Thursday, March 18, 2010

Full Steam Ahead with artist Mark Eliot Schwabe

I was lucky enough to chat with Mark Eliot Schwabe the creator of the SteamPunk jewelry company Steam Smith Works. Here is an interview I had with Mark. Check out the links below to see Marks work.

How long have you been a jeweler and what drew you to jewelry making?
Started working in my Dad’s shop when I was 14 - he had a high end gold line, Cartier, NY was his biggest customer (all his own designs, and he made all of the originals and did all of
the castings - I was the first of several employees to help with the production work)
That was in the 1960’s.

If you could morph between human and another shape what shape would it be?
I like being human!

What is Steampunk and how did you get involved in this new subculture movement?
Here is my definition of SteamPunk: "Steampunk is a retrofuturistic fanasy genre celebrating the Vicotian Era and objects from that era (machines, fashion, etc.) The genre also permits the introduction of objects and persons from other times into the Victorian Era." It may help, to imagine the fictional works of Jules Verne and H.G. Well, to be FACT. The genre finds expression in all forms of
art, including: literature, film, music, sculpture, painting, graphic art, fashion and jewelry
design, among others.

My involvement? - credit goes to Winona Cookie -
I stumbled onto her Etsy store soon after I opened my MarkieMoose.Etsy store.
Her work and the SteamPunk genre COMPLETELY blew me away. I loved both the visual art and
the stories that her very fertile imagination came up with to go with the visual art.

I had done a lot of work with Science Fiction in the 1990’s, and always had some interest in that kind
of thinking. I made originals for pewter replicas of Star Trek & Star Wars space ships and the like for
Rawcliffe Pewter - who held the licenses form Lucas Film and Paramount Pictures at the time. I was
really into the detail of these amazing flying machines. So it was not a big leap to go from there to
making my own flying machines (Airships) without any constraints from motion picture companies ...
or anyone else! The freedom of designing and creating SteamPunk jewelry and sculpture is truly

What book is on your night stand?
I am dyslectic and not able to read books - I am limited to reading a few paragraphs at a sitting - just
too frustrating to get through a book.

Tell us about your involvement in the Steampunk World's Fair?
Bruce Rosenbaum, creator of the famous SteamPunk house in Sharon, MA; purchased my Pirate
Airship “Revenge” brooch/sculpture to include as part of his house. He told me about the Fair and put
me in touch with the folks there. The rest, they say, is history! Bruce also got be involved in the
SteamPunk Festival at the Charles River Museum of Industry in suburban Boston on April 10.

At both events I will be demonstrating traditional jewelry making techniques, as applied to
SteamPunk. In particular I will be turning brass rods - making smoke stacks and other details for my
Airships and making propellers and the like and making airship bodies out of pewter, and the like. I
will also be vending at both events.

What music if any do you play in your studio?
I live in a remote corner of Vermont. It is very quiet here and most of the time I work with only the
sound of my tools.
When the radio is on I listen to “adult album rock”
Occasionally I will slip back into my psychedelic rock roots with a CD, or cassette.

For live music, nothing beats the Blues!

What is your formal training in?
Note that I am a sculptor by training (MFA - State U of NY at New Paltz). I have started on my first
SteamPunk sculpture (and there will be more to come!) Pic of the first piece - SteamPunk Warrior
Princess - in its early stages may be seen at:

Please check out Steam Smith Works ETSY site.

Mark, Thank you for taking time to talk to us about your work and what going on in the SteamPunk movement.

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