Whats Your Steampunk Style?

Leslie Rogalski Beads, baubles and steampunk jewelry
By now most of you have at least heard the term “steampunk.” Coined in the 1980’s, steampunk refers to a genre of fantasy and science fiction featuring steam-powered machinery and Victorian-style decorative arts, circa nineteenth century. It’s a style that has an industrial edginess yet is romantic, which endears itself to many of us.

Vintage or steampunk?
Think H.G. Wells, Bram Stoker, and Jules Verne. Think of movies such as Wild, Wild West, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and The Time Machine. And if you picture the details of the stuff in those films, the buttons and keys, the gears and cogs, the use of metal as a decorative element—and a highly romantic spirit—you have some idea of what will add steampunk-style to your designs.

Found Objects by Katie Hacker has more of a twentieth century vintage style in its pieces.

Unlocked Romance by Danielle Fox has the look of steampunk because of the lock and chains but also appears vintage in its delicate design.
Which style does it embody to you?


Dear Diary by Michelle Mach uses old keys and antiqued chain, giving it a steampunk story.

How to capture steampunk
One of the differences between steampunk- and vintage-style is the more mechanical aspect of steampunk elements, using pieces which once functioned rather than which were purely decorative. The exception would be fantasy charms and references, especially winged creatures such as angels and birds, which are characteristic of the Victorian times in general.

Through Time and Space

The necklace Through Time and Space by Melanie Brooks Lukacs is a time-traveler’s collection of souvenirs from a journey through a steampunk universe. Her combination of materials captures the essence of this style. Try giving your own work this look with some of these other objects popularly considered to evoke a steampunk era:

  • Civil War-era military trim
  • Military buttons and buckles
  • Leather straps
  • Insignia, such as medals of honor
  • Nautical symbols of the time period
  • Fantasy charms, especially winged creatures: birds, angels, and fairies
  • Old interesting keys and locks
  • Watch parts and watch faces
  • Gears, wheels, and cogs
  • Fancy hinges, hardware, and mechanical bits circa 1900s
  • Typewriter keys or printing press-type pieces
  • Old monocle and eyeglasses lenses
  • Chain with links, especially brass, steel, and gold colored
  • Scientific ephemera: pieces of machinery, lab gizmos, glass vials, etc.
[view:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMz1Y85OoUA] Watch the style take shape in a preview video
In the Bead, Baubles, and Jewels Series 1100 DVD, designer and artist Melanie Brooks Lukacs talks about how she brings steampunk-style to her ceramic beads and finished jewelry.

Watch the clip from the DVD now!

Beads, Baubles, and Jewels: Series 1100 is sure to inspire you to steam ahead in your designs.

What episode will you want to watch first in Series 1100? Does the steampunk-style get your creative ideas in motion? Share here on Beading Daily.

PS: Come visit me and your favorite authors and designers this weekend at Bead Fest Santa Fe, March 19-21 at the Santa Fe Convention Center and La Fonda Hotel on the Plaza. You can still sign up for classes as well as shop, shop, shop, watch free demos and enter to win door prizes. Be sure to bid on the Bead Star winning pieces, generously donated by the artists, to raise money for the American Heart Association.

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