Patricia Rogers is accustomed to re-purposing a variety of found objects to create accessories for the costumes she dreams up. She isn’t, however, accustomed to the kind of stir she created when she showed up at the Santa Fe Recycled Art Show wearing her latest piece.
The piece is made using the entire striker mechanism from an old typewriter—circa 1930 (you know, the kind that weighed about as much as a Volkswagen and were just about as big).
Walking down the street, sitting in restaurants, even in the ladies’ room, Patricia was approached over and over by folks who couldn’t believe their eyes. “Wow,” they would say, “That piece is incredible!” “I felt like a rock star,” Patricia says, “people were taking my picture, dragging their friends over to see, apologizing for staring, and showering the necklace with praise.” One woman, who turned out to be an artist who sells jewelry made from typewriter key buttons, took one look and gasped, “Where were you 300 typewriters ago?” She had sent all of her typewriters (once relieved of their keys) to a metal recycler. All that lost potential!
Born on Halloween night to a mother whose hobby was the theater, Patricia was a natural at costume-making. And it was so often impossible to find just the right jewelry and accessories to complement the costumes she designed. Her solution? Simple. She made her own. A fascination with Victorian style and an appreciation for the incredibly fine machining so typical of the early industrial age drew her irresistibly toward the pieces from that era. In these pieces, long, painstaking hours of design and craft were required to produce the wheels, gears, sprockets and springs that fit intricately together to run mechanical devices of all kinds.
Treasured now for their inherent beauty and craftsmanship as much as for their ability to run machinery, artifacts from that bygone era are being given new life—this time at center stage, not behind the scenes. Even non-functioning components are valued. Patricia made the necklace below using several old watches that no longer work. The watches make delightful focal points in the overall design.
Although much of this style is referred to as ‘recycled art,’ the term doesn’t even begin to describe the attention to detail and the sheer fun that these designs offer. As Patricia says, “The whole genre is fabulous. The only problem? You can never throw anything away! It could be art.”
Makes us wonder . . . what exciting things have you designed using found objects or recycled bits of this and that? What have you tossed out that you now wish you hadn’t? Let us know!