Friday, May 9, 2008

On "The lost NY Times Steampunk Feature"

So many months ago, I was interviewed for a New York Times article on Steampunk in domestic life. After the interview, I never heard another word, and assumed the article was killed. (Crushing my "best Christmas letter update ever" dreams, oh well.)

The reporter, however, thought that the article deserved more attention, so he's put it online (and sent Boing Boing a link, if not me). Boing Boing's pull quotes on it are all about me (a bit disconcerting, since the article mentions a number of other people).

I'll let you read the entire article yourself, but here's the bit about me:

Sara Brumfield, a software designer in Austin, Tex., agrees. “The Victorian home was a haven away from all the industrial changes. So machines would be invited into your home instead of just invading your home,” she explains, before admitting, “Look, I work with software all day. So much of the technology we have is not perfect at all; it’s just good enough to work. So we should stop worshipping it.”

She keeps her home steampunk and heavy on antique styling. Her website, The Steampunk Home, recently gushed over the analog dials on Kenmore’s new PRO Series refrigerators.

Her living room features a chemical flask as a vase, a brass steamship clock (a wedding gift), a three-foot-tall 1930s-era radio she found at a garage sale, an ornate brass lamp with red glass she bought at a bazaar in Istanbul, thick red velvet curtains, dark wood flooring, a dulcimer handmade by her husband’s grandfather and distressed Victorian floorlamps with frosted bowls. For a few dollars a pound, she scrounged a salvage yard for a sack of gears that she is using to replace the knobs on her bedside tables. Her bed itself is lit with a brass swing-arm lamp she bought at a thrift store for $10. Her pride and joy is a self-made sun jar in her kitchen, a shredded $6 solar light she put in a frosted hermetic jar to use as a nightlight (it charges during the day and glows at night).

And there’s a more important reason Ms. Brumfield, 32, is a steampunk fan: her 2-year-old daughter, Josie. “I’m a geek. I’m a mechanic’s daughter,” says the mother. “But, if I want to raise a young engineer, how is she going to learn how things work if they’re all wrapped up in plastic casing?”

The article is pretty spot on, but lest you think I'm a bit too into the idea of steampunk as a subculture -- and as the regular readers of this blog know -- I'm just someone who really likes the Steampunk aesthetic and enjoys finding and sharing projects and ideas with others who do as well.


Anonymous said...

Very cool! Congratulations! I'm always happy to see a new TSH post, but imagine my delight today when there were three! I love the birdhouses. My husband rescued an old gas lamp from a place he worked at and we're going to paint it and put a solar lamp in it and put it in our backyard. Plus, we found this awesome old brass core sample thing we have no idea what we're going to do with, but it's almost 5' tall. Yes! Garden projects. The steampunk backyard is not dead yet.

Art Donovan said...

Sara, I am thrilled to see this article!

It far outshines the recent NY Times article and I am so glad we all had the opportunity to read it.

What a wonderful way to start the weekend!

Kaja Foglio said...

Hooray! That's really nice!
I'm always looking forward to your next post.


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