steambot drops

Steambot Drops (vintage radio vacuum tubes, brass, copper, vintage beads, leather)

Steambot Drops (vintage radio vacuum tubes, brass, copper, vintage beads, leather)


Steambot Drops (vintage radio vacuum tubes, brass, copper, vintage beads, leather)

In 2010, I co-curated Steambot with Cable Griffith. It was an exhibition at the Kirkland Art Center featuring artwork that combined both current and Industrial Age technologies. With generous funding from 4Culture, Steambot became an incubator, a collaboratory, a fablab, an heritage archives and a virtual community hub. Through a juried process, 5 artists (Rusty Oliver, Pat Gallagher, Rebecca Cummins, Randy Moss and Simon Winder) were chosen and the seven of us spent the better part of a year working together  exploring ideas around industrial heritage, technological advances, craftsmanship and collective authorship. The result…a steam engine generating powerful, poignant and whimsical site specific works of art that speak to place, partnership and possibility.

Steambots: R. Moss, S. Winder, R. Cummins, Pat Gallagher, R. Oliver,  C. Griffith and G. Tremblay

First Steambot meeting at the Hazard Factory, 2010

In the spirit of Steambot and Steampunk, I created special necklaces for each of us to wear on opening night of the exhibition. Simon had some small, vintage radio vacuum tubes he let me use and I created each piece with the aesthetic of each artist in mind. We wore them to the opening and needless to say, were easily identified as the Steambots.  Here they are…made from all kinds of found industrial materials…brass, copper chain, vintage beads, glass, leather, etc…

silver leafed botdrops (in process)The exhibit was a success…but the real success was in spending creative time and collaborative energy with such an amazing group of thoughtful makers. I’m still in touch with all the Steambots, who are each onto more amazing feats. Simon tagged up with me a few weeks ago to share his cool new iPad app he developed called Treecrafter…(check it out!). I asked him to bring along some more vacuum tubes so  I could make more “bot drops”.

Here is one of my favorite shots from the opening…exhibit attendees playing with “Velotrope”, a piece by Rebecca Cummins and Rusty Oliver.

Velotrope, by Rebecca Cummins/Rusty Oliver, 2010

Velotrope, by Rebecca Cummins/Rusty Oliver, 2010


hugo pendants for reel grrls

 My sister and I took my son Kirk to see the movie Hugo not too long ago. What fantastic imagery in that movie…loved it! Then, a few weeks later, Kirk and I were browsing at the Mercer Island Thrift store and spotted an antique, Vienna pendulum clock. It was broken…and in a box with some of it’s pieces and parts…$15! I told him we could take it apart and maybe find some cool pieces inside to make jewelry out of…so we did just that.

My little Hugo meticulously took the clock apart…handing me one spectacular brass piece of hardware after the other. It was a school night, but we stayed up working. He told me that night that “it was the most fun thing he had EVER done”. These are 2 necklaces I made from some of the gears from the clock. I gave one of them to my friend Robin Held…as a “thank you for being such a cultural force in our community” gift, as she recently left her position at the Frye Art Museum to take the helm of Reel Grrls, a Seattle non profit dedicated to empowering young women to realize their power, talent and influence through film and media production. The other I gave to my long-time friend, collaborator, and mentor, Sandy Cioffi, is a Seattle-based film director/producer (Sweet Crude). She too, is a cultural, community, educational, needless to say, political force to be reckoned with here in Seattle. She celebrated her 50th this year, so my clock parts resembling film reels, seemed perfect for the occasion. How lucky I am to have these very real, reel girls in my life.