What's Up Wednesday: The Steampunk World's Fair

Fellow Trashionista Barker Bell was a vendor at
This is her story...

Last weekend, May 14th - 16th, 2010, the first ever Steampunk World's Fair was held at the Radisson hotel in Piscataway, NJ. My friend, Niffer, of 19Moons, travelled with me and shared a vending room. We arrived at the hotel early Friday afternoon and there were already quite a few participants in costume in the lobby. After a quick, smooth check in, we unpacked the car as fast as possible, began setting up, then had to quickly change to attend the Cup of Brown Joy Tea Party being hosted by

After only about 1/2 an hour at the tea, we headed back to our room so we could finish getting set up and opened. Our vending space was our hotel room, which was a first for us, but it worked out really well and offered us a bit more flexibility with how we decorated the space. We already have several plans to improve things for next year. The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur as we suffered sleep deprivation and sensory overload thanks to too little sleep the night before and being surrounded by so many amazing costumes.

Niffer, preparing to attend the tea party.

The majority of the participants practice the art of Trashion, repurposing watches, brass pipes, cogs, clock gears, and anything else they can find that fits the aesthetic, as they create their accessories, and even their costumes themselves. One of the attendees we met, Miriam, had fashioned a bracelet from the bubble portion of a broken construction level she'd found at the side of the road and her cape was made from a pleated skirt someone in her apartment building had thrown away. I had to get a picture of her as it was a prime example of trashion.

I can't say enough about how fantastic the event was.
There were several other vendors, all with a great variety
of items, everyone we met was unbelievably kind, and
phenomenal costumes abounded. Throughout the weekend there
were a number of performances by several different musical groups, as well as other entertainment events and panels.

Over 3,000 people attended the festivities over the weekend and it was wonderful to be surrounded by so many creative like-minded individuals. On Sunday, when it was time to leave, I was actually sad to head home.Somehow, being back in the "real" world, seems so dull without the costumed individuals at every turn and the varied, always enjoyable, random performances of Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band, including parades through the hallways of the hotel and a parking lot dance party at 1:00 am Saturday morning.

A special thank you and shout out to just a few of the new friends I made this past weekend: Marisa Taylor of Marisa Taylor Photography, whose camera I had the privilege of using to take a shot of her (I want one now). Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, who bought a couple of items from 19moons and I and wore them on stage. Brigid Ashwood, artist extraordinaire, for, well, being her, and for the tips on new supplies to try. Chrononaut Mercantile, who not only are purveyors of a number of fine wares, but are both unbelievably nice and interesting to talk to., Madame vonHedwig & P Phineas vonHedwig whose blog offers stirring adventure tales, tinkering, madscience, salvaging, & sewing. Voltaire, who I finally got to see live, but who I also was able to meet and speak to briefly. He seems to truly appreciate each of his fans, and took the time to converse with each one that approached him and even posed for pictures with several of them, including myself.

To find more info about Barker Bells lead up to the show
check out her blog!

Images © Barker Bell


auclairdelalune: recycled fabrics for human and habitat said...

Sounds like a really fun event!

alexkeller said...

it does sound like fun!

Brigid Ashwood said...

Thanks for the shout out!

Anonymous said...

This was an incredibly fun event and it was wonderful to see how integral repurposing is to these fashions and creations.

Brigid - I just noticed your comment. You're most welcome for the shout out! : )