Steampunk began as a literary movement in the 1980's, with inspiration from 19th century fantasy writers. I've read Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, but not a single 20th century author writing in the genre. Individuals who were inspired by the literature wanted to dress up and role play these characters. Whereas I enjoy costuming and dressing up for that special occasion, role playing itself holds no appeal to me. While the steampunk movement encourages individuals to create their own costumes and props, there is still interest in well made items that are available for purchase. And that's where I fit in. I love making things that I consider beautiful, and that are a little bit edgy, and I offer many of them up for sale. I have no interest in safe art.
U.S. Shako with Cowhide
Rus Viking Helm
Just before I discovered steampunk a year and a half ago, I was constructing leather military helmets, both 19th century inspired and fantasy Viking helms (yes, I know that they didn't really have horns). Creating these brought me much pleasure, but there was little interest from the outside world.
Steampunk Gas Mask
Once I learned about steampunk I made a leather gas mask (shown above), and respirator, and I converted my 1840's U.S. army dragoon helmet into a steampunked version.
U.S. Dragoon Helmet with Horsehair
Dragoon after Steampunkification