Steampunk Emporium – 20 splendid steampunk arts and crafts tutorials
Amazon Paperback: Steampunk Emporium
Dearest reader, you’ll probably be familiar with the term ‘steampunk’. Initially, it was a term coined by writer KW Jeter to cover a branch of science fiction which assumed the Victorians had created the computer, a task begun by Babbage’s partial creation of the Difference engine, and had gone on to mirror and eclipse the science of today, but by means of steam and clockwork rather than electricity and transistor chips.
Today, steampunk sensibilities have gone beyond the written page. You can get steampunk fashion, music, art and more. People gather for steampunk festivals and events, create accessories and machines that hark back to the Victorian love of beauty as well as function, and gather to tell tales, look beautiful and generally be polite and wonderful to each other.
The steampunk arts and crafts scene is very strong, and in her guise of Miss Emilly Ladybird, craftswoman extraordinaire brings several branches of the subculture together in Steampunk Emporium. Or, by its full title: Steampunk Emporium: Creating Fantastical Jewelry, Devices and Oddments from Assorted Cogs, Gears and Curios.
Firstly, it must be said that – with its lush textures, crafting photos and alternative model shoots, Steampunk Emporium is a beautifully-presented tome. Though not bound in leather, this elegant paperback feels like an item to treasure and respect.
Secondly, the five chapters are arranged in a wonderfully imaginative way. Each themed chapter begins with a short but engaging story detailing the adventures of Miss Emilly Ladybird. Her exploits include visiting Atlantis in a patented submersible, travelling the aether currents by steamship to Mars, and other marvellous oddities.
With each adventure, Miss Ladybird discovers an artefact – and this is where the author, Jema Hewitt, jumps in. For each lusciously photographed themed piece of steampunk jewellery is present with an accomanying step by step arts and crafts tutorial. Beginners and intermediates alike will take pleasure in seeing cheap art supplies turned before their very eyes into exquisite steampunk jewellery that anyone could make.
There are 20 steampunk art projects in all, allowing you to make varied sumptuous pieces from unusual jewellery to wine charms.
Steampunk Emporium is lavish and entertaining enough that you will be proud to display it openly until such time as you decide to don your brass goggles, enter your steam-powered workshop and engage in one of its arts and crafts adventures yourself.
Bravo, Miss Emilly Ladybird! Well done!
Jema Hewitt is a freelance craft writer as well as a costume and jewellery designer. She has written articles on the steampunk genre for Making Jewellery Magazine and Craft Stamper.