We are very excited to announce a fascinating temporary exhibition at MIBA, Museu d’Idees i Invents de Barcelona (‘Museum of Ideas and Inventions of Barcelona’ in English) that is going to take place from November 2012 to May 2013. There are two reasons why we are so thrilled:
- This Steampunk Exhibition is the first Steampunk-themed expo at MIBA.
- Some of our jewelry pieces are going to be part of it.
There is no need to say that this recognition is a great satisfaction for us. Besides, we feel most honored to do our bit to spread Steampunk and to do it from Spain.
1.- About MIBA
Are you wondering what is MIBA? Quoting the museum’s official website…
miba is the latest step in the professional development of Pep Torres, a step that seemed inevitable after more than 13 years working in the fields of invention and creativity. A meticulously planned project with a solid concept, it supports and drives creativity and invention through inspiration, education, communication and building relationships with the leaders of innovation at every level; contributing value to the field from which it came.
2.- About the Steampunk Exhibition at MIBA – Barcelona, Spain
As per its curator, Elisabet Roselló, the objective of this exhibition is to disseminate Steampunk and take this retrofuturism as point of departure to promote reflection about the present. Outstanding inventions of both national and international artists are going to be part of the exhibition, showing a large array of Steampunk-inspired pieces of art as demonstration of the overwhelming creative power of this artistic movement.
1.- The interviewees
Karen Grover (aka Lady Elsie) and John Naylor (aka Major Thadeus Tinker) formed the Victorian Steampunk Society with the idea of setting up a U.K. festival for steampunks in 2008 (this to welcome over 1000 steampunks from all over the world). They have also promoted music events in London and Lincoln, with the best steampunk bands they can find.
Lady Elsie and Major Tinker have been able to attend events and conventions in Canada and the U.S.A., which has given them a unique insight to Steampunk in different places. Later this year Major Tinker will be attending an Event in Holland (‘Journey Vernesque’).
In 2011 Major Tinker curated a Steampunk Art exhibition in London held at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum. This 3 month long event also had 3 themed weekend with talks, workshops and music. This was visited by steampunks and art enthusiasts alike. Both are respected makers of Art and Costume. So accessories as well as Jewellery are very important to them.
2.- England, Lincoln and Steampunk
We are most honored to welcome you to our series of brief interviews. After all, there are not many Steampunkers worldwide that can compare to you in terms of recognition and influence due to your terrific efforts developing Steampunk.
Q.- Dear Thadeus, you are Chair of the Victorian Steampunk Society. This gives you a formidable perspective on the British Steampunk scene, would you tell us a bit about its development process and current situation?
TT.- We see ourselves as Steamunk Facilitators and enable people to experiance steampunk for themselves, in whatever way they can. Steampunk is very healthy in the UK at the moment. This year there has been many kinds of events which have enabled steampunks to meet up and socialize, which is very important. As steampunks can meet somewhere at an event most weekends in the UK, ideas and fashions, within the genre can grow and change very quickly. We are a social lot, and tea, of course is central to British culture. So that gives us an excuse to meet up.
KG.- The scene is developing the whole time as new people join in and realize their potential and creativity. As this is a very welcoming community, advice on how to do things is freely given by many makers. Whether you want to make music, art, clothes, literature or accessories.
Q.- Be Splendid is the motto of the Victorian Steampunk Society. In a recent blog post you explained that it makes reference to three dimensions: our interactions with other people, the way we present ourselves and all our creative activity. We find this motto really stimulating, what inspired you to coin it?
We are very honored to share with you this amazing review about Decimononic that has been published at The Gilded Monocle, a terrific project headed by the talented dilettante Daedra Evans.
Are you wondering what is exactly The Gilded Monocle? In Daedra’s words…
I wanted to start a site that encompassed all aspects of the Steampunk movement. I know there are so many people out there whom I talk with that have developed amazing mods, costumes or jewelry, so this is all for you! I hope that you will enjoy the site and become part of our community. Whether you are a blogger, artist, couture designer, geek or just love all things Steampunk you will surely find something here.
We would like to thank The Gilded Monocle team for this kind gesture and, naturally, we encourage you to have a look at our review and browse this outstanding website! ‘True Singularity – the Decimononic Review’.
Are you wondering how to buy Steampunk jewelry? Then maybe we can help you a bit… in fact, fine jewelry with Steampunk inspiration is our passion! Well, this guide may not be the definitive one… but we are sure that it is going to be helpful. In any case don’t take our word for it, go on reading and see for yourself!
1.- What are you looking for? Identify your style
If you are trying to find ready-to-wear Steampunk jewelry, you probably have a clear idea about what is Steampunk. As you know, the Steampunk genre is rooted in the Victorian era: we just need a pinch of uchronie and retrofuturism, et voilá!
This means that your first challenge is probably to define what you are exactly looking for. Here are some useful ideas.
1.1. Victorian era jewelry
We are convinced that antique jewels, Victorian replicas or even modern jewelry pieces inspired by 19th century designers can suit your needs. These jewelry pieces will give you a Steampunk touch per se, but obviously there are many alternatives to get a convincing Steampunk attire: clothes, accessories, etc.
1.2. Steampunk-influenced jewelry
Are you a purist or you simply prefer to rely on your accessories to design a jaw-dropping Steampunk outfit? Then this is a possibility that you need to considerate… but it is going to raise a key question: What is ‘Steampunk jewelry’?!
We have to recognize that this question is a bit tricky and even we are still trying to get an answer with the assistance of the international community (thanks to our brief interviews series ‘Steampunk jewelry tonight with…’). It seems widely accepted that Steampunk jewelry shoud have the power to evocate the Victorian era (in terms of design, materials, cultural/symbolic awareness, historical accuracy, etc.); if you happen to be in the quest for Steampunk fine jewelry, you will seriously enjoy this blog post entitled ‘The 5 secrets of Steampunk fine jewelry’.
Besides, your own personal style (or the style of your persona… archetypes matter) will be conditioning your choice. Would an air pirate wear the same jewelry than a scientific? Would an explorer wear the same jewelry than a dandy?
‘Our personal adornment not only attracts the attention of others, not only reinforces an image that we wish to project, but also provides a small glimpse into who we are as an individual. It talks about our interests and what we wish to share about ourselves’.
2.- Everyday use or special occasions? Find its purpose
The intended use is very important in the fashion realm. The same way you choose a different outfit to go shopping or to attend a wedding, you are probably going to choose different jewels to go to the movies with some friends or to attend a Steampunk convention. To get a ‘steamy touch’ for your everyday wear you may prefer a discreet jewelry piece, while you may want to dazzle with an outstanding jewel in an event.
If you are going to use a jewelry piece occasionally, durability may not be among your main worries. Remember, however, that quality is always noticeable; a professionally manufactured jewel made of precious materials such as sterling silver, gems, etc. has always been synonym of distinction and good taste.
3.- Durability, quality, inspiration? Determine the jewels’ value for you
One of the issues frequently pointed out by our interviewees is that quality and durability of Steampunk jewelry are not always up to standard. Purchasing a lovely jewel that ‘falls in first round’ is never a pleasant experience, so we encourage you to pay attention to this in order to avoid unnecessary disappointments.
‘Real Steampunkers care about quality. They appreciate craft and workmanship. It’s part of the Steampunk ethos to value creativity and skill, and to wear it with pride’.
Are you looking for disposable jewelry or do you want jewels for a lifetime, designed and built to last? Would you like to pass on this jewel to your daughter or son, for example? If it is a present, do you want to give something that is going to be soon forgotten or something that will make that special person feel unique for the years to come? Answer these questions and you will be closer to your target.
4.- How much are you ready to spend? Quantify your budget
Jewelry or fine jewelry? Although there is quite expensive jewelry, fine jewelry has normally higher prices due to the materials and techniques used. We always recommend to set a budget and stick at it.
Logically, the amount to spend will differ depending on your preferences. Many times this is a very conditioning aspect, but if you are willing to invest in jewelry you should ask something to yourself: do I want to buy cheap, use-and-throw jewelry, or do I prefer long-lasting premium pieces? Naturally top-quality jewels are less affordable, but they are going to pay for themselves in the long run.
When shopping for steampunk jewelry (or any jewelry) always buy something you love, but also buy the best you can with what you have. You will always love many pieces, and within those you love you will always find something wonderful within your means.
What do we think? Once you have experienced quality, you will not step back. Think in the long term.
5.- Where are you going to find it? Steampunk jewelry shopping resources
Alright, you know now what you are looking for! This is a great step forward, but there is one more issue to solve… where can you find Steampunk jewelry? These are the main options we can think about.
5.1. Online stores and marketplaces
We think that marketplaces are the favorite option for those who are, like you, searching for gorgeus Steampunk jewelry. If you live in the USA, Etsy is going to become your reference (but do not forget alternatives such as ArtFire or Zibbet). If you live in Germany, Spain or UK, you should have a look at DaWanda, for example.
5.2. Physical stores
When you are looking for Victorian-styled jewelry, many traditional jewelry shops, antiques or even big retailers can become good options. On the opposite, if this is not the case and you want ‘genuine’ Steampunk jewelry (if this exists at all) the range of options is not so wide. There are some physical shops here and there, and if you are lucky enough perhaps you will find one of them at your fingertips. Some of them are Clockwork Couture (Burbank, USA), Otherworlds (Edmonds, USA), etc.
5.3.1. Alternative fashion/lifestyle markets
Some of them are itinerant or take place periodically (weekly, monthly…) and some of them do not. Do you live in London? Then we are sure that you have visited Candem or Covent Garden. However, don’t lose the faith if you cannot find alternative markets close to you… have a look at the next bullet point!
Parties, gatherings, conventions… specific events usually become one of the best opportunities to buy items that you can try and check out before paying. This can be your chance to gauge the Steampunk scene, have a good time and increase your jewelry collection. Some of the best known cons worlwide are International Steampunk City (Waltham, USA), Oamaru Steampunk Festival (Oamaru, New Zealand), Steampunks World Fair (USA), SteamCon (USA), Teslacon (Washington, USA), The Asylum (Lincoln, England), Victoria Steam Expo (Victoria, Canada), World Steam Expo (Deerborn, USA), etc.
Keep your eyes wide open and you will find Steampunk jewelry in cons sooner or later!
Do you have any additional tip for those wondering how and where to purchase Steampunk jewelry? Leave a comment and share your knowledge! And naturally do not miss this chance to search for inspiration at our catalogue of artisan Steampunk fine jewelry… 😉
1.- The interviewee
Jenny Schwartz is an Australian author, happily abusing her history degree by writing steampunk. Her setting for “The Bustlepunk Chronicles” is also her hometown, Perth. There’s a lot of history in Perth and a tradition of tall tales. Steampunk fits right in!
2.- The interview
2.1.- About Australia, Steampunk literature… and Steampunk Jewelry, of course.
Dear Jenny, we would like to thank deeply your time and interest. Let’s go ahead with the first question!
Q.- You studied Australian Social History at Murdoch University in Perth. Taking this into consideration your interest about historical fiction makes sense, but what why has specifically Steampunk -and not any other uchronic genre- attracted you?
A.- I joke that writing Steampunk lets me correct history’s mistakes. But if that was all I aimed at in my stories, I’d be writing “alternative history” fiction and not Steampunk. The appeal of steampunk is its anachronistic and punk edge. You can explore the issues of today in a time distant enough to allow for some romantic re-imagining.
Q.- Jenny, you are our first Australian interviewee. What can you tell us about the Steampunk scene in Australia and its evolution through time?
A.- Lots happens in Australia in a disjointed kind of way, so summarising is tough. I’d say we’re enthusiastically exploring questions of identity and history. We love the social aspect. Activities range from participation in events such as the Katoomba Winter Magic Festival to formal balls. Professor Von Explaino has a list of happenings and groups.
Q.- You are very active not only in the Australian Steampunk scene, but also in the international. In fact you will be coordinating the weekly #steampunkchat on Twitter at 9pm Fridays (New York time) this summer. Why staying updated regarding the international Steampunk activity is so important for you?