Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Built to Last?

Every day it seems I think of yet another formerly ubiquitous item that is being replaced by the new technology.  Today's item - watches.

Now, you may say to yourself, "Hmm....I wouldn't necessarily call watches "ephemeral".  And it used to be that you'd be right!  But nowadays, unless you have a $2500 Patek Phillipe or an heirloom that you feel you must maintain, old gear-based watches wind up (no pun intended) being relegated to the junk drawer or scrapped for parts.

I discovered watch parts completely by accident about 12 years ago, when my first husby and I were at an auction.  There was this AMAZING pile of watch parts from a former watch repair shop that no one was bidding on.  If you've ever been to an auction, you know this is prime time to get something for REAL cheap.  He was about to give up when Dan shouts out, "One hundred!"  Yep.  As in ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS.  As in, I was so mad at him I walked five miles home because I couldn't even look at him.  We didn't exactly have a hundred bucks to blow on watch parts back then, but I think what cheesed me off even more was that we could've gotten them for so much cheaper!  (Years later, when retelling the story, we would always end up in hysterical laughter.  It IS pretty funny).

Imagine my delight when, about 5 years ago, I discovered that you could get a nice handful of parts for only a couple of bucks.  That's more like it.  :D

If you're a collagist, you know how totally fun those parts can be!  As you can see from the photo above, there are some super tiny parts that work perfectly for embellishments!  Tiny gears, watch faces, springs, face glass, minute- and second-hands - they all lend a very "industrial" feel to a piece.  People who love the Steampunk genre already know how great watch parts are, especially the gears.

I love creating "steampunk-y" art too!  In fact (shameless plug alert) I just found out last Friday that three of my pieces will be featured in this awesome book, "1000 Steampunk Creations", coming out this July.  I nearly plotzed when I got the e-mail - I've never been published in a book before!  I submitted my work quite a while ago but never thought that they'd actually be included.  It is such an honor, and I am still flummoxed!  I do have to thank Barbe St. John for all of her help with the submissions - she walked me through the process and if it weren't for her kindness and amazing patience I don't know if I would've gone through with it (how wonderful to have helper-saints like her when you're a Newbie!).

Here is a steampunk-y card I made a couple of years ago (this one's not in the book) - SO fun to do!

If you've never worked with watch parts before, try it out!  It's a very small cost at the outset and who knows where those little gears will take you - you may even land in a book someday!  :D



  1. Congrats on getting published! I can say I knew her when....

  2. Ha ha ha - thanks Laura! :D I'll remember you "little people" when I make the big time (of course I'm TOTALLY kidding!). :D

  3. Oh, thank you Laura! :D I'm pretty excited about that. :D