Steampunk Hands Around the World 2016

steampunk_hands_ Araceli_Rodríguez

 

artwork by Araceli Rodriguez

 

A Few of my Favourite Things

by Sally-Ann Livingston ~ aka The Navigatrix

Whenever anyone asks me to pick favourites – be it films, books, music etc., I always struggle to line up my likes in linear fashion and see who ends up at the front. With me, it’s more of Sphere of Wonder containing circles made up of concentric lines and divided blurrily into categories. So when the Ambassador once more invited me to be a part of this wonderful celebratory event and unveiled the theme, so many things rushed forth for my attention that it has taken me months to think about what to include.

Steampunk can be a family activity.

One person sprang to mind immediately however – my brother Matt. I wouldn’t be writing this without him, nor would I have explored the Steampunk realm so thoroughly. He and I set up Etsy shops at almost the same time. We’ve always been the kind of siblings who are best friends. We live near each other and often bounce ideas off each other. He’ll find me bits from the charity shop to upcycle and I’ll give him jewellery findings or sewing tips. We often share a stall at Steampunk events and have a great laugh together.

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At ‘Steampunk Stamford on a Train’, Nene Valley Railway

Matt isn’t the only family involved, however. My husband and our daughter have been swept up in the steam, creating their own characters who are unrelated to mine yet part of the same crew – the crew of the Gargantuan Class Airship “The Unpronounceable”.

Steampunk encourages storytelling

‘The Scamp’, now 7, is creating a rich story around her character which includes brass dragons, magical coconut milk (allowing her to simply assume the form of what seems to be a young girl), being a tinkerer and ship mechanic, stealing fudge and concocting plans over a Steampunk luncheon, with Dr. Cornelius Porridge, for powering airships with unusual fuels. Mr. M(echanically) C(ivilised) Norbert, dwarf pygmy gorilla (and we like to think, Geoffery’s distant cousin) won the competition for best Steampunk pet. Though as he was mind-linked to Professor Noodles at the time, I rather think it was our dear prof who may have been the pet…

Stories are a large part of my products too. Each piece of jewellery and every accessory conjures ideas and images as I make them. One line of tribal steampunk products got rather over-excited and an entire fictitious culture was created, giving rise to The Aether Nomads Project.

 

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photos courtesy of Alternate History Photography

This collection of images is a highlight for me. Holding props created by ArcaneArmoury (yes, Matt’s shop), a costume based on my design and created by Wiserabbit (TheWiseRabbit on Etsy, headscarf and necklaces by myself, make-up and photography by Alternate History Photography

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I do hope that tattybustles catch on!

Abi of Wiserabbit is a wonderfully talented lady whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for years, having met at LRP, and count among my most treasured friends. How wonderful that through twenty years of Live Roleplaying to have met such wonderful people, a few of whom also dally in the delight of Victorian inspired science fiction fantasies.

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Images taken at Asylum 2015, in the grounds of Lincoln Cathedral

Matt and I were fortunate to enjoy the company of the lovely Genevieve last year at Asylum. I marvel at the last few years and – permit me a little name dropping -am so proud of these images, with costume and props by people who have costumed and ..er..propped(?) Professor Elemental and taken by the photographer who is one of the Steamgirls. I’m a little starstruck.

Mainly though, I am honoured to work collaboratively with such talented and really lovely people.

Steampunk is all about creativity and  cooperation

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This is why we love crowdfunding

Steampunk music

Here are a few examples, the three albums that I’ve thrown a few pennies at (as have hundreds of others) in order to help these wonderful artists manifest their dreams right into our eager, waiting ear’oles. 😉 Somehow or other, I have a tangible connection with all three which is so very meaningful to me. Not wishing to come across as egotistical but don’t we all love it when our lives directly influence something that gives us pleasure and a sense of achievement?

With Steampunk, it is all very up close and personal in the nicest possible way.

I need to list a few favourites in brief and in no particular order before I find myself writing a book rather than a blog post (that Sphere of Wonder grows each day!)

The costuming – goggling at other folks amazing attire!

The contraptions – especially those made with imagination and ingenuity, of whatever skill level.

The community – I love feeling that I’m a welcome part of something that celebrates diversity. *Shout out to Lincoln Steampunk Society!*

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Necklace by TheNavigatrix with etched elements by ArcaneArmoury (plus added Spoons!

Speaking of diversity, Steampunk offers a warm welcome to those of all nationalities, ages and abilities and is a wonderfully accessible hobby/lifestyle.

It is this broad scope which have allowed me to offer two opportunities for ‘creative socialising’ :

The Aether Nomads Project – a free global community art project based on the concept of a nomadic Steampunk Tribe. Here’s our Facebook Page and our Blog

This is one of my favourite things because of the wonderful people involved who have taken my little idea and run with it! I love sharing ideas 🙂 *Waves a glove to fellow Nomads*

Steampunkable – this is really quite new. Inspired by the clever modifications to wheelchairs, mobility scooters, braces and other aids that I’ve seen both at events and online, I decided to start a group for those of us dealing with disabilities and/or chronic illness and doing it Splendidly! If you’d like to join the group, put your request in here.

I myself have wonky collagen (aka Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic disorder) among a few other labels. This is why you’ll see my work appear in bursts and then hear nothing for a while. Steampunk and online shopping platforms allow me to craft a life for myself that is sympathetic to my physical needs and fun for all the family. I can work from home, yet Skype and message friends across the globe. I can work within my abilities and pace myself (which I’m rather good at, unless I get carried away writing long blog articles…oops.)

If you pushed me to answer what is my Favourite thing about Steampunk, it would have to be…

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image courtesy of Pixabay

YOU!

It is the people who are drawn to this creative playground, this cognitive casserole, this celebration of Splendidness who make it what it is. Yes, we’re all human and sometimes we don’t play together as nicely as we could but the value we put on community and good manners means that we keep this engine oiled and running smoothly most of the time.

It is simply a pleasure to be in your good company.

Wishing you a happy Steampunk Hands Around the World month,

Sally-Ann ~aka The Navigatrix

To see what else is happening for Steampunk Hands this month, visit The Official Link List

 

 

 

 

Steampunk Spoonies ~ Interviews, Part 1

Necklace by TheNavigatrix with etched elements by ArcaneArmoury (plus added Spoons!

Necklace by TheNavigatrix with etched elements by ArcaneArmoury (plus added Spoons!)

Ironically, it has taken me longer than I’d hoped to get this written up, due to a lack of Spoons.

If you follow my blog, you probably know what a Steampunk is. What you may not be aware of, however, is what on earth a Spoonie is. The concept was created by Christine Miserandino and you can read about The Spoon Theory here. In brief, it is an analogy to help averagely energetic folk understand what it is like to live with the fatigue that comes with some chronic illnesses and disabilities.

I’m a SteamSpoonie myself, having been diagnosed with FND in 2013. I’m still on the diagnostic journey at the moment which is why my shop and blog aren’t as regularly updated as I’d like.

I feel that it is important to raise awareness to a certain degree. It nurtures compassion and understanding. It is also important to ‘always look on the bright side of life’, which is where we have a wonderful advantage being Steampunks! I sent out a call for interviewees and several brave folk answered, so I have decided to run the Steampunk Spoonies interviews in several parts.

Pour some tea (I’d do it for you but for the physical separation in time and space…) and allow me to introduce you to our first three guests, Charli, Chiisai and Kermit:

1. Introductions first! Could you tell us a little about yourself and whereabouts in the world you are from?
Charli – I was born in Middlesex but now live in Lincoln after going to university here.  I work in the gas and electric utilities sector as a technician, and also as a self-employed photographer, artist and crafter.

Chiisai – I am a 21 year old, 4’7”, wheelchair using steampunk enthusiast and cosplayer. I’m from Cambridge, UK, though currently am based in Ipswich.

Kermit – I was born in Myrtle Beach, SC on September 2nd, 1983. With both parents having grown up on tobacco farms, I was given your typical country upbringing in a beach town. Somehow I escaped without an accent, though. In September of 2013 I moved to the San Francisco Bay area, and live there currently. I am ridiculously introverted, and filled with child-like wonderment. I have a passion for most arts and sciences, valuing them both equally. Animals and their rights are incredibly important to me, but currently cannot afford a pet of my own. In addition to jewelry, I occasionally make wall hangings and refurbish furniture in creative ways.

2.Why do you identify as a Spoonie?
Charli – In 2013 I was diagnosed with severe Clinical Depression, having struggled with it alone for the previous four years.  At the time, people were fearing not just for my mental health, but my physical health too.  The depression at that point was really quite bad, I would stay in bed most of the day because I didn’t have the energy or will to get up, and I contemplated suicide frequently.  I didn’t want to eat, my sleep pattern was really messed up, and I couldn’t go out, because I was too scared of the outside world.  There was always a kind of shadow hanging over me, the so called “Black Dog”, and it would always bring me down, even when things were going well.  My sense of self-worth was pretty much non-existent and I hated everything about myself.  Depression is a lonely thing, even when you have people around you, and I still struggle with feelings of loneliness.  Even now, when I have it mostly under control, I have to be very careful.  If I feel as though my emotions are becoming too low, I’m getting even the littlest bit stressed or I’m getting too tired to control my thoughts, I have to take myself out of the situation and find someone to talk through it all with me, just to keep me from cracking again.

Chiisai – I identify as a Spoonie as I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Functional Neurological Disorder, Asperger’s, associated mental health issues, and hearing loss.

Kermit – I was diagnosed with PTSD about ten years ago. With PTSD, you can have better and worse days, but it’s not something that ever goes away. My spoons are planned and taken in a similar fashion, but for different reasons.

3. How did you get into Steampunk?
Charli – I was invited by someone I considered as one of my few friends, but I repeatedly turned her down.  My depression makes me really bad at meeting new people, even now, and I didn’t want the trouble of making a complete fool out of myself.  Eventually though, I found myself wandering around the area that the local Steampunk Society meet.  It was a “Steampunk night”, and I was alone in the cold.  I figured I would go into the pub and find my friend, as I needed to talk with her about a photography project anyway.  I sat alone at a table, watching the Steampunks for a while, but my friend didn’t show up until much much later, and I was introduced then.  About a month later I went back, because I felt a connection to the aesthetic more than anything, and I’ve been a Steampunk ever since!

Chiisai – I have always been interested in fixing/modifying mechanical and optical devices, but it’s only been in the past 3 years that I’ve become involved in the social aspect.

Kermit – I’ve always enjoyed the various aspects of Steampunk, but didn’t realize I could call it that until I had an idea for clock hand necklaces. When I looked them up to buy, I noticed they were associated with what I only knew as people in top hats and goggles. Come to find out, all my previously preferred aesthetics, eras, and genres take place within this newly found genre. I haven’t put it down since.

4. What limitations does your chronic illness/disability have on your every day life? How does it affect your involvement with Steampunk?
Charli – Depression makes me really bad at meeting new people, and I often find that I wish myself blending into the background.  I feel anxious in crowds and often find myself feeling that I will never compare to the people around me.  Sometimes I wake up, and I’m sad for no reason, and it doesn’t go away for weeks, sometimes months.  I lose my appetite and I don’t want to face people.  I also judge myself as a Steampunk incredibly harshly, and if I feel I have “let the movement down” in any way I can become withdrawn.  That means that I will avoid certain events or places, and if people I know aren’t going, I won’t even think about heading that way.

Chiisai – The combination of EDS and FND mean that I use a wheelchair outside my house, while the Asperger’s and hearing loss affect my communication skills. These mean it’s harder for me to travel independently to get to events, which are often far away, and also to interact with people once there.EDS affects my hands a lot, so it takes much longer to make things, though this means I have a greater sense of achievement when a project is finally complete.

Kermit – With me, it’s hard to convince myself to use spoons for what needs to be done, because my spoons can easily be taken all at once. Any trigger causing a flashback, embarrassing social interaction, or simply things not going as planned can take more than one or all of my spoons. My reserve spoon hopefully gets me to a safe place before I blackout, or enter a dissociative state. Because of my shortcomings, I have not been able to participate as much in the Steampunk world as I’d like. I can’t be around people for long periods, so events are out of the question. I can’t seem to earn enough money for them or a costume anyway, as the only jobs I know how to do require too much social interaction. Making my jewelry helps calm my mind, but I can rarley afford supplies. Even when I have something made, I can easily convince myself it’s not good enough to be shared with the community.

5. How does Steampunk enrich your life?
Charli – Steampunk gives me a creative outlet and has allowed me to meet people who are like myself behind the depression.  It has given me a sense of belonging; a place where I feel as though I can really be myself.  Now that I know there are others out there who share some of my oddities, I don’t feel so isolated, and I have made a number of new friends.  I wouldn’t be anywhere without them.

Charli, "...from last year's Fashion Gala at the Asylum.  I find that being on the stage helps me with the depression, as it makes me feel valued!"

Charli, “…from last year’s Fashion Gala at the Asylum. I find that being on the stage helps me with the depression, as it makes me feel valued!”

Chiisai – Steampunk gives me something positive to focus on when I feel depressed, and has expanded my social circle a lot.

Kermit – I think my mental illness lends a different take on the spoon analogy. I can actually gain a spoon sometimes. Occasionally a positive occurrence can have enough impact to add a spoon. I was always the science and math kid, and never thought I had any real artistic talent before I started making Steampunk jewelry. Making art I’m proud of can add a spoon. Getting enough likes and positive comments on a post about that piece can add another. I’ve mostly experienced kind and supportive Steampunks who make me feel good about what I do. These people also share lovely things with me, and true inspiration can also add a spoon.

6. Does being involved in Steampunk have a positive effect on your sense of self?
Charli – I understand more about myself now that my lifestyle has a name!  And I don’t feel as though I have to make excuses for being who I am anymore.  I simply say, “I’m Charli, I’m a Steampunk”.  And if people don’t like it, I’m happier about telling them where to go!  I am definitely more comfortable with who I am.

Chiisai – Definitely. When at meetups I feel able to be completely myself, and not so constrained by trying to be ‘normal’, which leads to increased self-esteem and confidence.

Kermit – Most certainly. It’s really the only place where I am rarely disappointed with myself or others, which makes me feel appreciated and inspired. It also makes me feel like less of a nerd for always wanting to be proper and polite. It gives me a chance to express a side of myself that I’m confident in, but others don’t always understand or take the right way. Doing so reinforces my confidence in general.

7. Do you have any current projects or plans that you’d like to share with us?
Charli – I’m working on a fairytale-Steampunk-fantasy photography project at the moment, called “Shades”.  It’s part fashion, part history, part Steampunk and part mythology, so it has fingers in many pies!  I’m getting a lot of support from my friends at the moment, and while it’s still in the early months, I’m really pleased with how it’s going.  You can see the website for it here: http://charli313.wix.com/shadesproject

Chiisai – I’m currently modifying a pair of Nerf revolvers [these are great fun], designing corsets, and my boyfriend is making me a pair of folding wings – if only these let me fly!

Kermit – Haha. I’m just trying to feed myself, currently. I’ve recently started chemically oxidizing metals to produce patinas in my jewelry, but quickly used up the little supplies I could afford. I also want to get into electroplating, soldering, and possibly welding.
You can find my projects here:

Etsy.com/shop/craftedcurios


Facebook.com/craftedcurios


Instagram.com/craftedcurios


Twitter.com/craftedcurios

8. Silver linings – what is the best thing about being a Steampunk Spoonie?
Charli – I am loathe to say that there are any silver linings to depression, unless you count the fact that it can be controlled and diminished, but being a Steampunk gives you a wonderful support network.  There are people within Steampunk who have already been there and suffered, so they’re always there to lend a hand.  The whole community is so vibrant, dynamic and diverse, that there’s always someone there to support you, even when you feel at your lowest.  And I met my fiance, who has also suffered with depression, through Steampunk, so perhaps that’s my silver lining!

Chiisai – (…)

Kermit – It makes me odd. I find oddities fascinating.

9. Are there any charities or support groups you’d like to mention to help raise awareness?
Charlihttp://www.actionforhappiness.org/
http://www.depressionalliance.org/

ChiisaiFND Hope is a wonderful charity, and much needs to be done to raise the profile of this often misunderstood and actually very common condition. EDS UK are a very good source of information and support and their information helped me finally get my diagnosis after 21 years of being a medical mystery.

Kermit – Have a Gay Day
 https://haveagayday.org/
Facebook.com/mygayday
Equality House
 http://www.plantingpeace.org/

Kermit (the Steampunk ;)

Kermit (the Steampunk 😉

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by Crafted Curios

IMG_20150111_164305 IMG_20150425_162514 IMG_20150109_144901Thankyou all for responding and sharing quite personal perspectives. Part 2 will follow…at some point.

~~~ Since starting the process of this post, I’ve been going through some rather interesting times myself and just this week received a new diagnosis – the master cog in the machine, really – of Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, which is seen by many medical professionals as being the same as EDS, hypermobility type (right there with you, Chiisai!). So, dear readers and customers, do please be patient as this is rather a large piece of news for me to digest, for many reasons and there will follow quite a few appointments to work out the details. The shop remains open and all orders will be dealt with in timely fashion, however, blog posts and newsletters will be delayed. Thankyou kindly for your understanding. Sally-Ann ~~~

Interview – Matt of ArcaneArmoury on his trip to WWWCon, USA

It is always a pleasure to show you what my talented sibling has been up to. Recently, Matt received a rather splendid invitation…

This year is off to a good start for you Matt! Tell us how you got on at the Wild Wild West Con in the US? Did you go as yourself or did you take your alter ego, Weldon Rivet esq. along?

 Wild Wild West Con was superb, I was lucky enough to be invited by Kato to hang out with her and the Steam Girls. I’ve known Kate about 4 years now and we are firm friends. I don’t really do the ‘steam-sona’ thing so if you meet me , you’ll just be meeting me in steampunk gear 🙂

Left to right. Sean Walter, A .Nomaly, Tia, Luna, Matt, (Rin , at his feet) Genevieve, Lumi,Littlebit Lizbit and Bailey Group shot by Stephanie Rowe

Left to right. Sean Walter, A .Nomaly, Tia, Luna, Matt, (Rin , at his feet) Genevieve, Lumi,Littlebit Lizbit and Bailey
Group shot by Stephanie Rowe

Who did you meet there?  

  I met Kato, Abney Park, Brian Kesinger of Otto and Victoria fame, Thomas Williford, Amy Wilder…All the Steam Girls that went  A.Nomaly, Lumi, Genevieve, Rin, Bailey, Littlebit Lizbit, Tia and Luna. Sean Walter is Steamgirl’s security guy and he went above and beyond to ensure we were all cared for.  I also met a lot of fans and Steam Girl admirers. Everyone was really friendly and the atmosphere was so welcoming.

What was the music like?

 Really good! I only caught the gig Saturday, but that was Frenchy and the Punk and then the headliners Abney Park, they had the crowd eating out of their hands…it was just a blast finally hanging out and dancing with these people I’ve known for years through social media…and everyone of them was wonderful.

Hanging out with the Steamgirls. Image courtesy of Alternate History Photography

Matt is really good at making people smile 😉 Image courtesy of Alternate History Photography

What did you do at the convention?

 I was very lucky actually as I was with the Steam Girl group , it allowed me to go to all the panels and special events and I was lucky enough to assist on a couple of photo shoots with Genevieve, who also runs Alternate History Photography and shoots for Steamgirl.com. We had the wondrous setting of old Tucson as a backdrop so we took the chance to get some group shots etc.

Genevieve and Kato photo by ArcaneArmoury

Genevieve and Kato photo by ArcaneArmoury

Did going to a Steampunk convention in the US give you any ideas for future creations?

 The scene is huge over there, but sadly I am unable to ship my prop weapons to the US, which is a shame as I get a lot of enquiries. I expect I will be building more gadgets and head ware etc. I don’t tend to go looking at what others are doing as I don’t want it to influence my own designs. I have a few ideas for creations that aren’t weapons etc , but it’s true to say people love a big shiny steampunk gun!

 Will you be going back next year?

 I will do everything in my power to ensure I make it back to WWWcon next year, a chance to meet with my friends and have a wonderful time in such a great setting can’t be missed!

Matt of ArcaneArmoury, image by Alternate History Photography

Matt of ArcaneArmoury, image by Alternate History Photography

 

What is in the pipeline for ArcaneArmoury at the moment?

 I’m hoping to do some collaborative projects with people, but we shall see how all that pans out.

 If you could make anything in the realms of Steampunk, what would it be?

 That’s a huge question with far too many answers! I guess, high on my list would be some steampunk animatronic monsters  but such big plans require big budgets and I’m not in a position to go that route yet.

 Personally, I’d love to see what you could do if someone handed you a big budget and several skilled assistants!

Where can you be found online?

 You can find me at ArcaneArmoury on Facebook and view my shop at www.etsy.com/shop/ArcaneArmoury

I’m always happy to take on commissions too.

Thanks for taking the time to do the interview, Matt, I know you’re quite busy at the moment.

My gratitude also goes out to Kato and the SteamGirls (and Sean), Alternate History Photography and Stephanie Rowe for the wonderful images.

 If you would like to be interviewed for this blog and maybe even get involved in Steampunk Hands Around the World next February, do drop me a line at  thenavigatrix@yahoo.co.uk

 ~The Navigatrix

Steampunk Hands Around the World 2015 – Our Playground, Our Classroom, Our Workshop – Part 3

“Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.”  – Leo Tolstoy

In this final part of the blog trilogy for #SteampunkHands, I’d like to introduce you to a few of the members who have been inspired to create! So, for your enjoyment and in no particular order, meet the Tribe:

~ Louisa Doak, Illustrator ~

Mother of Rhuk by Louisa Doak

Mother of Rhuk by Louisa Doak

“I came across the Aether Nomads through the fascinating Navigatrix about a year ago, and have enjoyed playing there since. As an illustrator, I always love the challenge of a complex character, and what appeals to me about working with the Aether Nomads tribe is the chance to work with living characters, not confined to a static existence on the page. It makes the illustrative process very collaborative, I can tease out details with a quick email to develop into features of the illustration.”

The Navigatrix among the Aether Nomads by Louisa Doak

The Navigatrix among the Aether Nomads by Louisa Doak

 ~~~~~

~ Empire Edibles ~  created a spicy, mocha hot chocolate blend, available as a solid stir into hot milk version, or a tinned powder. It was delicious and I’m sad to say that food laws prevented it being sold outside the UK…

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Empire Edibles

~~~~~

~ Amanda Gray of Lady Gray’s Emporium ~

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“The Nomads travel through time and cultures, so it seemed natural to land myself in Morocco when it came to my contribution to the project. When one thinks of the art of tea, Britain is often conjured, perhaps even Japan. But the Maghreb region of North Africa is positively RICH in tea ceremony. To me, Steampunk is largely about immersing oneself in history, fantasy and daydreams all at once and this philosophy is one I tried to capture in my Moroccan Mint tea. Upon tasting, I wanted to take my guest on a journey through the aether and into the bustling streets of Marrakesh and Moroccan tea houses. This spirit of exploration is at the heart of the Aether Nomad project.”

download-1

downloadLady Grays Emporium

~~~~~

~ Josué Ramos, author ~

“My name is Josué Ramos and I am a writer, editor and steampunk from Spain.
After the first Steampunk Hands I learned a lot about multicultural Steampunk and how we writers can develop Steampunk in my culture and my country; but I also learned about Steampunk in other countries and cultures.

Since this last year, I am very interested in pushing the boundaries of Steampunk (Steampunk outside England or the Old West. In exotic places. Even in a lost colony at the other side of the universe). I think we should escape from clichés; so, I started to do it in my writings; and one of the best ideas came from the Aether Nomads Project.

I found a lot of inspiration thanks to The Navigatrix and the other members of the group, who post photos, drawings, pieces of text…I work with the group translating the most important announcements and documents to Spanish. But my first contribution was a novella: “Illusions”. It tells the story of Lidia, a Spanish girl from 1880 who lost her only child. After that, she found a young lost boy from the Aether Nomads tribe. A good friend of mine is working on translating it to English. In the meantime, I will try to publish it here in Spain. Wish me luck.”

(Good luck, Josué!)

~~~~~

~ Maharaj Neel Bhaga Singha aka Blue Millenium, Artist ~

Maour Devi by the artist BlueMillenium

Maour Devi by the artist BlueMillenium

‘Maour Devi, the Goddess of Victory, appears only to those who are seeking for Truth, showing the path towards new quests to our Aether Nomad adventurers.’

“Soaking in the Steampunk universe even before it bore this name, I am an illustrator specialising in ‘coffink’ and ‘teank’, the only inks capable of bearing the journey between the dimensions and my transformation into Tiger form (but that’s a story for another day).

Maharaj Neel Bhagha Singha

Maharaj Neel Bhagha Singha, image courtesy of Tenhaku Photographie

I put forward Indianity and Oriental Vaporism generally and participate in the development and the understanding of the movement through Chitra Event.”

Blue Millenium :

https://www.facebook.com/BlueMillenium

Chitra Event:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chitra-Event/319891168204549?fref=ts

~~~~~

~ Sarah Chernik, cosplayer and writer

Sarah Chernik as Farukka

Sarah Chernik as Farukka

Sarah Chernik of Canada has been featured in the latest issue of Ladies of Steampunk magazine. She is a cosplayer, tribal bellydancer and writer. Her short story, ‘The Imuhagh Necklace”, is now available to read on the official Aether Nomads blog:

https://aethernomads.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/the-imuhagh-necklace-an-aether-nomad-tale-by-s-l-chernik/

~~~~~From My Personal Tribe ~~~

Rhuk Gliders

Rhuk Gliders

~ My husband surprised me with this drawing of the Rhuk Gliders, an aspect of the Aether Nomads’ identity, which was his original idea. This concept, that beyond the various airships of the Cloud Caravan were a protective flock of giant birds, with tribe members slung beneath in Faraday cage harnesses. There is more to this developing idea and you are most welcome to join the tribe and help to further the story!

~~~~~

~ Matt Inkel of ArcaneArmoury

Aether Nomad inspired crossbow design by ArcaneArmoury

Aether Nomad inspired crossbow design by ArcaneArmoury

I was delighted to receive this wonderful little crossbow as a gift, made by my brother Matt. (My inner child was delighted to discover that it also fires Nerf™ darts!) The arms spring out from a folded position upon pressing the catch. I must admit that I’d been badgering him to make an Aether Nomad item for a while but he has been rather busy. There is an #ANProject idea in the pipeline, but in the meantime, he will happily take commissions.

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

Finally, I just have to introduce you to ~ The Scamp.

The Scamp

The Scamp

Yes, this is our dear little Cogling! She has created her own character, who comes from a dimension called OddLand, is ‘half girl, half robot and half rat’, has a mechanical dragon and gets her powers from coconut juice. She was, apparently, discovered by the Aether Nomads and delivered to the care of the crew of ‘The Unpronounceable’ (of which my character is the navigatrix). I’m so happy to have my family be a part of this adventure, too!

Toward the future

We are looking to establish Aether Nomad tribes (groups) in various countries, led by active, enthusiastic and reasonably organised group members who would have the title of  AN Ambassador. Before this can really take off though, the admin are working towards a more comprehensive Foundation document, explaining the key concepts and making sure that the Aether Nomads stay firmly in the realm of Steampunk.

Perhaps one day we will have small groups of Nomads attending conventions and setting up tea tents; graphic novels featuring appearances or perhaps solely focussed on their adventures; tribal bellydance troupes performing using this as a theme; all kinds of handmade costume and accessories available; short stories; music. Oh yes, please, let there be music.

We would love to hear from you – your feedback, your ideas, your questions.

May your travels reveal the treasures within….

Celebrations, Building Steam and Joining Hands across the World

image by Araceli Rodriguez

This February sees the first month long, active celebration of Steampunk community across the globe. The 14th also happens to be The Navigatrix’s 2nd anniversary! 


I must admit, writing this blog entry is a bit like trying to use a chocolate teapot…you see, Steampunk Hands is really not about selling things at all. It is about celebrating community, so my focus isn’t really about inviting you to consider buying anything. However, the whole reason I got involved in Steampunk was because of a practical need to increase my income. This is one mother who got inventive! I amalgamated my skills as a professional modelmaker with my hobby of Live Roleplaying and created an Etsy shop. You can read all about how The Navigatrix began, on Etsy.

My learning curve in the first year was near vertical. I’d never actively created a network for business before, but I soon found it fun as it wasn’t unlike meeting people at a LRP.  You come across their characters in play and before you know it, you’re sitting round the campfire at 3am getting to know the person behind the persona. This is how I have met, both virtually and face to face, many wonderful people who are on a similar wavelength. Through the common love of dressing up and pretending (an admirable trait in grown-ups) we can get to know ourselves and each other much better. Isn’t it nourishing to be understood?

I was contacted by my friend Suna Dasi of Steampunk India (a Facebook friend) in January and invited to join in with Steampunk Hands. This was just the boost I needed to take off in a new direction and so I dived right in, enthusiastically!

 Kevin Steil, also known as the Airship Ambassador, is the bright spark whose idea has grown so rapidly that some are already calling it ‘International Steampunk Month’. The Universe often conspires towards us, I feel…

 Kevin states: 

  “Our community is an energetic force of creativity, education, and aspiration, which deserves to be expressed, shared, and valued by each and every one of us, every day.
Our friends and compatriots, known and not-yet-met, create the stories we read, make the fashions and accessories we wear, perform the music we hear, and construct the art we see….This grand collaboration makes our steam-nation possible, not just to exist but to thrive. Steampunk and our community is our playground. It is our classroom. It is our workshop.”

To find out the range of people’s efforts in celebration of our shared love of the genre, visit:
The Navigatrix has been spending time among the Aether Nomads

Serendipity is a fine thing. It just so happens that I had already planned to make something of my Aether Nomad idea, to have The Navigatrix spend time among a different culture, learning from them and emulating their style. OOC (that’s Out of Character for non-LRPers) my intention was to pursue a more tribal style in my Steampunk jewellery, allowing me more freedom for creativity and to perhaps find a unique little niche. 


The little snippets of story that often pop into my head whilst making things had begun to grow into the idea of a fantastic, fictional culture. That was informed by my most recent Live Roleplay character (the orange tagelmust is actually part of my LRP costume too). So finding out about Steampunk Hands fit right in and has allowed me to get to know this sub-culture better. I’ve even tried dredging up the French I learned at school to at least have a token go at speaking to Heyk Al Khemeti, with whom I’m co-writing some of the ‘Tales of the Navigatrix’. It is very rusty. A-levels were a long time ago (well, I will be turning 40 this year!).


I had been researching images for the character, using Pinterest, and had fallen in love with Moroccan design. Occasionally I’ll find elements from other cultures too – it is so fascinating to learn about the world through a visual design journey.

Georgina modelling the Vintage Lace Heart Choker from my Steampunk Catwalk collection

When I first joined Etsy, I discovered that you could be part of a team in order to get motivated, learn new skills and meet likeminded makers. I loved the idea of being part of such a community, so that even though I work for myself, I wasn’t by myself. The first team I joined was then run by Georgina, a highly creative woman who, at the time, had two shops. She now runs Atomic Girl, Curious Doors and Nevermore Art Dolls By sheer coincidence she lived close enough for us to meet up once in a while.  

Steampunk Fairy made for Sarah Trickler Photography by Nevermore Art Dolls

So Georgina inspired me, guided me and has become the main model for my shop. She has since retired as Team Captain and that position has been filled by our lovely pyrographer friend in the U.S. Emily Joy of EmiNation Artistry .

Together with my brother Matt of ArcaneArmoury and a few other friends, we are the Crew of ‘The Unpronounceable’. Georgina is The Captain, Emily Joy is Nova Pyrelis the Combustion overseer and Matt is Weldon Rivett esq., our Mechaneer. These characters came about through Georgina’s initiative of starting the Steampunk Share Page and I shall be exploring them a little as I write more story entries.

By EmiNation Artistry

When likeminded people connect, no matter the distance, a process of co-creation begins. You inspire one-another and gain courage to try a different route, to explore new ideas and broaden your horizons.

Matt and Abigail of The Wiserabbit (aka Weldon Rivett esq and Steamcaptain America) dropping character for a moment at Weekend at the Asylum 2013
Matt and I are very happy that a few good larper friends have also joined us in our creative, tea-powered quest! Abigail of The Wiserabbit is one such dear friend, met in a tent in a field somewhere in England, years ago. I’ll be interviewing this fine seamstress soon!

What a fine adventure!

I would like to express my gratitude to the many splendid folk that have contributed in some way to my journey. I’ve come such a long way in two years and it has been purely because of the positive and encouraging support from friends in the Etsy and Steampunk communities; many of those folk can be found in both places!


Here’s a list of Steampunk Etsy Teams for those interested in finding friendship, inspiration and support from various creative types across the world:

In Here Life Is Beautiful – Steampunk, Goth, Rockabilly, Bellydance, Cyberpunk, Burlesque…a spicy alternative mix!
Steam Trunk – a fairly new team seeking die-hard Steampunkers
Home for Displaced Victorians – for those who feel themselves somewhat anachronistic
SteamTeam – a large team full of enthusiasts

There are plenty more out there and you can join without having to have a shop. It’s another great place to meet likeminded people.
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Thanks to El Investigador magazine and Beyond Victoriana for the  features! 
  

So..anyone for chocolate tea? In all seriousness though, I am grateful to be part of a community who appreciate the value of handmade items, usually because they’ve had a go at doing it themselves and know the time and effort it takes. They also know the glow of showing off their latest thingumajig, complete with brass gubbins, to a global audience that they can engage with either online or through travelling to conventions.

‘The Navigatrix’ looks forward to making many more wonderful acquaintances. Teach me a bit about your language! I’ll have a go. My French may be rusty and my Japanese coming along ‘totemo yukkuri’ but I would like to at least make the effort. If you’ve read this and English is not your first language, thankyou! If you’ve used an online translation service, I hope it managed my rather verbose, enthusiastic celebration of Steampunk Hands around the World.

Happy Birthday, Navigatrix 🙂