I love steampunk because I like the idea of taking something old and combining it with something new. Anyone who checks out my upcycled fashion ideas in Pinterest will probably see that. Fashion is one aspect of steampunk, but the science fiction angle and cultural/political aspect is the other. I find the idea of futuristic technology based in the Victorian era to be fascinating. I enjoy opportunities to explore this in literature, art and fashion. I enjoy going to steampunk events and getting to dress up. It was only a matter of time before I became a steampunk author.
Whether you are interested in the mechanics of contraptions or bustles and corsets, I have compiled a small list of places you can explore these themes locally in the Northwest.
New Zone Art Gallery’s Cabinet of Steampunk Curiosities
For the last four years or so, The New Zone Art Gallery in Eugene has held a steampunk art show each fall. Featuring the mechanical contraptions of Steve LaRiccia which are functional art objects like a computer made of antiques or a fortune telling machine made out of other Victorian pieces, it is a fun show. I have sold hair fascinators, bustle skirts and jewelry there. One year I organized a fashion show as part of the Cabinet of Steampunk Curiousities. The highlight of the month long show is the steampunk party with musicians, dancers and other performers making you feel as if you have been transported to another world.
Steampunk Tea Party in Eugene
Last year I was a guest performer and vendor at a historical house that held a steampunk tea. As if the idea of a tea party and dressing up in Victorian clothes wasn’t exciting enough, the idea of a steampunk tea was even more so. The Shelton McMurphey Johnson House held this party. This was a fun event where everyone dressed in costume, guests were served tea and crumpets (or some kind of snacks). There were even chocolates in the shapes of gears. Local artist, Steve LaRiccia showed off some of his contraptions, an artist drew caricatures, there was performance art and there was steampunk belly dance. Okay, so that was me.
Last year I attended as a vendor and presenter at Gearcon. There were a lot of people dressed in costumes and a handful of venders with steampunk merchandise. I enjoyed the workshops and panels that I attended (and presented). I am excited about this upcoming year’s presenters. This year, Gearcon will be held in conjunction with Westercon.
This is a science fiction and fantasy convention every year in Portland in November. The first year I attended was at least 10 years ago. There were men dressed as Klingons, which was exciting. Flash forward to the present, the aliens have been taken over by bustles and goggles. You will still see people dressed in science fiction costumes, but steampunk has grown—to my utter pleasure. The price for this conference is very reasonable if tickets are bought in advance.
This is a big steampunk convention in Seattle in September. I have never been to it. When Steamcon was in Seattle, I wanted to go to that but it didn’t work out. This is the new kid on the block.
This event used to be held in Eugene but is now held each summer in the Portland area. It is a fantasy/fairy them ed event. Imagine a giant outdoor music festival with people dressed as fairies and as steampunk characters. I have seen steampunk fairies and a lot of Victorian influence in the last few years.
I haven’t been to this event yet. I was told by one of the artists this would have the biggest display of steampowered contraptions locally.
Bohemia Mining Days
This event is in Cottage Grove. I went last year. It was a fun family event, there were some historical shows and exhibits and venders. It isn’t specifically steampunk but there is a lot of historical things from the Victorian era that are going on as part of the festival.
I found this great list of other nationwide steampunk events that are useful.
To read more about the first novel in Sarina Dorie’s series, The Memory Thief, go to Amazon: