All the news from Hackertown

Inspired by the variety of shapes, colors & materials found in outdated technology, Melissa Glick combines e-waste with imagery to make one of a kind home decor, jewelry & accessories called Hacker Creations. Working out of the Artisan’s Asylum since 2013.

www.hackercreations      www.etsy.com/shop/hackercreations

SAVE THE DATE: Artisans Asylum Winter Market & Open House Sat & Sun Dec. 8 & 9 – 11 am – 5 pm. Tours, demos, hands on activities and Battle Bots on Saturday!

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SomerStreets Oct. 17 Somerville, MA

Its not even Halloween yet and I have already carved a 100 lb pumpkin. Mine is the farthest on the left. First time partaking in this Artisan’s Asylum tradition. Those gourds are really thick but I think I’d take a different tact next time and leave more of the skin and draw detail into the surface. Like this awesome one from years past……

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I love this Pumpkin! Who did this one?

In the Studio

I’ve started working larger! Since I’ve been getting inquiries for Office Decor from Tech Companies and now The Cambridge Arts Council is looking for large work to hang in WeWork co-working space. CAC exhibits art in many of the buildings in Kendal Square, Cambridge, as part of their Creative  Marketplace program. Perfect timing since I have finished the first in a series of three tall ones. Agam Totem is 5′ x 1′ made on wood with a white painted frame.

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Agam Totem

Blue Construction is 2′ x 2′ and is my first experiment building on a new material. Pink insulation board is extruded Polystyrene and is much lighter than wood. I am discovering a whole new way to attach the parts because the material has very different qualities.

Both are part of a series done over the bright colors of Yacov Agam. Agam is a kinetic artist who is 100 years old and living in Israel. This is the link to his incredible Museum which I would love to visit. I use a portion of the original work, often altering the color and multiply it in Photoshop. I use color photocopies and Mod Podge to “decoupage” a surface for the construction to be built over.

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Blue Construction

I have long intended to make work echoing Russian Constructivism. This early abstract movement plays with abstract shapes in compelling compositions. Some notable artists of this era include: Kazimir Malevich,, El Lissitzky & Alexander Rodchenko. Check them out!

I hope you will visit my website to see the latest additions to my Feminism and Technology (formally known as Victorian Ladies) series. The current stable includes: Ada Lovelace, Mermaid, Alice Contemplates the Galaxy, German Engineering and VL, Victorian on Wallpaper. See All my new work at the Winter Market & Open House Dec. 8 &  9.

Holiday Events

Boston Hassle Halloween Market, Cambridge Community Center – Sunday October 28th, from 12pm-6pm – 5 Callender Street, Cambridge.

Google Cambridge Office Holiday Market – Friday December 7, 2018 from 3-5pm

Artisan’s Asylum Winter Market & Open House & Battle Bots – Sat & Sun. Dec 8 & 9 -11 am – 5 pm, 10 Tyler St, Somerville.

MassArt Made Holiday Sale* will be December 2-8, 2018 – 10:00am to 7:00pm in the Lobby of the Tower Building at MassArt,  621 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA.

Institute of Affordable Art*, Dorchester Art Project 1486 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester MA.

I am happy to announce that we have a new member to our family her name is Dee Dee #1806221344. Thank you Skunadelia DeeDee copy

*inclusion to be confirmed.

 

The Incredible Clock Show

April Hacker Junk Creations News letter           Welcome Spring!!!
Wed April 16, 4:30-6:30pm Recycle Creativity Lab Reception University Place Gallery 124 Mt. Auburn St Cambridge.
Sun. April 27, 10 am – 4 pm CRAFTOPIA a super-duper day of art, craft, food & fun! in Pawtucket, RI. Fri-
Fri-Sun May 2.-4 Somerville Open Studios Visit the Artisan’s Asylum 10 Tyler St.Don’t miss The Artists’ Choice Exhibit at the Somerville Museum.
VISIT:  Etsy Store     Flickr Stream

UPDATE: I have been spending all my time in the studio. Making clocks and chokers for the Nashua Steampunk Festivaland working on my first large scale collaborative piece, The River of Connectivity!

Unfortunatesos copyly the Steampunk Festivalwas cancelled….. so instead, my theme for this year’s Somerville Open Studios will be: Melissa’s Incredible Clock Show. Re: my love for Modern Art, there is a Mondrian clock, Basquiat Clock, Escher Clock and lots of new work. I may also be selling Hacker Junk by the OZ. Mostly plastic gears spray painted silver and copper – for all your Steampunk costume making needs! If not you can get it at MELSPACE.

 RECYCLE CREATIVITY LAB : I spent 3 snowy afternoons with middle school kids at the Gately Afterschool as visiting artist for a Cambridge Creativity Commons  project. Each kid got a (broken) laptop to take apart and transform using collage and assemblage! After showing my Power point presentation about found art and abstract composition, a girl responded by saying, “It’s like how some people don’t think Graffiti its art.” Thank you Paul, Erin and Kyle for this opportunity! With support from the Cambridge Art Association  the results of the program along with my River of Connectivity will be displayed at University Place Gallery 124 Mt. Auburn Street, Harvard Sq. I hope you can drop by the reception Wednesday, April 16, 4:30-6:30 pm.

How Thtylerbox_web copye River of Connectivity came to be: 1) Erin from CAA said University Place Gallery is really large, and wondered if the children’s work would fill it & invited me to include a piece.   2) I had a collection of beautiful parts that were too large for my usual work.   3) I had a source of large plywood from the dis assembly of The Asylum’s Veladrome.   4) I saw Tyler’s awesome phone booth and I invited him to collaborate. Thus my first collaborative, moving, large scale piece was born! Again I hope you will come to see its debut on April 16th. So exciting!! Here is a description  of the work.

Somerville Library Workshop: We made mobiles a February mobkids2editVacation Week workshop that was well attended by regulars and new folks including a group from the Elizabeth Peabody House. The instructions were to balance parts off hangers that were suspended across the room, but some kids liked the challenge of attaching the MOST stuff.

Up Coming: I am looking forward to participating in some Indy Craft Festivals( If you hear of any other please let me know.)  My first will be: CRAFTOPIA  on Sun. April 27th. It is being held at the Hope Artiste Village 1005 Main St, Pawtucket RI. It’s a wonderful day trip!

I will be updating my ETSY store MELSPLACE with all my new work soon!. Take a look and while you are there, please click on the FAV button- so I will come up in the search algorithm.

Workshops for all ages are available at the Artisan’s Asylum  (for over 18) and other locations. Parts and Crafts. Please contact me if you are interested! glick.melissa@gmail.com

Take care and thanks for your support!

Melissa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White House Maker Faire taking place in 2014

Hey Prez!!!Image

I have been working at the Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, MA for almost 2 years. Its an amazing place where I have been able to merge visual art with technology! I make “mosaics” by combining old computer parts with colorful collage made with recycled papers. When I work with children (and adults), I tell them to look at the parts like “tiles” in various colors, materials, shapes and sizes – to use in compositions. I know 101 (not literally) fun projects to make out of recycled computer parts! While we are doing “take apart” and using our imaginations, kids are seeing for the first time, the multitude of parts (screws, heatsink, hard drive, gears, motors, wires, processors, springs, stators, transformers, copper wire, fans….) that fit together like a puzzle to make your computer work!

It is a fun and inspiring activity, that I love to share with others. You can see examples of my and the work from workshops at my website, on my blog and at my etsy store!!!!

The engineers at the asylum usually think my work is weird, but when we have an open house and they see the hoards of kids, they are very impressed! Artists make great teachers…….engineers, not always! Check out my and the work of my students.

A Celebration of Electronics

When I first learned about the phone box project in Somerville, Ma, I immediately saw a vortex of motherboards, closing in from four

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sides….reminding me of the force and speed of technical advancement that has relegated the old telephone to a thing of the past…… Six months later I see this and I love love love it! For a split second there was a feeling like someone had stolen my idea, my thunder…. but when I read the description I saw how much….. knows about engineering and said things I didnt know how to say!

So I searched him out, and friended him AND he wrote me back!We have a tentative date to meet up to swap ideas! How great is that! I love Somerville and the Artisan’s Asylum.  I hope something can be done to insure they continue to exist! Somerville must plan ahead if they want to preserve the kind of community that supports and nurtures creative collaboration. Planning Board Link goes here.

Tyler Hutchison: A Celebration of Electronics

In our digital world, I feel it is important to remember and celebrate our analog electronics. While digital electronics offer convenient, neatly packaged chunks of information, our world is analog. Information arrives to our senses continuo

usly. Since our eyes and ears are imperfect sensors, digital electronics can model and mimic continuous information, but if our eyes were better, we could see the pixels or the 60 Hz refresh rate on a computer monitor. If our ears were better, we could hear the individual bits of an mp3. Analog electronics are necessary to interface with the world; they are in power chargers, cell phone antennas, satellites, defibrillators, pressure sensitive touch screens, microwaves, life support systems, cars, smoke alarms, heaters, stereos, somewhere within nearly every electronic we use daily. Analog electronics still deserve, and will continue to deserve, celebration.

In A Celebration of Electronics, the audience consists of transistors which are standing or using op amp and capacitor furniture to take in the show. Vacuum tubes take the center stage and play instruments for their adoring transistor fans. Capacitors and diodes make up the guitar, an ultrasonic transducers drum set keeps the beat, and the lead singer belts melodies into a resistor microphone. Six discrete LEDs above the stage provide concert lighting and the three headphone speakers make up the ‘large’ speaker box stage right. To unite all the components, several printed circuit boards (PCBs) serve as floor, stage, and backdrop.

A Beautiful Weekend in Boston

SATURDAY!!!!

Summer is a busy time for Artisan’s Asylum inmates who participate in communal participatory public art events.  Firefly , Figment  and Burning Man  are the kind of events where there are fire dancers, trance music, awesome fashion and body adornment. Some of the innovative creations involve computer programming, El wire and LEDs that glow at night. (As far as I know, since I have not attended either FF or BM yet.)

The exciting discovery of my weekend was riding my bike over the new bridge linking the new North Point Park to one in Charlestown. I have been waiting years 4 this to happen! With all the recent urban improvements, I honestly think Boston rivals Disneyland!  In addition to the amphibious vehicles (Duck Tours started here!), boat cruises, double-decker buses and Hubway bike rentals…..

IMAG0930the  multi billion dollar Big Dig project that submerged the expressway opened up access to the waterfront and created the mile Rose Kennedy Greenway.  Although more ambitious plans were never realized, (no great loss – who needs another museum?)  My favorite part of this amazing open space is the stream like water feature where people gather and dip their feet in cold refreshing water!

FIGMENT!!!!

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Traffic Cone Construction

I was welcomed to Figment with the song, Shake Down Street, band members perched on top of their truck….(I have not seen this since….Let it be Beatles, U2 concert in NYC Letters to Cleo in the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate about You)

Kids were tossing pink & blue  foam hoops onto B’s orange traffic cone stars. Jacob was displaying his awesome gaff tape SS.  Enterprise.

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Pink Dog

I was entranced by a dog made of neon chicken wire that not only had a sound track but looked otherworldly thru my Cell phone camera.

As I followed the path I came upon a circus tent like structure with an aerialist hanging from long red strands ala Cirque de Soleil, a place where I wrote a personal fear on a red piece of fabric to be pinned up on a line with hundreds of others.

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String Theory
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Asylum Guys

Then  I arrived at the installation of perfectly aligned rows of yellow strings suspended over head. The sensation of all those tiny strings flowing over my arms and face as I walked thru was very enjoyable and reminded me of the under-utilization of my sense of touch.

When I reached the grassy clearing where the techno djs were performing I had a seat and ate some Chinese broccoli I got from a food truck, soaking in the awesome vibe and realizing what a transformation has taken place in Boston.

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Butterfly Girl

I watched as the guys assemble the big suspended sculpture rotating & starting to glow, sculpture, I spied a winged garden fairy while the big shrouded figure in the mural looked on.

SUNDAY!

I took the opportunity of the courtyard sale being planned by my neighbors to try to sell some art.  I constructed a display mechanism using a metal coat rack I had found on the street years ago. It had been a long time since this captive had seen the light.

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Display Device

The Basement:  a story of passing time, family traditions and hoarding ….. or “Collecting and the Creative Mind.” This is one of my most important principles: If you save it, it will come in handy someday, and when that day comes!!! Eureka! You win!!

It was a long, humid morning with no sales until a lovey older woman did me the honor of purchasing my Black & White Burst Clock. It’s the one on the bottom left. I gave it to her for a bargain price, but by far the highest price paid for an item at the sale.  I am so happy she liked it and plans to hang it over her stove.

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Burst Clock

As I told her, the collage on the surface is made with three black & white patterns, 1. music notation, 2. a photo-shopped bar code like pattern and 3. an engineering diagram which my father drew dated 1979.  A round cornered frame is filled with small spherical black pieces…. and a digital clock is adhered onto a silver “sunburst-like” heat sink.

Thanks Guys it was Fun hanging out!!!

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Clinton St Neighbors

Disassembling Computers for Art and Fun

Some folks at the ArcWorks Community Art Center in Peabody, who organized the RePurpose show I participated in, thought taking apart computers would be a good project for some of their clients. Sal and Jim from the Heritage Industries came down to the Asylum for a visit, and after I described the procedure to them in detail, they also agreed and even had some candidates in mind. It turned out the the Art Center is run by Heritage Industries, but their primary objective is providing training and work to developmentally challenged adults.  They actually transport people to businesses who pay them to do appropriate tasks such as stuffing envelopes and doing yard work. When I explained that mine was not a money making enterprise, they thought I would have a good chance of having the project funded if I submitted a proposal. Here is what I wrote:

ImageI am writing to request that ARC to fund an individual to come to the Artisan’s Asylum at 10 Tyler St Somerville, MA to disassemble old computers and other discarded electronics to be used as art materials. This is a fun task that requires focus, curiosity and problem solving.  Specific parts are used for art making by myself and in workshops that I lead for people of all ages. I have hosted, Take Apart sessions which are very popular and enjoyed by young people, experienced engineers and computer scientists alike.  It is very intriguing to discover the wide variety of shapes, colors & materials of the components.

Although there are safety issues in regard to e-waste, this helper, nor any of my students are exposed to any of these dangerous conditions.

I will train and supervise this helper to use a power drill and determine which bit head to use to remove many little screws that hold the equipment together. The first step of the process is to locate screws. Then it is zip, zip, zip and we collect all the little screws that fall out. Next, belts are pulled out of sockets, clips are opened, springs are unattached to remove the heat sink, gears, hard drive, fan etc. etc.  At times wire cutters and chisels are used for leverage to remove the parts. We receive a wide variety of donated equipment, making  each one a unique puzzle to be solved. Doing this we gain an understanding of how things are put together and we also gain an appreciation for the people so far away, working on the assembly line who put them together.

I collect the parts with bold designs and abstract contours to use in mosaics and sculpture. We make necklaces, refrigerator magnets and sculptures. Creative possibilities are limitless when re-purposing these amazing materials that would otherwise be thrown out and destroyed. What I am doing has nothing at all with making profit. It is about making
physical arrangements that explore 2 and 3 dimensional abstract qualities. My work draws attention to the proliferation of obsolete equipment and the need to regulate its disposal.

Children love my workshops, and are amazed when they see what is inside the “box”.  Unwittingly they are also being introduced to the world of electronics and science.

As of this date, I have not received any response….

Notes
1.  Toxic acid baths and open-air burning of mercury used to recover valuable materials,
expose people to high levels of contaminants. When dumped in landfills, electronic equipment
decomposes and toxic chemicals leach into the land be released into the atmosphere. Over
time this causes serious public health and environmental impact.*
2. There are Phillips screw heads as well as hex and torque.
3. Combining unusual shapes and materials of the recycled parts with graphic elements in an
underlying collage creates a conversation between color, shapes and patterns.
4.  The rest is divided between 2 buckets one for metal which is then picked up to be recycled and the other is taken to Best Buy, where they recycle the rest. They have a great video about it.

5. $3.1 billion worth of the United States’ scrap materials was imported by China. 25,000 workers are employed at scrap yards in Delhi, India. 50-80% of waste collected FOR RECYCLING is illegally shipped to the Far East, India, Africa and China.
6. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that ~3/4 of the computers sold in the US end up in landfills, incinerators or exported to developing countries in Africa, India and Asia.*
7. Use computer parts as art materials in this fun multimedia project. In Hacker Junk Mosaics,kids make design choices, experiment with shapes, colors and patterns and explore the interaction of 3D and 2D materials while making an abstract work of art to hang on the wall.

June Activity

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Hacker Junk Art Trading Cards

Cambridge River Festival

Marina Seevak  www.TravelingArtCards.com invited me to join her at the age old Cambridge River Festival to try doing Hacker Junk Mosaics in their 2.5 x 3.5 trading card format, intended to make art less intimidating. It was a great success and amazing to see how much junk kids were able to glue on to that tiny piece of wood.

Although the overall festival was well attended, our table was pretty quiet. With so  much else going on, music, food, things to buy… I didn’t hand out many of the flyers I made up for my first workshop on Saturday, June 8th. Parts and Crafts, 577 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02144 http://www.partsandcrafts.org 410-967-5207 /contact@partsandcrafts.org

There was a beautiful breeze coming off the Charles river in the midst of a heat wave. First time ever, I saw kids jump off the Weeks Bridge into the water! I dont know if you know Cambridge, but that river is so polluted there has been no swimming in there since the 1950’s. It was great to see!

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Art Trading cards with Basquiat
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Display Case at the North Easton Library

Ames Free Library, North Easton!

53 Main St  North Easton, MA 02356 http://www.amesfreelibrary.org

North Easton (near Brockton)  is an architectural gem! They have 2 incredible Richardson Buildings right next to each other. Additionally, there is a formal garden and a mansion in the backyard!  Back in February, Uma and Jason left a note on my pegboard while they were attending the How to Make a Maker Space – inviting me to bring my work down to their library ….. 4 months later and here it is! Although its just one display case in the periodicals room of a library, I think it looks really good! The scale of the pieces fit perfectly on the 4 glass shelves. Using a variety of stands, I was able to get 13 pieces into the tall glass case.  The contrast between the beautiful old wood work and the Hacker aesthetic is pretty exciting. The wood work in the building is amazing – they could shoot films in there… there’s even a huge fireplace just across from the girl reading at the table.

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The Ames Free Library
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The beautiful garden inspired me to go home and work on mine.

At the Asylum

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Baby’s first dolly!

Finally got around to building a shelving unit on wheels to replace my wooden pallet at the Artisan’s Asylum.  I have pushed the limits of official use of the pallet area and Molly and Rob have laid down blue tape lines to define space.

Like John’s, I attached metal shelves 3/4″  board which is drilled down onto a 2″x6″ frame with wheels attached. The sweet Moroccan guy at Home Depot got it half right, but he cut the board too small. Luckily I found a replacement in the scrap pile! Cost of materials: $130. Now I have a parking space for my grocery cart. The goal is to have everything is on wheels. I’d love to get a space of my own but I would really miss being at the intersection of Jim, Gretchen and Emily.

Dont forget to visit my Etsy store and click on Fav!!!https://www.etsy.com/shop/Melsplace

Thanks

Melissa

SOS Somerville Open Studios

Although it was a long time in the planning and I pulled my SOS display together at the last minute. Took half a day off from work and totally reorganized my pallets where I store all my raw materials. I cleared out space and set up a little work area where I planned to spend the time productively. There we were at the corner of aisle 1 and 2. Jim Brendt showing his graphic novel… Gretchen’s white wall, looking very Newberry St gallery with her abstract metal sculpture and Seth’s concrete table. The four of us spent the hours representing our very different work to the visitors. Image

Visitors…. Obviously the first thing you think of are those who bought something. I will never forget, and each and everyone of you, mean so much to me. The girl who bought my first magnet, she said she liked the texture! But I didnt get her name. She paid in cash. Next Michael bought the hat. I thought I could get $50 at the Steampunk Festival, but since I decided not to do that event, I offered it to him for $25. It was perfect for him. He’s one of those guys who wears a baseball hat every single day. He said it Imagewas replacing his current hat which

was 5

years old. I hope this one lasts that long!

A couple purchased (the first) framed Animal Park print. They said they would put it in their hall, which needed color. The next print to go was destined for a little girl named Harriet’s room. Her mom took a photo of the 2 of us with the print. A 30 something yr old woman bought the first mosaic of the weekend. She was funny. First she wanted the clock, then it was Orange, but in the end she purchased “Prince” for $50. ImageShe said she liked the angular shape and the colorful, mishmash of pictures and objects.

Finally, one of the biker fleet got a 2 for $80 special deal on a small framed Pig and the Wall paper mosaic! Grand Total: $375!

Now I have the selling bug! I say, buy it, take it away so that I have room to make new work!!! Thank you for supporting my habit and closing the recycling circle!

April Fools Day Surprise

I sold my first two pieces off Etsy and it was NO joke! I am so so happy! I am over the moon! A guy from San Jose bought my Bauhaus and the Gear Clock. He said he’s opening a restaurant Imageand my work would fit well in Silicon Valley. The funny thing was, the Gear Clock was actually not even available. I was tempting fate by listing it for sale. I made that Gear Clock for my Secret Santa at the Artisan’s Asylum (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=528099703880529&set=pb.161850317172138.-2207520000.1365097449&type=3&theater).  But I whipped up another one, which was even better!  I thought I had learned the best method with the first one, but the 2nd one was a whole new struggle. NOW, hopefully the 3rd one will come easier.  The Gear Clocks are a combination of bike gears, motherboards with the cut out circle which many others have found to be the perfect size. (This  etsy guy sold 1000 of them!https://www.etsy.com/listing/117995468/circuit-board-alarm-clock-from-recycled?ref=usr_faveitems)  [Tangient google searching recycled computer art].

ImageBauhaus really pops! It is a small piece with a multi-level collage in blue and green. The story of this piece involves an image I cut out of a used Art History book 20 years ago….an image from one of my Dad’s old Scientific American magazines from the 70’s podged onto a large laminate sample from Home Depot and a big shiny copper inductor probably from a small hard drive. The similar colors of early modernism and the schematic gravitated together in the “pool” of my collection at the right place at the right time. I’m happy I could bring these 2 together and find them a new home all the way across the country in California…. Farewell my children be well!

Repurpose

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Blue Polaroid

Arc Works Community Art Center 22 Foster St Peabody, MA 01960

Opening Reception: April 25 4:30 – 7:30 – Dates: 4/18-5/31

Repurpose

Here in America, computers and electronics are everywhere. Imagine your day without motors. Already this morning, I have brushed my teeth, turned on the dishwasher, talked on my phone and now I’m typing on my computer. Inside of all these tools are a multitude of parts you never see. When I take things apart, I am amazed at the variety of unusual shapes, colors and materials that are combined to make things work.  I’m not an engineer or a scientist, so I don’t understand how energy is stored up in copper wires and how intermittent pulses cause changes in voltage.  Instead I see jagged edged plastic gears and shiny asymmetrical pieces of metal that call out to me to be reassembled into art.

It feels like technology was born just about the same time I was, and it has been growing like bacteria, exponentially ever since. Computers make everything move faster, technology is advancing faster, gadgets are getting smaller and faster. Clunky old monitors and computers, outdated stereos and cameras are thrown away like garbage.  We are drowning in E-waste!

In my mosaics, I focus on the abstract beauty of the parts. As I disassemble a PC, printer or scanner I think about the person who designed each piece to fulfill a specific purpose.  I envision the assembly line in the factory and the repetitive, mindless labor. I marvel at my luck and appreciation for the opportunity I have to use my imagination to see the beauty in these mass produced objects. For my desire (compulsion, need, calling) to transform them into works of art, that get people’s attention and make them think about all of these things too.

My work is a convergence of circumstances: a father’s pleasure in accumulating obsolete materials from Raytheon; an inherited disposition to seeing beauty and value in old, unwanted refuse; a belief and education in art as a valuable shared expression; and being in the right place at the right time for it to have meaning.