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.



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.

autobox2 copy


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.





Hacker Pearly Hats

I am generally not interested in creating identifiable objects such as animals or characters in my work (although the suggestion is often offered). There are many artists who do amazing work in that style (Paul Gray). It’s just not what I do with ONE exception.

When I disassemble a hard drive or cd reader, I break it down to the tiniest of parts. I sort them by color: sliver, black, white, brown, copper. I group them by shape: springs, squares, circles, zigzag.  I must admit I was pretty giddy when I discovered a zoo of tiny animals including penguins, giraffes, camels and some little guys I call space men.


Hacker Pearly Hats

Seeing all the shiny silver shapes against a black background reminded me of one of my favorite photos of the White Stripes in amazing button covered suites. I remembered seeing suits like these a long time ago as a child and thought it had something to do with London. Once I googled it, that thrilling curiosity, itchy feeling of needing to know and solve the mystery was satisfied!  Cockney Pearlies!


“The “pearlies” have their origins a century ago in a street sweeper named Henry Croft, who adapted the button-festooned clot hes worn by London costermongers — apple-sellers….”  

That is how the hats were started. By calling them Hacker Pearlies, I hope other curious folk will learn about this beautiful creative tradition. I can now add Pearlies to the collection of my Assemblage Aesthetic influences.

When I asked my teenage neighbors to model the Hacker Pearlies, their reaction was very encouraging. “Awesome, I love this one! You should sell these…..I wish I had some money!”  So…. if I sell two hats, I will give one to her! I love making them!

Each piece is individually sewn and knotted using a nylon coated wire used for jewelry making. I can make one especially for you! You pick the hat color, the size, color or even type of parts you’d like. The durability of the hat has been thoroughly tested. (Thanks Michael!) If you have any questions about these Hacker Pearly Hats please contact me!

Please visit MELSPLACE   Be a luv and give us a fav, will ya?