So, when I entered the Public Library, I saw them- Crafting Books. NEW ones.
I had barely even glanced at the cover of "Steampunk Chic- vintage flair from recycled finds" by Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil, when I realized right off, it was going to be a How NOT to make things you WANT to call Steampunk, but are not at ALL Steampunk, thankyouverymuch, kind of book... However, it did have a lot of 'how to assemble this part to that part, using this or that product' stuff included, so I wanted to have a good read.
Notice I said 'wanted to'.
I had a read, but I would not call it a 'good read'.
Mostly I turned pages, read, groaned, read more, ranted quietly, read more, wanted to rant loudly, and then continued this trend untill I wanted to come running over here at 6am in the morning, just to warn you NOT to read this book for advice on 'steampunk' anything, much less 'steampunk chic'...
For one, the advice on use of which products to attach one thing to another is sometimes outright false- they have clearly been PAID to say a product is good for a set use when I have experienced otherwise- and a quick googling online shows I am NOT alone. So. Advice? Not really very useful when it comes to assembly. No. Not at all.
I could write PAGES and PAGES on the display of NOT STEAMPUNK in this book- but we all know that the moment you see the book- because on the front cover is an abomination of the most horrible kind: An unpainted wooden birdhouse with random STUFF glued to it.
So apparently they think that if you take a locking washer (which KIND of looks like a gear) and you glue it to something, then you glue a rhinestone to the center of it, it makes the item STEAMPUNK. (and chic!)
They also seem to feel that keys of any sort (like oh, the one that used to turn on computers, or work in the 'luggage locks' you find at flea markets) can be hung from a string of beads and ribbon and automatically make anything they're tied to, 'Steampunk'.
There seems to be a solid belief there, that if wire, beads, ribbon, and something they found somewhere else all come together, this makes it 'vintage' too. (surprise! Vintage has to do with age or the APPEARANCE of age... not random stuff we all find in our couch cushions during the weekly cleaning...)
One picture teased, showing among the supplies, some old TV vacuum tubes. OH, I thought, THERE we go...
Alas, they strung them with ribbon and wire, like beads, along with random modern cut-keys, and bicone glass beads... *sigh*
Vacuum tubes go IN things...or ON things... you know, like working parts of some curious machine brought across from the other side of the seas? Or wired together with fabric-covered or wire-coil lines, as if they conspire to conjure up ghostly voices from inside the strangely marked boxes you should mount them on.
Please don't bead and ribbon them and hang them from a cheap IKEA chandelier. Please? Everytime someone does that, A Steampunk Author chokes on his or her own spit, and dies.
They have a lovely new thought on vintage watches tho- you cut/bend off the case, and just glue the whole chunk of whatever is inside, onto something. For that "ultimate steampunk look!"... They DO mention you COULD also open the interior case and get some of the gears out and use them, but using the whole chunk-of-whatever thing, they express, is much easier and 'better'...
Not so much, actually. The insides of a watch are pretty boring if you just unscrew the back and pop it out whole. Half the the POINT of Steampunk crafts using watch parts, are to bring that sense of something clockworkish or arcane... not just a block of metal with a few screws in it, and a single edge of a tiny gear barely peeking out of a modern clockface and hidden insides... it's the INSIDES, ladies, that make Steampunk CLICK... and I don't think a broken watch looks "Chic" under any circumstances.
Maybe it's just me, but this book actually raised my blood pressure, and made me want to strangle someone.
Mostly the Authors.
But then again, they DID list in the back where they find things when they 'can't get to the flea market'... does it surprise you that includes ALL the things they showed? Not some, but ALL?
I smell some big marketing monkey and NO Steampunk.
It's sad... so sad... Alas, this is NOT a favourite book, and I really cannot reccomend it to anyone.
Unless you're drunk and in need of a good laugh, perhaps- forgive me O'Neil sisters... but this is not going to be a useful part of anyone's library for anything more than getting the fire started so they can work on something that is REALLY steampunk. ...and possibly chic.