Where do you get your parts?

Melissa Glick, Hacker Creations

This is the most common question I am asked at craft shows.  Here are some of the more interesting origins.

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I once received a box of working clock inserts in the mail. The return address was from Malden but I did not recognize/remember who it was from. They have roman numerals but take an unusual battery. Thank you to my donor!

My childhood friend was clearing out her house to be sold and bequeathed upon me her family’s first PC. It was an IBM from 1987. I remember watching Karen annihilate aliens on a tiny 5″x7″ monitor.

At a crowded Flea market a gentleman told me he had some printed circuit boards. We met at a cafe and he gave me 2 boxes of green, shiny as new boards of all sizes. These are samples he said. Let me know if you want more.

 

July 6/17 I saw a black box on the side of the street the other day…. I thought about picking it up but I walked by. Then next day, it was still there, so I took a closer look. It was a 5 disc CD player. So I grabbed it and put it in the back of my car.  I opened it up and found a piece resembling a huge black plastic throwing star. I’ve  opened one of these before, but it did not have this design. I was most interested in the black plastic pieces, I photographed against a green background.

I started off making Joseph Cornell-like boxes using the things my father had saved in the dungeon of my childhood home. The house I grew up in was being emptied out to be sold.  Examples of my oldest work.

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Fellow Artisan’s Asylum members offer me their cruft, (left over parts of unfinished projects, surplus materials.)  Generally happy to see them being put into some kind of use, even if it isn’t electronic.

Once after doing a workshop at an after school in Southie, I was “paid” with a tower of PC’s they were upgrading from. Stacked, they were as talk as me.

My 100 sq foot studio is packed with components that need to be taken apart. At Open Studios a visitor said, entering my studio “is like entering another world, there is so much going on.”

Sometimes when I am offered parts, I take them, even if they are nothing special because I am grateful they think of me and for their act of generosity. I am also grateful for the time the other members give to me when they answer my questions. Although they often go into more detail that I need.

 

Melissa Glick has been an inmate at the Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, MA since 2012. She grew up in a home where recycling and saving cool looking things was the norm. She studied Art History at SUNY Purchase and got a masters in art education at Mass College of Art.

 

 

 

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Boston Handmade New Member Transforms Debris into Detris

atmitflea500BH: Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).

MG: Hi, I’m Melissa Glick, I live in Central Sq Cambridge with my ltbf Sean and work out of the Artisan’s Asylum (huge maker space) in Union Sq Somerville. I have been involved with the Nave and Nave Annex, www.navegallery.org two all volunteer run galleries in Somerville for over 10 years.

BH: What is your background? (family background, education, former/current day jobs)

I am a youngest child. Grew up in Lexington and studied Art History at SUNY Purchase and at The American College & Parsons in Paris. I have a masters in Art Education from Mass College of Art. I didn’t have the temperament to be a school teacher so instead I managed educational programs at cultural institutions including: Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, Arts in Progress, The Boston Public Schools, Mass Alliance for Arts Education, Boston Ballet, ICA and The Museum of Fine Arts. My grandfather went to Cooper Union and my sister inherited the sewing talent and makes costumes.

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BH: How long have you been doing your artwork/craft?

I’ve been doing Hacker Junk Creation for almost 3 years. Previously I did photography. I learned to work in the dark room in high school. I was an early adopter of the digital medium and spent many hours experimenting with Photoshop. I may not know how a computer does it’s magic, but I sure know how to take them apart!

BH: Describe your work.

I transform old computer parts and recycled paper into assemblages, mosaics, tiles and clocks. I play with pattern, perspective and illusion by combining a plethora of 3D abstract shapes, colors and materials found in e-waste with 2D imagery from my personal collection of cultural relics.

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BH: Please describe your creative process (how, when, materials, etc).

When I took apart my first computer I was amazed to find so many unusual abstract shapes made of many kinds of materials in many beautiful colors. I was immediately reminded of some of my favorite artists, Bauhaus, Louis Nevelson, Mondrain. Along the way I have learned techniques for attaching and manipulating the materials involving lots of tools, woodworking and recently 3D design software and the CNC Router. My work is about visual connections, playing with shapes, patterns and composition.

BH: What are your favorite materials?

What’s not to love about a shiny hard drive platter that makes a beautiful tone when you tap it? Stators look like snowflakes and come in original copper, blue, green and even red. I especially love the tiny little bushings and other connectors with geometric cut outs.

3rdclock500BH: What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?

I studied Art History and have amassed a collection of images of art and other graphics that attract my eye. Its an alchemy of bringing together obsolete mechanical parts with the line and color of beautiful images. The first time I saw the plastic sheet under a key board I immediately thought of Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie-Woogie. By incorporating reproductions of works of art I am giving them new life and reinterpreting them in my unique manner.

BH: How do you promote your work?

Open studios at the Asylum brings over 300 people in. We also host other events where people can see my work displayed by my space. Being involved with the Nave Gallery provides exhibition opportunities and keeps me in touch with the community where I learn about new projects to get involved in. The Somerville Arts Council www.somervilleartscouncil.org supports the artist community by producing many wonderful events and projects to get involved with. I have a website at: Melissasglick.com.

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BH: What’s your most interesting fair/show experience?

The Trash Bash! This was the 2nd year 3 Graces Productions put on the event. Artists who work with recycled materials get to display and the audience votes for their favorite piece in many categories. There are bands and information about recycling. These are my people!

BH: Why should people buy handmade?

Something handmade has a unique quality and is endowed with the spirit of it’s maker. Being creative and making the world around us more beautiful is a very valuable skill.

BH: How long have you been involved with Etsy and what have your experiences been?

I opened my store in 2008 but never really used it until 2012. I have sold 2/3’s of my work to people in San Francisco, which is totally awesome. I have watched some videos about marketing and love the whole international craft marketplace economy phenomenon, but I wouldn’t consider my experience to be a success. My Etsy shop is called Melsplace, come visit!

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BH: Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites

MG:  Websites: http://beautifuldecay.com, www.lostateminor.com, whatshouldireadnext.com, www.thisiscolossal.com, www.sca-roadside.org, www.instructables.com

Movies: Amelie, Roman Holiday, Big Fish, Almost Famous, Train Spotting, Usual Suspects, City of God, Black Swan, Borat, Moonrise Kingdom, School of Rock, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Break Back Mountain, Blood Simple.

Songs: Regina Specktor: Eet, Dylan: Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Bruce Springsteen: Thunder Road, Decemberists: Cinnamon

Books:Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern, Traveling with Pomegranates SM Kidd & AK Taylor, People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks, Song of Chameleons, Truman Capote

BH: Is there anything about you that would surprise people to know?

I was an extra in the Martin Scorsese film The Departed. You can see me just over Martin Sheen’s left shoulder as he exits the South Station T station.