Steampunk-A gaslamp fantasy made real


Steampunk-A gaslamp fantasy made real

Members: 52
Latest Activity: Aug 29, 2012

Every journey has a first step.

Artist bio –Tim Nelson


I am a New Orleans based metalsmith with a BFA from the University of Kansas. I am a member of SNAG, Crafthaus, and the New Orleans Arts Council with work currently on display at the Highwater Gallery in Uptown New Orleans. I work at Symmetry Jewelers in uptown New Orleans, doing logistics, customer service and CAD jewelery design. I draw a lot of inspiration for my work from modern technology and from the Victorian aesthetic of highly embellished personal adornment. I work from my home studio behind my house in the Broadmoor neighborhood of New Orleans where I live with my girlfriend, a cat, two dogs and an abundance of local lizards and birds. I enjoy living in a city that is so old and full of character and culture. I love the outdoors and cherish natural sanctuaries like the wetlands and Bayou that surround the city. I work almost exclusively in Brass, Copper, and Sterling Silver, but I also excel at incorporating found objects into my work. I have had a lifelong affinity for clockworks and engines. I know little of how they work, but I marvel at the precision that is required to make them function flawlessly.  I strive to achieve that level of precision in the pieces I make. My goal as an artist is to make work that is beautiful as well as entertaining. I want patrons of my work to feel that they not only have a fine piece of jewelry or sculpture, but also a fun story to tell or treasure to brag about at their next party. I love people. Not only for the unbelievable amount of diversity that one species has attained but for the sheer potential that exists in the human spirit. There is nothing that we as a people cannot overcome when we work together, and it seems to me that things only go wrong when we forget that.


 My work centers around the Steampunk aesthetic. Steampunk is a genre of Science Fiction that envisions a world in which steam power remained the dominant form of energy in the world throughout the Victorian era of British history corresponding with the rise of the Wild West Era of United States history and crossing into the 20th century and beyond. All modern technology and all technology in the future is somehow linked to steam power. Likewises elements from the mid to late 1800's have spread throughout every element of culture: Literature, Music, Art (of all mediums), Fashion and so on.

    Whenever I begin to make something,I try to think about what I would like to see happen in a world I don’t live in. Our world as we perceive it is common place. Most people take little time to appreciate the simple appeal of objects in their lives. Most of the technology that we have grown up with has become so comfortable in our hands that we stop appreciating the character of the item. Technology is our greatest strength and our Achilles heel. We quickly and easily adopt new technologies however we often choose to focus on superficial technology like music players or cell phones. These devices evolve at a much quicker pace than advances in genetic research or nuclear energy. It’s those kinds of interactions that make launch pads for pieces of work. I like to make objects that are entertaining to the inner child while still being based in the adult world, Objects that could exist now or could never exist anywhere. Above all I try to create pieces that form an intimate connection with human beings. Since we are the object makers and we are the dreamers of dreams, anything that I make should benefit humans in some conceptual way. We define our reality and we define our fantasy, I like to blur the line and see what comes out. This allows me to enjoy not only the finished product but the entire process from start to finish



I am a self styled Steampunk. The beauty of Steampunk design is that all practitioners are self styled. It allows people an avenue to express themselves directly. With Wardrobe, accessory and gadgetry choices, a person quite literally builds their persona. In a much more literal form than most other genres of design which will be elaborated on in great detail throughout my time here. Stay tuned true believers and new comers alike, for more tales of the amazing steampunks!

Discussion Forum

Steampunk Quartermaster....

Started by Timothy Jay Nelson May 25, 2012. 0 Replies

One universal aspect of the Steampunk genre is the ownership and embellishment of equipment and more specifically a primary weapon. This weapon can range from a sword to a pistol, long rifle, battleaxe or any combination of ranged and melee weapons to further develop the character that each person takes on.  Not only are the weapons chosen based on innate appeal but are then further embellished by the owner to suit their own style.  …Continue

Airships! Full steam ahead and steady as she goes!

Started by Timothy Jay Nelson Apr 17, 2012. 0 Replies

A staple of the steampunk universe is the Airship. Dirigibles as they are commonly called (from the French (diriger to direct plus -ible), meaning "directable" or steerable) are blimps with open ship-like bases or enclosed Gondolas to hold passengers and/or cargo, and are directed by rudders and propellers, jet engines or even…Continue

Steampunk | Off Book | PBS

Started by Brigitte Martin Mar 7, 2012. 0 Replies

Steampunk art evokes an alternate reality where steam is the primary source of power. Technology, though highly advanced, has taken on a very different look and feel, and fashion is heavily influenced by Victorian styles. In this episode, we explore the Steampunk aesthetic and art movement. We speak with a Steampunk artist, a composer who created an entire piece of music inspired by Steampunk, and a performing arts collective whose work falls naturally into this intriguing world.…Continue

Tags: victorian, performing, art, Books, Off

MY little ponies

Started by Timothy Jay Nelson. Last reply by The Justified Sinner Mar 6, 2012. 1 Reply

As an artist, I try to always maintain the element of fun that drew me to metalwork and Steampunk metalwork specifically. In that spirit I began work on a series of Pop Art sculptures centering around an iconic image from my childhood. As a child of the 80’s and the cousin, sibling and friend of many girls; I have many memories of being forced to play ponies with my various family members. Not exactly the favorite game for me when I was younger but a vivid memory nonetheless. I have been…Continue

Steampunk fashionistas!

Started by Timothy Jay Nelson. Last reply by Timothy Jay Nelson Feb 16, 2012. 4 Replies

Steampunk fashionistas!Fashion plays a huge role in the steampunk world. More than any other art form is used to express the personality of the practitioner. This aspect of the genre offers the most freedom for personal expression. Ranging from conservative, traditional Victorian style attire to full blown Sci Fi human augmentation. The body quite literally becomes the canvas and people build or sculpt a persona.…Continue

The Personal Reactor...

Started by Timothy Jay Nelson. Last reply by marcus marguillier Feb 7, 2012. 3 Replies

This is the piece that started it all! The origins of Reaction Designs and my love of Steampunk metalwork. This is an entirely hand fabricated personal nuclear reactor! This piece was designed as the endgame for all steampunk technology. As you may know nuclear power is made by creating enormous amounts of heat through fusion or fission which then generates steam and the steam powers turbines to create energy. My thought was: "if only that could be harnessed to power a human being! Are you sick…Continue

Tags: Pendant, sculpture, Steampunk, LED, glass

Comment Wall


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Comment by Brigitte Martin on March 14, 2012 at 9:22am
Grab your Goggles
It's full Steampunk Ahead!


It's full Steampunk ahead at the 11th annual Craftboston Spring exhibition and sale of contemporary art, craft and design. This year, Craftboston will have a special Steampunk focus. "What the heck is steampunk?" you ask. Good question! Loosely defined, steampunk is an aesthetic created by blending Victorian- era culture and modern technological advances, incorporating elements of science fiction and/or fantasy.  


For a better explanation than we can give, Modvic's Bruce Rosenbaum will be giving a "Living Steampunk" lecture on both Saturday and Sunday.   "Steampunk Sunday" will also include demonstrations to teach you "How to steampunk your bicycle", "How to steampunk your clock" and much more! Additionally, wear your best Steampunk outfit for a $5 discount (can not be combined with any other discount) at the door.

So grab your brass compass, pop in your monocle and navigate your way to the Seaport to see some re-imagined craft! Make sure to click here for a complete list of lectures and demonstrations throughout the weekend.


Image: ModVic's Full Head of Steampunk, Craftboston Spring mixed media

Comment by Timothy Jay Nelson on February 2, 2012 at 5:37pm

I'm so glad to see the outpouring of interest in my work and this genre! If you have any specific aspects of the aesthetic that you want to explore in greater depth please let me know. I am compliing images and sources to begin discussing the fashion of steampunk and how art and art jewelry fits into that. Especially with regards to art, the steampunk fashion is a living, breathing entity!


Comment by The Justified Sinner on January 30, 2012 at 2:21am

Steampunk has so many detractors but to my mind, it is one of the most creative movements in a very long time. I've dabbled - I suppose my "Supercollider" piece has SP elements - but I defer to the masters for the superlative work. Does anyone know the work of Eric Freitas?


Would be great to have him on Crafthaus.

Comment by Ann Davis on January 29, 2012 at 11:52pm

The whole idea if steam running our planet is a very mesmerizing one.  By the time I was born we already had submarines (Verne) and hot air baloons(Vern)  and a few years later Sputnik was launched (Verne) on the moon(Verne)It's like he was a profit, or perhaps a time traveler:)) HP Lovecraft, well, that was a more disturbing future, or perhaps present, fascinating. But lets not forget HG Wells!! The Time Machine was seminal for me thinking about the possibility of science. Profits dream, man creates.

I find your work to be fascinating...The pure essence of Science Fiction prophecy! Looking at your work, the mind can go in flights of stuff:))

Comment by John Harris on January 29, 2012 at 5:55pm

Timothy: Your work is beautiful! It's impressive to see not only a control over the metal, but over the electronics. I myself have struggled with that for years, but it can be very enjoyable and rewarding. Have you ever tried using solar panels before? It's definitely a worthwhile venture. It's also nice to see a fellow Steampunk artist that does not just glew clock parts together and sell it on Etsy :-p

Comment by Kevin Murray on January 27, 2012 at 2:16am

Yes, Steampunk certainly does seem to have a different attitude to technology. But perhaps that is the nature of any contemporary craft movement, that it looks back to the preceding era, whether that's the cottage weavers in the industrial age, or the mechanical world in the digital age. 

Comment by Timothy Jay Nelson on January 25, 2012 at 7:32pm

       A fair comparison to make, a powerful resurgence towards the handmade and well crafted in rejection of the culture of the mass produced. You could even go as far as to say that Jules Verne or perhaps H.P. lovecraft are the William Morris or the Charles Voysey of the Steampunk movement.

       I believe it to be more accurate to say that Steampunk embraces technology whereas the Arts and crafts movement tended to be a rejection of technology. Things were made the good, old fashioned way instead of allowing a machine to do it for you. Either through economic necessity or simple preference. In Steampunk we use the good, old fashioned way to make technology! Not a far step to take but an important distinction I feel when talking about the Steampunk aesthetic. Items are made to serve function, (fictional or otherwise) and they are built not only by hand but to the unique style of the person building it. Every person embraces the power of their own two hands to build whatever they happen to need. Whether it's simply a desk to sit at or a steam powered automaton to carry them around! Obviously leaning to the science fiction aspect of the genre but this illustrates the vast range of the aesthetic. It can effect every aspect of our culture. Which only works to our benefit since throughout our history, Science Fiction inspires and eventually becomes Science Fact. We see no reason why technology can't be personal, individual, handmade and beautiful.

Comment by Kevin Murray on January 24, 2012 at 5:26pm

It's great to read Steampunk expressed so passionately. You make it seem much more than a fashion. We've been talking about the historical comparison between Steampunk and the Arts & Crafts Movement at Your response would be most welcome.


Members (50)


A modern metalsmith/metal artist can be found working in traditional metals as well as in nontraditional materials. The designs can range from the classic to the extravagant, and the techniques can either be centuries old or decidedly current.

The wide range of expression preferences, design options, materials, and processes has lead within our field to unfavorable misconceptions, misunderstandings and in some cases even outright disdain between artists. Can the metal and jewelry field overcome its division and send out a much-needed signal?

We appreciate and respect our historical past and acknowledge that current materials have a rightful place in jewelry/object making!

Arriving at this message is the goal of this traveling exhibition opening at the SNAG conference in Boston 2015, Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, CA - Aug 19 - Sept 20, 2015, Equinox Gallery, San Antonio, TX - Oct 16 - Nov 15, 2015, Baltimore Jewelry Center, Baltimore, MD - Dec 11, 2015 - Jan 08, 2016, Brooklyn Metal Works, Brooklyn, NY - Feb 5 - Mar 4, 2016, Thomas Mann's Gallery I/O April 1 - June 25, 2016.

DETAILS on exhibition premise, call for artists, submission guidelines.....


Rachel and Brigitte got started on their own cooperation. Follow along and comment.

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Instill - Material Matters 2014 - The School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University, UK

INSTILL- material matters offers an opportunity to experience the recent works by MA postgraduates from The School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University, one of the most important and internationally renowned contemporary jewelry programs in Europe.

Crafthaus has been privileged to show work from the graduating jewelry classes of the Birmingham City University for the past 5 years in a row. Thank you Professor Astfalck for this wonderful opportunity!


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