The popularity of Steampunk is steadily on the rise and is helping transform modern day decor.
Steampunk – a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. – Wikipedia
We wanted to know more about this form of lighting and where to find unique Steampunk lamps for sale. During our research we came across a great shop. So we contacted Brian, the creator behind ‘Mechanical Dragon Emporium’ and he was kind enough to share his story with us:
Psst! Wanna buy a cool lamp?
A tale of how a family project became a fun side business.
Greetings! I’m Brian, and I run a small Steampunk / Dieselpunk / Industrial inspired store online known as the Mechanical Dragon Emporium. We specialize in unique hand-built lighting and decorations that are not only aesthetically awesome, but completely functional as well. What follows is a brief history of where we started, and a bit about where we’re headed in the future.
Where it all began:
I’ve always been a fan of up-cycled industrial design, steam era machinery, and pretty much anything old and cool. My day job is in the tech sector, but almost all of my hobbies revolve around working with my hands and making old things new again.
One evening I came across some Steampunk décor while looking for some ideas to use in decorating one of our children’s rooms (retro 1950’s industrial garage / hot rod shop themed), and was instantly hooked. We had some pipe hanging around from some Halloween props, and so I started tinkering and came up with this:
He loved it, and of course so did my other kids. They each wanted one of their own that was “different” from the others, so a quick trip for materials, and these were born in rapid succession.
Each of them features a little something different, customized with inputs from my family during the process of creating them. In the end, all the kids liked them, and I felt pretty happy with how they came out.
Then things got interesting
Photography is another hobby of mine. I posted a photo of one of the finished lamps (the Sophia), on a photography forum I frequent in a response about other hobbies we were into. I immediately had to answer a barrage of questions on where I got the lamp, what it cost, etc… When I explained that It was the only one of it’s kind and that I made it, I immediately got requests for 2 to be made for members of the community.
At the same time, I posted a couple photos on my personal Facebook page and had several friends request one as well. What had initially begun as a cool little project to have some unique lighting turned into a business opportunity. I set up an Etsy store and set to work getting some new designs created and up for sale.
So why get into making lamps for others if it was only a project?
It’s a little complicated. Part of the reason is that I have to keep myself busy to keep my sanity. If I’m creating things anyway, they might as well be for other people to enjoy. Especially since there’s only so much room in my workshop for projects. The creating isn’t going to stop, so things have to leave on occasion.
I also saw a need in the space for my style of work, based on the immediate positive response when I showed other people what I was doing. There are a lot of artists making stunning lamps in many styles and shapes, but there’s definitely room for one more. There are other reasons involved as well, but they’re mostly related to my own personal character quirks.
For me this is still a hobby, first and foremost. I love creating new designs and sharing them with the world. I’ve prototyped and tossed out far more designs than I’ve actually offered, for reasons ranging from then not being cost-effective to them not living up to my expectations when they went from idea to physical object.
I want my designs to be not only unique, but also to be safe and durable. I like them to look like they’re a hundred years old when they leave my hands, but I really want them to last a hundred more years with a happy customer. That means probably 10% of new ideas actually make it out the door as an item I’m willing to sell.
That being said, there are a couple new ideas currently going through what I call “extended burn-in” testing, meaning I’ve given them to my kids to use on a daily basis. If your product can stand up to being fiddled with and used daily by young kids and teen-agers, you’ve probably got a winner on your hands. There are a few more things about to hit the shop, and I’m pretty excited about them in general. Look for them after the first of the year at the latest.
Where can I learn more?
The Mechanical Dragon Emporium on Etsy is my official storefront. Here you can see all the designs I’ve currently got on offer, and as I roll new offerings out, they will arrive here first. You can find the shop at www.etsy.com/shop/mechanicaldragon
I’m also active on Google Plus, and maintain a blog of sorts there.
And finally, good old email: email@example.com
In closing, if you’ve ever wondered what other creator’s work spaces look like, Here’s mine from a few months ago when I was building a massive 10 lamp order for a special event in Las Vegas.
Here are just two of the items that Brian has available on his Etsy store:
Click on the image to learn more…
There are currently nine different Steampunk lamps available on the Mechanical Dragon Emporium’s Etsy store. Be sure to check them all out and favorite his shop so you can stay up to date with his newest creations.
We would like to thank Brian for sharing his story with us. Be sure to leave a comment for him and share his bottle crafts with others!