Clockwork Alchemy Review - If Queen Victoria Had High Tech, This Is What It Would Look Like

I attended the Clockwork Alchemy 2016 convention this weekend ... in costume.

(DoubleTree Hotel, San Jose, California, May 27-30, $50 to $75)

 

If you are unfamiliar with Steampunk, think "high tech if Queen Victoria

had high tech".  If you've seen an H.G. Wells or Jules Verne movie, or the Wild Wild West

movie or TV show, or Warehouse 13, you've seen steampunk.  

  

Clockwork Alchemy is a glorious feast for the eyes ... people in costumes

everywhere, steampunk artwork abounds.  Over half of the attendees are in

costume, lending an interesting feel to walking the corridors.

 

Professor Tittiger's Time Machine

 

The convention has artwork, authors, music, dance, fighting (demonstrations),

belly dancing, an aetheric telegraph service, gaming, teapot racing, and more.

 

I always start in "the dealer's room", a staple of most conventions.

The dealer's room at Clockwork Alchemy is called the "Artist's Bazaar".

A first time attendee could be forgiven for thinking they mispelled bizarre.

 

The Bazaar has everything you need for a great steampunk costume,

starting with the hat, down to the shoes.  Steampunk hats are important,

and there are a lot of them here.  Here's an attendee, showing off his

hat.

 

Stan Sieler, Time Traveler

 

Steampunk hats are often top hats or bowlers, almost always with some

form of goggles on them.  After all, a steampunk tinkerer must protect

their eyes!  Although many booths had goggles, some of the most

striking were from Daylight Artworks.

  

Goggles from Daylight Artworks

 

The hats are usually decorated with gears, pins, or leather.

Wikipedia has a good introduction to steampunk fashion.

 

For men, vests are popular.

 

AJS vests

 

Several hatteries and goggle specialists are at the bazaar, including

the Magic Haberdasher and Subverse (from Santa Cruz).

  

Clothing is ususally adorned with jewelry or tech (or pseudo-tech) add-ons,

sometimes including steampunk weaponry.  And gears.  Lots of gears, copper,

and leather.

 

SDot Designs jewelry

 

I picked up a new pin for my hat.

 

Pin with gear and wing

 

Armament is important.

 

Armament and fascinator hats

 

Steampunk weapons, and ladies' fascinator hats (a tiny hat, usually worn at an angle on the head).

 

Even shoes are available at the bazaar, courtesy of AJS Costumes.

 

AJS shoes

 

Many of the dealers at the bazaar specialize in jewelry.  It's generally

handcrafted by the each artist/dealer.  Many will customize items upon request.

 

Most of the dealers, like most of the attendees, are in costume.

 

Shanti MacEwan (on right)

 

Shanti MacEwan (above) is the artist who created my goggles.  They're

available from Daylight Artworks and Gothlet, modelling hat, jewelry, and vest from Subverse.

 

Gothlet

 

Gothlet has a cat and hat tat!

 

Gothlet's cat tat

 

Some artists have tables at the bazaar, and create art during the convention,

like Karen Luk.

 

Karen Luk, artist

 

Perhaps the most unusual jewelry is the wooden artwork from Steamytech, a

Bay Area creator of steampunk art.  They have wooden Christmas ornaments,

pendants, and pins ... with moving wood gears.  Some jewelry includes 

illumination via LEDs.  Their laser engraved wooden business card cases

are conversation starters.  They also have kits, suitable for kids to

assemble.

 

SteamyTech wooden business card boxes

 

Wood shows up, too, in the functional wooden steampunk robots from Rasterstache Bots.

Each robot's chest opens up to reveal a storage area.  Each 'bot is signed,

numbered, and limited production.

  

Rasterstache wooden robot boxes

 

Perhaps the most unusual ... although, it's hard to even begin to say that

at a steampunk convention ... art in the dealer's room is the steampunk mouse tableaus from Le Heart

 

Little Red Robin Hood

 

While wandering through the convention, you may hear the call of

a telegraph delivery boy ... or, make that an aetheric message machine delivery boy.

Anyone can send any attendee an "aetheric message" for free.

 

Aetheric Message Machine

 

An art gallery exhibits some of the most amazing steampunk art, from paintings by

the artist Voit to a real, working steampunk PC by Chardifacts.

 

Steampunk computer

 

and a hand-crank animated butterfly terrarium

 

Clockwork animated butterflies

 

and some of Professor Tittiger's Fantabulous Contraptions:

 

Steampunk CD player

 

Professor Tittiger's Time Machine

 

Some art was functional, including the steampunk lamps from J.W. Kinsey, the

Maker Guest of Honor

 

Lamp by J.W. Kinsey

 

Entertainment includes belly dancing

 

Belly dancing

 

The convention has two musical guests of honor, "The Men That Will

Not Be Blamed For Nothing" and "The Cog is Dead", as well as a number

of other musical events, including the Emperor Norton's Ball.

 "The Cog is Dead", performed, and had a table with their CDs for sale.

 

Activities included panels, workshops, and dance lessons, a tea parlour,

author's salon, caravan tent (belly dancing), gaming, and a steampunk

film festival.

 

If you can't wait for next Memorial Day for a steampunk convention,

check out the activities of the Sacramento Steampunk Society,

or go to Gaslight Gathering 6 (October 7-9, 2016, in San Diego)!

 

 

All photos by Stan Sieler 

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