I followed the love lives of plastic people like Bret Michaels and Tila Tequila with the rest of the sheep (I comforted myself by imagining I was doing an exercise in Anthropology), but for me the reality shows that have always been the best and continue to surprise me are the fashion competitions.

I’ve already shown you what Steampunk treasures guilty pleasure America’s Next Top Model had to offer, and last night Project Runway: Under the Gunn stepped up to the plate with the prompt to create “avant garde looks in the Steampunk aesthetic.” The designers were given $300 to spend on fabric and 30 minutes to dig through gadgets, clocks and other hardware to give their looks some mechanical flair. While a couple designers did struggle with the concept, I was really impressed overall with the extent of their knowledge and clever interpretations.

Click on any photo to open a larger slideshow.

During the show, Lifetime.com invited viewers to “play along” by voting on different questions throughout the episode. The first poll asked if viewers liked Steampunk, and I was delighted to see 76% of people said that they did. Lifetime has the whole episode available here, as well as a great set of photos of each garment with zoom capabilities here.

More photos from Episode 7.

Did you know that Steampunk has found its way onto Project Runway before? Here is a collection from

Michelle Lesniak Franklin, Seaon 11 winner

Michelle Lesniak Franklin, Seaon 11 winner

Michelle Lesniak Franklin, Seaon 11 winner, in the workshop with Tim Gunn

Michelle Lesniak Franklin, Seaon 11 winner, in the workshop with Tim Gunn


Of Coke and Culture Clash

Twit storm

I don’t know if you all caught the Coke commercial during the Superbowl that is that causing such a ridiculous fuss, but the controversy stems from a rendition of America The Beautiful in multiple languages from the mouths of people who were various shades of brown. Apparently there has been a “twit-storm” as I like to say, as people have texted in to Coke to let them know that American songs should be sung in English, because apparently that is our national language or something (it is not). If you would like to alternately point and laugh, then feel enraged, you can read a sampling of the ascerbic word from the interwebs here (most of which have terrible spelling and grammar because they are written by lazy native English speakers).

Most models, steampunk or otherwise, look something like this

Most models, steampunk or otherwise, look something like this

So in the spirit of inclusiveness to counteract the mindless drones I have created a gallery below of Steampunk images that reflect influences from different cultures and often feature non-traditional models. Though some Steampunk purists may feel that something cannot in fact be considered Steampunk without Victorian England as it background, there is a growing movement to include people and settings from around the world. I have a lot more information on this topic as well in my post “How to Punk Your Steam: Make it Multicultural.”

 

Click on any thumbnail for larger images.


Some Steamy Offerings From Lost Bohemian

I was visiting a friend over the holidays and told her about this blog and what Steampunk is all about. Her reaction?

“All of that stuff that I really like, it has a name! And that name is Steampunk.”

Welcome to the fold, sister.

She was so inspired after our little chat that she created a beautiful, hand painted decorative plate, which is available for $250. You can reach her through her Lost Bohemian Facebook page.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And in addition to drawing and painting, she is also a world-class crocheter. I found this adorable scarflet for $40 just today on her website. Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

Lost Bohemian scarflet Lost Bohemian scarflet


Chappie, It’s Cold Outside!

By Lazy Pirate

I live in the frigid North (ie, Minnesota) and the temperature was -9 yesterday. This made my thoughts turn to warm drinks, roaring fires and cool coats to keep winter at bay. If you are in a cold climate, I hope this gallery of steamy coats and my recipe for a Hot Toddy will warm you right up! This drink dates back from the 1700s and was definitely enjoyed during Victorian times.

Hot Toddy
1 cup hot water
1.5 ounce whiskey or brandy
1 spoonful of honey
cinnamon stick
lemon juice (optional)

Pour hot water into your mug and stir in honey until completely dissolved. Add liquor of choice (using whiskey adds a smokey flavor, brandy is sweeter). Add a squirt of lemon juice if you choose (I am allergic so I never do but that is the normal way to make one) and stir with cinnamon stick.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images.