Archive for the ‘Jewelry’ Category

The first panel I went to at Comicpalooza, last month, was Friday at 10 AM, it was a make-n-take. The beautiful and lively anime voice-actress Claire Hamilton helped me and the other attendees create a tentacle necklace. I had so much fun in that make-n-take. I mean who doesn’t love tentacles?

Making Tentacles at Comicpalooza

Making Tentacles at Comicpalooza

We were all provided with polymer clay in a vivid selection of colors. The clay comes in four sectioned off areas. We each took one of those small sections in the color of our choice for the tentacle and a half section in another color for the suckers. We pulled off enough off the bigger section to roll and shape it into our tentacle. Twisting it around until we had it the way we wanted it. Then we took the half portion of a small section of clay and used the edge of our comicpalooza badges to slice it into small pieces. We rolled those into tiny balls for the suckers. We were each given a toothpick and used it to make the indentions in our suckers. We stuck the suckers onto the tentacle. We also used the toothpick to punch a hole in the clay so we could string it onto a cord for a necklace.   When we were finished we used special hand held dryers like blow dryers but hotter, to firm them enough until we could get them home and bake them. Heating our Tentacles

Once home we baked them in our kitchen ovens at approximately 110 degrees for about 30 minutes. When you try this in your on oven, please be aware oven temperatures vary so keep an eye on the tentacle to make sure it doesn’t bake over or under the needed time.

Here are some youtube videos on making tentacle necklaces:

Making tentacle necklaces is fun, easy and … very Steampunk. A tentacle necklace make-n-take is also a great panel to do for readers at a convention.

                                      ~          ~         ~

 Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space, which is as crazy and as entertaining as it sounds. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

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Today we welcome Trish from Sin City Steampunk!

Sin City Steampunk — Creating Wearable Art

sin city 5My my name is Trish Ellis of Sin City Steampunk. We’re an online emporium, but I also do local events in Las Vegas such as First Friday.

sin city 4I make wearable steampunk art and my line includes pendants, bracelets, rings, pin on art, earrings and hair clips. My men’s line includes ear studs, cuff-links, and  tie clips.

sin city 2New additions to my line include goggles, money clips, and iPone 4&4s phone cases. Being in Las Vegas, I’m also adding flasks and shot glasses.

sin city 3So come and visit www.sincitysteampunk13.com for some unique steampunk creations!

sin city 1


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Artist Michael Treat

Artist Michael Treat

The airship just landed in Minnesota at the twin cities. I’ve loved Minneapolis and St. Paul ever since the Mary Tyler Moore show and today we’re here to welcome aboard Steampunk Artist Michael Treat. “This way, “ I say and we are soon in the parlor and he’s sits on the  hand carved, chenille upholstered settee.

I slide down into the matching cushioned side chair and offer him some freshly brewed coffee rather than tea. “ I notice you’re known as a coffee snob and you created a fabulous collection of wine and coffee art. Since most writers are heavy coffee drinkers and people love to go to coffee shops to read, the literary world also considers coffee to be pretty important, so I have to ask, what is your favorite coffee or coffee shop?”

Holding the porcelain coffee cup, he takes a sip. “My favorite coffee is most definitely light roast. Ideally, I prefer something above a New England roast and a tad under a Full City roast. I usually prefer beans from Latin America; Guatemalan, Bolivian and Peruvian beans are some of my favorites. Lately I’ve been brewing coffee from the Dominican Republic. I also enjoy coffee with African origins. Rwandan coffee is fabulous. I’ll only drink dark roast if I roast the beans myself. I produce a really nice Italian roast all my dark roast friends love.

Whenever I can get them, there are beans from the Yemeni Republic that are limited to a few harvest weeks in the summer months that are THE BEST I’ve ever tasted. The soil and altitude they grow at are unique and the quantity is extremely limited. I like to sit and watch the beans change colors inside the glass roasting chamber with a new, brilliant color about every fifteen seconds or so. Now that I made my previous artistic hobbies into my job, home roasting coffee has become a hobby of mine that I truly enjoy.

As for going out for coffee, Minneapolis is full of great coffee shops. My neighborhood has a few that I frequent including Fire Roast Mountain, The Riverview Café and the Blue Moon. There is also a wonderful biker themed coffee shop in Uptown Minneapolis that is open late called Bob’s Java Hut. One of my new favorite haunts is in St Paul called Quixotic where they handcraft each cup you order.”

“How  yummy. Apparently coffee goes as well with art as it does with reading and writing.” The coffee cups rattle slightly as the airship lifts off. “I’ve been wondering, what inspired you to take your art in a Steampunk direction?”

He set his cup down on the mahogany coffee table and leaned back against the deep red cushioned seetee. “For me, I think it all started when I began working with materials that are dominant in the Steampunk genre including leather, unbleached fabrics, lace, grommets, eyelets, tack and  wood. Oh–and of course all of those metals! I very much enjoy working with brass, copper, wrought iron and rusty steel with all of their tarnish and patinas. I enjoy working with each material individually, and combining them in new and different ways.

As I learned more and more about the genre, and researched what it was about,  I realized I had found a place to incorporate those elements and the styles into just about anything I could imagine. I love the Steampunk genre because of the modification process that Steampunk allows, and often even demands!

I also really feel a sort of kinship with the American Old West. I admire the optimism that came along with all the hardships and uncertainties of that time period. I also enjoy how that unique creativity, optimism and sense of possibilities and vision is reflected in those who live the Steampunk lifestyle today.”

We both set our cups down and I refilled each with the steamy dark brew. “It’s wonderful you were drawn to Steampunk with your art for the same reasons most writers are drawn to the genre.  In fact you are a writer yourself as you write comics, what similarities and differences do you find in the creative process between literate and visual art?”

“Drawing is a skill that is incorporated into just about everything I do. Whether it’s technical or totally expressive, being able to draw has served my creative process well. I’m a fan of graphic novels because they challenge writers to present the fundamental elements of a  story to the artist to then fill in the visual needs of the piece. I still enjoy text based novels as I like to create my own images in my mind to complement the story. It’s also fun to see someone else’s interpretation of a writer’s ideas or to be the person who gets to share your images with others and help create the story for that new audience.

I took a class with Allyson McGhee (NY Times best seller and Pulitzer Prize Nominee for Shadow Baby) in 2004 and completed an alternative assignment: a comic page with two or more characters discussing a pair of broken glasses. I chose that assignment over an essay about my job; at that time I was a corrections officer in a maximum security prison.

The next day I showed it to the class and Allyson and my fellow writers received it with unexpected praise and enthusiasm. At the end of the course, she told me, “I know you want to write novels, but you should really consider doing something with your cartooning and your ability to draw well.” That advice stuck with me and I began to seriously study cartooning and comics. In 2005, I even ended up creating a comic strip versions of the chronicles of Gary “The Walkingman” Hause on his website.  Walkingman Cartoons

He showed me The Adventures of The Walkingman. “This is better than my favorite Penney Dreadful. Indeed, you ar quite a talented writer as well as an artist. Keep it up and you can’t go wrong with advice from award winning, best seller author Allyson McGhee.” We both set our cups down on the coffee table and I brimmed them full of more strong coffee. “You work in all these different artistic areas comics, jewelry, sculptures, collages and paintings. What is your favorite?”

“While I enjoy each artistic area in it’s own right, I think I enjoy comics the most. I get to make one thing and technology does the rest – thank you Mr. Guttenberg and your printing press. I also like that it’s the first art form that I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with other artists/writers and not do all the work on my own. I also enjoy working on projects that defy one clear category.”

“Your comics are soo good, I can certainly see why you enjoy that medium but all your art is fabulous. I especially find your Bonzo sculpture intriguing. Tell me about it?”

“Bonzo was a 1/6 scale scratch figure I started without any clear picture in mind. At that point, I was just learning how to work together the brass, copper, and wood bits you see in the piece. His creation covered two projects for me: making a from-scratch steampunk-themed robot figure and creating a vehicle in the same scale/size. He has a driver/partner whose a cyborg that has some fun accessories I made totally from scratch as well.

Bonzo, an original steampunk creation of Michael Treat

Bonzo, an original steampunk creation of Michael Treat

Bonzo and his driver, B Scott Quigley, are a delivery and conveyance team. Basically, they’re like a Victorian era version of FedEx and your local cab company combined into one.

I learned a lot from creating these two including metal and wood working, leather craft, basic mechanics, and image reduction, a technique which I used for making tiny gages on the instrument panels.

People who see Bonzo are most impressed with his head sculpt but it was actually the easiest part of the piece to complete. The hardest part was his core. Putting that together was tough! And his hands. They’re totally functional. But a whole other story.”

After another sip of the rich, smooth coffee, I set my cup down. “A Victorian era FedEx, I love that. You mentioned you began Bonzo without any clear picture in mind.  Do you usually sketch your art out before beginning your sculptures, jewelry, and paintings? What is your creative process?”

“I do a lot more of that now. I like to have as clear of a plan of what it is I’m trying to accomplish before I execute the creation process. However, there are times when I just have to pick my material and my tools, and just allow a piece to manifest.”

I grabbed my fan off the table and with a flick of my wrist I spread it, fluttering it in front of my face. It gets a little stuffy in the airship. “You are so talented.  I was wondering how young you were when you first became involved in art?”

“My talent was first noticed in third grade when I got a drawing published in a school paper . I drew an armored car that I used to see driving by the school yard daily. Drawing for me was just something that happened, until I decided to take art seriously and pursuit it professionally, most of the art I created just sort of happened. Now, I work in such a way that I regularly create a space for my creative process to happen on a daily basis.”

I shut my fan and placed it in my lap. “You put that so beautifully. It’s the same process for writers, at first we write when in the mood but to write professionally you have to make your own mood. It’s hard to explain that sometimes to non-writers or beginner writers but you said it so well. Apparently that’s another way in which visual art and literary art are similar. Speaking of your art, your wonderful creations, what are your personal favorites and why?”

“Generally, I don’t get too attached to my own work. While I’m proud of what I produce, for me it’s sort of like being a chef who prefers to cook for the enjoyment of others and have someone else prepare a dish for him or her at the end of the day.

I do have one specific coffee collage that I created that I do really like. It has an old west/Victorian/Steampunk feel to it.

Kitchen Art: Coffee Mug Collage No. 5

Kitchen Art: Coffee Mug Collage No. 5

More recently, I’ve been doing some cityscape work, for the LoLa Art Crawl, an event by a group to which I belong called the League of Longfellow Artists, I created two cityscapes. I was inspired by Checo Diego’s “You Are Here I” and “You Are Here II” drawings. With that inspiration, as well as being inspired by the skylines of the Twin Cities, I created a pen and pencil sketch of each skyline and transferred those drawings to 40″ x 60″ canvases. I find that I can look at those two pieces and feel happy with how they turned out. I also very much enjoyed talking with people about those pieces, and I really enjoyed going through each skyline with natives to the area and picking out points of interest that I incorporated into the drawings.”

LoLa Art Crawl, Site 14: Merlin’s Rest: Mike Treat, Smirking Tiger, with St Paul Cityscape and 2 wine paintings.

The cups began to rattle again. “We are landing. Let me ask just one more question. It’s about your Etsy gallery, I love the name Smirking Tiger and your logo is so simple yet stunning, what inspired you to come up with that name and logo?”

“The name of my Etsy shop, and my business, is a good example of how my artistic skills can benefit others, but not necessarily my own immediate needs. My wife, Brenda Peterson, and I brainstormed to come up with a name for my business. After deciding on Smirking Tiger, it was definitely a challenge to determine how to draw a relatively simple representation of a smirking tiger for the logo. It was tough!

I probably sketched two full pads of ideas out with hundreds of rough images and ideas, eventually getting to the point of doing some decent finished works of tigers, but it still didn’t seem quite right. I was missing the mark on  my goal of creating a simple, eye catching image that evoked curiosity and piqued people’s interest in what this whole “Smirking Tiger” thing was all about.

That’s when my wife showed me the Chinese symbol for king, and a description that said the following: “Facial markings on the tiger’s forehead resemble the Chinese character for King (and interestingly enough, the Korean character for Queen), therefore, the Chinese see the tiger as the King of Beasts.”  Here is the picture that she originally showed me.

King Tiger

King Tiger

Since my astrological sign is also the tiger, my wife then suggested I modify this symbol to incorporate the smirk where the straight lines originally were. I was approaching a deadline when I needed to finalize my new logo. I put aside my perfectionism and went with her idea. I worked in the smirking expression form and a couple of physical characteristics of what a smirking tiger might look like.  From there, my new logo was born. What I originally considered my “temporary” logo, I’ve now adopted as my personal brand and avatar.”

 Smirking Tiger logo.

Smirking Tiger logo.

He grasped onto his settee and I onto my chair as the ship rocked slightly. “What a wonderful story, it makes the logo even more interesting. I hate to say it but we have landed. I must bid you farewell so you can return to your studio and create more stunning Steampunk art.

Michael Treat creating a wine painting at the LoLa Art Crawl

Michael Treat creating a wine painting at the LoLa Art Crawl

But I and all the Steamed readers can always visit you at  Smirking Tiger on  Etsy,  Smirking Tiger on  Pinterest and your Smirking Tiger Steampunk Figures on Pinterest as well as Smirking Tiger Steampunk Jewelry on Pinterest plus Smirking Tiger on Facebook & Smirking Tiger on  Twitter


Maeve Alpin

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Today we welcome Sally-Ann Livingston of The Navigatrix.

Serendipitous Adaptations

by Sally-Ann Livingston, Creatrix and Owner of The Navigatrix


I always loved stories. …and making things. That’s how I ended up with a Degree in Design Representation (modelmaking) in 1996. Hoping to break into SFX modelmaking, I spent three years doing various work in the fields of product, advertising, museum display (I made half a Hindenburg for Singapore) and, mostly, architectural models. The world of film was so hard to break into and so, inevitably, came the stress-induced crunch. I left modelmaking to retrain as a Montessori pre-school teacher. Along the way, I also learned to be a Reiki Teacher Practitioner. I left teaching to set up my holistic practice full-time, then became a mother in 2008.


Funny thing, change. We resist it and yet it is so necessary to our survival. I think one of the things that draws me to Steampunk is the adoration of an age in which huge changes were made, the human survival skill of adaptation blossomed in a very materialistic as well as spiritual way. I can now appreciate, from my meandering career path, how important it is to creatively adapt to whatever is happening around you today.


So, I found myself in a new house, settling into motherhood, beginning my Reiki Practice business all over again. My brother (another modelmaker) moved in nearby and began to set up an Etsy shop. Through talking to him and a friend, I began to get really interested in Steampunk to the extent that I began to put a costume together. I made a couple of accessories and suddenly had the thought that I could sell them. I asked Matt if I could put them in his shop and his reply was the spark that re-ignited my creativity: “Why not make your own shop?”.


I have gone by many names in the past. Well, that’s what happens when one of your hobbies is Live Roleplaying. My most recent pseudonym, however, is my first Steampunk character and also the first I have created without following rules or guidelines. You may recognise the name Sophia Cardea if you’ve heard of Brass Goggles. She is the guiding concept behind The Navigatrix, an independent woman who has a skill at find her way through life, both geographically and metaphysically. From a practical point of view, I started this shop as a mum on low income, making what I could with what I’ve got. Having started by buying my materials through local charity shops, I soon realised that this was a good way to run a business. Each of my designs are one off creations due to the limitations of my materials. I do use a few new elements but for the most part, I upcycle second-hand, found and remnant materials. My items are inspired by Steampunk and the Neo-Victorian movement. Even the quotes I use are from founders of new age popular metaphysics (that have lead to books like The Secret and the ideas of Louise Hay).


My intention is to create a successful business that as well as providing a gratefully received stream of income for my family, also supports local charities regularly and encourages others who, like me, begin with not much more than a good idea, a steaming kettle and a heart full of enthusiasm. When change stumbles over you, take the opportunity to become inspired! Wishing you all Happiness, Health and all kinds of Wealth,




The Navigatrix and Arcane Armoury will be sharing a stall outside Lincoln Castle for Weekend at the Asylum, Europe’s largest Steampunk event, Trading on the 8th-9th September 2012. http://steampunk.synthasite.com/


Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheNavigatrix

Blog: http://thenavigatrixatetsy.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Navigatrix-Steampunk-inspired-Original-Crafts/239246576161938?ref=hl

Brother shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArcaneArmoury



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First off, I’d like to announce the winner of the ARC of God Save the Queen:

Romance Reader Enthusiast

Also, INNOCENT DARKNESS is book of the month over at Novel Novice. There’s going to be tons of fun stuff including a Steampunk writing contest.

Next off, we have a special contest for you today!

Christine Cavataio runs http://www.steamheatdesigns.com – which makes *very* beautiful Steampunk jewelry. 
Here’s what she has to say about why she loves to make Steampunk designs:
For the past 30 years I have been an artist and the style of Steampunk has been a part of much of my work. I started out as an artist creating paintings and then moved into graphic art and illustration as a career. The style of Steampunk comes very natural to me since I have explored the contrast of design in industrial elements along with the detail and flourishes of the Victorian period. Although in the past I have depicted these in my illustrations now it seems to work best for me, in a creative sense, to put these ideas into jewelry design. It’s great to develop pieces of art that people enjoy wearing!
She has made this beautiful Steampunk bracelet for one of YOU!  All you have to do is tell us what kind of Steampunk jewelry you’d design if you could (it could be serious or silly, realistic or totally impossible). 
 If you need inspiration make sure you check out Steamheat’s site. You can also follow her on twitter
Thanks to Steamheat Designs for donating the bracelet. Contest open in North America only.  Prize will come directly from Steamheat Designs.  One entry per person. Contest ends July 8th, 11:59 PM PST .

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Jim Best is the director of youth ministries at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles, Illinois.  He creates jewelry and clockwork creatures in his spare time and is a member of the Promethean Society.  He has a new Etsy shop called Clockwork Curiosities and can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Jabsloth.

Confessions of a Steampunk Jewelry Maker

 by Jim Best

I want to begin by thanking Suzanne for letting me stretch my virtual pen and introduce my own two cents into Steampunkapalooza.  I apologize for my ramblings in advance, but this is what happens when you give a preacher a podium.

I get laughed at a lot.  Okay, some of it I bring on myself, and some of it is just because I am more than a little eccentric, but last year at TeslaCon 2, several people poked fun at me because during the dance, I stopped to pick up little bits of broken jewelry from the floor and put them in my pocket.  I get the same reaction when I stop to pick up a rusted piece of metal on the street, or go to the hardware store and peruse the nuts and bolts looking for something interesting.  The people at Ace have learned to stop asking me if I need help finding anything.

 People a lot smarter than I have talked at great length about what has drawn people to steampunk over the past few years and turned it into the movement that it is today, but for me it came down to one major point.  I had spent most of my time doing things like playing computer games or watching TV; activities that, while fun, created nothing lasting.  I felt like I needed to be doing more.  I felt like I should be adding something to the beauty of the world.  Seeing some of the amazing creations of people at steampunk events around Chicago and Milwaukee, I knew I had to try my hand at creating things as well.

  The first piece of jewelry that I tried to create was really basic.  I wanted a pin that would look like a clockwork bug.  I had a nice watch movement to use as the base, but was having problems finding something I liked for the wings.  I was sitting at my desk with the idea of looking online for ideas, when my eyes glanced down at a flattened penny I’d been given at the Frenzy Universe booth many years before.  I have no idea why I’d kept it all this time, except that when I was given the pressed coin, the girl at the booth told me to “take it and make something out of it.”  Holding it up to the watch movement, I knew I’d found my wing.

Since that day, I’ve made a lot of jewelry.  Most of it I give away to friends, some I sell, and some just clutters up the house, waiting for its moment.  And for me, making the jewelry has really solidified what I love about steampunk.  Whether it is making an airship out of a flattened penny, some wire, and some watch parts, or turning some broken metal found on a dance floor into a clockwork beetle, when it comes to steampunk fashion and art, absolutely nothing is useless!  Everything can be turned into something beautiful and wild.

This right here is my own steampunk philosophy.  Everything and everyone has a purpose!  It may not be the expected thing; we’ve all seen pepper shakers turned into ray guns, or mason jar lids turned into goggles.  And it may not be what society tells you is the proper use; I’ve seen copper toilet floats turned into mechanical owls, and cardboard and spray paint turned into the fist of an emperor, so none of that matters.  We don’t have to worry about what society tells us our place is, or worry that we’re not doing what is expected of us.  We are steampunks, emphasis on the Punk!  And in steampunk nothing is useless and nothing is junk.  We all have a place in the world.  We are all useful and all beautiful!

–Jim Best

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Today is the last day you can participate in the YA Trick or Treat Party (I’m giving away buttons.)

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow.  If you’re writing Steampunk come join us at the Writing Steampunk yahoo group,  make sure you say you learned about us on Steamed.

Artist Brigid Ashwood makes beautiful art–I’ve been drooling over her designs for years.  She is part of a brand new company called Secret Scents, which makes beautiful lockets filled with beeswax-based solid perfume.  They have a wide variety of designs including Steampunk (love the butterfly), Vintage Romance, and Victorian ones designed by Brigid Ashwood, Lisa Steinke, and Ash Evans.  There are many, many scents to choose from  provided by Mystic Memories Artisan Perfumes.

I have the butterfly teacup one from the Victorian collection (in sepia, they also have it in color).  As pretty as it is in the picture, it surpassed my expectations when I actually held it in my hands.  It’s beautiful, not too heavy or too big, nice quality, and the tea linen scent is nice and light when I wear it (I prefer very light, fresh scents.)  The beeswax perfume isn’t greasy and it’s not overpowering to wear a locket full of it around my neck.

You can also mix and match and customize your locket by choosing if you want our locket brass or silver,  what scent you want it in ( or no scent at all), you can even have a custom picture (which might make for a nice holiday gift.)

There are other collections, including so cute it burns with pictures of whimsical little creatures and butterfly wisdom.  All the designs are just so pretty (or cute) and would be great for your fave Steampunk outfit, going out, or a special gift.

As a special trick-or-treat Halloween surprise, one of you will win one of your very own and will have your choice of any of the regular lockets from their collection.  All you have to do is tell me which one you’d wear and where you’d wear it in the comment box!

Contest closes Sunday November 6, 2011 ay 11:59 PM PST.  Winner chosen at random. Contest open to those in the U.S. only.  




Suzanne Lazear writes steampunk tales for teens.  Her debut novel, INNOCENT DARKNESS, book one of The Aether Chronicles, releases August 2012 from Flux. Visit her personal blog for more adventures.

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I adore crafting.  I do.  But I’m domestically awkward and most things wind up, well…you all remember the glue gun ball gown fiasco.  When I got this book on Steampunk jewelery, Steampunk Emporium, I fell completely in love with it and I want to try to make something from it[s glossy pages–which will end in laughter, paint on the couch, and beads all over the floor, I’m sure.   Today I’ve asked the author, Jema Hewitt, to come on and talk to us.

Jema Hewitt is a jewellery and costume designer living and working in the rolling hills of Derbyshire in the United Kingdom. Her love of all things steampunk gradually evolved through a passion for Victorian costume and an insistence that her friends dress up in bustles and go on picnics in castles with her.

Her steampunk Alter ego is Miss Emilly Ladybird, an adventuress who travels the world on behalf of her employers Dickens and Rivett auctioneers, looking for unusual artefacts and getting into mischief. Visit www.steampunkjewellery.co.uk for lots of stories about the pieces.

Steampunk Emporium is Jema’s latest jewellery making book, taking you on a rip roaring adventure with unusual characters and stories to accompany the crafting. Thrill to the daring adventures of zeppelin pirate “Andromeda Darkstorm” then make her storm bringer device, or take tea with the clockwork dolls then make a pretty chatelaine. This is a book to inspire the steampunk in everyone.

You can follow Emilly Ladybird’s adventures on twitter “emillyladybird” and join her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/emillyladybird for more fun and frolics.

In search of the perfect “cog”

by Jema Hewitt

One of the questions I’m asked most as a steampunk jewellery artist is “but where do you get your cogs?” As the genre of Steampunk rises in popularity in crafting circles, so has the enthusiasm for all things “cog” shaped, but what exactly is a cog? And why is it so important to Steampunks?

Firstly, what is steampunk? Well in a nutshell it could be summed up as Victorian style science fiction, it’s a creative movement which encompasses, art, literature, fashion and music, all inspired by airships, robots, submarines etc with lovely Victorian style in natural materials like brass and wood, with cogs, lots of cogs….

Now, to be pedantic, a cog is in fact just the little tooth part on a gear wheel, a gear wheel is the shape we normally call a cog, a moving part which meshes with another moving gear wheel as part of a larger piece of machinery. Just to confuse the issue further, A sprocket looks very similar to a gear wheel, but it only interacts with a chain or something like that, never another sprocket. (So a bicycle has sprockets, a pocket watch gearwheels)

There are hundreds of types of gear wheels, radial, helical, crown and worm, all of which get engineers terribly excited. This is all far too complicated for most people, so that lovely spiky shape is just called a “cog” for craft and steampunk purposes.

Its rise as a steampunk icon is directly related to its use in Victorian steam powered machinery, in which of course it was an integral moving part. Some Steampunks insist that a cog should only be used in this original form, as a true moving part in a larger functioning machine or artwork, while others are happy to stencil it onto a t-shirt, or embroider one onto a bag for instant recognition as belonging to part of the steampunk tribe.

I like to sit somewhere between these two camps, whilst I always try to make my cogs look functional, intersecting and if possible moving, in the devices and jewellery I create, there is also just no getting away from the fact that a cog is a gorgeous object in its own right. Those delicate little cut out teeth and interior are every bit as pretty to me as a piece of filigree, and I am happy to use them as purely decorative items in my art.

A cog stands for something small but important that is part of a greater whole.

So yes, I use cogs in my work, lots of them, and I mostly get them from watch and clock menders, who, if you pop round with a thermos of tea and some biscuits, show an interest in horology (that’s the posh word for clocks and watch making) will usually let you have a handful or two of old “cogs” (or gear wheels..) You can also purchase packets of new watch parts; teeny tiny shiny bits from specialist watch maker’s suppliers. Then there are the “craft” cogs, specially manufactured by companies like Ranger for use in scrapbooking and jewellery making, these are readily available from craft stores.

I do use cogs in my book quite a bit, but I also tried to find other interesting motifs that are integral to steampunk. Corsets, Keys, zeppelins are all fun, but not components in their own right. Cogs are like beads, totally addictive. You start stashing them, then not wanting to part with them, wondering what they were once part of, what they could be part of again, then it’s out with the wire and rivets and a new piece begins to take shape…..

~Jema Hewitt/Emilly Ladybird


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Today we welcome Brenda Sue of B’sue Boutiques who’s jewelry supply store not only has everything you need to make neat Steampunk jewelry, but she also has loads of instructional videos for people like me who love to make things, but in all honesty can’t craft their way out of a cardboard box. 
STEAMPUNK JEWELRY MADE SIMPLE:  Breaking It Down to Cogs and Gears
By B’Sue
Love the Steampunk lifestyle?   Well as this blog has aptly demonstrated, you need the right glad (or perhaps ‘mad’) rags for your look!   And as every fashionista knows—whatever style genre he/she chooses—you need the right accessories.   Jewelry come first for me!   And the fact is, you can learn to make your own Steampunk jewelry, thus reflecting your own perfect Steampunk sensibilities.
Check out this sweet Steampunk pendant I made:
Gotta tell you, there are no hard techniques involved in this piece.   Let me tell you how!  I started with a luggage tag pendant made in the Victorian style, available here:  http://www.bsueboutiques.com/shop/index.php?keywords=fig39   
As this piece is raw brass, you’ll want to patina it.  One fast way is simply to clean the brass by washing in hot, soapy water…all raw brass comes with traces of machine oil on it, so gotta do it.    Dry completely, then torch it.   All you need it is a little creme brulee torch and a soldering block.   Torch it til it gets toasty or turns dark.   OR, you can try my vinegar/salt/patina method, which you can watch me do at YouTube right here:
When you have achieved the color you want on the brass, simply seal it with Renaissance Wax.  Then you will want to add your embellishments.   I added a pie crust bezel from the Bezels, Mounts and Frames section of our website, found here: http://www.bsueboutiques.com/bezels_mounts_frames.shtml    This is a great bezel to build with as it is textural and deep.  Into it, I glued a vintage soda cap, upside down, with the cork still in it.  
Into that cap, I poured a bit of mixed ICE RESIN.   For tips on working with Ice Resin, check out this video:
I also inlaid a circlet ring found at our website, as well as a tiny propeller.  These propellers REALLY SPIN!
The trick is to pour only enough resin to inlay the bottom of the propeller so that it still spins.  This one does!
The actual pendant is available at B’sue Boutiques right here:
How would you finish it?  Would you turn it around and dangle something from the hole and make it a heavy, cool looking brooch?   Or would you make it a necklace by adding beads, leather thong, old cord and maybe even safety pin or garter clip connectors?
Here’s a funky Steampunk necklace I made with our Steampunk components from B’sue Boutiques and scrabble tiles:
Come on over to B’sue Boutiques and check the place out!  We have a large, comprehensive Steampunk Jewelry Making Section broken down into watch parts, cogs and wheels, wings, keys, and all the components you need—-easy to find! http://www.bsueboutiques.com  
And…here is a very popular video we made at You Tube that will demonstrate how to make an easy Steampunk ring: 
Another master of  Steampunk jewelry making is Harry Wood of OSCAR CROW: http://www.etsy.com/shop/oscarcrow   Visit Harry for great ideas and great ready-made jewelry at low prices.   Here is a very cool pectoral he made recently:
And for more Steampunk Eye Candy, why not visit our Steampunk Gallery?   These are pieces shared with me by visitors to my B’sue Boutiques Facebook Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bsue-Boutiques/123052674404364, and entered into an archived album at the B’sue Boutiques website.
I hope you feel enabled and inspired…..because who knows?  Maybe YOU are the next radical Steampunk jewelry designer!  Soon they may be beating a path to YOUR door!
~Brenda Sue/B’sue Boutiques

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We have a ton of contests ending soon, so make sure you enter –like  books by Mark Hodder, books from Andrew Mayer, a bag of swag from RT and The Vampire Dimitri.

I’m going to be teaching another online Steampunk Writing Class.  This one focuses more on building your manuscript than the last one I taught, which was more of a Steampunk overview.  Class runs  May 2nd- May 27th 2011  and is $25.  Details here.

Today we welcome Shelly Brooks from Mystic Pieces jewelry Design.

Art and its creation has been my life since the tender age of seven. After majoring in Art History during college; I was blessed with the opportunity to work at The Laguna Art Museum, which was fabulous!   My true passion is creating jewelry. It started about 12 years ago and now consumes my life. Themes in my jewelry explore the dimensions of both art and history itself, traveling through time, inspired by the Victorian Era, Roaring 20s and Industrial Age. Tinkering with vintage watches, and finding that perfect juxtaposition of old and new is the part of the puzzle that keeps me going.   My ultimate creative goal is to inspire and beautify the world with my timeless, MYSTIC PIECES; providing enjoyment and style for all those who appreciate unique creations.


Why jewelry, Why Steampunk?

by Shelley Brooks

Creating started at the age of 7 which I started dabbling in painting with oils and watercolor.  In college, black and white photography found my heart and followed me for several years.   However, being the wise college student (ha ha), I decided to finish my degree in Art History and later worked for an Art Museum – oh, I had such grandiose ideas of working for The Getty Museum.   But as I’m sure for most artist, creating comes and goes throughout a lifetime.  So after, the museum, I went on to the Advertising world and spent many years in corporate America and small businesses selling ad space.
Jewelry making found it’s way into my life about 13 years ago, after feeling a burning need to create again.   Eventually, I started selling my work to local boutiques in Phoenix, Az and then found Etsy.   About 4 years ago, I wanted to make my living by creating full time.  That opportunity and dream presented its self, about 2 years ago, when I was laid off from my advertising job.   Since, taking the plunge into entrepreneurship and becoming a full time artist, I’m loving the different challenges.   However, being the only person behind Mystic Pieces, the creating part comes in spurts as the business keeps expanding to new frontiers.
The name Mystic Pieces came from a collaboration of several different thoughts winding its way through my brain.  I guess the first one, I wanted a name that was easy to remember, then came Mystic Seaport in Connecticut (which I had traveled to when I was in my teens), then Mystic Pizza (the movie) then I wanted to create a name that just wasn’t incorporating one creation such as jewelry, hence the “Pieces”.    The word origin or history of “Mystic” is defined by “spiritually allegorical, pertaining to mysteries of faith” which seems quite fitting these days.
Three years ago, as we all wonder, Steampunk found me and my fancy.  I’ve always been fascinated by the Victorian Era; it’s romance, elegance, detail to workmanship and the simplicity of another time.  The beauty too about the Steampunk genre, it has so many intertwining aspects.  One can easily travel through time with touches of Gothic, Dieselpunk, Industrial, Futuristic and combinations of all the above.  In my jewelry, I love the detail of the watch movements, like little pieces of artwork themselves.  Yet, Steampunk gives me the creativity license to play with Victorian and Gothic touches.
My inspiration comes from wanting to succeed on this entrepreneurial journey.  I love the freedom, challenges and creativity of my artistic lifestyle.  Lately, I feel my brain are gears themselves on a never-ending rotation of new ideas and things to accomplish for Mystic Pieces.
As far as the future holds, I’d like to start creating mixed media again or dabble in wind chimes, but for now I’m content on taking Mystic Pieces as far as the dirigible will take me.

~Shelley Brooks

Face Book www.tinyurl.com/yb7r4gq

Stores featuring Mystic Pieces: 

Work of Artists – Scottsdale
Evermore Nevermore – Mesa
Level 9 Gallery – Cave Creek
Paris Envy – Phoenix

What sorts of things do you like (or want) to create?

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Today’s guest is Edanna of EJP Creations, makers of clockhand jewlery, including, my favorite, tiaras.  I own a bunch of her stuff.  (The gold tiara is mine.)

EJP Creations specializes in tiaras, chokers, earrings, necklaces, fascinators, and hair combs with a noir, and gothic flair. Creating body adornments with a hint of vampire elegance, a dash of Steampunk bravado, and plenty of Neo-Victorian sensibilities. Perfect for prowling the streets, haunting the clubs, or adding an aristocratic air to any outfit.


A little about my love affair with Tiaras…
by Edanna of EJP Creations

I still vividly remember the time I saw my very first tiara. It was love at first sight. I was probably 5 years old and flipping though a book of paper dolls of famous women through the centuries. I had looked at this book a thousand times before. Lady Murasaki always intrigued me in her flowing robes. Joan of Arc took my breath away in her gleaming armor. And then of course there was Queen Victoria the pinnacle of womanly grace dripping with elegance. But wait what was that… was something in her hair… and its making her regal features even more aristocratic! It looked like a necklace but was positioned like an angel’s halo. I pondered … What could this thing be?? I ran over to my mother hoping she would tell me what such a lovely and intriguing article was. The word poured from her lips into my ears … T-i-a-r-a. Such a captivating word. I quickly sat cross-legged in front of her eagerly waiting for her to tell me more. She then elaborated on this completely new world of ornamentation. There were Crowns, and bandeaus, diadems, and fascinators, combs, circlets, coronets, and headdresses. All sorts of hair adornments, it made my head spin! As she went on to explain it seemed to me that almost every time period through the centuries had a magical way of adorning the head in such a regal manner. It made me wonder why this wasn’t still in vogue for our time. The 1960’s gave us the last spattering of the tiara, but they were fashioned more like an elaborate headband. I was determined from that moment on. I had a new mission in life sparked by that little paper doll book. It would be my life’s work to pursue that mythical unicorn that is the tiara until its mysteries were mine.

The years passed, and I ended up going to college to study jewelry making, and metal smithing. Surely my questions about these magical circlets would be answered there. Unfortunately, they weren’t I was thwarted at every turn. One teacher even went so far as to laugh at my pursuit because… “no one wears those things anymore” my mind instantly snapped back with, “well maybe they don’t wear them because they aren’t available anymore, you ever thought of that!” It did cross my mind that the reason my teachers were so against them might just be because they couldn’t figure out how to construct one. Tiara’s might look easy to make, but it really does take some skill and engineering. Unlike a necklace they have to withstand much more wear and tear. Also comfort is key, and fitting everyone’s head is not easy. Lastly there is the issue of keeping it in place. Heads are round, floppy things and anchoring a piece of art work on it is not easy. Thus, I embarked on the lonely mission of teaching myself how to make one. There were oh so many late nights at my workbench. Drawing after drawing that were thrown into the trash can after spending hours making a paper mock-up only to have it fail. But then after a few months small successes started to emerge from my toils. And then finally the break though I had been waiting for. Shortly afterwards my first triumph! A finished tiara, victory at last!!! At that point I was so pleased with myself I decided to have a gallery show with nothing but tiaras made of sterling silver sheet and wire. It took me a full year, and a large proportion of my saving to make all of them. They were so well received that all the doubts about my mission melted away.

Graduation from school came soon after, and then the Steampunk movement wrapped me in it’s warm gear lined embrace. Whisking me away on countless adventures then placing me gently on Esty’s front door. After that the real work began. My two and a half year long odyssey of perfecting my neo-Victorian tiara line. Of course I make other pieces of jewelry, but the tiaras always have a special place in my heart. I still get the odd comment here and there such as, “where would you ever wear one?” I just smile and keep walking because I know once you have one there is an understanding that comes over you. Sure you might wear it out to a club or a formal occasion, but the real joy comes when your sitting at home on laundry day wearing your tiara in your jammies eating ice cream on the couch watching “Gaslight” or “My Fair Lady.” That is a joy those people will never know, and it makes me a little sad for them. Also, I must add that those same teachers who thought my passion was shear folly laugh at it no more.


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Shelly Brooks, the artist behind Mystic Pieces, is a true mechanical tinker as she assembles her artful pieces with time travel and beauty, whimsical and sweet, yet as hard core Steampunk as one can be in current society.  Shelly began her art at an early age, fostering her creativity by majoring in Art History in college. An opportunity to work at The Laguna Art Museum in California, kept her in touch with the art community. She had a passion for creating jewelry and over the last 12 years has continually enjoyed her hobby by turning it into a way of life. 

Her creations are wildly inventive, adding the subtle with something raw and basic like the inner-working of timepieces. She takes the usual and turns it into the unusual. Inspired by the Victorian Era and the Industrial Age, Mystic Pieces finds a perfect juxtaposition of old and new, taking apart watches and repurposing gears for fashion sake. A mixture of destruction with the soft romance of filigree and sparrows adorns her art. “Sometimes I just stare at one of my pieces, until it hits me on how to transform it into a treasured work of art.” And art it is, a wearable piece of delight that is displayed in full view. It’s the hidden things that bring the love of Steampunk to everyday life, which keeps one bound in the passion of the genre while still living in a conventional world. 

Besides finding her work at 6 retail stores in Phoenix, Az, www.mysticpieces.net, Mystic Pieces has two upcoming shows in Arizona; the Tempe Festival of the Arts, Tempe, AZ  Dec 3-5 and the Wild Wild West Steampunk Con, Tucson, AZ Mar 4-6 2011

“Life expands or contracts in direct proportion to one’s courage.” ~Anaïs Nin 

Shelly Brooks
Face Book                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://twitter.com/mysticpieces

Copyright © 2010 Mystic Pieces. All rights reserved.
Proud member of the Etsy Steam Team
SRAJD (Self Representing Artist in Jewelry Design) member #2668

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First off, I’d like to wish Lolita Elizabeth a happy release day. Her new book, “Love in a Time of Steam” releases today. You can find it here.

Now, on to today’s topic, one of my favorites, shiny things,

Have you seen the incredible gear rings from the folks over at Kinekt? They are the first company to introduce the concept of moving gears as jewelry. Yes, they have rings where the gears really work. Talk about distraction, lol.

Today I’ve asked them to come on and tell us about their rings. They’re even going to give one away to one lucky reader in their choice of size ($165 value, tell your friends, they have sizes 5-14). There’s a form to fill out at the bottom of the post in order to win. Will you keep it or will you give it as a gift to that special someone?

To understand exactly what I’m babbling about, you can see the ring in action here.

Very cool, huh?

What inspired you to develop the gear ring? It’s not your usual piece of jewelry.

Kinekt Design creator, Glen Liberman, has always been fascinated and inspired by small mechanisms and their complementary movements. Glen felt there was a void in the market so he teamed up with kinetic designer Ben Hopson to develop the Gear Ring, a product “complex enough to play with, yet simple enough to wear.”

We’ll you’ve certainly got an interesting product. What sort of research/work went into designing it? How long did it take?

The Gear Ring took slightly over a year design. There were mechanical complexities to it–making sure which metal would hold up the best over time due to the friction of the gears. Many, many prototypes were made. We made much use of SLA printer and Solid Works software program. We had to figure out how many gears on the ring would look the best, how much play should the gear ring have, etc. If its too precise or tight, the gears won’t move as freely. There was a balance between form and function. Finally, we agreed to where it is today. During this process, we were able to get the ring protected by numerous patents pending (both design and utility), as well as other Intellectual Property rights, both in the USA and Internationally.

That sounds complicated, lol. Can you tell us a little about the rings?

The Gear Ring is fabricated using 316L, which is the highest quality surgical stainless steel in the jewelry market. Stainless steel is highly durable and resistant to tarnishing, fading, scratching, and rusting. It won’t bend or break and is hypoallergenic for those with metal allergies. We have sizes 5 to 14 and the ring is for both Men & Women. Our rings are covered by a lifetime warranty. If the item becomes damaged or if there seems to be a manufacturer’s defect at any time we will gladly exchange it for a new one.

Nice. So, how can I get one?

Easy. You can either purchase directly from our website or call 1-888-600-8494 between 8:30am to 8:30pm eastern time, Monday-Friday. Comments, returns or all other questions can be sent to our email address — hello (@) kinektdesign.com

What other projects do you have in the works? Necklaces? Tiaras? I would simply adore a tiara with real working gears.

Yes, Kinekt Design seeks to bring you forward-thinking design objects and products that fuse together a modern aesthetic with physical interaction. It can be any objects and we are working on other jewelry related as well as non-jewelry products. Stay tuned.

Very cool, I can’t wait. Thank you so much for joining us. So, now for the important stuff. The contest runs until Saturday, August 14 at 11:59 pm PST. One winner will get a Kinekt gear ring in their choice of size. Please tell your friends.

To enter to win the ring, please sign up for their newsletter by filing out this form.

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Today I am pleased to welcome Jodi from Simply Willow! She makes the most gorgeous steampunk pieces! So join me in welcoming her!

 First off I want to say thank you for joining us here at Steamed! and take a moment to gush over how fantastic your jewelry is. It is delicate and bold and combines nature with mechanical and I think it is fabulous!

Lolita Elizabeth: I will ask the age old question I am sure you are tired of, what got you started making your lovely jewelry? 

Simply Willow: As a young single mother of 4 boys, I needed an activity that provided some alone time for me, something that I enjoyed and allowed me to explore my creativity.  I was watching a craft show with a friend that featured a beader….she bet me that I couldn’t sit still long enough to bead.  I may be high energy and easily distracted, but I’m also highly competitive.  I won the bet and found my creative outlet!  13 years later, my style has developed and grown into the unique steampunk and Victorian styles you see on my website.

LE: Did you start out making steampunk pieces or did they make an appearance later in your designing? 

SW: Steampunk came  much later!  I started beadweaving, moved to stringing.  My designs were very spiritual and off-beat.  I became interested in earthy Victorian styles and was soon hooked.  This style morphed into steampunk.  Steampunk jewelry pieces…fueled by the cogs and gears that are so often used..have an energy and a life of their own.  I often feel like my pieces create themselves!!!

LE: Do you enjoy steampunk in other aspects of your life? Or just your art? 

SW: I have always enjoyed steampunk books and movies, even though I didn’t know it was steampunk.  This was a new term to me when I first “discovered” it on etsy.  When I researched the term…i knew I had to go there.     I’m hoping to attend a con or steampunk ball sometime soon, I’ve already started working on my outfit!!!

LE: What is your biggest inspiration for your art?   

SW: I want whoever is wearing my jewelry to celebrate being female in a unique way, to see the future of a past that never was and embrace the romance of it.

LE: Do you do commission work? Have you gotten any requests for an impossible or off the wall piece?  

SW: I do limited commission pieces, I often find it a challenge to translate their vision into mine.

 I had one request for a necklace that contained a vial of liquid in the middle that gears would turn around as the liquid shifted.   Even though I had studied physics and engineering at one of the best engineering schools in the country…I had a hard time with this one and eventually had to turn down the piece.

LE: Any exciting new pieces in the works?      

 SW: My steampunk sculpture pendant line is my favourite!  Gears, cogs, winders, birds, crystals, keys…you never know what will make its way into one of these unique creations.

LE: Any favorite steampunk movies or books that inspire your work?  

SW: The His Dark Materials books have been among my favourites for many years!   I love the worlds that Mr Pullman has created and often re-read the books for inspiration.   I am looking for new steampunk authors to read and can’t wait to immerse myself in their worlds…

Thank you so much for joining us and I look forward to seeing what you create next!!

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Welcome to another fabulous week of Steampunkapalooza.  We have super guests for you this week. Monday, April 19th, 2010 we have John from Steampunk Tales, the penny dreadful for your iPhone. Tuesday, April 20th we welcome the one and only Smutketeers, who will be talking about their new series. Simply Willow and her beautiful jewelery stop by on Wednesday, April 21. Young Adult author Scott Westerfeld visits on Thursday, April 22. On Saturday, April 24th we have a very special treat for you, a release party for OM Grey’s debut Steampunk novel Avalon Revisited. Come join us for all sorts of fun and mayhem.

Yesterday the finalists for the Clockwork Couture ensemble contest were announced, was your ensemble one of them? Also, if you comment on that post you will be entered to win a beautiful pair of clockhand earrings from EJP Creations.

Before I introduce today’s visiting Lolita I have another winner to announce–after all, who doesn’t like to win stuff? I’d like to announce the winner of the amazing tatted cameo pendant by the fabulous Totus Mel.

Drum roll please…


Congrats, Jenn!  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail

Today we welcome Cindi from Creative Habits who makes amazing upcycled Steampunk jewelry.


“Why are you buying all that junk?” My husband asked. My answer: for Steampunk Jewelry, of course!

Having been a gemstone jewelry designer for nearly a decade, the idea of making Steampunk jewelry presents itself as a quite intimidating, yet extremely exciting, new adventure in design. With my background and training in visual arts, I find that working with Steampunk jewelry provides a creative and interesting outlet. Throughout my youth, I most enjoyed the challenges associated with mixed media works – weaving (with inclusions), pottery (raku), metal-smithing, and two-dimensional conglomerations (paper with objects; wood and found objects).

The intrigue of Steampunk design arose out of my recent showing at festivals. For years, I had promoted my work solely on a website and at small gallery shows. My husband, and drafted business partner, begged me to begin selling my wares at festivals (too much inventory!). I am never meek about embarking on a quest, so to appease my partner, I applied to the 2009 Texas Renaissance Festival (the largest Renaissance Faire in North America, lasting for eight weekends from October through November) and was fortunate enough to be accepted as a vendor. This festival introduced me to Steampunk culture.

Customers would enter my shoppe, the Red Castle, and inquire as to the “gear” pieces I might proffer (many donning incredibly interesting goggles upon a top hat). Well, what was that all about? My shoppe helper (a devoted Steamer– my dear, Mildred) explained Steampunk to me. Having been a “Dr. Who” fan since the 1970’s (as well as a science teacher), I immediately understood the essence of Steampunk. But, I did not understand the jewelry…..

Procuring the necessary Steampunk jewelry inventory is, in itself, a challenge. One must search countless sites for the appropriate watch works, stampings, and the ever-essential, gears… and be adept as combining these seemingly incongruous parts into a harmonious whole. Thus, my work involves weaving discarded items, intricately engraved watches from the 1800’s, nostalgic ephemera, gemstones, pearls, and new components (cast or stamped from vintage molds) into a fresh, invigorating jewelry piece.

Although my line is new and limited, I anticipate creating many more inspired pieces. I hope you find these creations inspiring as well!


Thank you so much for joining us, Cindi!

Today Cindi will be giving away a pair of “ear wings” in the winners choice of silver or brass.  To enter, simply comment below.  For additional entries tweet, post, or blog about this post.  You can also join Creative Habits’ facebook group or the Steamed! facebook group. Or become a follower of this blog. One entry per activity, let us know what you’ve done so you can get proper credit (already being a follower counts.)

Contest closes Thursday, April 22, at 11:59 PST.  Winner will be announced Saturday, April 24th.

Thanks for stopping by and continue to visit us for more special guests, prizes, and mayhem as Steampunkapalooza continues.

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