Steampunk isn’t just books and movies—in the U.S. especially; it’s a whole way of life. Steampunk clothes and jewellery, steampunk ornaments and sculptures for the house, steampunk art and steampunk music … just browse the net and see what a huge cultural phenomenon it is!
It’s appropriate to mention the net because this is a movement that’s grown from people with similar tastes finding one another on the net. It probably started as an offshoot of goth culture, but it’s way bigger than that now.
You can purchase steampunk jewellery and sculptures, but this is a DIY movement too. Just find some cogs, wires, fiddly bits and superglue, and you can create your own items of steampunk art. You can make a steampunk version of anything, though there’s a particular buzz in steampunking the most modern items of technology: an electric guitar with a 19th century look, a computer keyboard with cogs and wires. Or how about a brass and copper version of a USB memory stick?
How cool is that?
Clothing fashions tend to be vaguely Victorian, but not in the way of accurate historical reproduction. Kit Stolen, as seen here, calls himself an ‘anachronaut’ —that is, he’s in search of historical anachronisms. What he wears isn’t true to historical fact, only historical possibility.
Since steampunk fashions generally involve wearing odd bits of metal, maybe there’s a surprise connection to the Punk movement of the 70s after all. Who’s game to trace the evolution of the rivet as a feature of personal style? From Levi jeans to 70s Punk piercings to rivethead subculture and on to steampunk—postgraduate students in search of a thesis topic, where are you?
OK, now I'm going to get in on the act. I'm not up there with the great gurus of steampunk style, or even down at the bottom of the pile--but, hey, this is my website and I want to show off. So here's me in my 19th century tailcoat - probably more early 19th century Regency than Victorian. You'll have to take my word that it's got tails. The fob watch is the real article, which belonged to my grandfather and probably his grandfather before him. Weighs a ton.
Hey, what happened to my arms? You'll have to take my word that I've got arms …
And here me in my leather cap and vest and copper jewellery. I don't know exactly what it's meant to be - the cap is sort of piratical - but I reckon it looks steampunky. I discovered the vest in a second hand shop for a few bucks, andnever even thought about it as part of a steampunk costume - I just thought it looked like nothing I'd ever seen before. I may not be up there with the style gurus, but I reckon I've got the basic principle - steaampunk is do it yourself fashion, you make it up as you go along!
Steampunk music is a dodgy one. There are steampunk bands like Abney Park and Vernian Process working to create a distinctive sound … I’m not sure how much it differs from the industrial music sound. In fact, my expertise has just run out, so I’ll stop here before I offend anyone!
Here are a few of the best-known steampunk websites—they’ll soon lead you on to a million more. Much of the information comes from John Parker, steampunk maestro and steampunk convention organiser, in Western Australia - with help from Andrew Sharpe. (Thanks, guys! Perth rules, OK!)
http://www.steampunkmagazine.com/ a great place to get started
http://brassgoggles.co.uk/blog/ more random steampunk resources
http://etheremporium.pbworks.com/Wiki overview perspective
http://steampunkworkshop.com/ Jake Von Statt is the unofficial leader of the movement to many people. Many resources hang off here
http://www.abneypark.com/ A popular steampunk band
http://www.sillof.com/C-Steampunk-ESB.htm steampunk vs starwars
http://www.instructables.com/id/Goggles/ one of MANY steampunk goggles on Instructables
http://2dgoggles.com/ Babbage and Lovelace fight crime
http://voyagesextraordinaires.blogspot.com/2007/11/albert-robida-forgotten-french-master_05.html One of the original sf artists who inspired steampunk
http://www.dugnorth.com/blog/ Automota fansite.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Raygun/ Another instructable, this time for rayguns
http://www.xorph.com/clockers/clockers.html A pastiche. Clever.
http://www.atomefabrik.com/ nice costuming stuff
http://thesteampunkhome.blogspot.com/ steampunk for the livingroom
http://www.jaspermorello.com/gazette/ Anthony Lucas created the classic steampunk film (Oscar-nominated), then created the cover for the Australian edition of Worldshaker.
http://jv.gilead.org.il/rpaul/ Illustrated Jules Verne
http://vintagedancers.org/costume_day.html Authentic source of costumes.
http://2009.gogbot.nl/ more tech
http://www.elizabethancostume.net/custompat/index.html Everybody needs a DIY corset pattern generator