Steampunk Hands 2016 – Siddhartha Lamp

Art Donovan’s wonderful Siddhartha Lamp was one of the most captivating and inspiring steampunk images I came across in 2007. This was Art Donovan’s first steampunk work and was featured in the Steampunk Exhibition at the University of Oxford’s Museum of the History of Science in 2009.

The piece as a whole was engaging and it has become one of those “must have” pieces for my home. Someday. Go Fund Me, anyone? The overall form is striking with the decorative wood near the top, exposed wire cabling, and repeated vertical lines of support rods and lights.

Art Donovan-Siddhartha Pod Lantern-Full View

Starting at the top, the canopy is reminiscent of many older ceiling lights and right away shows a twist in usage by leading down to a finial instead of the rest of the light itself. Instead, two branching support arms lead from the canopy to the first light, which stands on the decorative wood work, which Art compares to the twirling mustache of a steampunk villain, and the light itself is paired two finials resembling focusing nodes.

The next section is the long repeating vertical lines of three lights and support rods, crossed by three horizontal glass blocks. It is at once both industrial in exposed function but also elegant in textural and material appearance. Shining glass belies fragility in favor of substance especially when offset with polished metals. The heavy duty design of the bulb connectors indicates serious power. Not just some run of the mill table lamp, this section of the lamp screams no-nonsense but yet artistic dependable functionality, and if this were a cartoon, would serve as a warning that people will see your skeleton glow if you got too close.

The lamp terminates in a clock face and an inverted dome light. Tempus Fugit at all hours, and a final light to guide our way.

Art has created a number of stunning lamps which I also love, but it is the Siddhartha Lamp which most captures my interest and imagination.


Follow along each day as new entries are added to the Official Link List and join the discussions on the Facebook event page.


Published in: on February 7, 2016 at 7:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Steampunk Hands 2016 – Steamcon

steampunk_hands_Stefan Holzhauer

You never forget your first, and Steamcon was my first steampunk convention.

Steampunk conventions were really just getting started in the mid to late 2000s. There was Salon Con in 2006, Steam Powered (California, USA) in 2008, and Asylum (England, UK) in 2009 – just weeks before the first Steamcon in Seattle, Washington, USA.


Searching for ‘steampunk’ on the internet was turning up more and more items in 2009. Keyboards and other items from Jake Von Slatt and Datamancer often led the list. Steampunk Magazine had a few issues out by then, and the Brass Goggles forum was already linking people together in the Aether.

Somehow, and thankfully, a passing notice on Facebook or the internet during the summer caught my attention, alerting me to the event, right in my own backyard! I had been following the slow growth of steampunk online since my first computer in 1990. Now, instead of just a few posts or comments, here was a group of people getting together in person – I couldn’t possibly pass it up.


Organizer Diana Vick relayed in an interview that she and her team were only expecting about 500 people for a first time convention. 900+ showed up, and every year, the number of attendees kept growing.Priest

Walking into the hotel lobby was like walking into a wonderland. Tim Powers was the author guest of honor. Cherie Priest was there with Liz Gorinsky from TOR, talking about her first steampunk book, Boneshaker. The halls were filled with top hats, corsets, and breathtaking creativity in every direction. Phil and Kaja Foglio were there talking about Girl Genius, their online comic.

SC2-Foglios edit

Panelists talked about books, movies, fashions, and history. People stopped routinely anywhere there was space to ask others about their outfits, how something was made, or where it was bought. Contact information was exchanged, and friendships were formed.


The following year, I returned as a panelist, doing the live version of interviews that I was doing on Airship Ambassador. Nine hours of interviews in essentially forty-eight hours, including a fantastic standing-room-only chat with Gail Carriger. Abney Park returned that year as the musical entertainment.


From 2009 to 2013, Steamcon brought together thousands of people to celebrate steampunk, bringing in stellar guests including authors James Blaylock and K.W. Jeter, and Lady Mechanika artist Joe Benitez. Steamcon also introduced the Airship Awards to honor the best in five categories as voted on by the attendees of the convention.


It was an amazing five weekends of great memories, new and renewed friendships, and experiences. Steamcon ended in 2013 but left a lasting impression on those who attended.

Follow along each day as new entries are added to the Official Link List and join the discussions on the Facebook event page.



Published in: on February 4, 2016 at 10:34 pm  Comments (1)  
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Steampunk Hands 2016 – Favorite People – Mike Perschon

steampunk_hands_ Araceli_Rodríguez

It might be said that Captain Nemo introduced Steampunk Scholar Mike Perschon and I in the earlier days of Mike’s academic research into steampunk for his doctoral dissertation.

Jules Verne‘s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea had been a passionate interest of mine every since I watched Disney’s 1954 film version, as well as reading the book. Mike was giving a panel about Captain Nemo at the first Steamcon convention in 2009 and I was in eager attendance to learn much more about this anti-hero.


Mike was writing his blog, Steampunk Scholar, where he’d relay reviews of the books he was reading for his dissertation, and share some of the ideas that would become the foundation of it.

It was a learning experience for me, reading his blogs and then the final dissertation. He was able to define and describe the literature facet of steampunk in a clear and concise manner. His works engaged others in some lively discussions, and the meeting of multiple perspectives always gave people something to think about afterward.


Mike was invited to speak about steampunk at the 100 Year Starship Symposium in 2015 and was able to share how a steampunk perspective still has a place in the future. He has also been invited to a number of conventions where he delivers great presentations about steampunk.

If you have any academic and intellectual interest about steampunk and how and why it ticks, Mike’s blogs and panels at conventions will only help feed your steampunk addiction.

Thanks, Mike, for the education, the friendship, and the conversations which kept us up until 3am a few too many times.

Follow along each day as new entries are added to the Official Link List and join the discussions on the Facebook event page.



Published in: on February 3, 2016 at 10:48 pm  Comments (1)  
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