Last year while on the Great Steampunk Debate, I discovered that there are four main streams of steampunk; literary, maker, political, and cosplay. I also discovered that among those who love steampunk the most are those who have declared it dead. I almost think this is a fifth stream of steampunk, the disaffected lovers. I have stayed in touch with only three people on the board. Two of them were among the biggest rabble rousers on the board.
This weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting one of them. I had a half-hour before heading to the airport to meet Waterbug and see his
steampunk steam trunk/craftsman home, Feydeau. I took an hour and a half (and made my flight with 5 minutes to spare).
Feydeau is a mid-forties subdivision home in central Phoenix, Az. The neighborhood seems neither to rich or to poor. It is full of culture, including an little independent coffee shop in an old gas station, several thrift shops, and an antique car museum. From the outside, you would never expect the treat you see on entering. You can see a tour at his site, which is beautiful, but doesn't do the house justice. Please take a look. Dwell on his closet, the bathroom, and the secret passage (the release mechanism is made from old typewriter parts).
I could have stayed all day, looking at little details, and talking to Waterbug about craftsmanship, annealing copper, the evolution of the typewriter, the Arts and Crafts movement, and a hundred other topics. He is neither confined by modernity, nor slavish recreate past forms. Instead, he has synthesized them in the best realization I have seen of a steampunk maker. Just don't call him a steampunk, or a maker. Most of his materials are garnered on Craigslist and repurposed. The craftsmanship is supurb. The whimsy replete. The inspiration clear.