Radu Butuc: The most valuable in steampunk is authenticity

Radu Butuc is one of the few craftsmen in Moldova who creates handmade objects; he is a professional in charge of crafting in steampunk style

Thanks to him, many of our country’s inhabitants learned more about this new trend, and overseas fans of this trend are now convinced that Moldova is a country where people understand the essence of this art. Nevertheless, Radu enjoys the fact that steampunk is not a mainstream trend and never will become. He is sure that in order to love things made in this style, one must be a genuinely spiritual man.

 

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First name, last name: Radu Butuc
Date of birth: 11.06.1978
Place of birth: Rublenita, Soroca
Education: Technical University of Bucharest, Faculty of Transport Auto, Romania
Domain of activity: Arts
Achievements:  Photo of his work won the competition on the Steampunker.ru website and  appear on the cover of a book written and edited in steampunk style, Russia

 

  • The steampunk era began in Victorian England

Crews, steam locomotives, the first phones, airships - all this anachronistic entourage join the stylized contemporary objects. And "punk" part in steampunk is underscored by a focus on human nature with its changing passions, shaped by a dark color range. As steampunk was founded jointly by several creators, there aren’t rules that would categorize something as a creation affiliated to this style. And yet there are some unwritten rules: you cannot use plastic, you cannot imitate surfaces or use paint to change the color of certain objects. The fundamental value of steampunk is authenticity. Although steampunk is very popular worldwide, in Moldova a few know about it. In Western Europe steampunk conventions are held annually, being dedicated to enthusiasts who embrace this trend. In Moldova we can only dream about it. But thanks to the Internet, I met with many steampunk's followers from different countries. Two years ago I went to a convention held in Kiev. Maybe this year I'll be able to go to another convention in Bucharest.

 

  • Steampunk has been my hobby so far

But it's hard to achieve a great result working during evenings only. I saved some money and I quitted my job. I bought some tools that enhanced the quality of my works and considerably reduced my working time. At first my wife helped me. We made jewelries together. But in a while I readjusted and now I make leather accessories. Leather is a cranky material; if you made a wrong hole - you can no longer have a great accessory, but a piece of leather good enough to be thrown away. I work according to an Anglo-American old technique that was used for making saddles and harnesses for horses. I use leather imported from Italy, which makes my accessories timeless. They do not need to be cleaned and do not lose their color. Moreover they acquire patina over time, which makes them even more beautiful. In addition to leather, in steampunk there are such materials used as: metal, wool, silk. Each of these materials has its own particularity, which means that a crafter working in steampunk style should have basic knowledge in metallurgy and tailoring. At this moment I moved from a workshop into a spacious studio.

 

  • I love to work when I am not pressed by a strict dead-line

The creative process consists of several stages: preparation of the first prototype, identifying all the flaws, correcting and preparing of the second prototype, and so on, until I am satisfied by the achieved result. But there are situations when the dead-line is strict and I must work without my notepads. If I know my customer well I do not have any concerns, but if I have new client I work being extremely stressed out. There is a type of clients that I call "architects" - they know better than me how I should work, give a lot of advices, often changing technical parts of the product, replying "I changed my mind", who refuse to provide me with the device for which I create an accessory (may it be a bag or case). It also surprises me that people easily pay 1,000 Euros for an iPhone, but feel that it is expensive to pay 250 lei for a handmade and personalized leather case. That is why I sometimes tell them I am too busy, thus refusing their order.