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Steampunk Exhibition at Bradford Industrial Museum, Steampunk Chessboard and webshop wound up.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2011 by Clockwork Zeppelin

So the good burghers of the Bradford Industrial Museum sent me some flyers to distribute around the place to promote the Steampunk exhibiotion this winter.  Can you spot Chris Naylor and Emma Brackenbury? (Check out Emma’s fantastic work here

As you can see from the gallery above, I’m fairly well on with the chessboard but had to compromise a little bit.  After all the fuss of using the Copper Nitrate to verdigris the brass, it kept flaking off, even when I lacquered it into place.  Also the differentiation between the polished brass and the verdigris was just not dramatic enough under halogen so I swapped over to using green Hammerite paint instead.  I still don’t understand how you can paint this stuff on smooth and have it then dry with it’s dimpled, beaten effect.

I will have it finished by December 10th which is the start date of the exhibition and they have kindly allowed me to sell me baubles in their gift shop for the duration of the exhibition.  I put my expenses so far at about £350 for the completed chessboard but it will remain my property for future use or sale. Steampunk is still a cheaper hobby than say…Formula 1 or owning a racehorse.

You might have noticed that we have closed the webshop.  I think it is fair to say that it is not the easiest way to sell jewellery, no matter how good the website.  My business partner happens to work for the company that provides e-shop solutions so we were able to get the website for nothing….the option we had would have cost £90 a month so for the year that we operated it, the costs would have exceeded the £1000 mark.

So, how did I do on the website?  I sold 4 items grossing less than £100.  People on Etsy can do better because there is a hardcore collection of Steampunks on there who are the core market.  Even the most talented jewellery maker I know has only sold 44 items in 3 years.

Craft fairs are a much better bet, I think jewellery is an impulse buy for so many women and so you have to be there in front of them but not leaning over them while they choose something.  This is the main reason why I had the range of Colonel Fizziwiggs Steampunk blasters at Whitby to distract the blokes from dragging his missus away from the shiny stuff.

Paypal has also been a fantastic tool for small craft fairs, particularly where there is no cashpoint nearby.  The customer can log on using my iPad and transfer the cash across there and then, you can also agree who pays the fee.  If you are in the crafty business, make sure you offer this option, so you need either an iphone or an Android phone and the app is free.  I do roughly 10% – 20% of my sales this way.

Whitby was great fun this year but having the event split into two separate weekends was a real pain in the arse.  Although I took about 40% more cash than last year, you still have two lots of stall fees and be available for 6 days instead of 3 so it balanced out really.  Here are some of the photos:





Steampunk Chessboard and Clockwork Zeppelin products in Vamps of York

Posted in Uncategorized on August 4, 2011 by Clockwork Zeppelin

Did a bit more on the chessboard today and ended up stripping off all the original verdigris off with a brass brush on my Dremel.  The original heat resistant lacquer didn’t burn but did char when I started soldering the pipe on with the blowtorch.  I stripped it all off, did the soldering then had to use the copper nitrate solution again then seal it in with the lacquer.  Long winded and time consuming but I’ve got a fairly efficient process going on now and we are about a third made on the chessboard.

I say we because Mr. Eric Winter is assisting again as the base of the chessboard is wood and everybody knows that Runcible-Sterling doesn’t do wood.

I popped down to Vamps of York today – our local Goth shop.  After a decent chat with Dave, the owner, we are now expecting Clockwork Zeppelin jewellery to have it’s own display case in the shop pretty soon – indeed I dropped off all my unsold stock with him so expect to see that in there soon.

New project – Steampunk Chess Set and Clockwork Zeppelin at DV8, York 23/7/2011

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2011 by Clockwork Zeppelin

I’m working on a new project, inspired by the finished set you can see in this photo (thats on Etsy for $7000!)

I’m going to adapt the ‘Stepped’ effect using brass squares, 3in by 3in on a side with polished brass for the white squares and a Verdigris brass effect for the black squares.  I bought a pattination fluid (designed to make your brass/bronze garden ornaments go green).  I was annoyed to find that it is just neat copper nitrate solution – copper sulphate would work just as well and I’ve got loads of that from my electrolytic brass etching projects.

So i just gave them a soak in the solution for an hour, left them to dry without rinsing them and then laid them out overnight for the Verdigris process to work.

I need to solder copper pipes to the bottom of every square but I also need to seal in the pattination otherwise it just flakes off. I managed to find some heat resistant lacquer from a car parts shop, meant to coat engine bays in performance cars so that did nicely to make a permanent effect of the verdigris and allows me to use a gas torch to solder the pipes onto each square (not started that yet) without the lacquer melting.

So you get the general idea, the whole board is 2ftx2ft so very oversized and each individual square will be elevated, level on its post but at a different height to it’s neighbours and hopefully forming a gradual slope up to the corners.

This is a prototype of one of the white pawns, using an antique radio valve as I’ve got loads of them.  They are supposed to be dirigibles.  The coil of copper at the base will be neater, and will also be embedded in resin to make a nice regular base for these.

These will be the black pawns – a lovely glass doorknob, with added chain detail that needs a bit of tidying up.  They will sit on a base of air dried clay, painted and varnished to look similar to the original Montgolfier brothers balloon I think.

So its kind of a Dirigibles vs. Balloons theme.  The rest of the pieces are likely to be made of clay and will represent genres and themes within Steampunk but it’s really, really tempting to make the characters people I know from the scene – Major Tinker as the King perhaps??  Dr. Geof as a bishop???.

Once I’ve finished the board, I will move on to them.

DV8 takes place this weekend in York, I will be trading in the market in the Park Inn Radisson hotel on Saturday 23/7/2011.  The usual collection will be on show though I have acquired some of the Colonel Fizziwig resin blasters that appeal to the LARP crowd who are always likely to turn up.  They are priced quite competitively.  I know it evades my handmade ethos but to be honest, I need to have something for the lads while Madame browses my wares.

More on the chessboard as it evolves


Clockwork Zeppelin at the York Steampunk Spectacular

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2011 by Clockwork Zeppelin

A rather quiet Whitby took place earlier this month, but still was good fun for all those who attended.  Many of the present day difficulties faced by traders and punters alike is the recent division between the events, amounting to 4 events a year instead of two.  Some of the original synergy has been lost and I feel many punters stayed away altogether.  Most traders cant afford the time to attend both events and I felt compelled to choose a side of the divide to trade at without really knowing either of the promoters or the specific issues resulting in the split.

That being said, thanks again to the stoic Whitby crowd and the glorious individualism shown yet again in the fantastic range of costuming and general sense of fun.

So..our next event is taking place in our home town of York.

The DV8 festival is in its 3rd year and is one of the finest alternative music festivals in the UK.  usic and events will be taking place throughout the daytime and evenings of the city on 21st – 24th July 2011.

Saturday 23rd July is the Steampunk Spectacular within the festival and will take place in and around ‘Stereo’, one of York’s finest alternative music venues.  We will be trading alongside Dr. Geof the First Tea Company.

Clockwork Zeppelin will be bringing along our patented ‘Cameotogram’ studio (see earlier posts  around Maker Faire) and as usual thrusting our usual mixed bag of ephemera and baublery on the unsuspecting public.

We may have a large collection of scale model live steam engines provided by one Baron Von. Dawson of Flugloft Holgate – yet to be confirmed.

Many more traders expected in addition.

More news on the run up to the event and dont forget to browse our (mostly) fully functional web shop

Runcible Sterling

Maker Faire and the Road to Whitby

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2011 by Clockwork Zeppelin

Bit of a long break, thank you for staying with me!

Maker Faire went down really well, there was always a little bit of anxiety at the back of my mind that this crowd were non-Goth orientated and so might be a bit ambivalent to what we were doing.  The reality was quite the opposite!

Some of the other exhibitors looked like they needed to get a bit of daylight now and again and seemed to live on geek food – that is pizza and pringles.  Madame rightly pointed out that you were never far from a fart.

We had lots of traffic through the cameotagram studio, the high point was pushing a dalek into it and doing it’s cameo photo – very funny indeed.  A few early printer problems but we managed to get through them.  The guy who had his photo taken with a pipe and flat cap was definitely one of the best ones we did.

The finished jewellery did well as always, lots of great feedback from ordinary people which shows Clockwork Zeppelin doessn’t have to suffer for its art, nor limit itself to Goth / Steampunk events.

The jewellery workshop was quite difficult – a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  I didn’t account for the noise factor at the show – such a racket from the singing Tesla coils that I could barely hear myself shout over them.  A lot of people didn’t want to sit down for 30 minutes to make something, perhaps that’s indicative of how things are these days.  I made the mistake of trying to run things on an ad-hoc basis – i.e just do the workshop whenever they turned up.  I found this difficult to manage but you don’t know that until you try it.

I changed tack a bit on the Sunday and invited people to make some other stuff – necklaces etc, since I brought virtually all of my raw materials with me.  This was fairly successful except for the lady that kept changing her mind after I had cut the chain and drilled the pieces rendering them useless and worthless for future projects!    In future, I think I will have timed workshops and try a variety of different things – i.e earrings 1000hrs, necklaces at noon, bracelets at 1400 and so on.

We are already thinking about 2012 and Baron Von-Eidelweiss is planning an airship simulator….

Whitby Alt Festival happens this weekend and I am ready to go.  It’s been a bit hard doing two big shows in very quick succession – mostly because making things can take up quite a bit of time but I should have enough to give a good account of myself.

Many thanks to Major Tinker and Lady Elsie for the opportunity to trade and if you can get there this weekend, you will find me in the Whitby and District Rifle Club on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

By Brougham to Maker Faire and Webshop coming this week

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2011 by Clockwork Zeppelin

The finest clackers in North Yorkshire have toiled day and night to produce a Kinotropic shop front to sell fine Clockwork Zeppelin products.

Expect to see a shop portal in a few days where this blog used to be…however, fear not!  Those of you who do read this from time to time, will still be able to enjoy my sporadic output by clicking on the ‘Blog’ button on the webshop homepage (its in the Zeppelin, left hand side!).

Wish me luck, my folly awaits!!




Cannon Steamos 8.2 Megapistons

Posted in Uncategorized on March 8, 2011 by Clockwork Zeppelin

The Sky Marshall has been busy in his Ripon Brassworks.

The manufacture of Magic Lantern Portraiture should not be undertaken without the appropriate equipment.  Using cutting edge technology and some MDF, he has invented the tool for this weekend’s Newcastle Campaign.

The gentlemen of the Royal Society may scoff and guffaw, however the proof is every inch in the pudding.

He has named this process as ‘The Cameotogram’.

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