Workshop Listings

Keep an eye on this page, as we’ll keep adding Workshops as we get them confirmed!

persona workshop

Creating a Steampunk persona

Lord Bobbins

You have the clothes, the gear… but what about the background? Join fellow steam fans and Lord Hastings Robert Bobbins of TeslaCon for a very immersive and fun panel on how to create a persona for yourself. We will look at how to come up with names, titles and a background that fits your character. Open to all ages!

Eric Larson aka Lord Bobbins has been creating and designing Steampunk conventions for over 8 years. Previously Eric developed and ran FilmCon and NakamaCon. TeslaCon is the first Steampunk convention of its kind. Immersion and story are at the heart of it all. Eric uses his background as an art director and designer for over 30 years. His clients include Lucasfilm Ltd., Disney, Warner Bros. Studios and over 20 more conventions he has helped over the years.

Eric’s passion for creating and developing new ideas and designs led to the creation of TeslaCon in Madison, WI.

remedies workshop

Victorian Apothecary Skills (or, How to Deal with the Post Party Headache)


Subject Area: History & Science

The morning-after headache: How did our Victorian ancestors deal with this and other common health concerns? What can we do now?
Come learn about medical care in the past as well as modern ways to cure common con ailments.

Micca is a licensed paramedic and nurse practitioner and a former US Army Special Forces Medic, with 32 years in emergency medicine and biochemical research. He has been educating con-goers on this topic of Victorian cures every year since 2014.

railroad workshop

What’s coming down the line? The Railroad in the American Mind

Michael Matejka

Subject Area: History & Science

The railroad and steam power was not only the premier 19th and early 20th century transportation system, it also shaped corporate America, workers, song, film, toys and children’s literature. Come take an historic trip down the rails to ride behind a puffing locomotive, imagining a resplendent wood grained Pullman (or a stolen ride in a creaking boxcar, if you prefer).

A Lionel train at Christmas and a childhood in St. Louis with a trolley operator father has led to a lifetime railroad fascination for Mike Matejka. Matejka is the Governmental Affairs director for the Great Plains Laborers District Council and serves on numerous local committees; he’s a regular speaker, writer and tour guide leader on railroad topics. His special treat is that rare occasion when a steam locomotive runs on a mainline railroad and he can stand at the vestibule door, listening to the pulsating sounds of steam propulsion and the lonesome whistle’s cry.

costume workshop

Genesis from Junque: The Repurposed Steampunker, NeoVictorian from the Resale Shop

Dianna Carrington

Subject Area: Costumes & Props

With good shopping habits, imagination and a little skill, you can easily craft a wardrobe for your steampunk persona! Tips on where to shop, what to look for, how to modify as well as advice for yard-good harvesting from household textiles for sewists looking for affordable fabric. Lots of examples will be available for inspection and we will be debuting our Tablecloth Bustle Skirt which can be made in under one hour (not counting the shopping part, unless you are really fast and lucky!)

Dianna has been making costumes for herself, her family, and hundreds of high school students for years and years and years… on a budget. Word has it there is nothing she cannot made with a tablecloth or a pair of curtains.

Steampunk Polymer Pen

Mary Jo Johnson

Participants will make a two-part polymer clay pen, bake the pen and assemble using a pen-making press. All materials supplied. Two sessions: 9:30 am and 10:15 am.

Materials fee: $12 at the door (cash only, please)

Steampunk Hair and Makeup Techniques

Ken Sprouls

Subject Area: Costumes & Props

Learn hairstyling and makeup techniques to enhance your character’s look. Demonstration includes curling and setting techniques and using hair pieces to complete your steampunk look.

Ken is Makeup Artist/Hairstylist at Fox & Hounds Hair Salon, with a fine art and theatre background. Ken’s many years in the industry has seen him doing hair and makeup for videos and photo shoots, taking care of his regular clients and helping cancer patients improve their self esteem. Ken is excited to share his knowledge and skills with everyone who attends.

Lincoln’s Lecture– Discoveries and Inventions

Guy Fraker

Subject Area: History & Science

Lincoln gave a lecture (as contrasted to a speech) at a still-standing building on Center Street in Bloomington in 1858. It was less than successful but demonstrates Lincoln’s extraordinary vision. Fraker will also discuss Bloomington’s claim to be Lincoln’s “second city.”

Guy has written and spoken extensively about Lincoln in the Circuit and has also led tours of Lincoln’s Circuit through central Illinois. He was a consultant on and participant in Abraham Lincoln: Prelude to the Presidency, an award-winning nationally distributed documentary produced by WILL-TV.  He is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.

Bartitsu: the Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes

Allen Reed, Professor of Antagonistics

Subject Area: Other

Come learn the martial art made famous by Sherlock Holmes when he fought with his nemesis Prof. Moriarty at the top of Reichenbach Falls.

Prof. Reed spent many years tracking down and apprehending miscreants who violated the law. Now in retirement he brings his experience in antagonistics, fisticuffs and preventing mayhem to ladies and gentlemen who may find themselves in need of such training when waylaid by hooligans upon the highways and byways.

Creating Believable Finishes for Steampunk Props Using Theatrical Painting Techniques

Dr. J.C. Hue (aka John C. Stark, Professor of Theatre Design)

Subject Area: Costumes & Props

Explore how to turn otherwise plain unassuming surfaces into leather, metal, copper, wood and more for your steampunk props.

John C. Stark is a Professor of Theatre Design at Illinois State University. A member of the United Scenic Artists 829, John has designed professionally in New York, California, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Indiana, Arizona and Illinois. He has worked with numerous Chicago theatre companies including A Red Orchid Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, Noble Fool Theatricals, Seanachai Theatre Co., Next Theatre and Famous Door Theatre. He has also worked extensively for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival producing 32 scenic designs including Peter and the Starcatcher, Hamlet and Twelfth Night in 2016. John currently teaches scene design, scenic painting, drafting, and rendering and he serves as the Head of the Design/Production Area in the School of Theatre and Dance at ISU.

In Good Company: How to form a local Steampunk group

Salathiel Palland

Subject Area: Other

Salathiel runs the well-known Motor City Steamcon, and therefore knows a thing or two about pulling together a bunch of Steampunks to have a good time! This is an in-depth presentation on how to form a local Steampunk community: how to reach people, what ‘organizing’ such a group really means, how to host a salon, ideas for activities… really, an A-to-Z list of great information plus chances to ask questions.

Steampunking pop culture

Tina Black

Subject Area: Costumes & Props (Panel Presentation)

Tina has been cosplaying Lady Deadpool for many years and steampunk for even more. She’ll take you through the process she uses to come up with the steampunk costumes for Lady Deadpool, Klingon, etc.

Tina and fellow panelists Maggie Cohen and Nicole Marker will show examples of their creations so you can reinterpret your own favorite character genres into steampunk!