In honor of National Craft Month, I thought I’d review one of my beading e-books, Steampunk Emporium. Now, for bead books I prefer a PDF downloadable format. I don’t feel that beading instructions can be correctly relayed with text only in an ePub file. The file does come with chapter bookmarks, but isn’t broken down further than that and the page numbers aren’t clickable. For ease-of-use, it’s best to read the Table of Contents then go to the appropriate chapter. A more hierarchical breakdown would be ideal for me.
Steampunk Emporium is a book that offers five main themes for jewelry-making: Atlantis Expedition, Zeppelin Pirate Attack!, Absinthe Fairy Interlude, Jurassic Valley Exploration, and Clockwork Tea Party. Within each of these categories, there are four or five projects ranging from mixed media designs to wirework. The skills required to make each piece also vary. For example, the Azure Cog Earrings employ simpler wireworking skills than the Adventurer’s Fob Watch, which definitely necessitates a familiarity with polymer clay.
So who do I feel would best benefit from this book? I think anyone who is involved in steampunk costuming would really like the variety of designs. For the average beader, the materials required are a little more involved. The components required for these pieces are not inexpensive, but the plus side to this is that each piece is unique and every step is outlined with a photo. Even if your polymer smiley faces, so to speak, wind up like Dali-esque melty faces, the photos will help, so I don’t think you’d be buying materials for the sake of having them.
The author, Jema Emilly Ladybird Hewitt, thought of everything. There is flash fiction at the beginning of each chapter, an explanation describing what steampunk is, additional resources to explore with clickable links to websites, a glossary, and a guide to working with vintage items that includes taking watches apart. It is themed very specifically to steampunk.
If you’re into steampunk — especially costuming — I do think this 130 page eBook worth a buy for the ideas that aren’t run-of-the-mill. Just keep in mind that the digital functionality of the PDF isn’t optimal.