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A Steampunk Designer Story

Updated on June 9, 2018
Nadine May profile image

Nadine is from Cape Town and is both a visionary fiction author, an art therapist and a graphic designer. Loves gardening, reading & writing

What Does the Words Steampunk Stands For?

Today Steampunk is a famous upmarket trend, a term for a kind of expression of art, but this name Steampunk was not known to me in the eighties and early nineties.

It started out as a science-fiction sub-genre in the 1970s based on 19th century Victorian writers, such as Jules Verne ( a French novelist, poet, and playwright) and H.G. Wells. The artistic expressions by artists during the 19th century's British Victorian era about a post-apocalyptic future to do with time, must have inspired artists when steam power was used as the main source of power. To portray clocks, cogwheels and other workings inside watches became the elements to describe the fictional machines like The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

Google the word Steampunk

Today we google everything so I learned a lot when I typed in the word Steampunk. Other examples where the word Steampunk as a ‘look’ comes from has to do with alternative historic-style presentations of technology; like lighter-than-air airships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers that were then pure science fiction.

This is what I further learned from surfing the internet by typing the word Steampunk into Google.

  • It was allegedly coined by author Kevin Jeter as a way of distinguishing himself and several other authors from other sci-fi writers. Jeter's tongue-in-cheek twist on the word 'cyberpunk' soon caught on. Cyberpunk plots often center on a conflict among artificial intelligence, and mega-corporations.
  • The term Steampunk's first known appearance was in 1987, but it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s all about the Victorian-era.
  • At the same time as the art nouveau designs were popular, the Steampunk ‘look’ soon took on a flavor of its own in several films from the mid-20th century.
  • The first steampunk (SP) convention took place in 2006: and the word has even been added to The Oxford English Dictionary.
  • The TV series like the BBC's Sherlock Holmes adaptation and US thriller Warehouse 13 owe a debt to the Steampunk style in their mixing of the 19th and 21st Centuries artifacts.
  • Later in the Harry Potter films there are SP video games, like the highly acclaimed Bioshock, featuring an undersea world of diving bells and the crinolined structured petticoat the orphan girls wore.
  • Films like dystopian sci-fi films that show post-apocalyptic societies having to make do with broken or retro-fitted technology: from Blade Runner and The Matrix to Tank Girl and Mad Max all makes one think of the Steampunk look!
  • There is even a present day environmentalist element to it all: a harking back to a time before smog and global warming, when the worst emission was the steam from steam trains.

A Steampunk World Tour

Yes there is even a world tour. The Steampunk World of MA Scott is all about Adventure, fantasy and romance in Romania. Steeped in misty mountains, their eerie folklore is marked by the almost innumerable boots of invaders from the dawn of history. Romania is rich in the romance and lore that makes for great Steampunk adventure. One of the major highlights in Romania is the Joben Bistro in the city of Cluj-Napoca. It is reputed to be based on a Jules Verne Nautilus submarine theme.

Romanian Steampunk is also infiltrating other arts beyond interior design. Be sure to read the interview with Steampunk author Diana Parparita.

Time Creations

Each piece of jewellery is an expression of Time.

Only eternal creations are divine

Angels and fairies, now they are real.

So is the music we can hear or feel.

Together with our beloved Earth, the sun moon and all planets combined Along with our guides and angels, who are fully aligned.

Our task is at hand to establish peace on Earth, and awaken as many souls to their worth.

So they can all journey towards a higher reality.

Each Time Piece sculpture is as individual as you.

May this gift to......( name)

Be a reminder that the tale above, has been in my thoughts

To you.(name) that I love.

Steampunk Jewelery from 1988 - 2016

During the years from 1986 (after our home burned down) which I dreamed about four months before! After this fire ordeal I started to draw and paint as a hobby. My leather-work also took a different direction. I had lost most of the leather hides that had been stored in the house, but my tools were packed away in ‘The Prickly Pear’, ( my succulent and cactus shop where I gave leather carving workshops)

Instead of working only with hides and carving into leather, I started to combine soft clothing leather and suede, copper & brass and motor bike sprockets into my 3D wall hanging art. I was fascinated how watches and clocks worked, and about the design elements they had. I therefore gathered a lot of parts that watchmakers would otherwise have thrown away.

I created small sculptures with the many parts by using epoxy glue. I called them my time piece jewellery. Because I was a keen science fiction and fantasy reader, I was inspired to tell stories with my little sculptures and every piece was unique. I even wrote a little poem that came with the packaging of my costume jewellery.


The art of scrapbooking became popular, and I collected more elements for my Time Creations (Steampunk) jewellery; little ornaments like music instruments, fairies, dolphins and several other trinkets, even crystals and other semi-precious stones were incorporated.

I sold my plant shop soon after our house had burned down and within eight months we moved into our newly built home from where I started my clothing design studio. I still loved working with leather, but now I was inspired to use soft leather that was used in the garment industry.

During 1989 my clothing label ‘Just kidding’ and Rapoo Art came into being.

Its Biggest Impact so Far Has Been in Product Design

For the last twenty years the term Steampunk is grown into a whole visual style, and even a philosophy. My articles on Time and the illusion about time come to mind.

The following videos gives you the reader a better idea about what this subculture look is all about.

This video is a really interesting Insight on this Steampunk movement that includes music, authors, fashion and its members.

After watching this next steampunk gothic looking video you will see that the LOOK of Steampunk has taken on a multicultural subculture flavor. Most costumes are self-made with tons of details. Some of them put so much work in it and it's great to see that they have their own convention.

Most of these Steampunk fashion creations are costume like designs.

Did You Know about the Steampunk Movement?

See results

The Closure of My 100th Article on Hubpages

This article was my Story about the past creations and what I do today with them, creating designs for print on demand products that are all seen on the blogs:

When I signed up for Pinterest in about 2006 I create a board Time creations & Steampunk. When I started to find lots of other creative Steampunk looking arts and craft jewellery and other products, it took me back to many years ago, but the ‘Look’ of Steampunk is still very popular right now.

Today it’s all about mixing old and new: fusing the usability of modern technology with the design aesthetic and philosophy of the Victorian age.

As Steampunk has grown, so too has the service industry around it. So you can now have Steam punk weddings. Soon I want to use my Time creation designs, including the poem I wrote many years ago and incorporate these into Steampunk inspired Wedding Invitations and whatever else comes with planning a wedding.

Thanks for reading my Steampunk designer story

Nadine May


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    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I would love to see steam punk exhibition one day,,, thanks for sharing and your compliment on the article.

    • CloudyCreative profile image

      Martyn Thompson 

      2 years ago from Buckingham

      Great article! I went to a steam punk exhibition in South Korea and was really blown away by it all!

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi Aufait so glad to have read my post about the Steampunk fashion trend. Very often we learn that new ideas are in fact not new at all.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      3 years ago from North Texas

      Have seen steampunk here and there over the last few years and it was interesting to learn about where it comes from. I thought it was something fairly new! Now you've set me straight. I always love a hub that teaches me something. Well done!

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi Shauna I'm glad that I have entertained you with, for you, a new ( or old) fashion trend.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thanks for reading my post Susan. Yes the videos brought back memories.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      Nadine, I've never heard of Steampunk, but your explanation is interesting. I love your designs. They truly do look 3-D. You're so creative!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      3 years ago from Sunny Florida

      A fascinating look into steampunk and it's past. I especially loved the jewelry you created. It really is lovely.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi Sandy thanks for reading my post and comment. Knowing how busy you are like me, keeping up with all the designing projects, I'm always glad to meet you in hub pages.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      So glad I added some knowledge to you about a fashion trend that you also love like I do Ralph..

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Alicia hanks for your compliments. Glad you liked my designs. I hope they will start to sell on many products.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thank you so much Blossom for your comments I'm so glad to add this information to a grandmother. is a pleasure!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      3 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I kind of new about steampunk. But leaned more about it through you. Interesting hub.

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 

      3 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      This was a great read - I love steampunk and learned some things. Amazing creations.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thanks you so much for stopping by to read my post on this fashion style.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Many thanks Ruby for reading my post. So glad I could use my images to make this article more of a visual experience.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi DDE glad you enjoyed the steampunk style of Art.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thanks so much for your comments Jodah.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      That was fascinating. Thanks.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for a very interesting and informative hub, Nadine. I've been hearing a lot about steampunk recently and like the designs related to the topic very much. Your creations are wonderful! Congratulations on your 100th hub.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I've learned so much from your article - thank you! I don't know why I didn't think of Googling the word myself, it's something that some of my grandchildren are into and that I thought I knew nothing about, but tried to look as if I did! Now I do!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      3 years ago from Beautiful South

      Great story of your journey with steampunk, Nadine. I like steampunk and have incorporated it into some of my jewelry designs. I used to salvage old pieces like watches, but I think that all of the new commercial pieces, especially the pre-made ones, are cheapening the art. I was amazed that my granddaughter had never heard of it until I gave her a piece of it.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I have always loved your unique art work, now to learn you are a clothing designer using leather is amazing. I love leather boots and handbags. I've never worn leather, but I think it's beautiful. The videos were interesting.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Nadine this is an interesting and unique hub. I enjoyed reading about a new style of art. Great interest to all indeed!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      A very interesting 100th hub Nadine. It as great to learn the history of the steampunk movement. I love the steampunk look. Your artwork and steampunk designs are amazing too.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Greetings from Cape Town to New Delhi. Thanks for your comments on this article about the Steampunk movement.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi Flourish thanks for your comments. It has been fun writing this article. Hubpages has giving me an opportunity to explain my past hobbies and activities. I would never have dreamed that my arts and crafts would today be the inspirations for my graphic designs on print on demand products.

    • Nadine May profile imageAUTHOR

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thanks so much for reading my 100'th post. I'm very behind with writing articles due to all the POD sites I now belong to.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Interesting and informative hub--very well presented!

      Thanks for introducing me to this unique Steampunk art and the designer story. I have seen this but was not aware of its name. The pictures and videos are quite helpful and very informative.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Congratulations for publishing 100 hubs !

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      I like especially the SP jewelry. Beautiful works. Congrats on 100 hubs!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      How very interesting. I get it and I like it. Great job writing as always.


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