By Melissa Wynn

The Steampunk genre has exploded into the fashion and antique industries by its very essence of combining Victorian Age fashion and decor with the industrial twist of steam powered gadgets. More and more antique stores, cooperatives and what-not shops are sporting a steampunk section, offering some amazing creations.

Born again are snazzy top hats, coat-tails and curvy corsets but now they are dressed up with gears, pipes, clock faces, gauges and more. Re-purposed and up-cycled reach a whole new level in this genre that will have you scavenging bits from every corner of the thrift shop, flea market and upscale antique shop that you encounter.

It’s not just clothing that the fans of Steampunk embrace; musical instruments, bicycles and home decor all have a place in this sci-fi based wave of the future. Goggles, gears and gadgets of all kinds are being up-cycled into items of decorative whimsy with Victorian age lamps, toys, guitars and countless items limited only by each creators imagination.

The ideas of re-purposing and up-cycling are nothing new and reach far beyond the fanciful world of Steampunk. Whether you are making a lamp out of an old hand water pump or turning a worn, wooden palette into a garden planter you are making something new out of something originally for another purpose. Not only is it fun; these green practices keep tons of would be rubbish out of the landfills and given new life.

Challenge your own inner artist with a decorative project for your home or garden. Fun and unique wall hangings like those pictured were once just everyday items sitting on the shelf in a shop near you. Benches and end tables are made from items like old doors and barrels and shelving units show up in everything from canoes to steamer trunks. From table legs to knobs and buckles, truck beds to tea cups, new purpose is found in artful items everywhere.

If you love the idea of this new wave of home and fashion fusion but aren’t the artsy type you are in luck. Shop owners all over Northern California are crafting new wonderful items and putting them on shelves for sale everyday. Never under estimate that little shop or road side stand or pop-up. Treasures can be found in the most unexpected of places.

The trick is to find those special items or ideas that personally speak to you. Browse the internet and wander the shops and see what inspires you. Whether you are looking for a Steampunk outfit to wear to an upcoming concert,or a funky new bench for your entryway, consider shopping your local small shops for something original, made from the old to be something new.