Friday, October 26, 2012

farmpunk : : my turn

Hank and I thought ourselves quite witty the day we coined the term "farmpunk."  Ours eyes widened and our conversation accelerated as we rushed to define it.  It all started with a mild mannered discussion regarding Steampunk, but what if the punk was taken out of the Victorian Era and placed elsewhere?  Somewhere more accessible to us, personally, on a daily basis; like on a farm?

But how exactly do you punk a farm?  Google searches lead to an interesting, albeit short, list of what was already labeled farmpunk.  To our dismay, we had not coined the phrase, but the movement appears to be in its infancy.

Let's begin with a general definition of "punk" as set forth by the Urban Dictionary:
"Punk is:
  1. the personal expression of uniqueness that comes from the experiences of growing up in touch with our human ability to reason and ask questions.
  2. a process of questioning and a commitment to understanding that results in self-progress, and by extrapolation, could lead to social progress.
  3. a belief that this world is what we make of it; truth comes from our understanding of the way things are, not from the blind adherence to prescriptions about the way things should be.
  4. [and my favorite] everyone has the potential to be punk."
This mohawk, I might actually try...

In most people's minds, "punk" is immediately linked to the rock movement of the 1970s.  But if you think of that movement in the terms of the definition above, it makes sense why those punks dyed their hair blue and pierced their ears with safety pins.  But by it's very definition, I do not have to shave my hair into a mohawk to be punk.  I simply have to be true to myself.

table and light

Which brings us back the Homestead...and the growing realization that we may already be a little farmpunk and not know it.  All of the re-purposing, up-cycling and salvaging of the past years falls squarely into the existing farmpunk culture.  One New York-based company, called Unite Two Design, consistently appeared in web searches.  Using reclaimed wood and iron, they take a very minimalistic, modern approach to farmpunk.

But what was noticeably lacking was a specific fashion style linked to farmpunk.  The Steampunk crowd has their bustle dresses, laced-up leather boots and gold-chained pocket watches.  Should farmpunk utilize overalls, mud boots and corncob pipes?  Burlap corsets, veiled bee-keeper hats and jewelry made from square nails?  The possibilities here are as endless (and ridiculous) as you can imagine.

I decided to start small and conservative.  I found an empty pocket watch case in the jewelry department at Hobby Lobby.

Inside I wound a small length of the very first yarn I ever spun, made from horrible, scratchy wool from my father-in-law.  I have two larger balls of this yarn, but won't ever use them in a project.  Looking at them reminds me how excited I was in those early days that I could take the whole process from the sheep to the wheel.  Quality wool and skilled spinning were the farthest things from my mind.  I was a shepherdess!

And now this locket serves to keep alive the enthusiasm of those early days.  When the pasture turns to swampland in the Spring and the water buckets freeze in the Winter; when the sheep run circles and refuse to come in for shearing; when the raw fleece mountains up on the side porch; these are the days I need to be reminded why I started all this in the first place.

And so I am on a journey to define farmpunk as it applies to my life on the Homestead.  My farmpunk will be sustainable and organic but well-framed with cast iron.  It will be heavily influenced by the 1940s and 50s.  It will have texture, layers and warmth.  It will most likely border on the absurd, and I'll look back years from now and laugh.

But what is Life without absurdity?  Without personal expression?  Without a little punk?


  1. I love it! Farmpunk away Sarah!

    1. Just wait...I may need to do a guest post on you! Miss Awesome Burlap Shoulder Duffle!

  2. I like this. Farmpunk...I think I was farmpunk, when farmpunk wasn't cool. Like the country song...maybe too old for you. Blessings from Ringle, WI.

  3. No Way! You have got to come to The World Congress of Steam 2013, where all nations will converge to discuss the vast world of SteamPunk...Sorry this is the teaser for 2012:

    I am certain FarmPunk has a stellar place at the table.


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