Steampunk Maker Faire wrap-up

Steampunk Maker Faire wrap-up

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 new 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).


Artisan Molly “Porkshanks” Freidrich, who did an amazing violin mod for Abney Park’s Nathan Johnstone (drawing by Suzanne Forbes).


Artist and photographer Libby Bulloff (who did all of the photos seen in this article).


(Left to right) Magpie Killjoy of Steampunk Magazine, Mad Maxine, and Nathan from Abney Park.


David Dowling of Studio Kes


The Saturday Night Steampunk Spectacular saw great performances by the hard Irish triad Culann’s Hounds and Abney Park, along with power tool drag racing, and blazing, belching fire art. It all created a delicious carnival of excitement, eyeball kicks, inspired creativity, and barely-contained chaos. Below: Pictures of Abney Park, on the Neverwas Haul and on the Main Music Stage. This is a seriously cool band to see live. If you get an opportunity to see them — take it!


10 thoughts on “Steampunk Maker Faire wrap-up

  1. Al Billings says:

    The Steampunk anthology isn’t forthcoming. I have a copy that arrived from Amazon about a week ago.

  2. Gareth Branwyn says:

    Noted and corrected — tho I still haven’t gotten MY copy which I pre-ordered directly in early April. Jeff said they’d ship in early May, so maybe they’re on their way now…

  3. says:

    Ms. Scheff, you are my new hero. Had I known the Fair would offer me the opportunity to give the objectionable von Slatt a good boxing, I would surely have hitched my way there!

  4. anon says:

    everyone is so over steampunk already. it’s a waste of energy

  5. Gareth Branwyn says:

    That’s impressive — that you can know the interests and desires of “everyone.” Please tell me how that works.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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