As discussed in our previous post on Assemblage, Steampunk, & MockiDesigns, the 'steampunk' style is still hot in the fashion and accessories industry. It's a a kind of Victorian look, based on the concept of antique technology re-invigorated by the steam-powered inventions that emerged in the late 19th century.
Steampunk often dabbles in alternate history, placing importance on real life inventors such as Tesla or Babbage as an explanation for 'advanced' technology like air ships and computers that run on clockwork and steam power. Clockwork in particular plays a big part in steampunk technology -- and it's not just there because it looks good.
There's something about clockwork that humans find understandable. Cogs move cogs, and while we may not understand the intricacies, we can see for ourselves that's how a device works. And steam power produces satisfying amounts of noise -- great belches of steam from huge devices -- and that fits how we feel a big machine should work!
One of the reasons this trend is so much fun is that it focuses on a re-emergence of lost treasures, and also incorporates mechanical elements with a sort of science-fictional & imaginary 'functionality'. When I look at steampunk jewelry, I'm reminded of fantastical lands and images such as the bizarre landscapes of Underland in the movie Oz The Great and Powerful. Or think of the Victorian fashion, animation, gadgets and futuristic elements of moves like Hugo, Sherlock Holmes, or The Golden Compass.
When I create something in the steampunk style, I feel like I'm both an engineer and inventor -- refashioning everyday things into a brand new world. You can make a necklace featuring clockwork gears or some secret mechanical purpose that only the designer can really understand -- or assemble some antique items in such a way as to convey a futuristic, advanced technology. You can use watch dials, gears, cogs, chain, nuts & screws, and charms -- in lovely metals with aged patinas -- brass, pewter and gold. You can play with vintage items like old locks and keys, bits of mechanical hardware, drawer pulls, lockets, hearts, and even creepy skeleton hands or skulls.
I've included here images from some of my favorite steampunk supply sources & jewelry artisans. If you are so inclined, let them inspire you too! The mesmerizing eye shown at top right is from TwistedSisterArts on Etsy; the gorgeous leather cuff is from LeatherBoundBracelet on Etsy; and the cool skeleton hand beads are from Gathering Splendor on Etsy. Check them out if you get a chance! And here's a great article on How to Make Steampunk Jewelry if you want to give it a try.
Until Next Time,