Posted By Traveler on 1. Juni 2011
Steampunk Emporium is another book blending fantasy with reality. It is about DIY steampunk art, jewellery to be precise, flavoured with short dispatches set in a steampunk world at the beginning of each chapter. The dispatches are sent from various locations by the intrepid correspondent Emilly Ladybird.
First impression: Beautiful. The design, layout and artwork of Steampunk Emporium is stunning and very steampunk in deed. The pieces themselves are fairly simple and the book provides step-by-step-instructions for creating each. I actually had the pieces at home to at least simulate the creation of the Empire Medal (pages 70- 73).
Each set of instructions also provides tips for possible alternatives and alterations you might want to make.
The final section of Steampunk Emporium provides a list of useful tools, ranging from essential to advanced and some recommendations where to get the material you need. It also commits a sacrilege in this section. Starting on page 107 Jema Hewitt a.k.a. Emilly Ldaybird gives instructions on how to take apart a vintage watch. Even worse: The item actually pictured and being taken apart is a vintage pocket watch. This is not the way to go! If you find a complete pocket watch, you leave it complete. You attempt to restore it to working order and after you fail you are allowed to take it apart! You do not purchase a watch and then turn it into jewellery! Antiques stores also usually sell pieces of watches, so there is no need to butcher one. Sorry about the rant…
Sadly, Steampunk Emporium provides only one five items for gentlemen but I am rather charmed by the Empire Medal and the 1st Lunar Regiment Dog Tags.
Also, I found the elements of the items a bit repetitive. There is too much focus on clockwork pieces. Steampunk is more than cogs and gears after all. The Atlantis Expeditions artefacts could have been more ætheric and maybe included crystals but they also rely on clockwork pieces for their Steampunkness.
In conclusion: Steampunk Emporium provides the reader and tinkerer with some charming pieces to steam up their wardrobes. The pieces are easy to make and are thus ideal for the beginning Steampunk and/or tinkerer. A little more variety would have been a bonus, though and the instructions on how to cannibalize watches are unnecessary.
Steampunk Emporium gets six out of ten Zeppelins (no butchering of watches on this blog!)