Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Artist Spotlight: Carrie from Time Traveler Boutique

Welcome to the first Artist Spotlight for this year's Let's Get Steamy! For those of you who don't remember the amazing artists and costumers from last year, I have found a few absolutely fantastic artists/jewelers/costume designers from around the web who all specialize in Steampunk fashion and accessories! I figured I would get an insiders perspective of these artists...what makes them tick so to speak, and what got them involved in Steampunk in the first place!
Meet Carrie from Time Traveler Boutique! Carrie has an amazing Steampunk jewelry shop over on Etsy and when I saw how lovely and detailed her work was, I just knew I had to feature her as one of my Artist Spotlights for Let's Get Steamy! Please Welcome Carrie everyone!

Hi Carrie! Welcome to Unabridged Andra's! Thank you so much for participating in Let's Get Steamy 2.0!! I know all my steampunk fans are dying to see what you do so let's jump to the questions! Why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Carrie Harlan and I live in Houston with my husband, Billy, and son, Adrian. I’m an RN and I started Time Traveler Boutique after becoming interested in aromatherapy and natural perfumery. (Some examples on the left) I started designing steampunk lockets to be used as containers for my solid perfumes but I quickly found I was having as much fun making the lockets as I was the perfume. Now I sell lockets and other jewelry separate from my perfumes, and as my designs become more complex, I am rediscovering an artistic nature I thought I left behind in high school.

Sounds cool, It's fun to see just how people discover Steampunk because everyone's first experiences are so different. What was your first experience with Steampunk?

I’m a huge fan of Joss Whedon’s Firefly series and I think I first heard of “steampunk” while watching the show. A bit behind the curve, I know, but when I researched the term I realized I already really liked the steampunk genre and aesthetic. I just never knew the name for it.

Ha that's actually pretty funny. I kind of did the same thing to my boyfriend. I was totally geeking out to him about Steampunk when we first started dating and I was kind of embarrassed about how nerdy I was being until he was all like..."Oh THAT'S Steampunk? I like that too...just didn't know it was actually called something." So do you live the Steampunk lifestyle or participate in other aspects of the genre? (books, movies, etc?)

I’m a shy person, so I don’t dress in steampunk style unless it’s subtle, but I admire those who do. I’ve been unknowingly surrounding myself with steampunk decor my whole life, though, mixing industrial style furniture in with my dark wood and brass antiques. My husband, Billy, a.k.a. William E. Harlan, recently published a fantasy novel, Antioch, that includes steampunk elements. And in my house we love Lemony Snicket, Sherlock Holmes, and most anything remotely steampunk.

Yeah...I haven't actually managed to get up the courage to costume it up at a convention either...maybe this year! Do you think Steampunk is here to stay or will fade away with time?

Like other art movements before it, I think steampunk is here to stay but will grow and wane in popularity. It’s definitely made its mark in movies and fashion but I’d really love to see more steampunk incorporated into architecture and interior design.

Alright, let's get down to what you do, tell me, what materials do you use in your jewelry, clothing, etc?

For my jewelry I primarily use raw brass, but for contrast I sometimes incorporate copper, silver and steel into the pieces. I love working with metal.

I wouldn't even know how to begin doing something like that! I'm jealous of your mad crafting skills! What do you think(other than the obvious) makes your work "Steampunk"?

My work is all handmade, like that made in Victorian (pre-assembly-line) times, so each piece is unique and imperfect. I work with metal and I use virtually indestructible cold connections, like rivets, nuts and bolts, instead of modern synthetic glues. Lockets were very popular in Victorian times, and the Victorian era was the “golden age” of perfumery, so my natural perfumes and lockets fit in nicely with a steampunk theme. My pieces are inspired by steampunk elements such as travel (compass, hot air balloon) and the supernatural and whimsical (fairy, lion with a mechanical eye). Also, in steampunk, a higher value is placed on craftsmanship, beauty and function than on rare metals and stones, which I think is reflected in my work.

I like that. I never really thought about how much invention and creativity applied to traveling in the Victorian age. I'll have to think on that how long does it usually take to make a piece?

It can take several hours to age and color the metal and up to 30 minutes to an hour to construct each piece. It’s a multi-step, often multi-day process.

Yeah...I feel like my ADD would be kicking in after about an hour...I love scrapbooking but I get distracted after only about an hour of work. Congrat's on how much you do! My jealousy is showing again :P Tell me, what's the best story you have about your work?

Over the holidays I received feedback from a woman who said the Christmas locket I made for her was beautiful and that she had bought it as a memorial gift for someone. It makes me so happy to think of my work being used to honor and remember people we love. 
Very cool. It's always great to have your work appreciated and you definitely deserve the praise! What is your favorite piece or work you’ve ever made?

My Aunt Joyce was an amazing artist and truly unique person. When I was a teenager I didn’t always appreciate her eccentricities, but she was a lot of fun and always excited to spend time with me. She collected butterflies, and after she died at age 45, the rest of my family quietly started collecting them too. I love all the lockets, and every piece has a story, but I have to say the butterflies are my favorite.

The butterfly pieces certainly are really pretty and are some of the works that drew me to your site in the first place! Thanks again so much for coming to the blog today! I really enjoy hearing about the different lifestyles and work ideas of the amazing artists out there and it's been a joy to get to know you a little better! 
As for you, lovely followers of mine, I hope you also enjoyed seeing Carrie's work! Make sure to check out her Etsy shop (Time Traveler Boutique for those who missed it!) Carrie also has decided to be terribly generous and offer up one of my favorite pieces for the first individual giveaway of Let's Get Steamy!
Above is the keychain/locket/perfume container!  It's a Steampunk style brass keyring locket with brass compass. The compass and 32mm locket are colored and aged using special in-shop techniques, and the compass is securely attached to the locket with a brass nut and bolt. This locket comes with a 24 mm split ring and is ready to be filled with a solid perfume insert, photograph or small keepsake.

Good Luck my lucky followers! 
~May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor~
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wow thanks so much for the giveaway! I like all of your pieces but the lockets especially! I think the compass is my favorite...but the butterfly is beautiful! I don't know what to choose! Lol

  2. Thanks for the giveaway! It's nice to see stuff that guys would like too...i have a hell of a time explaining to my wife why I spend hours looking at jewelry websites on etsy...

    1. lol! Sorry adam...I guess I've never thought about it from the man-perspective! At least you and your wife can talk fashion together!

  3. I love the Victorian snake flower brooch, it's just lovely. I'm not a follower of steampunk, but that particular piece really called to me! Great work, Carrie!

  4. Time Travelers Boutique is fantastic! I sent some items out as Christmas presents and everyone loved each piece.

  5. Wow, the pieces are so stunning. My favorite is "Steampunk Jewelry - Copper Filigree Flower Locket Necklace - Hand Riveted". I really like the detailing for this one.

  6. I adore the Copper Filigree Flower Locket Necklace. I'd wear this everywhere & forever.

    1. I totally agree with you Mary! I was actually thinking of buying that one as well for my own outfit :D But I'll be nice and let you have it...but if it's still there at the end of the month, all bets are off! lol

  7. While I like the whimsical fairies and such, my favorite is the compass. Such lovely designs, thank you for sharing these with us!

  8. I actually really like this. I could give some of the jewelry to my girlfriend, but I think i could rock this as a pocket watch...what say you?

  9. Thanks for the nice comments guys!!

  10. Wow! Favorite steampunk piece has to be the Hot Air Balloon and Gear Locket with Clasp. Who doesn't love hot air balloons? I find it interesting to have found this blog post not long after I wrote about steampunk on my own blog,
    There's something about steampunk that draws me in.

  11. I have been a fan since day one! Each piece is made with such precision and will last forever as will followers of steampunk. I love my butterfly perfume locket and all the family members have their own favorites. Carrie keeps making new pieces in lockets, rings, necklaces, etc....give her an idea or wish and she is so creative she makes it happen. Yeah to Time Traveler Boutique ....Christmas and birthdays are coming and it's time for decision making! I know I will love whatever I pick and so will the receivers!!!