As someone who has only been a steampunk for around 6 years, I’m relatively new to the whole concept and lifestyle. I write from my interpretation of what steampunk means to me, as well as my understanding and experience so far within the community. I have attended and performed at many steampunk events up and down the country and have included the Steampunk Style into the fairy outfits I wear as a family entertainer and performing artist.
Steampunk is an increasingly popular sub-culture, which could be defined as fashion, a set of ideals or role play. It can also be described as an inspired movement of creativity and imagination, often drawing from the work of H.G Wells and Jules Verne. Exploring art, fashion and mechanics, steampunk can mean so much but is very individual to those involved in the culture. Often these fashions are described as Romantic Victorian attire together with brass goggles, cogs and clock faces.
Steampunk in itself does not appear to have a spiritual connection although many of the steampunks are on a spiritual/enlightened path. Many have swapped their Pagan Priest(ess) robes for a top hat and goggles, while still incorporating a pentagram (or other symbol of their Path) into their outfits. As with most sub-cultures, the niche is that of eccentricity; the more flamboyant the costume, the more it is appreciated and admired by steampunk peers.
As you begin to stoke the flame of steampunk and what it means to you, adaptions to what you consider to be steampunk flourish and your own style becomes apparent. Whether you are steampunk, Victorian or Dieselpunk, you can be sure of a warm welcome by the community.
Another niche that has developed is that of the steampunk Faerie or Steamfae, which takes the subculture of Faery fashion and ideals and intermingles the Victorian style or steampunk. There are no limitations to the creative inspiration that adds to self-esteem and allows yourself to step out into another time or place. Steamfae fashions can indicate outwardly how you feel on the inside. For example, the wearing of wings could indicate the thought form of flight and portraying a spiritual being of Fae. As this is seen as something a youngster would do (dressing up essentially as a Fairy) it portrays the innocence of childhood (whether it is with children or releasing one’s inner child). Many people spend months planning their outfits to match their intent or how they want others to see them, for that is how they feel inside. This can be done just for fun or as a deeper reason which can be very sacred to the individual person (like putting on a cloak or robe).
Faery Integration and celebration
Faeries can be incorporated into any culture and the belief as the Fae is known throughout the world. Celebrations of the belief in faeries are held up and down the country such as the famous Karen Kay’s Faerie events in the South of England. When incorporating the Fae into our lives, certain roles within the community (whether it be steampunk or Faery Community) are ascertained. For me, this was the role of child protector and activities for the young. The children soon learn to seek out the lady dressed as a fairy when upset, bored or troubled at events.
Also within my role as “Faery” I see it as my job to educate the youngsters that looking different should be celebrated and not something to be scared of. As most of the hundreds of children I encounter associate me with fun activities and magic (fire eating and fire spinning being my special magical power). I can be found at events all over the UK entertaining the children with workshops, stories and performances. Not only at Faery events because steampunk kids need entertaining too.
As a Faery you have a deep passion for protecting Mother Earth and see it as your job to help people to understand why we should refrain from certain practises such as leaving litter, fracking or being generally wasteful with our resources. A lot of my activities are made from recycled materials and I am currently putting together my second storybook for children “Fairies against Fracking” where the fairy dell is being fracked and the steampunks come to save the day with their special powers (you may recognise several characters from the steampunk community, made into cartoons).
Family steampunk events are very popular and have proved very positive for the community. They posses a wonderful spirit of togetherness and breaking social divides, which guarantees to bring a smile to the faces of young and old. Steampunk is not just for the older generation, as more and more children want to join the movement with their parents and Grandparents. Making this a family centred activity, bringing those families closer together. In a time when children and young people are glued to the games consoles and mobile phones, this allows them to put these machines away for the day, join in and be splendid.