As a sci-fi fan and Civil War reenactor, Chris Ahrendt started making his own costumes. Then, his son introduced him to the world of steampunk. This opened the doors for a new direction of creativity, allowing Chris to produce a new genre of artwork consisting of gizmos, gadgets and cosplay. See how Chris keeps the steampunk culture alive by connecting with the community on Pinterest, while using Pins to find inspiration for his next design.
Hi Chris, can you give us a quick background on yourself and how you got into steampunk?
I started off doing Civil War (and other era) reenacting. Some of the time-periods I participate in need to have items custom made, so the choices were to either make it myself or find someone to custom make it for you.
I had been reading sci-fi and discovered steampunk as a literary genre but did not know there was more. My son introduced me to the cosplay aspect. Again, it was easier to design and make it myself, and I’ve been producing steampunk items for over 5 years now.
Steampunk as a genre really took off after the phrase was coined in the 80’s. But the genre has been around since the writings of HG Wells and Verne. Today, for me, it’s a chance to take the best aspects of a time and add the idea of technology to take to a completely new and different direction. Each item I create, or items other steampunk makers create, have a uniqueness all on its own. It’s a work of art.
I use multiple sources to find what I categorize, but mainly Pinterest. It allows me to follow my interests the way I want to. As I find the items which interest me, I catalog them into their appropriate boards. I use Pinterest to collect ideas and inspiration on projects. It might be something as simple as a part on a costume or a full instruction on how to use pepakura to make a mask I may use for one of my cosplay outfits.
The way I use pinterest for business is to use it to get my name out in the community and to show what myself and others create. I then sell my work via word of mouth.
How do you use Pinterest to design your steampunk items? What are you designing next?
I like creating gadgets, like gizmo’s and weapons. To make an item, I usually go through my scrap piles or make a trip to a thrift store/ flea market and find some pieces that inspire me. Or I begin with a picture on Pinterest of an item I really like and would like to have as my own a similar item. Then I go looking for the parts. Once I have the base creat,ed I then embellish with lights and so forth.
My current project is a steampunk communications console. This item will emit smoke signals and morse code via lights or a terminal.
Steampunk culture seems to be gaining a lot of attention, as seen on your celebrities board. Where do you see steampunk culture going now with big social events around the country?
I see it continuing along the course its going but with many sub-genre’s depending upon the geo-location. I am also seeing more of an expansion on multi-cultural aspects at big social events like Dragon Con and Comic Con. I see it growing and evolving.
Any advice for someone looking to get into steampunk culture?
My first piece of advice is that its not expensive and you can get into the genre with $40 or less. There is no right way or wrong way to do steampunk. If you want to combine an interest in star wars with an interest in steampunk, there is nothing preventing that. Use your imagination…let it go wild…
Thanks Chris for bringing us into the steampunk world. If you want to see what Chris is designing next, visit his Pinterest boards!