Tuesday, December 6, 2011
To wile away my craft-deficient hours on the book tour, I spent a lot of time researching and brainstorming all the ways one might steampunk out some holiday ornaments. There's not a whole lot out there by way of inspiration, but I've put together the best of what I did find.
Next, a filigree wrapped vacuum tube!
$15 from Mad Scientists Designs
These are the ones I was most sorely tempted to buy:
$21 for all 3 by Designs by Friston
I think I actually swooned over that orange hot air balloon. DO WANT.
This set of gear ornaments by Dreamful Designs has since sold out, but it remains the only set of gear ornaments I've been able to find online:
They're also made of leather, which means they have a good side and rougher, "bad" side.
Frankly, I'm amazed no one out there is manufacturing large brass gear ornaments! I thought steampunk had gone mainstream enough to warrant it, but sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case. Maybe next year?
Of course, since we're not willing to wait, John and I are in the process of making our own gear ornaments. More on that in my next ornament post, though.
Moving on, I managed to find these beauties by way of Hawksmoor's Bazaar, which has a lovely post on all kinds of holiday steampunkery.
Those snowflakes are each made with clock hands. Aren't they gorgeous? They're available in white, brass, and black, and - the best part - are only $5 each over at Antickquities. I love how it's an oh-so-subtle steampunk touch - and also how each design is different!
I happened to mention on the Epbot Facebook page my quest for steamy ornaments, and the next thing I knew, I had some of you lovely readers bringing me handmade beauties like this:
This is a clear craft ornament filled with a clock spring, gems, a tiny locket, gears, beads, and even a smashed penny or two. The tiny silver beads clinging to the "glass" (it's actually plastic) roll around like a snowglobe, revealing all the treasures inside as you turn it.
Here's another angle:
This is the handiwork of readers Heather & Elizabeth. Thanks again, ladies!
Oh, and the ornament isn't a traditional ball; it's flattened and relatively thin, as you can kind of see from the second photo. I'd love to find some myself for craft-ventures, but so far, no dice. Anyone know where I can buy them?
[Edit: looks like these are available at Michaels and maybe Hobby Lobby. Thanks, everyone!]
Reader J. G. went so far as to mail me a few Victorian- style ornaments, so I had them waiting for me when I got home. Here's my favorite:
Hit the pic to see the big version; the texture and detail is stunning.
And finally, hold on to your top hats, because Sharyn made me the Ultimate Steampunk Pine Cone of Craftiness:
Every bit of it is hand made and designed.
Just look at this detail:
The top hanger has a wire sphere with a gem inside:
And one more beauty shot, since you can tell I was having too much fun with my photo cube:
'Til then, though, here are a few lists I came up with on the tour to help me shop and search and craft to get my steampunk tree theme off the ground. I ended up using elements from all of the lists, but you can be as specialized as you like.
Mad Scientist Steampunk:
Glass test tubes (fill with wire, colored water/oil, glitter, etc.)
Copper wiring/tubes, twisted into simple shapes
Metallic/copper Cyberlox for garland
Small clear glass bottles, mirrors, monocles, lenses
Vintage bubble lights
Tree topper options: Plasma ball, goggles, more copper wire, antique brass microscope
Rope knot ornaments (research sailor's knots)
Hot air balloons & dirigibles
Birds: hawks & owls
Mini brass telescopes (available as a necklace on Ebay)
Thick cotton rope garland
Globes, maps, & atlases
Other brass nautical equipment
Topper ideas: globe, astrolabe, model dirigible
Deep Sea Diver / 20,000 Leagues/ BioShock
Miniature divers helmets (available as a necklace on Ebay & Etsy)
Any and all nautical items mentioned above
Tentacles, seahorses, exotic fish
Lots of clear/iridescent glass ornaments (to look like bubbles)
Topper ideas: Diver's helmet (lit from inside?)
Stylized Steampunk (Generic - useful in all genres)
Clock parts, hands, gears
Victorian influence - mix with any/all steampunk genres
Velvets, satins, furs, & corset lacing
Rich colors (purples, burgundies, bottle greens, and other jewel tones)
Top hats & fascinators
Crystals and other sparkly gems
Topper idea: Top hat with feathers/googles
I'll leave you with these vintage hot air balloon ornaments I tried (and failed) to buy on Ebay:
Can you can see these fitting in with a steampunk tree?
Ok, I know it's a stretch, but I was totally willing to try. They're just so stinkin' cheerful, you know?
So tell me, guys, what did I miss on my inspiration lists? Let me know in the comments!
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