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Tom Sepe's Steampunk Motorbike

UPDATED: See the Whirlygig Emoto tonight October 22 at the Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham Massachusetts!

Wandering through the industrial neighborhood of West Oakland, You'll find more than a few warehouse art studios, each one filled to the brim with all manner of projects; from giant robots to huge metal art - and of course steam machines.

A few days ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited into the studio of one of the artists that reside there; a fine chap by the name of Tom Sepe. After sending out a call for willing subjects (aka, interview-ees), Tom contacted me and, with but a few words, lured me into his studio. Those words were simply: "Want to come see my electric-steam hybrid motorcycle?". He calls it the Whirlygig Emoto.

Ada Lovelace Day - Limor Fried: Open Source Entrepreneur

Limor Fried
  Photo courtesy of Fumi

This is from last year's Ada Lovelace Day but I thought I'd pop it back to the front page especially since Limor is doing such an incredible job over at http://www.adafruit.com/blog/ making one post per hour!

When I was growing up there were all sorts of electronics kits available for those of us who were interested in learning more about the subject.  My favorite birthday gift was the Radio Shack 150in1 Electronic Projects Kit I got when I was eight. 

As I got older I would drool over each copy of the latest Heathkit Catalog - I really, really wanted to build that 25" Color Television!

Unfortunately, many of the companies that made these wonderful products have long fallen victim to the pressures of globalization, the declining interest of hobbyists, and the fact that many of the classic projects have lost relevance to today's enthusiasts.

Enter the Open Source entrepreneur Limor Fried. Limor's company, Adafruit Industries offers a line electronics kits that are fun to build but even more importantly, relevant to today's technology - you'll not find any SCR 3-channel Color Organs here! She has made Adafruit a success by offering learning experiences and fun, not just a box of parts and a mimeographed sheet of instructions.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Limor about her company, click through for that and some pictures of one of Adafruit's kits that I've just completed.

TechnOccult interview with Alex CF

AlexCFTechnOccult inteviews wunderkammer artist AlexCF:

I guess it all started with this little box, called “The Vampire Legacy Case” about a 14th century aristocratic vampire, the last rites and possessions of this vampiric lord. I had the idea of creating an alternative past, creating characters and species with which to fabricate my own world in which all these things existed. So I started making, and the rest is history!

Austin, Grackles, and the Junk King

I have been tootling around Austin for a couple days now, guided mainly by locals scribbling favored destination on scraps of paper. I've visited (and took a dip in) Austin's famed Barton Springs park ("dude" an old hippie told me "it's, like, Austin's spiritual center"), drank Shiner Bock at the Driskill Lounge while the jazz band played the Super Mario theme, astride a couch made of a cow; and I've been attacked by a flock of Grackles.

One thing that has been bothering me, however, has been the total prevalence of the "keep Austin weird!" bumper stickers I've seen gracing every bike, minivan, lunchbox- If you're from that area, it very much akin to the "keep Tahoe blue" stickers adhered to a million car bumpers. I've been having a great time, to be sure, but I was beginning to think that the slogan was more of a city aspiration than actual reality.

Then I met the Junk King, and his home made Cathedral.

Much more after the jump..

Yeah, there's Punk in Steampunk: Johnny Payphone

I met Johnny Payphone on the Brass Goggles Forum in it's early days.  He would drop by periodically and lob thought-bombs into our midst that touched off fire-storms of discussion on the core nature of Steampunk and just how much 'Punk' there was in it.

Here is a wonderful interview of Johnny from the Experiment section of the Romanian online zine EgoPhobia that makes it abundantly clear that yes, there is Punk in Steampunk.

Portrait of a mad scientist: Alan Rorie of Almostscientific.com

(image: Alan Rorie working on the Dihemispheric Chronaether Agitator. Photo by Flickr user and KSW patron Great!steam)

I've never been so enamored with any character type as I have with the mad scientist. The shop, filled with inventions, doo-dads; explosions from nowhere send machinery flying while (s)he runs yelling equations to no-one. The wide-eyed ecstatic expression of pure insanity; the giant eyebrows. The filthy white lab coat. The giant gloves.
With the exception of the gloves (and possibly the eyebrows), Alan Rorie is that taken from the best of these characters and put into rusty reality. A doctorate student at Stanford, he goes from the precision and white sterile walls of the laboratory to his grimy, rusty, enchantingly-cluttered shop at the west Oakland group art space NIMBY.
I met him first working on the Steampunk Treehouse , and have been since always impressed with his work; firstly the Dihemispheric Chronaether Agitator; and then the Neuron chamber. His exploits, scientific, artistic,  and otherwise- can be followed on his site  Almostscientific.com

He recently was so patient and kind to put down the high-voltage regulators and tell me a bit about himself.  Lots of photos and the interview behind the cut.


Jules Vernian Analog Synthesizer


Steampunk Analog Synthesizer

It makes me happy when people write me about things they've made, and when they've been inspired or have adopted techniques they've learned from the Steampunk Workshop it makes me very happy indeed!


Peter wrote me a while back with some pictures of his latest project, a Jules Verne inspired analog synthesizer with etched brass control panels.  Now, I cut my teeth on a vinyl copy of Switched-On Bach and I've been a fan of analog synth heroes Tangerine Dream since High School.  So I was very excited to see this.

. . .

Boston Phoenix Video

I completely forgot that The Boston Phoenix shot video when they came out to the workshop to interview me! They've just put it up on their site and I've embedded it here:

If you haven't read the whole piece you should! It contains a LOT more then just me, in fact I'm in less then 20% of the written article.

I am so pleased that my home town really seems to "get" Steampunk!

Meredith Scheff Interviews Phil Foglio

Meredith Scheff

I'm very happy to have the opportunity to introduce you to Meredith Scheff who will be doing a series of articles for The Steampunk Workshop where she will "go exploring in the jungles of maker workshops; and share the images with you, the hopefully regular reader."


Meredith describes herself as "a cartoonist, maker, geek, and general silly person. She avoids everyone's advice and continues to live happily in San Francisco, no matter how tired of Top Ramen she may get. She is in her thesis semester for illustration/sculpture at California College of the Arts. Her website, until she builds a better one, is satiredun.deviantart.com."

In addition to her series Meredith has agreed to develop a regular cartoon feature for the Steampunk Workshop and I've asked her to do a bit of lampooning of all of us Steampunks - if you are as curious as I am as to what the result will be get thee to the front page and sign-up for the mailing list or grab the feed! - Jake von Slatt


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