A few weeks back, I wrote an article on why the handmade aspect of Steampunk is so important to keeping the movement for ourselves, rather than the corporations. As every corporation’s end concern is their profit margins, they have a vested interest in the production of cheap goods to sell at high prices to a growing Steampunk subculture. It is a real threat to Steampunk as an organic movement. For a concrete example, please click here for my post on the theft of an artist’s original designs by Hot Topic.
And so you all don’t think I’m just one crazy Steampunk yelling out into the void of the internet insisting that his is how Steampunk should be done, I’d like to bring your attention to two other articles that do a great job of backing up and expounding upon my case.
Captain Robert of Abney Park recently published a post to his blog entitled, “Made By Makers – Save the World, Kill The Corporations.” In it, he talks about the band’s unique model of production. All of their goods, from their music to merchandise is produced by independent artists. This is one of my favorite examples of an incredibly Steampunk group that has made the conscious decision to go solely independent in their production, and has still enjoyed immense success in the Steampunk community. And, as an important aside, it is so evident upon meeting the members of Abney Park and experiencing their shows live, that are doing something that they genuinely love.
Why is this important? Why should you concern yourself with how things are made as long as you get the things you want? Captain Robert points out that when you buy from independent artists, you are allowing an artist to live their dreams. Rather than pouring your money into corporations that care nothing for your movement, the case for supporting the independent artist is a easy one to make.
The second article I would like to draw your attention to is one entitled, Making A Living in MakerCulture from The Tyee. This article covers the next question that invariably creeps into one’s mind when admiring the Do It Yourself lifestyle, “Wow, that’s neat, but I can’t do that! I have bills to pay!” Turns out independent artists also have bills to pay, but are able to make a living by producing their own goods and this article highlights a number of artists, including a Steampunk, who are taking control of their production. There’s also a sidebar on the right-hand side with lots of clicky-links that can redirect you to tons of DIY resources.
If you are in love with the concept of the maker culture, you’ll adore The Tyee’s Maker Culture Series, a compendium of DIY articles that can serve to enlighten and educate.
So, DIY and handmade is really important to Steampunk. It’s about keeping Steampunk for the Steampunks, supporting artists and their dreams, and taking more control of your life and work. It’s not easy or for the faint of heart, but the rewards are great.