Please give Barbara Pearson AKA The Tinker's Daughter a warm welcome.
1. How did you discover steampunk?
One of my jewelry suppliers does a monthly newsletter. About 11 years ago they had a brief article on steampunk and I had never heard of it. I began searching the internet and there were only a few websites at the time but I found some very interesting descriptions of “steampunk” along with some excellent examples of steampunk art and jewelry.
Back then steampunk was just hitting the east coast after gaining popularity in Europe. I was intrigued. I had been a jewelry maker for over 4 years and wanted to try something totally different. Steampunk spoke to me on many levels.
2. Why do you think steampunk has grown so popular over the last few years?
The genre has a broad appeal I think. The older generation of aficionados are attracted to the historical, Victorian elements with a sense of nostalgia of a time when elegance was appreciated. The younger generation is attracted to the sci-fi and fantasy elements. For any age it offers an alternative reality that begins with a Victorian setting and then drops little surprise gadgets and inventions that by rights should not be there, like Captain Nemo’s submarine.
3. What inspired you to start creating steampunk jewelry/art?
Prior to becoming a jewelry artist I was an antiques dealer specializing in vintage jewelry. I developed a love and appreciation for the artistry of previous generations. I also found it sad to have to throw away lovely little odds and ends of broken jewelry that were considered past repairing. In steampunk jewelry I found a medium in which I could repurpose these pieces along with other found treasures. I have over the years developed my own style of one-of-a-kind pieces that merge steampunk, fantasy, and gothic elements. I especially love the Victorian gothic elements that evoke the Penny Dreadfuls of the era and the ornate quality so inherent to the Victorian era.
4. How long does it typically take to create a piece?
I generally work on several pieces at once. I generally begin by opening my storage containers of all my lovely objects, bits, and ephemera and plucking out those that catch my eye. I basically make a mess on my dining room table and then play with various ideas. Over the course of a day or two I usually will create anywhere from four to twelve pieces. Generally I shuffle things around the first day, sleep on it, wake up with new ideas and revisions, make changes, and do the final assembly the following day. There have been a few pieces that took several days by themselves because of time needed to complete the assembly process (at times a bit more complex than others).
5. Out of all the steampunk pieces you've created, which one is your favorite?
6. Who's your favorite steampunk artist?
I love the intricate leather armor and corsetry of Brute Force Studios because that is something I cannot make for myself and also the lovely hats from Blonde Swan (again something I can’t do for myself). In music I am a true fan of Abney Park, although Steam Powered Giraffe is quite good as well.
I recently ventured into doing some multi-media pieces using stencils with texture paste, die cuts, alcohol inks, and lots of great embellishments on trinket boxes and journals. I also began doing embellished picture frames just because I love to repurpose things and give them a new life. I am also working on some ideas for some more ornate and formal Victorian body jewelry and I recently added Steampunk and Fantasy earrings for gauged ears.
Who's your favorite steampunk artist? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!