Hot Summer Read: Get Steampunk'd
August 15, 2012 | Alice | Comments (0)
by Thomas Willeford
Steampunk, according to Willeford, harkens to a world of gadgets, alternative history, mad scientists, and dashing heroes. Advanced technology of the computer age has no place here. While there are authors of fiction writing the Steampunk story, willefords book shows fans how to build the gadgets. Just looking at them and reading his descriptions is fantasy itself. Be aware that his projects are not easy, but use many skills and tools of the tradesman, and asks you to work with copper, leather, and power tools, among other things. His instructions, both written and visual, are precise, but you'll need to heed his advice and set yourself up a workshop to be a nattily-attired Steampunk character.
Let's start with a bit about what steampunk actually is. Here's a nicely complete definition from Wikipedia:
Steampunk is a genre that originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternative history, horro, and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used—whether in an alternative history such as Victorian era Britain or "Wild West"-era United States, or in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology, or futuristic innovations as Victorians might have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective onfashion, culture, architectural style, and art. This technology includes such fictional machines as those found in the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the contemporary authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, and China Mieville.
Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace's Analytical Engine.
Steampunk also refers to art, fashion, and design that are informed by the aesthetics of steampunk literature. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.
The aesthetics and the romance of it are defining features, to be sure - so much so that I'll take a look at some costumes later today, which are great fun.
So. Now you know what we're talking about.
But what about this book? It shows you how to make some really great costume pieces, and if you are into making your own costumes, it's a great resource. The end results that they show are extremely authentic-looking and high-end - but that quality comes at a price. The thing is, you really have to have some mad making skills, access to materials, and more importantly, a decently-equipped workshop to do most of this.
If you think this might be your thing but aren't super-crafty just yet, you might ask around and try to find someone with some equipment and some talent at creating to help you get started. If you are a well-seasoned tool handler already, these projects might still be a challenge - but hey, who doesn't love a good challenge?
You might just end up with something as great-looking as the author, pictured below wearing two of the projects you will find in this book:
"Wrong Number!" by Pete Labrozzi
Model: Thomas Willeford
Wardrobe by: Brute Force Studios
Created using Westcott lighting products.
This photo was selected as a finalist in the Westcott Shoot It First, PSW Photo Faceoff!