Tag Archives: steampunkHands

And Warm Woollen Mittens

I love costuming. It all started with fantasy and Doctor Who costumes. Over the years I developed a penchant for historical re-enactment. That is joy of steampunk costuming – I get to do the intense historical research but can deviate from slavish accuracy and let my imagination run rampant.

Steampunk costuming has leaked into my everyday life. And some of my everyday life has absorbed my steampunk costuming as well. 
bowler14      kraken 5 on      firefly 2014

Steampunk costuming also taps into another of my passions – recycling and reducing the carbon footprint to help our environment. Even better!

Here is the tale of my costuming favourites and my upcycling successes.


My favourite steampunk costume items.
Accessories are my passion little details make all the difference. I participated in a panel on Steampunk Costumes at Adelaide Armageddon in 2012 – my specialty? Accessories, of course!
And, as fate would have it, am running an accessories workshop for the Australian Costumers’ Guild next week.

Discovering or making accessories to complement an outfit is the most enjoyable part of the process for me.

Some of my favourite accessories are for my steampunk fairy catcher – gun, outfit, hat, fairy, net, boots and soon to be completed ‘captured fairy in a bottle’.


You can see more of my accessories (and some on my wishlist) on my  Pinterest Page.

Steampunk allows me to recycle – or more accurately, upcycle –  to create something both aesthetically pleasing and useful from old forgotten treasures, worn out pieces or junk. This is not unsurprising as the steampunk creed promotes individuality, creativity and usually turns its back on the throw away society and consumerism.


I’ve been a greenie since the 1980s, when my parents attached our first solar hot water system to the roof.  (We were one of the first houses in our area to have solar electricty.)
But, you say, isn’t the majority of steampunk set in the Industrialised age? Yes, but look at the stories, the characters. Many fight against big corporations, conformity and strive to control their own fates…

By reusing vintage items or upcycling throwaways into something useful (and often beautiful), I strive for my own individuality and help the environment at the same time. (Okay, rant over)

Opshops, garage sales.
A few weekends ago, fellow Steampunk SA members and I went on an Opshop Scavenger Hunt for a bit of a lark. While we scrounged and sifted through potental treasures, we also searched for items on a scavenger list. (Good news, my team found all but two of the items and managed to find some useful items.)

Here’s a little video I made on on our opshop adventure: Hunting for Steampunk Accessories.

My Haul: I found a fur stole ($3 and in a gorgeous colour), a disney toy rotunda to respray to top a backpack contraption, future ear horn (ex-silver plated vase),  a steampunk-ish top, a fill-in ‘smoking’ cap and tea pot-cups sets.


There is always tea.

#SteampunkHands Around the World Link List.


Steampunk Hands: International Q&A Project Pts 1-3

Steampunk month is over. My final post for Steampunk Hands Around the World, showcases Ray Dean’s International Q&A on her website, My Ethereality.

Ray interviewed several participants from around the world. Other participants included:  Sally-Ann Livingston (England), Davide Mana (Italy), Josue Ramos (Spain), Jaymee Goh Sook Yi (Malaysia), Paulo Ramirez (Mexico), Arthur Morgan (France), Kenneth Toglia (USA), Suna (Scotland/India), Kevin Steil (Airship Ambassador). I am such splendiferous company!

The interview was blogged in three parts. Here is the complete list of links.

  1. Part One
  2. Part Two
  3. Part Three

It was interesting hearing from fellow enthusiasts from around the world. I have met a few new friends, as a result. (Isn’t that what it is all about?) One of the things I love about steampunk is its willingness to include different cultures and ideas. In this Q&A, we can see a glimpse of steampunk in different countries.  Thanks again to Raydeen for as asking me to be part of this project.


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Image: Thanks to Steampunk Hands Around the World.

#7 Steampunk Hands: Welcome to Our Workshops

A Showcase local creators and their workshops – and things they create

We are fortunate to have some very talented people in Adelaide who are part of our steampunk community. These include artists, costume-makers, writers and gadget makers. Let me introduce you to just a few of them. These generous people let me into their workshop and even answered some questions.

Terry Brown – Dragonsblood Creations.

terry steampunk expo_KarenJCarlisle2014Terry creates custom made wedding, goth clothing, Renaissance and medieval clothing. More recently she has been commissioned to make steampunk and burlesque ensembles. She also makes her own historical and steampunk costumes. Her dedicated sewing workshop is filled with a rainbow of wools and silks, findings and corsetry requirements. She also sells jewelry, hats, purses and all manner of accessories.

How did you get into steampunk?
My first Steampunk event was either the Dress Like a Time Traveller Picnic 2010 that was held in Victoria square OR the second Flight of the Olympia run by Steve Scholz & Catherine Curl, at The (Adelaide) Fringe. I can’t remember when but through friends essentially.

What aspect of steampunk are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about the incredible talent and imagination the Steampunk community has.

dressdummy_KarenJCarlisle2015    workshop_KarenJCarlisle2015     workshop2_KarenJCarlisle2105

Anthony Fagan – maker of Steampunk Weaponry

11003936_10205801483614069_811639959_nAnthony has been attending events for some time now. He has a passion for creating steampunk weaponry from toy and water pistols, or by using everyday items and components found in the local hardware store. He recently ran a local workshop. He utilises the dining table, with a side table for gun making and modifications. There is a room outside for spray painting and drilling. The down side is that if anyone visits, he has to clear the table to eat.

How did you get into steampunk?
1 mining helpWe got our first introduction to Steampunk through a presentation at Aus Sci Fi and Fantasy club and Marianne Hooper came dressed in Steampunk costume. We had many questions for her and she certainly got us interested in the genre.

What aspect of steampunk are you most passionate about?
Steampunk gunmaking and meeting other Steampunk people are my main interests. I am a member of several on-line groups several of which are international groups – Steampunk Revolution & Steampunk Gun Club – and some Australian groups – Steampunk SA.
Photos: thanks to Anthony Fagan.

Damien Snell – Mystichaggis’s Bazar of Steamfoolery

flametophat_Mystichaggis's Bazar of SteamfooleryFBSMInfamous for his flame-throwing tophat, Damien is an afficiado of repurposing all manner of items and shaping them into functioning works of art. His work has been described as Steampunk, Teslapunk and Dieselpunk. He rarely uses plastic, preferring natural materials such as wood and metal. His workshop is an Aladdin’s cave of inspirational bits – and so organised! I could spend hours there and still find new things; I am in recycler heaven. He has repurposed old radios, frames, cabinets and vaccum tubes.
(Photo courtesy of MystichaggisBazarSteamfoolery)

How did you get into steampunk?
Steampunk has never been the primary focus for me. I have been modifying and fixing things since I was a child. The aesthetics I like can range from ancient styles all the way through to sci fi, more modern periods or my own imaginings. Steampunk is just a handy category some of my work falls into and I let other people use the description to set them at ease. 

What aspect of steampunk are you most passionate about?
I generally just tinker and use my love of mechanical, electronics and strangely engineered objects to guide me.

workshop1 workshop2

vacuum tubes clocks

David Carlisle – Squatter in Our Shed

David_KarenJCarlisle2014Our shed is a scary place. It is full to the gills with wood offcuts, sheets of metal and eclectic items collected over the years. David has a small area – 1.5m by 1m – with an old metal topped bench, jars of screws, scavenged bits, spraypaint, brushes, gluegun and tape. Here he makes a variety of accessories, paints steampunk guns, adding metal decorations and studs to leather items and making silicon molds for metal components.

How did you get into steampunk?
Back in the early 1990s, I was a fan of Cyberpunk. One of my favourite authors was William Gibson. Then I heard he’d written something a little different – The Difference Engine was Cyberpunk with a 19th century twist. Apparently it was known as Steampunk. Over the years, I ran across more steampunk influences – first in computer games (The Chaos Engine,  Arcana: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura) and later, movies (Wild Wild West, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

What aspect of steampunk are you most passionate about?
At the moment, I’m getting into ‘punking up toy guns. I started without a clear concept of what I wanted to make, but after painting my Nerf Maverick, I started looking at what I could add to it, and wanted it to have a logical consistency to it. I started having ideas about adding lights, turning it into some sort of raygun… but that wouldn’t work for an obvious revolver like the Maverick, so I’m saving that for my next one (maybe a rifle?). I decided an electromagnetic Gauss gun would suit the style of the Maverick, so I’m adding various wire coils and vintage-looking electronics. And maybe some Victorian embellishments for style.

bits workshop1 weapon

These are but a few of the local steampunk artisans who create amazing items. I wish I had more time to interview them all! It is always exciting to attend events and wonder what new and fantastical creations we will feast our eyes upon.

Website Links

Photographs (c)Karen Carlisle 2015 (unless otherwise stated). Please do not use without permission.