Variations on a Theme: Cambridge Community Supported Art Share

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Pop Up at 2016 River Festival

When I first learned about the Community Supported Art Share, I thought, there was no way I could make 50 pieces by a deadline.  But once I realized I had no other plans, I took on the challenge and I am so happy I did. Since agreeing I have met some wonderful new colleagues, participated in the Cambridge River Festival, attended a photography workshop, a swanky cocktail party in Kendall Sq and have started getting my Instagram pictures liked by members of the Cambridge Arts Council.

I call my work Hacker Creations, because a hacker is someone who takes things a part and puts them back together in new and interesting ways.  I combine 2D color and pattern with 3D computer parts in compositions that are lively, decorative and fun. My work contains a child-like sensibility of experimentation and “seeing beauty in unusual places” and has been described as being “structural poetry”.

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Victorian Girls, 2014

Whether it is copper that conducts electricity or glass that insulates the design and material of all technological components is determined in order to do a job. My creative impulse is stimulated by the multitude of variations. Intuitively, I want to arrange them into eye catching ways- employing positive and negative space, mirroring, repetition, scale and pattern.  I create interaction using contrast- black against white, round against square, small pattern against… whatever seems to make it pop!

My creative process is one of experimentation and discovery! We all know the role serendipity plays in discovery!  I have experimented with size in pieces measuring 5 ft x 4 ft made from multiple sheets of wood hung together. I have powered moving gears and fans using batteries and inserted working clocks early on – as in my Victorian Girls. I produce unusual earrings and necklaces and a line of “Steampunk” inspired work including broaches that adorn bowler hats.

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The Inspiration

The piece that inspired my Art Share series came about organically and turned out to be perfect for this project because it provided a framework of limited elements that could be fulfilled in unlimited ways. Composed within a black & gold, 5″x 7″ thrift store frame, it has a pallet of black, white, silver & gold and contains a clock face.

I once read some where, you have to go to the studio every day, not because you will be inspired every day, but you have to be in the right place, when it reveals itself. So I began to assemble the parts I needed. I became focused on collecting small picture frames at the thrift store I routinely visited. I made a special trip to an antique store in Waltham, MA to see their inventory of old watches. I purchased supplies off ebay for the first time (porcelain faces with Roman numerals), and explored the Jewelry Building on Washington Street.

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The system

I began taking the necessary steps of painting frames, cutting wood, adhering backgrounds. Being organized and having all the parts is all well and good, but that is not how art is made. I know that when my hands working, that part of my brain, that always distracts me with ideas… starts begging for attention. When I’m cleaning up the studio and sorting thru parts, it says “that one, that’s the piece you need” or “that one reminds me of the swirly pattern.”

So yes, the Community Art Share program has given me a wonderful, challenging learning opportunity which has made me realize and try many new things from organization and systems to making pieces marketable.  – Perhaps inserting my nontraditional technique into a conventional frame, as well as the diminutive size will be something people would like to buy? – It has certainly shown me how to mass produce a product which I plan to offer the shops that carry my work. I have 105 more days to complete this project and I am sure to make many more new discoveries. Since I have no idea what will transpire. I can only plan, prepare and keep at it.

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Make it Pop!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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!

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http://www.whitestripes.com/

“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?