Behind-the-Scenes with our Maker Guest of Honor: SteamyTech!

Clockwork Alchemy is delighted to present facts, figures, and fun from Greg and Lora, the geniuses of SteamyTech.

We interviewed Greg and Lora Price of SteamyTech and got all the nitty, gritty, and pretty you could hope for. Read on to meet our Maker Guests of Honor for 2023!

Q: What was your first effort at making?

For Lora – I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something. One of the first real memories I have of making is taking a sewing class that I asked for as a gift for my 13th birthday. And playing with a macrame kit I found when I was 10 or so. The instructions said that if you can tie your shoes then you can make macrame and I realized that I had never had a pair of real shoes tie, so I didn’t know how. (I grew up in Hawaii, remember)?

For Greg – Making music was my thing since I learned to play the piano. I spent my high school years making electronic music and playing with midi, etc.

Q: What inspired you to associate your efforts with steampunk? Were there other fandoms or genres that attracted you?

Of all the artistic genres we had looked at since the day we got married, Steampunk stood out the most.  Anytime we ran into it, we said that’s really cool and talked about how we could decorate in a Steampunk style, but we had never really done anything with it. In terms of other fandoms and genres, I’ve (Lora) been a reader my entire life and all sci-fi and fantasy are things I love — From Heinlein to McAffrey and the Dragon Riders of Pern, I love it all.  But I had never really discovered a way to connect to a fandom until Steampunk.

When Greg and I attended the first Clockwork Alchemy because friends had convinced us to attend Fanime, we realized the Steampunk family was where we were going to find our people. We discovered friendly people who knew how to be kind and polite. A costume aesthetic that was flexible, but beautiful and charming. Greg bought his first top hat at the CA from Fred, and I bought a bustle. But the art was also just out of this world. Everything we looked at was so cool and we realized the only thing we didn’t like was that the gears didn’t spin. That was something we decided to do something about.

Q: Any advice for young makers or artists? Things you “wished you knew back when”?

Our two biggest tips for young makers are always:

  • Don’t be afraid to make a mistake.  Sometimes “errors” give the best results.
  • You don’t need to be an expert – just do it!  This advice goes along with the one that says you don’t always have to follow the rules.  Try it the way that makes sense to you, and if it doesn’t work, then try something new. For example, we use Super Glue for assembling parts. Not because it’s the “right” thing to do for wood (that would be wood glue), but because it sets quickly and work well. Ten ears later, we’re still very happy with that “mistake”.

Q: How long do your projects typically take from initial design, through concept testing, and finally production?

It really depends on the scope of the project. With the Box of Making we are building 2 new projects a month and that means we have to be able to go from design to production very quickly, often in a day or two.

For complicated projects things can take months and rounds and rounds of iteration.  Speed is also a factor of how much experience we actually have with the topic. If it’s a new gear type, or a new tool it takes a much longer than with a variation of something we have already designed.

Q: What skills and knowledge would you consider among the top five necessary for someone looking to get established as a maker, either as a hobby or profession?

  • First, and most importantly, you must have a “need” to create. If you don’t enjoy it, if you don’t feel like you have to do it, you won’t.
  • A desire to learn new things also helps — If you want to make something and you don’t know how. Just learn.
  • Use the Internet as a resource. In this day and age you can learn how to do anything. Just be skeptical and verify what you learn.
  • I’m tempted to say organization, but we all know that makers are not organized. 😉

Q: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream when you’re working in the shop on a hot day?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or an It’s It for Lora and Magnum Bars for Greg. There is an Ice Cream man that drives into the lot in the summer and we almost always take a break when he comes in.

Q: Cats, dogs, birds, or bats in the shop, and who has to handle the care and feeding?

Well there was a mouse for a while.  Our dogs used to visit regularly, but they liked to eat the leather (or anything else they can chew on.)  Unfortunately, our dogs went to heaven.

The two official shop mascots are:

  • Rin-tin-tin – A beautiful tin can dog that Jen Brown gifted us when we moved into the shop and
  • Olive (the other reindeer) who lives up on the mezzanine and looks down on all of us.

The best part is no care and feeding required for those.

Finish this joke: Two makers walk into a bar. One says to the other. Give me 5 versions. Make it funny

  1. One says, “I can’t believe it’s not Maker’s Mark!” The other responds, “I prefer my drinks to be less ‘maker’-shift.”
  2. The first maker says, “I’ve been working on a project to make a drink that can only be consumed by makers.” The second maker asks, “What’s in it?” The first maker replies, “Oh, just a little bit of solder, a dash of hot glue, and a sprinkle of sawdust.”
  3. One says, “I’m really into making art out of recycled materials.” The other maker responds, “Oh yeah? I’m more into making drinks out of recycled bottles.”
  4. The first maker says, “I’m working on a new project to make a drink that’s also a machine.” The second maker asks, “What’s it called?” The first maker responds, “A Maker-ita!”
  5. One says, “I’m trying to make a drink that’s out of this world.” The other responds, “Is it called the Maker-tini?”

By the way, this was created by AI, we thought you would appreciate Steamy Tech using AI to “make” jokes.