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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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

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.