Thursday, February 17, 2011

Steampunk: Even Cooler than it Sounds.

My own piece of Pepper Pod jewelry,
handcrafted by Beth Ingles
According to Wikipedia, the ultimate web source for all things known, "Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fictionalternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian eraBritain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may haveenvisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashionculturearchitectural styleart, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works ofH. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history." Basically, steampunk is characterized by clockwork and steam-powered gadgets crafted to perform functions similar to many modern technological items, but they look a lot cooler. Wood and brass, pearl and crystal, natural materials that are luxurious, tactile, shiny, and sleek abound in Steampunk design. More recently shows like Warehouse 13, movies like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and video games like Fallout embrace this genre, adding richness to their palette with imaginative gadgets found in a strangely anachronistic time-line. Steampunk stories and art capture my imagination more than knights and dragons or stories of fairies. They paint a world I can relate to, that is at the same time familiar and foreign, embracing ideals of Victorian culture or other "simpler" times while at the same time thriving with clever and whimsical technology. I absolutely love it. For that reason, the jewelry of local artisan Beth Ingles of Pepper Pod Designs immediately caught my attention. Although she may not characterize her creations as steampunk, there are certainly parallels to be drawn. Ingles' jewelry boasts watch gears, metal charms, crystals, chains, and anything else that catches her fancy, all stained with a patina to invoke age and elegance. When I came upon her booth in a local flea market, I just had to own a piece of her art, and I nearly panicked when I realized I did not have enough cash on hand. But don't despair, she takes credit cards, and her creations are reasonably priced, if you wanted to own a piece of her work yourself. Now, here is the challenge: which piece will you pick? Everything in her display is beautiful and unique, and puts me in mind of a different world or time.

Please check out the links below to see some amazing visuals:

Cool Steampunk Gadgets
Pepper Pod Designs Facebook Page

Also, check out All Thing's Crafty's and Her Husband's awesome Steampunk Costumes.

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