Steampunk goings on at Maker Faire

I’m just back from the third annual Bay Area Maker Faire. This year, one of the things I helped organize was the steampunk presence at the Faire, namely the Contraptor’s Lounge, featuring such icons of the scene as Jake von Slatt, Datamancer, and Molly Porkshanks, and the Saturday Night Steampunk Spectacular, featuring the band Abney Park. Here’s an excerpt from the piece I just posted on the Make: Blog. Read the entire article here.


The steam mechanics, oilpunks, contraptors, neo-Victorians cosplayers, retro-futurists, post-apocalyptic Playa pirates, New Dandies, and electric cowboys were all out in force at this year’s Bay Area Maker Faire. There was the Victorian castle on wheels, the steam-powered runabout, the steam-effects scooter, the fire-spewing bar with vaudeville side-stage, the radio-tubed Theremin, and the outdoor Victorian sitting room with a disgorged cabinet of wonders of brassy computer mods, rayguns, clockwork guitars, and a light-spewing violin covering several tables. There were also at least three airship crews.

One of the coolest things about all this is that many of these artisans were already great virtual friends, even collaborators, but had never actually met in person. Seen above is a drawing, by the amazing Suzanne Forbes, of the inimitable Jake von Slatt (left) and Datamancer (right). This is the first time these two well-known steampunk makers had met in meatspace. Here they’re seen building a special Maker Faire Contraptors’ Lounge keyboard (which we’ll likely give away here on the blog at some point). More of Suzanne’s drawings from the Lounge can be seen after the jump.


Sitting in the Lounge: Crewmembers of the HMS Chronabelle, Magpie of Steampunk Magazine. In the background (left) Captain Robert of Abney Park and Jake von Slatt, (center) MAKE photographer Sam Murphy and me (the bald dude — and I swear I’m NOT picking my nose), (right) David S. Dowling (black vest). Seen on the table is Molly Freidrich’s Sinister Device and one of her rayguns.


One of the tables in the Lounge, this one mainly featuring work by Jake von Slatt, including his clockwork guitar, his copper-plated etched mint tins, his telegraph sounders, and a phone project he’s currently working on. Also seen is the forthcoming Steampunk Anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer and a portfolio of Molly Freidrich’s work.


Tom Sepe’s steam-assisted motorbike.


Jake von Slatt: You’ve just been “steampunked” (by Meredith Scheff).