My Steampunk leather vambrace project

If you’ve read my last post, you’ll know about my new obsession being leathercrafting. It all started with a need for affordable kit for LARPing when armour and essential accessories are so damn expensive. So, I decided to make my own.

After being pretty pleased with my armour and vambraces for Empire LARP and how well they stood up against an Orc onslaught, I thought I should try something to spruce up my Steampunk outfit for book signings etc.

Here’s the thing…I look an idiot in a hat. No hats for Craig! But no matter how fancy the pocketwatch or spiffy the penholder (which I made from some old test tubes a while back) my Steampunk gear was missing a little something.


For I have leathered me some Steampunkery!

Ignore that huge spilled dye puddle over there
Ignore that huge spilled dye puddle over there


Using a Steampunk watch bought by the missus, and a Victorian pen bought by my good friend and favourite shop girl, Fran Rockett, I bought some pinc nez glasses from eBay (only a tenner, so not too shabby) and some little glass bottles. Removing the strap from the watch, I just used the mechanism and put the whole thing together!

It probably took about four hours to make, I think, if we ignore the drying time after I wetformed it. And here it is with the rest of my Steampunk gear, ready for the Doncaster Cosplay Convention a few weeks back.

What do you reckon?
What do you reckon?

I feel like a proper Steampunk now!

And, since cosplayers, Steampunks and other geeks are generally the nicest people you could hope to meet, I got plenty of compliments and people asking where I’d bought it. That led to me wondering….could I make these things for other people more regularly? I don’t mean starting a bloody Etsy shop and charging through the roof for a stock item that a million other people have. No, I mean doing only bespoke items for people, to their own designs (or as close as I can make it), as one-off never to be repeated pieces.

To know that I was helping people to make their perfect item, and helping to maintain their individuality and that wow-factor of seeing things you’ve never seen before…that would be pretty rewarding work. Without mentioning it to any one else, I’ve already had three orders! Just randomly. I’ve already made a small vambrace for Jess, a girl I met at the Cosplay Convention who was going to her prom in Steampunk attire. How could I resist the call to assist a fellow Steampunk?

Here she is with her kit with the vambrace I made:

vambrace2 jess vambrace












That was the first time I’d used metallic dye, too, so it turned out ok, all things considered.

Here’s Fran Rockett wearing some cuffs I made, this time with a more LARP feel to them.

Fran pulls the "Ill never grow old" Peter Pan pose.
Fran pulls the “Ill never grow old” Peter Pan pose.

I don’t have any close -ups of these because I’m useless, but they were engraved with a shield and wings motif so that she could use them for her LARPing adventures. Man, that engraving is a pain in the posterior. I definitely need more practice.

So there you have it, folks, a little more leather obsession from me. I promise to talk about something authorly next time ;D


Thanks for reading.

Steampunk Doncaster: The Events


We had so much fun at the Steampunk Doncaster festival that the events need a post all of their own.

Let’s start with those closest to my heart, the author workshops. Jonathan Green, Rod Gilles, Nimue Brown and Meg Kingston ran some very interesting workshops over the weekend. From readings of their current works to discussions on Steampunk mechanics, I even dropped my own little workshop on creating characters with a Q & A, too. Everyone soaked them up! the reception and feedback was immense. Thank you, Authors, for doing that.

Then there were the competitions.

Nimue’s “Bad Poetry Workshop” was a great success with Frankie Currie winning a book of poetry and his certificate for “Worst Poet” even though his take on the Hmpty Dumpty myth was actually brilliant. A little lad (who’s name I never did get) also won himself a scarecrow for his piece on Slenderman which even managed to creep me out!

The raffle had a plethora of winners with chine teapots, books and other great prizes dished out.

But the most prestigious award of the weekend went to Ash Lithgow; a young man who’s Tea Duelling ¬†crushed his opponents to crumbs. For that Ash won a wonderful hand-made necklace which he gallantly gave to his girlfriend. Clearly a man of action and sensitivity, too. HUZZAH!

And then there was the Steampunk Writing Competition which was actually won by two people because I couldn’t bring myself to choose between their awesome stories. Lizanne Davies and Raife Keller-Cooper both received a copy of Paul Marlowe’s excellent short story collection Ether Frolics.

Three cheers for the champions!


Thanks for reading

Make ’em laugh


If you read my last post, you’ll know what I’m talking about here, so I’ll keep it short. The Steampunk Doncaster event has an indiegogo page which we’re hoping will help us to make the festival extra awesome in June this year. If you hit the hyperlinks above, you can see the campaign itself, so feel free to share or donate or scoff and look at something more interesting.


What you WILL be interested in seeing is the outtakes reel of me trying to make that damned video with the help of Toucan Media.!

It certainly had me rolling, watching myself make cock-up after cock-up. Take a look:

And if for some reason that video doesn’t work, you can Youtube it HERE.

Let me know what you think! And don’t forget to share ūüėÄ

Thank for reading.

Steampunk has eaten my life.

That’s right, it’s finally official. Just about every waking moment of my existence has become embroiled in some kind of cog-based awesomeness in one manner or another.

The Steampunk Doncaster festival continues to grow at an exponential rate (and there’s still room for more to get involved!), particularly my own section, the Litarium where we now have not only a stack of author signings and¬†workshops,¬†but graphic novelists, poets, competitions and the like going on. Brilliant!

We’ll also be shooting a video for a kickstarter campaign which might help us cover the costs of some of those brilliant things that’ll be going on. As¬†Steampunk Doncaster¬†is a non-profit kind of thing, we’ve begged and borrowed all we can so far, but to make it extra special I’m afraid cash is necessary; if only for posters, leaflets and to get our hands on some cool prizes for the competitions. So keep your fingers crossed, everyone,a nd I’ll post the vid as soon as it’s done.

Elsewhere, work on my next novel continues. The Adventures of Alan Shaw has almost had its first full edit and will soon be ready for consumption by Inspired Quill and a few trusted honest folk to let me know if it’s utter tosh or not.

And I’ve been making things again! As always, with festivals and the like coming up, I’ve been tinkering with some doodads for my outfit including some elbow pads (I’ve torn too many shirts falling off my velocipede) and a sidearm just in case things¬†get a little bit hairy…

For that Jaberwock that just won't stay down...
For that Jaberwock that just won’t stay down…
In progress. Lots of glue going on here.
In progress. Lots of glue going on here.
Nearly done. Just a few touchups to do.
Nearly done. Just a few touchups to do.

I’ll show you the final result sometime later in the week, I hope. Any ideas on improvements that you gusy might have are more than welcome ūüėÄ

I’m also gearing up (hardy har) for my appearance at the Doncaster Turn The Page literary festival next week where I’ll be expected to string together coherent sentences for a whole hour infront of a crowd. Trying to¬†figure out what people will be interested in hearing about from a little squib like me is baffling and I’ve had to turn to Twitter for suggestions. But not much has been forthcoming. Again, any suggestions are welcome! Otherwise¬†the festival¬†may be the last place I’m ever seen alive.

But that’s about all for now. Not a long post, but a succinct one, I’m sure you’ll agree. See you all soon!

Thanks for reading.

Guest Post – Steam Retro

Steam Retro have been making jewellery and other bits and pieces (for both the Gothic and Steampunk markets)¬†for a while now, selling locally in Spain at craft fairs and markets, and starting up their webpage¬†But they hail from far chillier climes. In fact, right around the corner from me in Yorkshire! Since they’ll be attending the Steampunk Doncaster event in June, I thought it only right that you all get acquainted. So here they are. Steam Retro in their own words:

“Growing¬† up in Yorkshire in the 80s it was difficult not to be a goth! Now we have more¬† fun in the world of Steampunk. As you know, we’re going to¬†Steampunk Doncaster¬†for our¬† first overseas adventure [and to try the beer!]. We’ve been trading on ETSY for 3¬† months, and after a slow start its now going really well, and we are learning/improving as we go along!”

Check out their first eBay listing:
You can also find them on Twitter at @SteamRetro. Check them out!
Thanks for reading.