Help Get Steampunk on the Road!

My friend Professor Damotimus Tipotus (or ‘Damo’ for those short of breath or low on time) runs the Libratory in Oamaru. It’s a swell little spot, half laboratory, half library, and one hundred percent steampunky goodness.

Now Damo has a dream…a dream of a mobile libratory. Modelled on the interior of a submarine, the mobile libratory will head out from Oamaru, New Zealand, and take steampunk to the masses!

This will open up the exciting world of retro-futurism to schools, events, and those unable to travel to the bigger steampunk events. Prof. Damotimus will be getting folks involved in steampunk, and teaching people how to create their own steampunk masterpieces from recycled materials!

Your contribution can help make this fantastical voyage a reality!

Please visit the Steampunk on the Road Pledgeme page and donate what you can. Even a little bit will help!

Expidition Oamaru – Part two

Good evening comrades,

Having reviewed my logbook on this dark and dreary eve I return to inform and enlighten with my experiences during the expedition to Oamaru. The following establishments and events are but a small selection of what the steampunk city has to offer.

For those of an artistic persuasion I suggest a wander around the numerous galleries and artisan workshops of the historic precinct. Traverse the staircase inside the Woolstore to discover a replica Victorian street housing the Woolstore Galleries. Here, intrepid traveller, you will find the Libratory of Professor Damotimus Tipotus.

The Libratory exists in a reality not quite our own. Step inside and you will find yourself, not in the upper floor of the Woolstore, but in the cavelike yet cozy basement of a towering home. As New Zealand’s only steampunk art gallery the Libratory showcases an intriguing array of art, inventions and artifacts from numerous sources, including Rewound Romance and Dr Grordbort. Plus of course the inventions of Professor Damotimus himself.

Trove of steampunk treasures aside, the most impressive aspect of the Libratory is its construction. Movie set pillars, old pallets and a generous dose of the Prof’s secret paper mache paste come together to create an atmosphere that’s part Victorian library, part secret lair, and one hundred percent worth a visit. (Particularly noteworthy if you enjoy large firearms.)

After exploring the galleries I do believe it’s time for refreshments. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at two establishments in the historic precinct – The Victorian pub (the name of which currently eludes me, although I do remember it’s in the old whiskey distillery),  and The Star and Garter.

Our small party stopped by the whiskey distillery for a well deserved pint… or two… or possibly three. regardless it was the largest glass of cider I’ve ever had. Armed with a local cheese platter and a newspaper to peruse, the warm distillery was a welcoming place to defrost after the crisp cold Oamaru air. They were hosting a photographic exhibition in their cavernous function room, which merits a visit if                                                                           you’re in the area.

The Star and Garter is one of New Zealand’s oldest restaurants. This quaint eatery is a few streets over from the aforementioned pub, and was so good we dined there twice during our four day expedition!

The menu leans toward the traditional with a succulent roast each day, accompanied by seasonal vegetables and cheese sauce ( I mention this as I love cheese sauce, and you so rarely see it in restaurants). There’s also the ever present South island Blue Cod, or more ‘historical’ options such as lambs fry . Combined with cozy decor and huge meals  – $35 buys you a stomach straining three course meal – The Star and Garter shall certainly feature in any return to Oamaru.

Along with these fine establishments a stroll around the city will reveal  imposing Victorian architecture galore, and steampunk suprises besides. A dark engine from the centre of the earth rests outside The Steampunk HQ currently under construction. Sneak a peek through their hedge or over the fence to bring a whole secret garden of steampunk creations into view.

For now I bid you Adieu, do visit again soon.

Oh and please do let me know of any steampunk destinations you recommend, you can never have too many places to dream of….

Oamaru – New Zealand’s Steampunk Capital

Hello and good evening!

First and foremostly I must apologise for my recent absence from the technological world. I can assure you I am very much alive, and have not yet been devoured by a Kraken, Yeti or other creature of disputed existence. I have however been very busy preparing and embarking on an expedition to Oamaru – the Steampunk capital of New Zealand.

Located on the east coast of the stunning South island, the small town of Oamaru has proudly retained a historic precinct. The buildings on these streets hark from the 19th century and now contain a variety of arts, textiles and pubs  – providing the perfect backdrop for steampunk and historic recreation!

My travelling companions and I wandered the streets, enjoying the friendly atmosphere and fine cider. ( Due to aforementioned cider, and various other beverages, it was considered safest to avoid the penny farthings that can be rented from the local penny farthing racing team.) More of Oamaru’s Victorian wonders will be revealed as I review my logs over the next few days.

On Sunday July 5th my sister and I took part in the Steampunk Fashion Show, and attended the  Steampunk Ball that evening.  Taking place at the opulent Oamaru Opera House the fashion show was a great success, a relief after the hectic and somewhat disorganised rehearsals the day before.Showcasing the talents of around thirty contestants the event has doubled in size since its conception in 2010!

The ball was held at the Scottish Hall, and the number of steamily garbed attendees was a feast for the eyes, or goggles, as the case may be.

I shall supply photos from both events later in the week once the official photos are released. The Oamaru Mail and Neave Willoughby have some great photos available for you to ogle in the meantime!

Introducing Pockets McGee

Just a quick telegram tonight my dears,

Yesterday I promised you my initial concept drawing for ‘Pockets McGee‘, and I shall not disappoint.

This is the first character concept sketch, so she’ll have to mature a bit before I’m happy to let her loose on the world.  In my opinion Pockets shall be the perfect combination of cute and conniving!

I hope you enjoy the illustration, there shall be more as the character development progresses.

Cheerio for now!

Full Steam Ahead

Salutations on this (surprisingly) fine evening,

I am exceedingly excited about my next big project. A full steam, character driven costume!

The Oamaru Steampunk Fashion show and Steampunk Ball are taking place this June. You can see entries from last years show here, and register to enter here. With the illustrious Weta Workshop among the sponsors it’s sure to be a grand event.

I hope to enter the fashion show, with a costume I’ll be making for a character I’ve named ‘Pockets McGee’.

“Pockets was born into the aristocracy, spending her formative years in a life of luxury. Orphaned in her early teens ( her parents were lost in a tragic accident involving an airship and a kraken) things quickly turned sour.

Seduced by tall tales of foreign lands – and devoid of adult reasoning-  Pockets invested her large inheritance in expeditions to the orient, Egypt and countless other exotic lands. Discoveries were made and maps were drawn, but by the age of twenty she was bankrupt.

Refusing to give up her adventures, Pockets turned to thieving and piracy to fund her explorations. It seems she had a natural talent for safe cracking and general sneakiness. (Although that never stopped her from indulging in highway-man style hold ups). Never losing her aristocratic manner, Pockets used her charm and high heels to exit many an ugly situation , and when that didn’t work she used a very large gun.

Originally christened Augusta Ann McGee, Pockets was granted her current moniker by her fellow sneaks and thieves…obviously in reference to the many pockets in her garb reserved for the stashing of stolen goods.”

You’ll have to rely on your imaginations for the illustration tonight, I’ll scan the first character concept drawing and post it for you tomorrow!

* exits performing uber-excited gerbil dance*