Thursday, June 16, 2011

Artists You Should Know - Highwind Steamworx

It's a little-known fact that the Lad loves steampunk. Maybe it's the tiny hats. Maybe it's the monocles. Maybe it's just that he's a total drag queen and steampunk gives him an excuse. I digress. I met Dawn and Jeff of Highwind Steamworx at Clockwork Vaudeville's Gearbox Fantastique a few months back, and I fell in love with their work. They do steampunk in a totally wearable and effortless fashion, with immense attention to detail and outstanding craftsmanship. And their prices rock. If you're a dabbler, a closet lover of fantastical Victorian costuming, or a full-blown crazed zeppelin pilot, you owe it to yourself to check them out.

Come in! Make yourself comfortable. What can I get you to drink?

Hello! Dawn would love a traditionally prepared absinthe. I’ll stick with an iced tea. What a
lovely abode you have!

Keymaster Goggles
Tell us about yourself.

We have been married for about 9 years. We both went to Bradley University in Peoria. I’ve
been doing professional theater for 10 years in my day job, and am currently studying to be a
pharmacy technician, when we aren’t gallivanting about in our airship. Jeff has been teaching for the last 11 years, in a variety of subjects and grades. We both greatly enjoy the steampunk scene and all the aesthetics and personalities that go with it. We both sort of accidentally fell into this artist thing, after making a few items for ourselves. We started getting involved in the steampunk
scene and found we couldn’t afford a lot of what was available. After we started making our
own things, we decided to get into business for ourselves to offer more reasonable pricing on
steampunk jewelry and goods so that everyone could afford to have some!

What's your sign?

I’m a Pisces, and Dawn is a Gemini. Makes us a perfect match for each other. Ha!

Apart from being an artist, what do you like to do?

I love reading, pretty much everything. I also greatly enjoy movies that go “big bada-boom” as
well as an obsession with zombie movies. Finally, I love cooking and baking… you should try
my bacon chocolate chip cookies. Jeff is also a voracious reader and movie-goer. He also enjoy
playing guitar and singing, either real or karaoke. We both also enjoy the renaissance fairs and
any excuse for a road trip, long or short.

Share your top 3 current musical obsessions.

Dawn – Rise Against, and um… was the question?

Jeff – I don’t know that I have one, I just love music. Lately, I’ve been checking out Beats
Antique. However, I always love Big Audio Dynamite, and better 90’s alternative.

What are your biggest influences?

For a lot of the stuff I make, I love the visuals from various Final Fantasy titles, imagery
explored in some classic science fiction movies and books, Marvel comics. Really, the more

I get a flash of insight, and then just figure it out. I don’t do sketches or drawings. When I decide
I’m going to make thinks, I look at my materials and if I didn’t already have an image in my
mind, I get one. It’s not much of a process, but more of a spontaneous combustion.

Describe your umbrella.

Dawn has a lovely vintage umbrella with a long gnarled wood handle and red fabric. Definitely
more of a parasol. Jeff believes in the concept of umbrellas, but does not currently own one.

You have the opportunity to spy on any artist or designer in history - who would it be?

I know it’s such a standard answer, but I would love to see what was really going on in Leonardo
DaVinci’s workshop!

How do you support local/handmade artists?

We try to purchase from them in general, and we share information on upcoming events with
other artists in our area. We try often to bring in new people to shows and get them involved in
the scene.

In five years, where would you like to be?

I can’t even imagine where I’ll be next year. This question does not fit our world view. J

How do you take your toast?

Lightly toasted honey wheat, with a little butter and jam. I prefer blueberry jam, Dawn likes

Plug your work! Don't feel bad - we're all hoors here.

Searching for Highwind Steamworks will bring up a good number of sites, all about us!

Come one and all and check out our Etsy site for jewelry, miniature hats, knitted goods and
leather work:

As well, you can find us at various events and conventions in and around Chicago.

Come see some of our t-shirt designs on Zazzle or Cafepress also!

And, of course we’re on Facebook!

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