Friday, April 5, 2013

Steampunk Leanings

Steampunk is a movement that's been having its day lately in literature, fandom, and design.  If you aren't familiar with the steampunk aesthetic, here's a cliff notes explanation for you:  it's most often considered a sub-genre of science fiction that is usually a re-imagined past or a post-apocalyptic future where steam technology has developed more elaborately than it ever did in our actual history.  For instance, instead of travel by airplanes, you would use dirigibles or ornithopters.

Me looking all serious in my steampunk inspired outfit at a local con.
In books you tend to see a mix of Victorian England or the American wild west with crazy steam-powered gadgets and often a little dose of the supernatural.  Here are a few of my favorite books from this sub-genre in no particular order.  Some are adult and some teen...and I'm not telling you which!
  • Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
  • Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  • Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
  • Soulless (as well as the rest of the Parasol Protectorate series) by Gail Carriger
As far as steampunk themed jewelry designs go, you often see things like keys, gears, re-purposed lockets and watch faces.  If you are interested, Jean Campbell wrote a cool book called Steampunk-Style Jewelry.  I haven't gone too crazy with any of my steampunk-type designs, but I've dipped my toe into the pool.

Here is a steampunk inspired necklace that I made in my recent adventures in UV resin.

I used a cool piece of scrapbook paper that was like an old-fashioned hardware ad in the bezel with resin over it.  I loved the gears on it...and originally thought I'd add some metal gear pieces into the necklace.  In the end, I went with a variety of interesting gemstones and a cool key copper toggle clasp along with the chunky copper chain.  I'm pretty proud of the wire wraps I used on the ocean jasper faceted teardrop!

And here is an older piece (I'm wearing it in the picture of me up above!) that I made to go with my costume that I wear to sci-fi/fantasy cons.  I wear this one in real life too, usually with a black turtleneck or something fairly simple.

I fell in love with the key hole pendant from Earthenwood Studio and built my design from there.  I added in some gears, including an enameled one from C-Koop Beads, as well as a couple of different key charms for the long, dangly pendant.  Since steampunk is all about mixing things up, I used two different types of chain... a smooth brass on one side and a snakeskin textured gunmetal on the other.  

It's funny and kind of neat looking back on something that you made a while ago... I think this one is from 2010.  My design aesthetic has certainly shifted over time and my skill set has grown quite a bit since then!  This was one of the first necklaces I made with an asymmetrical design and it was also the first time I attempted a wire wrapped bail.  I feel like I've really come a long way when it comes to jewelry design!  While I still like this necklace, I would probably do some things a little differently if I was making it today.  

Are any of you steampunk fans?  I'd love to hear if you have any great steampunk books that I may have missed.  Even though I always have a huge pile of books in my "to read" pile, I'm always looking for more suggestions.  Please let me know what great books you have come across in the comments!

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