September 19, 2014

Mechanical Treasures (II)

        As my children and I continue our mad steampunkery, imagining and creating cool assemblages of intriguing junk, I thought this was a good time to share some more incredible sculptures I’ve discovered on the internet.  Although not all either truly steampunk (or fantasy), these sculptures nevertheless have much in common, particularly the use of salvaged industrial-type materials and a mechanical look as of magical automatons.  Their scale ranges from fingertip-tiny to big-as-a-kid, and their materials range from watch gears to car parts, and bullets to circuit boards.  I absolutely love these things!
        The little grasshopper was made by Tom Hardwidge and I like its relative simplicity.  It’s got charm and the lovely gleam of all that brass and copper, and would make a great steampunk version of a good-luck cricket on the hearth.  I think using a bullet for its body (not live ammo, don’t worry) is a sort of sword into plowshare gesture.
        I can’t tell you much about artist Christian Champin or his camel Taj because he writes in French, which unfortunately I can’t read.  Some of his sculptures are quite monumentally large, and he uses not only nifty gears and well-shaped machine parts, but also random scraps of truly junky warped and rusted metal.  This marvelous camel is one of my favorites.
        I had to show this circuit board dragon because… well, because it’s a dragon, duh!  But actually the Blue Kraken workshop makes much more gorgeous jewelry, so I also had to show you this butterfly.  These pieces are not only beautiful jewelry, but they're drawing attention to the beauty in something ignored, usually hidden, and discarded without thought.  It’s hard to think of them as upcycled trash, but they are!  It’s a reminder to all of us to keep our eyes open.
        The next artist, Celia Smith, seems to make exclusively birds, and exclusively out of wire.  I don’t know whether all her wire is recycled, but certainly much of it is.  I have a big hank of old telephone wire down in the basement now, with all its different colors.  It’s tempting to start in doodling with it, pretending it’s pencil line and I’m scribbling… except that my scribbles wouldn’t capture the shape, movement, and 
personality of my subject the way Smith’s wire scribbles do!  I’m a lifelong dabbler, but I do admire the skill that comes from dedicating one’s work to a single, focussed goal.  (Besides, I certainly don’t need to begin yet another project right now!)
        And finally, two miniature masterpieces, a perfect steampunk fairy and dragon.  Sue Beatrice makes her tiny sculptures from watch parts.  (I featured her darling rabbit a while back.)  It must be so much fun to match the little random bits and pieces with their perfect part in each creation.  It must also be wonderful to have such a large collection of watch parts as to have all those varied bits to choose from!  The main question I’d love to ask the artist is how she connects the pieces so precisely.  Glue?  Screws?  Some sort of soldering or welding?  I have yet to find an ideal way to assemble my own much less elaborate creations.
        Are you inspired to appreciate the beauty in unvalued things?  To create a second life for something disposable?  To revel in the imagination where auto transmissions become camels and computers become dragons?  Are you inspired?

[Pictures: Roborthoptera spira aureum, assorted metal sculpture by Tom Hardwidge (Image from Arthrobots);
Taj, found metal assemblage by Christian Champin (Image from Christian Champin Chez);
Dragon brooch and Blue long wing butterfly necklace, mixed materials by the Blue Kraken (Image from the Blue Kraken);
Egret, wire sculpture by Celia Smith (Image from Celia Smith);
Steampunk fairy and pocket watch dragon, metal assemblages by Sue Beatrice (Images from All Natural Arts).]

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