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.


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.


Sal1 wmYcopy

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


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.


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 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


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!*


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…


image courtesy of Pixabay


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 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…


Empire Edibles


~ Amanda Gray of Lady Gray’s Emporium ~


“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.”


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 :

Chitra Event:


~ 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:

~~~~~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.

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….