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Friday, 7 November 2014

Interview - Amy of Bakenekoya

Sculpted Steam and Japanese Cats

The perk of being an avid Etsian is that you frequently stumble across some amazing creations. I would like to introduce you to my newest discovery. The Japanese shop title peaked my curiousity, as did this gorgeous mask, found for the first time in an Etsy Treasury:

Click here to find an array of Masks

1. How did your shop get its name and what was the main inspiration behind opening your shop?

I started sculpting a few years ago just as a hobby.  I was making sculptures for myself or as gifts for friends and family at first, everyone seemed to really like my work and I was really enjoying sculpting so one day I thought why not start trying to sell some pieces.  I taught myself how to make moulds and cast in resin from videos on YouTube and articles online, bought a load of materials and just took it from there.

The name Bakenekoya is a Japanese word, it roughly translates as the monster cat store.  Bakeneko - monster cat, the Ya added to the end  makes it a store.
A Bakeneko is a spiritual being from Japanese folklore, it has similar powers to the kitsune or tanuki. 
An ordinary cat can transform into a Bakeneko by either living over ten years of age, reaching one kan (3.75 kg or 8.25 lbs) in weight, or growing its tail too long.

I am a massive cat lover, I have two very big cats that may be on the verge of transforming into Bakeneko ;) and have a love of Japanese art and culture, also the first items I wanted to sell were cat figurines, so when I decided to open my shop I was searching for a name that could somehow incorporate these things.  I couldn't find anything that felt right until I stumbled upon a site of Japanese folklore and read the tale of the Bakeneko.  The name Bakenekoya was just a perfect fit for the name of my shop.

The reason I was drawn in to explore your creations was the gorgeous Steampunk mask, the Japanese name (I'm very slowly learning Japanese) and the cats. Being a cat person runs in my family!

Find this lucky tabby here!
2. What do you create and do you have a signature product? If so how did it come to be?

I create a range of sculptures and masks in a number of styles, cute, fantasy, horror, steampunk, and I'm always looking to try something new. 

I think my signature product would have to be my Super lucky fat cats.  They were one of the first sculptures I made, and I don't think I'll ever stop making them.  They came about as I love Maneki Neko and thought a great big fat one would be adorable, who doesn't love a big fat fluffy cat? And of course they combine two of my favourite things, cats and Japan.
A Fine Gentlecat, Bartleby Von Fishersnoot

3. Where do you find your inspiration and what makes you different from the other people that make what you make?
A lot of my inspiration comes from anime, cartoons and illustration.  The work of Studio Ghibli in particular.  But really anything that I'm currently mad about, geckos, cats, Dragon skulls....  I've always got about 20 things I'm itching to make.

Also other artists are a massive inspiration, I have some good friends who have helped me in the past with design, and there are a lot of amazing people out there that I look up to, they really help drive me to keep improving my skills.

I think that I have a good range of products, I like to experiment and play around with different styles, materials and types of items, and I intend to continually expand my range.  Hopefully it makes an interesting shop and will grow more so over time.

4.What do you enjoy most about your craft?
Most of all I just find the whole process of making stuff incredibly enjoyable, and so satisfying, I love seeing it all come together, especially when I don't really know what I'm doing at the beginning and just jump in at the deep end.
Also selling your work is fantastic, not just because of earning money (of course it's really nice to buy food and pay the rent and everything) but to know that someone out there really loves something you have made in an amazing feeling, it makes all the horrible hard parts so worthwhile.

I can't agree more. When your creative passion is reflected in a buyer's face or message, it's a real motivator!
A Steampunk Maneki Neko!
5. What is your best advice to newbie Etsians just opening their shops?

I've been selling my work for a few years now but I still feel like a newbie, I don't think I've really figured it out yet.  But I think the best way to start is to get your work out there any way you can, social networking, art sites... It's great if you can afford to pay for advertising but most of us can't, so any free way to get your work in front of people is invaluable.  There are a lot of sellers on Etsy and I think it's easy to get a bit lost amongst them.

Also I think having more than just a couple of items in your store and a bigger variety of products will always attract more customers.  I only had a few cat sculptures in my shop at first and didn't get very many views at all, but as soon as I started adding more products I could really see the difference in traffic.
The Leopard Gecko Totem, Special Edition
6.What are your top 3 favourite shops on Etsy and what do you like about them?

It's so very difficult to only choose 3!
These people are amazing artists so I'm going to plug their Deviantart pages too so you can look at much more of their art work.
This artist is incredible, her sculpture work is so very beautiful.  I'd gladly have every single piece of hers in my house if I could.  I am super jealous  of her skills.... but in a good, she inspires me kind of way of course ;)

A fellow cat lover and such a talented sculptor.  He makes amazing cat sculptures and prints, he has a great style and sense of humour.

I am a big fan of her series Mephistos and have a lot of her art prints up on my walls, her work is fantastic.  She (and her pet Geckos) also provided the inspiration for my Gecko totem sculpt.

7. Where can you be found online?

8. Do you have any coupon codes / special sales / upcoming or current promotional events going on in your shop?

Not at the moment but I will have a Christmas sale coming up at the start of December, I'll post details on Facebook, Tumblr etc.

A gentleman Slug, fighting for equality among the Snail upper classes
9. What is it about Steampunk that you love and how did you become involved in it?

I love the whole fantasy of Steampunk and how anything goes, I think it brings out the best of artists' imaginations.  I have a lot of respect for steampunk cosplayers, there's so much love, hard work and skill that goes into making those amazing costumes and modding everyday items into marvellous steampunk contraptions.

My steampunk work began with the idea for the first sculpture I put up for sale, Bartleby von Fishersnoot the gentleman cat.  I just love a gentleman creature with a ridiculous name!  After making him I really wanted to make a range of gentleman creatures with their own little world.  They live in the charming coastal town of Flappington-on-sea and all have their own stories.  So far I have him and Reginald T Pompigton the gentleman slug (and I suppose my super snooty gentleman Maneki Neko could live there too), but there will be more to come in this range.

After I started selling these I got invited to exhibit at the Leeds Steampunk market.  I really wanted to make a steampunk mask for the event which is what led to the creation of my Steampunk respirator mask, this was a very difficult project, but also very fun, and was a great experience as  I had to learn a few new techniques like metal etching and cold casting.

Thankyou so much, Amy. Your work is fascinating and as a trained modelmaker myself, I can really appreciate your self-taught skill! Here's hoping that we might see you trading at next year's Asylum in Lincoln, perhaps?

If you love Amy's work, do Favourite her shop, Bakenekoya on

Thankyou kindly,
                   ~The Navigatrix


Monday, 6 October 2014

NEW! Notes from The Navigatrix ~ A Newsletter

Introducing the new monthly newsletter,

~ ~ ~ Notes from The Navigatrix ~ ~ ~

When I began my little handmade business, I had absolutely no concept of what it would involve. Over the past three years my learning curve has been steep and crazier than a zeppelin steeplechase. I still have much to learn, but now it is more a case of refining what I know.

I've made some really wonderful friends, both in real life, as Skype apparitions and virtual beings that express themselves through text and, I know you're all real people, really! (So am I. Not like The Professor's 'Sally'...)

 Matt and I had a lovely time at Asylum again this year. I was so happy to see three of my dear customers wearing items that they had purchased from me over the previous year. Thankyou, I was flattered, encouraged and motivated by that! As much as I love trading in person (because I get to dress up and chat!) it is not practical for me for various reasons. Ah well.

I hope to bring you more photos of Asylum and a brief account soon.

The main learning curve has been about social networking. I'm loving it but it is very time consuming. Striking a balance between making items and advertising them, cultivating customer relations and physically running the shop, has proven to be quite an artform in itself. Plus, I've added to my duties by creating The Aether Nomads Project , with which I am eagerly and ably aided by Heyk Al Khemeti (aka Kymaris) in France and Catherine Moon in The Netherlands.

So much going on! It was high time, I decided, to start that newsletter I've been thinking about for well over a year. Without further ado, I present to you: Notes from The Navigatrix!

If you'd like to receive it regularly, please SIGN UP HERE, Thankyou!

Do let me know what you think!

Wishing you well,



Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Steampunk Hands around the World - Interview with Michelle of Steelhip Design

In this last interview for the Steampunk Hands event, I'm reaching over from the UK to shake hands with Michelle in Australia.

The founder of Steelhip Designs, this talented lady produces the most incredible, wearable, faux machine adornments and sculptures! 

The NewRomancer

1. How did your shop get its name and what was the main inspiration behind opening your shop?

I've had Psoriatic Arthritis since I was 12 years old.  Due to that condition I've had both my hips replaced, both my knees replaced and my right wrist plated and fused.  It's made having any kind of career difficult.  In 2001 I went back to school and studied web design and named my business Steelhip Design.  I loved designing websites but started making jewellery as a way to relax after coding all day.  When making jewellery and art took over from web design, I didn't feel the need to change my business name.

The Clockwork Alchemist - on Etsy
2. What do you create and do you have a signature product? If so how did it come to be?

I mostly create jewellery pieces – that's what I financially survive on but I also make small sculptural/assemblage pieces.  My signature piece is the mechanical flying heart – I've made many, all unique, but I still love making them.  They have evolved over time from simple embellishments to now, very complex little faux machines.  The gear teeth are locked together, the gauges have tiny watch hands and in some cases, printed read outs.  I think it's the increasing degree of complexity that is keeping me engaged artistically.
Control Panel - on Etsy
 I don't fabricate or cast so I'm using existing items in new ways.  In a weird kind of way having a disability taught me to adapt to the world around me.  Adaptation is a huge part of my design process.

Ethereal Essence Extractor
3. Where do you find your inspiration and what makes you different from the other people that make what you make?

Having lots of metal in me.  So it's no wonder biomechanical themes feature heavily in my work.  

It's a cliché but I really do see inspiration everywhere.  That is why steampunk is so dynamic.  We see movement, physics and engineering everywhere.  I love driving around a heavy industrial areas – seeing the pipes, huge machinery and massive electrical terminals. 

I work in what is kindly called “creative chaos” but could also be termed a total mess.  My desk is covered in bits and pieces.  It's amazing how many pieces have just come together in this confusion and randomness of proximity.  

I like to make pieces that look like they actually work.  Gears for gear's sake isn't my thing – they have to look like they are part of a mechanical process.  Recently I've delved into the “mad scientist” realm with brass tubing, miniature control panels and glass vials.  I want these pieces to look like they are “plugged in” to the wearer's body.

I'm often told my pieces are very original - that is the best compliment any artist can get. 
Mini Orrery
4.What do you enjoy most about your craft?

When everything just comes together – the piece is virtually making itself – great feeling.  I can't draw so it's impossible for me to plan out a piece.  I have to pick up the parts to see if they will fit together.

Seeing people's faces seeing my work – just Wow!  That is the downside to online selling – not seeing those immediate reactions but I get a lot of lovely messages from all over the world.

I  do love the hunt too.  Sourcing my supplies has become very difficult with the popularity of steampunk and the fact I live in Perth, Australia – the most isolated capital city in the world.  Down here we have neither the population nor history for vintage surplus/charity shop finds.  Virtually everything I use I have to source online.  Totally jealous of the steampunk artists in the US and Europe and the access they have to amazing raw materials!  So, when I find fantastic supplies at a reasonable price and shipping costs aren't exorbitant it is a very good day. 
Orbit Ring
5. What is your best advice to newbie Etsians just opening their shops?

Mainly talking to jewellery artists here.  Be original and find a niche.  It took me six years to find my niche.  And be prepared for the cruel reality of capitalism.  When I look online, walk through a shopping mall and go to a craft market – jewellery is EVERYWHERE!  I'm astounded I sell anything.  It can be crushing to your ego when you've poured your heart and soul into a piece of art or jewellery and it doesn't sell.  Make things you want to make but if it's the 47,756th red beaded bracelet listed on etsy realise you have some stiff competition. I know it's difficult but try not to take a lack of commercial success personally.  

Remember people are selling on etsy for different reasons: for some it's their primary profession, some are hoping they can quit their day job, others just want to cover the cost of supplies and there are hobbyists who are just having a bit of fun. Each group values their time and skills differently.  This dynamic can make it a challenging platform to sell on.  Think about your own ambitions and what you want out of the experience.

Before Etsy I sold on ebay for over 10 years.  I only listed on Etsy to have some kind of presence there.  I put high prices on the pieces I listed thinking “this is just a portfolio – no one is going to buy them” but to my amazement they sold.  I'm so glad I gave myself that inadvertent pay rise and now I put a realistic price on my experience, skill and creativity.  Women do tend to under value their time and effort.

Great photos are crucial to selling online.  I spend many hours taking and editing photos.  I look back at my first attempts and cringe.   You don't have to spend a lot of money to take great photos it's just finding the technique that works for your products.

Finally, if you need help go to the main forum and ask experienced sellers.
The Parked Heart
6.What are your top 3 favourite shops on Etsy and what do you like about them?

I'm going to be really boring (and diplomatic) here and say I have too many favourite shops on Etsy to list just three.  Most of my them are supply shops.  When I have time I do a steampunk search.  I'm always blown away by the talent and skill of my fellow steampunk artists on Etsy.
Refining Steam
7. Where can you be found online?
Please don't judge my web design skills on my site.  I cheated with a gallery generator to just get something up quick and haven't had the time to get a “real” site up.  Next hospital visit (right shoulder replacement) I'll design a proper website.

8. Do you have any coupon codes / special sales / upcoming or current promotional events going on in your shop?

Nope, sorry – don't really do the coupon thing.  Maybe in the future – probably through my facebook page.  So remember to like me.

9. What is it about Steampunk that you love and how did you become involved in it?

I hear this often from steampunk artists – “I was making steampunk before I knew it had a name!”  I think that's what excites people when they find the community - I thought I was the only one that preferred copper, brass, wood and glass over mass produced plastic!

When I was five or six I saw an antique automata singing bird.  The bird was beautiful but it was the mechanics inside that really captured me – it was magical.   I love the philosophy of making something for the sake of beauty and skill over profit and designed obsolescence. It's reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts movement at the turn of the last century.  

I was making a miniature Orrery and needed some unique parts.  I started seeing “steampunk” in listing titles.  Needless to say, I googled it.  The rest is history.  The community, especially the Tactile forum on Brass Goggles, made me very welcome.

Steampunk has been very good to me.  I've won a few awards in art shows and have contributed pieces for a national touring exhibition – The Antipodean Steampunk Show.  More recently, one of my pieces is on the cover of the new book “Steampunk Jewelry”. 

I'd love to exhibit (or even just attend) some of the big steampunk events in the US and Europe.  Perth has a tiny band of steampunk devotees but I mostly get blank stares when I mention what I do.  At the end of this year I'm aiming on having a solo exhibition and try to raise the profile of steampunk art in my home town.
Thankyou so much, Michelle! You really are an inspiration. 
Personally, what you've said about your mess  design process really resonates with me. Out of the chaotic potential of a random pile of materials, the designer acts like a filter to create unique works. I must say, you seem to have distilled the very essence of Steampunk in these magnificent faux machines!

If you, too, admire Michelle's work, do follow the links and support her fine endeavours.

If you would like to be interviewed or, indeed, interview The Navigatrix, you can email me at

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Steampunk Hands around the World - Interview with Abigail of Wiserabbit

One of the highlights of my work are the creative friends that surround me. This time it is my very great pleasure to introduce you to Abigail of Wiserabbit.

We met years ago in a tent, on a scout site, whilst enjoying our favourite pastime of Live Roleplaying. In fact, it was a good friend who introduced us. I'm happy to say that I was there at their wedding and the pair are now honourary aunt and uncle to 'the Scamp'. 

It isn't at all unusual to find larpers who make their own costume, but in this case, the seamstress is well-trained and highly skilled!

1.      How did your shop get its name and what was the main inspiration behind opening your shop?

I’m not actually sure I can remember where the name came from! I’ve always had an affinity with rabbits (I share my workspace with my two house rabbits, Juno and Verity) and “wiserabbit” has been an internet handle for quite some time.

In terms of my reason for opening the shop, I started sewing full time when I found myself unexpectedly out of work. About a month later I became pregnant with my son, so it was a time of huge upheaval. I went from working in change management and being fiercely independent, to being a pregnant housewife within the space of a month! Starting my own business was a way to reclaim some of my identity. It also helps fund my expensive dressmaking habit! Most of my work is bespoke, but the Etsy shop gives me a financial excuse to make speculative items.

A mutual friend models for Wiserabbit

   2. What do you create and do you have a signature product? If so how did it come to be?

I would say it’s probably my forage caps; I made some for a pulp adventure LARP game and they proved very popular. I enjoy the huge variety that you can get from a single pattern. After a while, I started selling the patterns themselves and through various channels have now sold about 80 of them. I’m hoping the new fingerless glove patterns I’m working on will be as successful!

The Forage Cap is available on Etsy

  3. Where do you find your inspiration and what makes you different from the other people that make what you make?

My inspiration is nearly always based in historical fashion. I love the quality of construction in older garments; something you just don’t get now. Sometimes though, I will create a piece based around a piece of literature, a character or even around something I’m angry about! I initially trained in theatre and was particularly keen on allegorical pieces, mask work and puppet work. On stage a garment has to encapsulate the character at that point (or deliberately juxtapose a different set of ideas). I love the idea of a garment starting a “conversation” before a character speaks. It’s the difference between costume and fashion; fashion expresses what someone else wants you to be, costume can express whatever you want it to.

The Governess Gown is available on Etsy

4. What do you enjoy most about your craft?

I enjoy the self-sufficiency of sewing. Its a skill that everyone needs to utilise during their lives and being able to do it myself is satisfying.

The Steamcaptain America Ensemble...
..with a hidden in-joke!

 5. What is your best advice to newbie Etsians just opening their shops?

Etsy actually only makes up a small amount of my sales; most of the things I sell are bespoke requests so I’m probably not best placed to answer this. What I would say though, is pay very close attention to trending items and be realistic in your expectations. If you are looking to make your living as a crafter, then you will need other outlets as well unless you really are able to nail a target market.

The Navigatrix and Weldon Rivett esq. sporting a
Wiserabbit forage cap and Regency Steam coat 
Looking rather fine in his waistcoat, don't you agree?
Wiserabbit uses veggie friendly 'pleather' and works
on it to make it closer to animal leather. 
 6. What are your top 3 favourite shops on Etsy and what do you like about them?

With the exception of the Navigatrix and Arcane Armoury of course?!

 Actually none of them are Steampunk related! The shops that have caught my eye are:

It’s all for the same reason – the uniqueness of design concepts, the design integrity and the display of skill.

7. Where can you be found online?

and on my Facebook page, which is updated the most often (I am terrible at updating things – I need a secretary!)

and of course, my Etsy shop: 

8. Do you have any coupon codes / special sales / upcoming or current promotional events going on in your shop? 

Just for you! Use the coupon STARLING01 until the end of April 2014 for 10% off. Share this one wherever you like :)

9. What is it about Steampunk that you love and how did you become involved in it?

Would you think me a mercenary wench if I said it was because I saw a business opportunity? That was certainly why I first got involved but over the past year, I’ve come to love both the aesthetic and the wonderful people involved. I have never met such a creative, humorous, inclusive and welcoming group of people and I love their company. I love a group where individuality of style is prized over anything else. I’ve done LARP and re-enactment fairs as well, and the Steampunk fairs are by far the most fun.

I’ve also just started reading the Boneshaker trilogy by Cherie Priest, and that is really bringing the world to life for me in a convincing fashion.


Thankyou, Abigail! It really is lovely to introduce our wonderful friends to everyone.

Speaking of's another mutual friend and fellow LRPer, sporting his bespoke, Wiserabbit apparel.  A jolly nice chap, too!

Russell A. Smith 

We would love to read your comments, share a bit of 'LRP froth' (enthusiastic live roleplay talk) or find out what sort of Steampunk costume you would commission if you could!

Remember to use the #SteampunkHands on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to find other related blogs, reviews and other multimedia events this February!

~ The Navigatrix. Who has a sudden desire for more clothes. Quick! Send customer reinforcements! ;)


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Celebrations, Building Steam and Joining Hands across the World

image by Araceli Rodriguez

This February sees the first month long, active celebration of Steampunk community across the globe. The 14th also happens to be The Navigatrix's 2nd anniversary! 

I must admit, writing this blog entry is a bit like trying to use a chocolate see, Steampunk Hands is really not about selling things at all. It is about celebrating community, so my focus isn't really about inviting you to consider buying anything. However, the whole reason I got involved in Steampunk was because of a practical need to increase my income. This is one mother who got inventive! I amalgamated my skills as a professional modelmaker with my hobby of Live Roleplaying and created an Etsy shop. You can read all about how The Navigatrix began, on Etsy.

My learning curve in the first year was near vertical. I'd never actively created a network for business before, but I soon found it fun as it wasn't unlike meeting people at a LRP.  You come across their characters in play and before you know it, you're sitting round the campfire at 3am getting to know the person behind the persona. This is how I have met, both virtually and face to face, many wonderful people who are on a similar wavelength. Through the common love of dressing up and pretending (an admirable trait in grown-ups) we can get to know ourselves and each other much better. Isn't it nourishing to be understood?

I was contacted by my friend Suna Dasi of Steampunk India (a Facebook friend) in January and invited to join in with Steampunk Hands. This was just the boost I needed to take off in a new direction and so I dived right in, enthusiastically!

 Kevin Steil, also known as the Airship Ambassador, is the bright spark whose idea has grown so rapidly that some are already calling it 'International Steampunk Month'. The Universe often conspires towards us, I feel...

 Kevin states: 

  "Our community is an energetic force of creativity, education, and aspiration, which deserves to be expressed, shared, and valued by each and every one of us, every day.
Our friends and compatriots, known and not-yet-met, create the stories we read, make the fashions and accessories we wear, perform the music we hear, and construct the art we see....This grand collaboration makes our steam-nation possible, not just to exist but to thrive. Steampunk and our community is our playground. It is our classroom. It is our workshop."

To find out the range of people's efforts in celebration of our shared love of the genre, visit:
The Navigatrix has been spending time among the Aether Nomads
Serendipity is a fine thing. It just so happens that I had already planned to make something of my Aether Nomad idea, to have The Navigatrix spend time among a different culture, learning from them and emulating their style. OOC (that's Out of Character for non-LRPers) my intention was to pursue a more tribal style in my Steampunk jewellery, allowing me more freedom for creativity and to perhaps find a unique little niche. 

The little snippets of story that often pop into my head whilst making things had begun to grow into the idea of a fantastic, fictional culture. That was informed by my most recent Live Roleplay character (the orange tagelmust is actually part of my LRP costume too). So finding out about Steampunk Hands fit right in and has allowed me to get to know this sub-culture better. I've even tried dredging up the French I learned at school to at least have a token go at speaking to Heyk Al Khemeti, with whom I'm co-writing some of the 'Tales of the Navigatrix'. It is very rusty. A-levels were a long time ago (well, I will be turning 40 this year!).

I had been researching images for the character, using Pinterest, and had fallen in love with Moroccan design. Occasionally I'll find elements from other cultures too - it is so fascinating to learn about the world through a visual design journey.

Georgina modelling the Vintage Lace Heart Choker from my Steampunk Catwalk collection

When I first joined Etsy, I discovered that you could be part of a team in order to get motivated, learn new skills and meet likeminded makers. I loved the idea of being part of such a community, so that even though I work for myself, I wasn't by myself. The first team I joined was then run by Georgina, a highly creative woman who, at the time, had two shops. She now runs Atomic Girl, Curious Doors and Nevermore Art Dolls By sheer coincidence she lived close enough for us to meet up once in a while.  

Steampunk Fairy made for Sarah Trickler Photography by Nevermore Art Dolls
So Georgina inspired me, guided me and has become the main model for my shop. She has since retired as Team Captain and that position has been filled by our lovely pyrographer friend in the U.S. Emily Joy of EmiNation Artistry .

Together with my brother Matt of ArcaneArmoury and a few other friends, we are the Crew of 'The Unpronounceable'. Georgina is The Captain, Emily Joy is Nova Pyrelis the Combustion overseer and Matt is Weldon Rivett esq., our Mechaneer. These characters came about through Georgina's initiative of starting the Steampunk Share Page and I shall be exploring them a little as I write more story entries.
By EmiNation Artistry

When likeminded people connect, no matter the distance, a process of co-creation begins. You inspire one-another and gain courage to try a different route, to explore new ideas and broaden your horizons.

Matt and Abigail of The Wiserabbit (aka Weldon Rivett esq and Steamcaptain America) dropping character for a moment at Weekend at the Asylum 2013

Matt and I are very happy that a few good larper friends have also joined us in our creative, tea-powered quest! Abigail of The Wiserabbit is one such dear friend, met in a tent in a field somewhere in England, years ago. I'll be interviewing this fine seamstress soon!

What a fine adventure!
I would like to express my gratitude to the many splendid folk that have contributed in some way to my journey. I've come such a long way in two years and it has been purely because of the positive and encouraging support from friends in the Etsy and Steampunk communities; many of those folk can be found in both places!

Here's a list of Steampunk Etsy Teams for those interested in finding friendship, inspiration and support from various creative types across the world:

In Here Life Is Beautiful - Steampunk, Goth, Rockabilly, Bellydance, Cyberpunk, Burlesque...a spicy alternative mix!
Steam Trunk - a fairly new team seeking die-hard Steampunkers
Home for Displaced Victorians - for those who feel themselves somewhat anachronistic
SteamTeam - a large team full of enthusiasts

There are plenty more out there and you can join without having to have a shop. It's another great place to meet likeminded people.

Thanks to El Investigador magazine and Beyond Victoriana for the  features! 
So..anyone for chocolate tea? In all seriousness though, I am grateful to be part of a community who appreciate the value of handmade items, usually because they've had a go at doing it themselves and know the time and effort it takes. They also know the glow of showing off their latest thingumajig, complete with brass gubbins, to a global audience that they can engage with either online or through travelling to conventions.

'The Navigatrix' looks forward to making many more wonderful acquaintances. Teach me a bit about your language! I'll have a go. My French may be rusty and my Japanese coming along 'totemo yukkuri' but I would like to at least make the effort. If you've read this and English is not your first language, thankyou! If you've used an online translation service, I hope it managed my rather verbose, enthusiastic celebration of Steampunk Hands around the World.

Happy Birthday, Navigatrix :)