Saturday, 18 December 2010

Steampunk Season's Greetings...

Hello again one and all!

Forgive the recent dearth of posts - times have been hectic and as per usual, the mundane tasks of everyday life must take precedence. However, Christmas is on its way and in accordance with the festive spirit, I'd like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Given how long it's been since I last posted, and how much Steampunkery has occurred in the mean time, in the next few days I'll be posting a series of retrospectives covering the past couple of months. So look out for them and their Steamy goodness!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Steampunk Chapeau

Forgive me dear friends, for having been away for so long. The whirlwind that is university has started once again, and my time has been spent running from desk to library, library to desk, and back again... But! I have found time to add a little more steam to my life.

You may remember from a previous post, that I purchased a lovely top hat a few weeks ago. Well, I finally got around to making a suitably Steampunk hatband for it. Here's the finished result:

Before I even began making the band, I had decided that I wanted it to be detachable in order to allow me to switch between bands in different colours, so as to be able to coordinate with whatever outfit I happen to be wearing. To do this I simply added two small press studs to either end of the green jute ribbon, allowing me to remove and reattach the band at will. This particular band is designed to go with a fabulous, emerald-coloured underbust corset I have. After rummaging through a local craft store in search of anything and everything green, I bought a couple of large peacock feathers to add a little drama. Their colours complement the jute ribbon and copper wire perfectly, and although they are rather ostentatious, they have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I like to show off... *whistles innocently*

The wire wrapped metal washer was actually something I found lying around - literally. It was shining on the pavement one sunny May day, and having picked it up and brought it home, it's been lying in a drawer for months. In order to make it more Steampunk-esque, I wrapped thin copper jewellery wire around it; covering approximately one-third of the circle, with a small amount on the opposite side to add a little 'visual balance'. Using the washer to obscure the join in the hatband, I looped several strands of good, strong thread through the wires on the back and sewed it directly to the ribbon itself. To further hide the ends of the jute ribbon, I made a few loops of garden wire and wraped some strands of the leftover jute ribbon around them to create a kind of 'avant-garde accoutrement' which I placed poking out from behind the metal washer as a finishing touch.

I'm so pleased it turned out well, as it was an absolute nightmare to make. Having never done any kind of millinery work before, I approached it from completely the wrong angle in terms of construction. I attached the feathers last, despite their being behind the metalwork (an elementary mistake, my dear Watson). I had to significantly change my plans to wire-wrap the washer. Dust and fibres from the jute ribbon covered the hat in a light green film, which I then had to pick off by hand. Coupled with this, a staggering amount of university work, meant that I also ended up making it at 1am...

However, for all its faults, in retrospect, making it is probably the single most useful lesson in 'how not to do it' I've ever had. A lesson extremely well learned, believe you me.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Ear Ornamentation of an Electrified Sort...

Well hello again everyone!

It's been an insanely busy few days for me, hence the recent dearth of posts. I've been busy redressing the balance of wearable winter clothing, by acquiring a new coat (black, ankle length and pleasingly swishable), new shoes, and a delightful ruby-red hat and scarf ensemble to fight off the winter blizzards, should they materialize.

The days have not been completely without Steam however.

A few months ago I bought a pair of vintage gold clip-on earrings in a little antique shop for the bargain price of £2. I didn't particularly like them as they were, but they vaguely reminded me of that quintessentially Victorian invention, the Wimshurst machine. For a while I didn't know quite what to do with them, so they languished in a drawer until some random fragment of inspiration eventually struck me a few days ago. Following on with the sparky, electrical theme I decided to add a couple of Tesla-esque copper wire coils to either side. And here's the result:

I deliberately went for a slightly haywire, mad-inventor vibe by making the coils a little irregular, which also helps to stop the earrings from looking too manufactured and 'shop-bought'. I've noticed that the copper wire has already lost the extremely high shine it first had when straight out of the packet, and has now acquired a soft patina, giving the earrings a wonderful aged appearance that I couldn't be happier with. Hopefully they'll continue to age as I wear them, though I do hope they don't develop verdigris as I like the contrast between the gold and the copper.

Modifying the earrings didn't take me very long (I'd say about an hour, all told), and aside from the £2 price of the earrings, cost only the £1-ish for the copper wire (of which I still have a great deal left) and a ball point pen which I sacrificed for the inner cartridge, in order to wrap the wire around to create the coils. So there we are, an electrified pair of Steampunk earrings for less than a fiver!

But of course, with every great thing there comes a sacrifice...
So alas, poor Biro, I knew him well... ;-)

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A Steampunk Stairway to Heaven...

I just stumbled across this little gem of inspiration for anyone interested in Steampunk-ifying their home.

The wrought iron spiral staircase ascending to a mezzanine lined with bookshelves (and haven't we all secretly longed to have a library with a balcony? Heavenly!), the industrial pendant lights, the railway station clock, those magnificent Corinthian columns... I could go on and on about this room. With a few more overtly Victorian touches and/or brass scientific instruments about the place, this would be quite the Steampunk 'des res'...

Unfortunately, the original site doesn't give any further details as to where it is, who created it etc; so if you were hoping to commission your own little Steampunk literary haven, then the chance of finding the person or persons responsible is depressingly slim.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Sweet (Steampunk) dreams are made of this...

This is going to be a short post for two reasons.

1 - I'm in something of a hurry, but couldn't bear not to share this with you. And...
2 - It's simply so exquisite that it speaks for itself.


Clockwork hard leather corset (custom) by BruteForceStudios on Etsy.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

A Sophisticated Soiree of the Steampunk Sort...

Calling all Steampunks! In case you didn't know already, the UK's biggest Steampunk festival, The Asylum is happening next month in Lincoln. Tickets are still available, so if you have the means, motivation and opportunity, I strongly recommend a trip there this September 10th-12th.

Such a large Steampunk gathering will undoubtedly result in a plethora of veritable delights - trade stalls, workshops, exhibitions, and the chance to meet fellow Steampunks. Indeed, some decidedly exciting news from the festival, is that renowned author Robert Rankin is to launch his latest book, The Japanese Devil Fish Girl, at a booksigning during the event. While all of this is an undoubted draw to anyone interested in the Steampunk genre, it's worth noting that even without the presence of the Asylum, Lincoln itself is well worth a visit. I actually considered going to Lincoln University, which given my propensity for historic surroundings, should tell you everything you need to know about the city. 'Picturesque' has never been so apt. Coupled with the added attractions of the Asylum, spending three days in Lincoln is a decidedly appealing prospect.

Alas however, I cannot go, as university once again beckons and preparations for returning to my dear alma mater will be in full swing. Packing, as I'm sure you know, is an absolute pain; and trying to cram everything I'll need for a year away from home into a suitcase and holdall, decidedly so. The sheer volume of clothing, shoes, books, toliletries etc. is almost unnerving, and is definitely not helped by that natural process of accumulation. The occasional yet continual purchase of little odds and ends, which at the time seem small and insignificant, but overall represent a sizeable volume which requires careful and strategic packing. Of course, the fact that I now have to accomodate a top hat, is of course, neither here nor there... *whistles innocently*

Perhaps it's a good thing I can't go to the Asylum - I'd probably end up with even more...

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Tale of the Tremendously Tip-Top Topper...

Hello again one and all! First, please allow me to offer my most sincere apologies for neglecting both you and this blog for so long. I'm sure you appreciate how the mundane specificalities of life can sometimes run away with you, to the detriment of everything else.

Second, allow me to return to Steampunk-ified goodness by relaying the tale of my delectable new top hat! I've wanted one for many, many months; spent hours scouring the internet, hours more humming and hawing over which one to buy; forced myself to finally make a decision; stressed over whether it would be everything I hoped... only to find, it is. Quite simply, I love it.

A vintage silk top hat - of the kind I cannot afford... alas.

Not being the most financially liquid of Steampunk devotees, a top hat was a somewhat major purchase for me. I originally wanted a nice little vintage silk number, only to discover that I possessed a childlike naiveté regarding the price of such things. Suffice it to say, they are expensive and decidedly beyond my budget. However, not to be deterred, I set my sights a little lower and finally arrived at a lovely Victorian style black wool model, complete with cherry-red satin lining. Delicious.

Although it already has a black moire-silk band, I have plans to make various interchangeable, colour co-ordinated hat bands to match whatever outfit I happen to be wearing. Hopefully, the little press-studs I've bought will be strong enough to allow me to add lots of ribbon, feathers and clockwork cogs and gears. I'm particularly keen to make a hat band for my still under-wraps Halloween costume...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Dash it all, man!

Well, what a palaver this week has been! An absolutely catastrophic laptop failure has caused no-end of problems, and resulted in my being 'discongoogleated' for six days! The fact that six days should seem like an eternity is probably quite a sad indictment of either modern culture, myself, or both, but there it is. In my defence, I do actually need internet access for my university studies, but I admit that having no access to Facebook for less than a week shouldn't seem like as much of a disaster as it did at the time...

What a cockamamie world we live in!

Oh well, it did give me a good excuse to use the word 'cockamamie'... and 'palaver' - I like that word too.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Through neo-Victorian tinted glasses...

I just bought this utterly fabulous pair of neo-Victorian sunglasses on eBay - what a find!! They'll be the perfect accompaniment to my Steampunk style Halloween costume; though the overall theme of my costume remains a closely guarded secret... Stay tuned to find out!

Sherlock goes Steampunk...

I recently saw Joel Silver's version of Sherlock Holmes, starring the delectable Robert Downey Jr. as the eponymous detective. If you haven't seen it, I'm not going to reveal any plot details so you can feel free to read on; I will simply say that it was an absolutely rip-roaring adventure and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The story was intriguing enough to hold the attention without being overly taxing, the casting was spot-on, and Downey Jr's English accent was perfect - posh and plummy, but without the theatricality which so often plagues American actors' attempts at the British brogue. Although it wasn't prominent (especially at the start) the movie had a definite Steampunk vibe, with the climactic scenes offering tantalising visuals of rivets, bolts and brass. Fingers crossed the inevitable sequel will up the engineering ante...

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Allow me to make your acquaintance...

Hello! Well, this is (as I'm sure you can tell) my very first entry in the Steampunk Periodical. Over the coming months, I hope to chronicle anything and everything relating to the bewitching, beguiling beauty that is Steampunk. Hopefully, you'll enjoy reading it as much as I hope to enjoy writing it. Now, on with the business at hand...