By Katharine Boyle
Put “bustle fluffer” on your resume, and your job interviews will never be dull.
Christina, a kitchen designer and history buff, crafted Victorian costumes for herself and husband Richard from upcycled materials. Susan, in civilian attire, contributed a peacock feather, from an animal rescue center near their South Jersey homes, to Christina’s hat.
Photos by Katharine Boyle. Please click icon below for captions.
Steampunk gives the Coppingers a “way to step out of real life and into another era,” explained Christina, against a backdrop of vendors selling jewelry, accessories, books, and antiques. Vibrant outfits were everywhere. Live music, blacksmith demonstrations and a burlesque show added to the afternoon’s heightened energy.
The three pillars of steampunk, according to steampunker Tim McClenen, are “courtesy, elegance, and the vision of hope based upon democratization of technology.”
While he enjoys today’s tools, Tim said he always is reading and learning about how things are made traditionally. He used conventional bookbinding techniques to make a linen smartphone case, altering it with some holes for the phone’s functionality.
Tim and his friend Martina drove from Annapolis, MD, for the weekend. He makes many of his own clothes and accessories, too, but they are worn daily, not just at steampunk events. Perhaps being a senior at St. John’s College has afforded him a bit more freedom of sartorial expression.
Missy Prysak described steampunk as “a family thing.” This was her first year working for the event organizer’s staff, and she and her son Brennan appeared to enjoy themselves.
Kevin Perry, a blacksmith since 1995, said “blacksmiths look at things differently.” He prefers using all natural materials when practicing his craft. He demonstrated his classic techniques and knowledge in an entertaining and engaging manner, a routine he reprises at eight events each year.
Sunday’s steampunking included music by Jeff Mach, who sang a collection of original and cover songs.
There is “not more of a creative playground than steampunk,” according to Jeff, who called Historic Speedwell a fitting site for a steampunk city. After all, it’s the birthplace of telegraph communications.