Welcome to Steampunk Hands Around the World, a month long celebration of the global steampunk community, presented by nearly one hundred steampunk creators from around the world.
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.
All of this, together, creates the experiences and inspirations we enjoy together. 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.
There are those few steampunks whose sphere of community encompasses only their country, or region, or city, or even just themselves, to the active exclusion of everything else. And that’s fine for them. That is their self-imposed boundaries for their expression and enjoyment of steampunk.
For the rest of us, however, steampunk, and our community, is global, and there is a cornucopia, an embarrassment of riches, everywhere we look. In our local groups, regional conventions, and the online world, we find a seemingly limitless fount of toys to play with, knowledge to gain, and “what-ifs” to make. From the most mundane of household items to the sparkliest bit of shiny, and from history to philosophy, steampunks morph it into something new, interesting, and relevant.
Tying all of this together, the common element in these transmutations, are people. Each one of us, in some small way, contribute to all of this happening. And it doesn’t just happen to us as individuals, or just to our local steampunk group, or even just at the largest coastal conventions – this happens around the world in our global steampunk family.
As a family, it means there are the crazy aunts and uncles, the siblings we look up to, and the ones who look up to us. There are the crotchety ones who shout at us to get off their gears, and the dreamers whose airships never land. In every factor and label one can think of, there we are, and because of steampunk, we are all connected, everywhere, always.
With today’s technology, distance and language are not barriers nor obstacles to our connections with one another. We can talk with someone literally on the other side of the world, instantly and clearly, and not just be part of their life, but also part of their world.
Image courtesy of http://www.raydean.net/
It is that unity, that friendship, that was the inspiration for this project, Steampunk Hands Around the World. It is the celebration of friendship that made a very tiny idea grow into something amazing. It is our connection, and our common beliefs, which made an idea become a tangible reality.
The idea for this project started as a sliver of thought during an email exchange with a friend in Spain. As I thought about other steampunk friends in other countries, a vague whisp of an idea came to mind, something to share the enthusiasm I felt about other groups and projects and people all around the world with everyone that would listen. I wanted everyone to be excited about the fantastic people and events everywhere.
From that tiniest, vaguest, of ideas, I thought maybe five other bloggers would join in, ten tops. But that idea of celebrating the global steampunk community caught on quickly from a handful of friends to nearly 100 steampunk creators who will share their perspective and passion this month.
February is also the first monthly challenge from Eric Larson, aka Lord Hastings Robert Bobbins, of Teslacon, for each of us to bring just two people to a steampunk event. This wasn’t a challenge to convention guests to bring more people to the next one (There wouldn’t be room!). This was an encouragement to share our own individual enjoyment of steampunk with others, to bring other people into our community. This idea, called by some The Bobbins Initiative, wasn’t just for that initial audience, nor subsequent readers, nor just for the United States; it was meant for each and every one of us, everywhere in the world.
For the next four weeks, you (and your two friends) are cordially invited to a trip around the world, hosted by writers, artists, musicians, and more, to see the wonders from your fellow steampunks. A translation service, such as Google, will be one of the best tools in your travel bag. Language will not be a barrier in communication among us.
One additional encouragement for you during our travels together this month – reach out to others and at least say “hello”, or “thank you”, or even “How did you …” There are new and unexpected friends waiting to be met through every conversation, link and picture. Don’t be shy – they are fellow steampunks, they are family.
Start, and follow, the official journey around the world in this post, updated daily.