Thursday, February 26, 2015

On the Brass Clock: Work in the City of Southwatch

By Vivianne Draper
By Vivianne Draper
This is the first in a series of interviews featuring Southwatch workers talking about their jobs. The interviews are recorded by a Windup Scribe, and presented here with a minimum of editing.

*We intend to publish the collected set as: “On the Brass Clock: Work in the City of Southwatch.”

Pipe Fitter

Well, Mr. Delbert’s shop was the best one, probably. I worked there as a young man. We put in our twelve hours, sure enough, and we was all hard-working lads. But there was breaks during the day, times when the work was slowed enough to allow a body to talk. 

Lunch time we’d set down, we’d all have our lunch and a pint together. Often times, Mr. Delbert himself would come out and join us. 

We did some fine work in those days—small boilers and such, for concerns that needed a bit of steam or apartment buildings that used them for heat. Well made, they was. I’ve heard tell some of them are still in service. Makes me proud, really, to think something I made been around that long.

I was fitter. Working with the pipes. Fitting them together, you see. Yes, that’s where the name comes from. 

I worked with all different kinds of pipe. Copper for water supply — slide the nut over, splay the end and crank her down so she seals, you see. Had to weld for the steam, though. High-pressure stuff was tricky, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly, and did a lot of good work. Both for Mr. Delbert and later for Mr. Corkington. 

Delbert had to close up when he couldn’t get the orders any more. Folks preferred the cheaper models from Mr. Corkington’s works. I was sad to see old Delbert go, but truth be told, I understood. Mr. Corkington was making them cheaper and they was better. That’s all there was to it, really. 

Corkington was putting in things like anti-bursting valves that we couldn’t match, not at that price.
So I went to work for Mr. Corkington. No question it was a harder-driving shop. No sitting down together for lunch — just grab a bite when you could. They had a little assembly line there, where they pulled each piece of work though and you did your bit on it, then passed it on to the next lad. If you didn’t get your pieces moving, you found yourself out on the street, that was sure. But the pay was better, so I didn’t mind so much that the work was harder.

But then there was Consolidated Boiler. Big affair down in the Steamworks itself. They was turning them out even faster than Mr. Corkington. In the beginning, they was about the same as Mr. Corkington’s work, quality-wise. We tried to keep up with them, finding places where we could be faster and better. Sped up the lines, we did, but it wasn’t enough. Mr. Corkington lowered our wages, trying to make it up, but in the end it was no good for him, either. He closed up. 

I drifted around a bit, did some odd jobs, took what work I could. Fitters are needed on repairs, and there was the occasional construction job, but nothing steady. 

I always kept a positive attitude, though. Foreman look for that. No one wants a long-faced lad on the site. 

When I got the chance to get on at Consolidated, I jumped at it, of course. It only paid half what Corkington had paid, but what choice did I have, eh? Go back to not knowing if I’d work one day to the next? 

Consolidated was hard work, too. No two ways about it. Working with them mechanicals, that was strange business. They was all somewhat manlike, even those that was built right into the line. Them were the ones that gave me the creeps — fastened to the works right there where a proper man would have his waist. Fastened to the line or walking about, them things don’t even stop to take a piss, so you keep moving to just to keep up with’em. 

The line was always getting faster, too. No time to stop and fix what’s wrong, just send it down and hope the QC inspector down there doesn’t see and have it come back to you. 

It seemed like every day there was fewer people. In the beginning, we’d have a rigger to help us when one of them big custom boiler jobs had to be moved across the factory. Now, we’re just supposed to move it ourselves with a few lifts and jigs. 

Then finally, they said they had a mechanical that could do the fitting, and I’m back to scrounge work. But I’m optimistic. Nothing accomplished without optimism, I always say. I’m trying to, what was that expression? Oh, yes, I’m trying to “Embrace change as a positive force in my life” like that office fella said when he came to give us our notice. 

So, though I may be an old mill rat, I’m looking out for the new and finding a place for me to fit in. I’m sure I’ll find it OK. I really am. 

Unfortunately, since this interview was taken, Mr. Quigly was scalded to death while attempting to repair a defective boiler in a Brockton apartment complex.

Eric James Spannerman is the author of Applied Natural Magic,  fourth book in The Darkside Codex.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Defining Steampunk(or not)

As I noted in a previous article, Dianna Gunn approached me with the idea of writing a few blog posts about steampunk.  I enjoy this genre both as a writer and as a reader.  I am happy to share ideas about this type of speculative fiction with a caveat: I am simply one author among many talking about how to create a story world in a genre I enjoy.  I welcome comments and observations from others who enjoy steampunk and all types of speculative fiction.

In 1987 K.W. Jeter coined the term “steampunk” in a letter to Locus magazine.  Jeter used the term to qualify the neo-Victorian writings that he, James Blaylock, and Tim Powers, were producing.  This term was in part a play on the term “cyberpunk,” which was a popular genre in the late 1980s.  Interestingly, this term was embraced for this type of speculative fiction and was applied retroactively.  Starting with the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, more and more historical works were included in the steampunk genre.  

In The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997), John Clute and John Grant comment that “every fantasy which deals with the Gaslight Period is labeled steampunk” (  For many critics the inclusive nature of the term seems to be a deterrent to recognizing “steampunk” as a legitimate literary genre.  Yet I would argue that the inclusive nature of the genre is really what makes it unique.  Steampunk is intriguing because of all of the elements that make it difficult to define.

Steampunk is still a work-in-progress; this is the first issue to be faced when trying to create a definition.  It is still evolving.  There are new stories to be told and new writers to be discovered that will add their distinctive voices to the mix.  New steampunk novels are being envisioned as I write this article (and as you read these words).  Perhaps these writers will add heretofore unimagined innovations to the genre.  How can a definition be created when those steampunk writers’ words have not yet been committed to the page (or the screen)?

The process of creating a definition for the term “steampunk” faces an additional challenge when we move beyond the pure literary term to embrace the other artistic and technological elements that surround it.  Although it began with the written word, the concept progressed beyond literature when craft aficionados, fashion designers, and inventors began to create aeronaut goggles, cog-and-rivet laced millinery, modern technology that has been transformed by Industrial Revolution sprockets and pipes, and other curiosities.  The “Do-It-Yourself” aspect to these items is a key component.  Craftsmanship and the ability to understand how the items are assembled—how the technology works—is a primary part of the aesthetic.  Items that are handmade, rather than mass-produced, are venerated.

Another challenge to defining the term deals with the social nature of “steampunk.”  With its emphasis on craftsmanship and the “do-it-yourself” philosophy, creators of steampunk crafts, fashions, and technology enjoy discussing and sharing elements of their creations.  Many fans of steampunk enjoy learning how things work and then putting this knowledge into practice.  For example, recently I read a post on Facebook which included a picture of a New York Fire Department steam pumper.  The post was shared in a group (where I am a member) called Steampunk Tendencies (  Several of the comments dealt with how much people enjoyed “seeing” the working parts of the engine.  Several commented on possibly building their own version of the engine.  This is a common theme with comments on this site, and on other such groups.  Not only is there an enthusiastic appreciation of a crafted item or piece of technology, there is a desire to create a similar one—with perhaps a few “tweaks” included to suit the personality of the artist/inventor.

Can a definition be achieved for a literary genre/cultural phenomenon that is still evolving?  Rather than trying to create a definition, I suggest that it is more useful to consider the principles that writers, readers, and artistic creators of steampunk practice and endorse.  The visual markers that constitute the “look” popularly understood as steampunk are only a part of the story; people continue to give fresh resonance to the term with every story, book, movie, craft, fashion design, and piece of technology they create.

Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Her short story, “Heart and Mind,” is currently available for free on Kindle Unlimited. Her first steampunk novel with Musa, The Caelimane Operation, was published in January, 2015. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris Pavesic on her
blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Steampunk Musings Pt. 6: Volder's Workshop

This necklace is actually a USB Key!
Today's steampunk artist is a little bit different from the others hosted here so far. Every steampunk artist works hard to make their pieces functional as well as beautiful, but Volder has truly taken this to the next level with his incredible steampunk USB keys. As a writer, I'm doubly fond of creative USB keys--if it's also an art piece I'm way less likely to lose it--and his are certainly the best I've ever seen.

Please give Volder, creative mind behind the amazing Volder's Workshop, a warm welcome.

1. How did you discover steampunk?

Once, I was surfing the Internet and accidentally saw unusual design and interesting execution of goods. That was the beginning of my impetuous love of steampunk.

2. Why do you think steampunk has become so popular?

To my mind, everyone is fed up with monotonous strict style of today.

I wanted to create regular household items, but in a new, unusual style that combines: techno, military, vintage, retro, fantasy, etc. and use in one product a variety of materials.

3. What inspired you to start creating steampunk art?
And this is a Zippo!

As I can remember, I always wanted to create, but the inspiration has come to me only after 45 years of life, when I first saw steampunk art.

Immediately I had a lot of ideas, demonstrated ability and knowledge that I had not previously noticed in myself.

4. How long does it usually take you to create a piece?

The creation of my work takes different amounts of time. Everything happens when inspiration strikes.

Sometimes the work is very easy and understandable (2- 3 days), but sometimes it takes months for the implementation of the planned project ..

5. Out of all the pieces you've created, what's your favorite?

I have many favorite works, but probably the most popular are those works that have been made on a big creative euphoria! One of that works is my first work - USB flash drive "Doctor Web". There were many other works, but the first is still the most memorable!

6. Who's your favorite steampunk artist?

From steampunk artists, I was most impressed and inspired by works of Rafa Maya, Kazuhiko Nakamura, and Eric Freitas.

7. Are you working on anything exciting right now?

Every project is new and exciting for me.

Ideas are in the queue!

I always work!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

An Excerpt from The Southwatch Register

A Morning Spent in Commerce at Street Level
- by Tarek al-Baz, writing for The Southwatch Register

Can you spare a little?” asks of me the man with a noticeably irregular gait and shoulders made lumpen by the self-made crutch beneath one arm, the other hand (twisted, a knot of fingers about the cup of a palm) outstretched in hope of a coin; yet who, it must also be noted, appears well able to negotiate his way through the tightly-packed throng at this intersection of Brick- and Bakerstown.

I shoo him away, and he tugs at a slovenly cap in apologetic deference as I pass—but the coin purse on my belt is faintly tugged. Anticipating just such a move, I see that once malformed hand slip with clever dexterity into the pucker of stringed leather, strong fingers spreading it open and darting in, leaving it just ever so lighter as the beggar hobbles on, back turned, seeking a more kindly donor. One might hardly have noticed.

Hoy!” I call, and magically his crutch lifts, shoulders straighten, and on fleet steps he vanishes into the crowd like a fish slipping between reeds.

A quick check of my purse reveals it three and one half shillings down. I could have baited the hook with pebbles, of course, but I considered myself to be making a purchase: of experience. I did not begrudge him his prize, it was a lesson bought cheap; and, as the cunning “beggar” ably demonstrated via his escape, Competent Negotiation is an essential when one sets foot within the Arastro street market.

In any case, the terms of my agreement with The Register dictated eight competent men in plain dress be within sight of my person at all times. One of them would be sure to collar the thief, and hand him off to an officer of the law to settle his account.


It is a difficult thing to trade with a man whose face you cannot see. Difficult to trade fairly, that is, not always your fellow man’s goal. At street level, where the poorer side of Bakerstown’s commercial district fades into some of the less insalubrious twists of the Bricktown slums—and, of course, beneath the smother of the Dark Cloud—bare-faced trustworthiness would seem unlikely in the extreme. However, one would be surprised.

These clogged and over-shadowed arteries at the foot of towering giants are, for half a day, sheltered. Not just stalls are set up: first, strong cables are drawn tight through the air down the length of each street; then, each enterprising rival collaborates with his peers as long tarpaulins of tarred and treated canvas are flung across the line. Secured against the walls to either side, a peaked roof is formed like the long tents of a military field barracks, defence against any residues descending from the city’s sole blight.

Lamps and braziers are hung from the cables to light the gloom; stalls are at last erected, laden down with goods of many a kind and many a quality; thus, protected just enough from the open air, open trade takes place. Hawkers and hucksters and browsers and bargainers put aside their ever-present masks and meet eye to eye, and the man on the street is free to evaluate the worth of not just the produce, but its producer.


And what producers, what produce! Every brand of person in the world line the routes, their calls a chaos of accents and entreaties, their dress a riot of distracting, enticing colours—and Southwatch’s native under-classes are present too, as mundane to the eye as are their wares. At first glance, it seems anything is there to be had, though with no rhyme or reason in the moment.

Along Fourth Baron’s Way, I pass: self-made clothiers, offering every material and aping every style; a chrome ornamentor, making obviously discarded goods shiny and “new”; a used-book seller (I pause here a good ten minutes, jostled and cursed by the crawling crowds, and depart with one of my own early pseudonymous works: the dangerous Philip Amberville, Barren of Southwatch, tatty but rare, mine for pennies); and more.

Paste jewellers, whose “rare trinkets” are replaced from beneath their stalls by identically imperfect siblings as fast as they can be sold; a metalmonger—twin of the ornamentor, but touting more honestly second-hand pots and kettles; crystal charmers, selling good health in a glittering stone, or protectives against everything from the likes of my thieving beggar to the fallout from the Dark Cloud itself (though no doubt far less effective than the sheets strung overhead); and more.

And more; and more.


I am far from the finest-dressed Sunsider here, chancing his luck shoulder-to-shoulder with more common citizenry (perhaps because I am wiser). I see others descended from Society, drifting like swans amidst fowl, preening at the attention they receive from all sides—little thinking of themselves as targets at a shoot, rich meat for the taking. Yet there is more to the Arastro than trivial things for tourists and those who would prey on them.

Ordinary people buy and sell ordinary things, livelihoods are made, and the pressing needs of small but modest lives are satisfied. Some lament that precious value be recycled this way, instead of added to the limitless coffers of factorymen or lining the pockets of more respectable shopkeeps. It “diminishes industry” they say (I have heard them say it).

I disagree. I say the Arastro is more the pulse of healthy commerce, evidence that the heart still beats, the beast still lives. The difference is only in who rides the beast, and whom is ridden down by it.


A footnote: on my departure, I was impressed to learn that the cunning thief eluded all eight of my hired watchmen. Two were led on quite a merry chase and returned from it battered and bruised, having been set upon by my teacher’s allies around the corner of an alley. See the Arastro: barter, deal, risk making a loss; but should you enter into the negotiation of backstreets, always do so knowing what price you are willing to pay.

Andrew Leon Hudson is the author of The Glass Sealing, third book in The Darkside Codex.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Steampunk Musings Pt. 5: The Steampunk Buddha

There has never been a better time to love steampunk than right now.

The internet as a whole and particularly Etsy have made it possible for anyone with the passion and technical skills to build a career making steampunk art. Within a few hours of roaming the internet you'll find more steampunk stuff than you'll ever be able to afford, and if you're anything like me, you'll want everything you see.

Out of all the things I've seen during my journey through the land of steampunk, the one I want most is a steampunk teddy bear created by today's guest, The Steampunk Buddha. 

As you can imagine, I was thrilled when she agreed to do this interview.

Please give The Steampunk Buddha a warm welcome!

1. How did you discover steampunk?

My husband and I like a lot of Sci-Fi movies so we were never strangers to Steampunk really. A lot of horror movies have Steampunk under tones. Frankenstein, is an example of the mixture of horror and steampunk styles we create. I think between the two of us, we just sort of fell in love with the Steampunk look and style when we moved to the town that we live in now, and saw the full-size replica of the Ezekiel Airship.

2. Why do you think steampunk has grown so popular over the last few years?

I think as technology progresses, a lot of us want to see some of the older styles come back. Seeing the inner workings of a watch for instance, seems way more interesting than looking at a circuit board and wires.

3. What inspired you to start creating steampunk jewelry/art?

As I stated before, when we moved to our town and saw the Ezekiel Airship, we were very inspired. I have a very unique style and have a hard time finding jewelry that suits my preferences. I've always been creative and made my own items, and costumes.

4. How long does it typically take to create a piece?

I spend at least an hour on each design or picture. I double dome all of the necklaces with resin which takes 2 days. In all, each necklace takes around 3 days to make. The Teddy Bears and Hats take around 5 days to make.

5. Out of all the steampunk pieces you've created, which one is your favorite?

My favorite Steampunk necklace that I've made is the Steampunk Mermaid necklace that has gears floating up from here like bubbles. I also really like the little faux metal bookshelf hat.

6. Who's your favorite steampunk artist?

Each artist has their own personal style, so I can't put down one personal favorite, but I do really like the darker Steampunk styles.

7. Are you working on anything exciting right now?

We are currently working on adding steampunk lamps, light fixtures, and more to the shop.

Check out The Steampunk Buddha today!

Do you have a favorite steampunk artist you'd like to see featured here? Let me know about them in the comments below!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

A Lecture on the Morghanti

Professor Edmund Cowley is recognized throughout the Empire as a leading authority of the subject of fae psychology. His eight-volume Introduction to the Study of the Fae Mind is recognized as the definitive work on the subject written by a human, and is used even by some fae authorities.  These article is distilled from his remarks at a recent lecture at the Royal Academy

The first and most important thing to remember about the fae is that they are not human.

This seems obvious, given that they are by definition another species. But given the close physical resemblance between humans and fae, it is easy to forget that they are not merely unusually tall, unusually long-lived people.  They have climbed a different evolutionary ladder, developed under different pressures, and present a dramatically different constellation of strengths and weaknesses. To encounter a fae is not just to encounter a "strange human."  Rather, to encounter a fae is to encounter The Other in the most profound sense.

I propose that it is in the area of the mind in which humans and fae display their most dramatic differences. In addition to their well-known gifts for magic and illusion, the fae have a dramatically different set of cognitive processes and emotional responses. Given these differences, it is not surprising that they also present a dramatically different set of mental disorders.  It is one of those disorders which I've been asked to address tonight, the disorder that the fae refer to as the morghanti.

I must begin by acknowledging that when we speak of the morghanti, we are dealing with a very thin skein of data. The fae are reluctant to speak of it, even among themselves.  This is especially true for the dark fae, for whom any sign of weakness is socially dangerous.

I was fortunate in my studies in being able to obtain the cooperation of a few fae healers, who shared details of a few cases with me under conditions of strict anonymity, in hopes that I could offer some insight to heal their patients. In a very small number of cases, I was consulted by the suffering fae directly. Unfortunately, as I shall relate, we were unable to do anything for any of our patients.

Loosely speaking, the morghanti is an obsession.  The object of the obsession may be a place, another fae, a project, a physical object or in extremely rare cases, a human. However, regardless of the object, the effect on the afflicted fae is single-minded focus on the relationship with the object. An afflicted fae will abandon all other goals and relationships to support this morghanic bond. In this respect, it is much like human addiction to alcohol or certain drugs. However, the morghanti is not satisfied by anything as simple as consumption of a substance.  The bound fae feels compelled to focus all their efforts on the object.

If the object is a place, they must live there. This is normally the most benign of morghanic attachments, and the one most likely to go unnoticed by others. However, in one case I studied, the victim was living on a slowly-collapsing limestone stack in the Ipateus Sea.  Once, it had been an outcropping along the coast, but over the long years of the fae's life, the shoreline had retreated, leaving the isolated and shrinking rock formation. Despite this, the fae was only able to leave the place for a few weeks at most. I visited this particular sufferer, and found myself stranded on the rock for ten days because rough seas made it impossible for a boat to hold a safe position off the rock.

If the object is another fae, they must be together and the afflicted fae must share in every aspect of the object's life. The afflicted one will take on the goals of what I like to refer to as their morghanic partner as their own. And they will do almost anything to assure the success and safety of this partner.

If the object is a project or quest, they will put in years, decades or even centuries of focused effort in attaining their goal. In the course of my researches, I once discovered a fae who remained focused on an obscure problem of alchemy for over 175 years, a fact I verified by spending twenty straight months searching original source archives by hand.

Humans are more problematic. Sometimes, the mere presence of the human object is enough. It is believed that the stories of the fae kidnapping humans and keeping them in the Seelie or Unseelie courts may represent this kind of binding. In other cases, the bond with a human manifests much like that with another fae, as an intense need to share in and support the life and projects of the object.

If a fae is prevented from the fulfilling their bond, the consequences are devastating. The earliest symptoms of separation from the object of the morghanti are listlessness and something like depression. A fae with magical aptitude will often find that their powers begin to fade, as the magic, and indeed their entire personality, seems to be turning inward. Symptoms include lassitude, lack of appetite, and numerous aches and pains. They may also descend into madness, experiencing hallucinations, paranoid fantasies, and extreme anxiety. In the final throes, some become violent, lashing out at those around them with renewed power and focus before their death.

These final throes can be terrible to witness. I remember one such maddened fae, whose morghanic partner had perished, despite his best efforts. In the advanced stages of withdrawal, he became delusional, was pursuing the healer and I though the Thorn Forest, wielding a magic-infused blade and intent on murdering us both. And yet, even in that advanced state, I believed is was possible to cure the poor unfortunate’s condition, and I was still attempting concoct such a remedy as I ran. 

The origins of the morghanti are mysterious. Current theory holds that like human mental illnesses, the morghanti is an unhealthy exaggeration of an important or even necessary mental state.  Among humans, a necessary realism can become depression, concern for safety can become anxiety or even paranoia. With creatures as long-lived as the fae, the mental focus necessary for pursuing long-term goals can become morghanti. What is not understood is how this normal, healthy focus can become the mental illness that consumes the lives of many fae.

There is still no reliable cure. For centuries, fae healers have tried various combinations of natural cures and intricate spells, to no avail. A few have even tried various synthetic treatments, either alone or in combination with more traditional means, but these have failed as well.

It was because of the promise shown by one of my compounds that I was able to set up a relationship with several fae healers, under conditions of strictest anonymity. Unfortunately, I was able to offer only minor relief, and that proved temporary. Within less than six months, with all my pateints, the morghanti had resumed its course with the same or greater force.

Sometimes, of course, the morghanti lifts of its own accord, vanishing from the life of the sufferer as suddenly and as mysteriously as it came. It's in the hope of this that the families of the afflicted offer prayers and sacrifice, often for hundreds of years, usually to no avail. And yet, the hope remains.

And so my hope remains as well, for a reliable and replicable cure for those who suffer from this illness.  They have inspired me with their tenacity and their ability to adapt to whatever circumstances they are driven. That is, perhaps, why I feel so compelled to continue the work of finding a cure, despite numerous setbacks and disappointments. I feel that I would be abandoning something of myself if I abandoned my attempts to find a cure for the morghanti.

Eric James Spannerman has been a farmer's son, a US Air Force officer, a technical writer, a computer support specialist and a business analyst, as well as being a writer of speculative fiction. He currently lives near Des Moines, Iowa with his wife and daughter. Applied Natural Magic is his first book.  

Purchase your copy of Applied Natural Magic today.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Steampunk Musings Pt.4: Steam City Treasures

Are you prepared to meet another fantastic steampunk artist? If you're anything like me, your mind says YES and your wallet says NO. Personally, I've taken to hiding my wallet--or at least the credit card--because I just can't stop exploring these amazing websites.

Today's guest is the creator of a lovely shop called Steam City Treasures, Rachael Layne. Please give her a warm welcome!

1. How did you discover steampunk?

For many years, I loved Steampunk fashion but never knew exactly what it was. I discovered it online while browsing different types of fashions. I fell in love with the style and starting doing as much research as I could and finding out everything I could about. Of course, I still do this daily.

2. Why do you think steampunk has grown so popular over the last few years?

I believe as more people discover it, they share it with others, and then those people share it, and so on. I believe Conventions have also played a major role in helping people discover as well as share their love of all things Steampunk. Another reason I believe is that it creates another world for people to be free and creative in without being judged and to socialize with others that share in the same interests.

3. What inspired you to start creating steampunk jewelry/art?

I previously owned a store where I made and sold bead jewelry and art only. After a few years, I realized that it didn’t peak my interests or my creativity. It was around the same time I had stumbled onto Steampunk, and I decided that I should sell the type of things that I had much more interest in. I found that once I started creating Steampunk items, I was able to create a much better product to sell as I was much more passionate about the Genre and the Culture.

4. How long does it typically take to create a piece?

It depends on the size and the detail of the piece. Some can take an hour or two, while other pieces can take anywhere from a few days, a week or even a month. It also depends on my amount of free time to work on pieces. I’m a mother to a 4 year old, a wife, a full-time college student and I own and run 2 of my own businesses.

5. Out of all the steampunk pieces you've created, which one is your favorite?

Hands down, it would have to be my “Octo Buddies”, the little Octopus Figures that I create. Each one has its own personality, even when I create two that are of the same style, they each still have something unique to them.

6. Who's your favorite steampunk artist?

There are actually two artists that I greatly admire. As far as traditional art, my favorite artist is Brian Kesinger. His “Tea Girls” portraits have always been favorites of mine. When it comes to non-traditional art, Thomas Willeford creates some of the most beautiful and amazing pieces out of leather that I have ever seen, which makes him one of my favorite artists as well.

7. Are you working on anything exciting right now?

Always! I’m constantly scouring the internet and other sources for inspiration and new ideas to play off of. I enjoy coming up with and trying out ideas of new things to create on a daily basis. As of right now, there’s mostly jewelry and “Octo Buddies” in my shop. However, I am in the process of expanding my little store here in Ashland, KY. Some of the new items I have coming soon are muffs, bustles, goggles, top hats, masks, new jewelry and so much more! I’m extremely excited to create these new items and to put them in the store.

You can find Rachael at Steam City Treasures.

What do you think about Rachael's work? Let me know in the comments below!