Monday, May 30, 2011

Funky Finds: Recycled Keyboard Shoulder Purse

I'm adding another new section here at Beyond the Junkpile. Short and sweet, "Funky Finds" will be just that. A quick hit of something new and cool in the world of recycled accessories and uber awesome junk.

Today's Funky Find: Recycled Keyboard Shoulder Purse @ Perpetual Kid

And if that's not cool enough, check out the matching keyboard clutch and accessory box.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cool Computer Junk

When I started taking apart computer hardware like hard disk drives and DVD ROMs to make jewellery for SleeplessStoryteller, I quickly started to wonder why so few people were doing it. After all, watch part jewellery has become quite popular, and I think for the same reason. The aesthetic of the mechanical is generally appealing to me, whether those moving parts are new, old, or somewhere in between.

I think one of the elements that makes computer parts different is that many people don't automatically know what they're looking at. If I pull a wheel or gear from a pocket watch, you might not be able to name it with an industry-specific term, but you'd know you're looking at a gear, wheel, plate, or related piece. This general recognition is not necessarily in place for computer parts.

So I'm sharing diagrams and part pictures of what I feel are the most visually interesting computer parts I use for jewellery design. In addition to using these for Sleepless designs, they're also offered as supply items at Beyond Junk.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Crafty Profiles: Clone Hardware

It's no secret I love salvaging computer parts for their shiny bits and intricate circuitry patters. So does Alisa Burton, owner and designer of Clone Hardware. There aren't a great many of us out there, so I'm excited to bring you my next Crafty Profile of her striking creations.

Shop: Clone Hardware
Goods: industrial and steampunk style modern computer part jewellery

Beyond Junk:
How did you get started designing jewellery? What drew you to working with computer parts?

Clone Hardware:

I've never been much into traditional jewelry. It wasn't until I stumbled over a box of broken computer parts that I started making e-waste earrings, necklaces & cuff bracelets. The majority of the jewelry I create is made from salvaged computers and electronics, some is surplus/unused parts. Each set of earrings, necklace, pendant and bracelet is one of a kind. I specialize in kick ass industrial, ultra cool steampunk, super spiffy pretty and simply modern hardware.

Beyond Junk:
Are there any unique challenges in working with computer parts?

Clone Hardware:
There is the obvious challenge of supply - however, I am lucky enough to be associated with a responsible North American E-waste recycler and many of my customers often donate their broken or obsolete tech. Beyond that I spend a lot of time ensuring that the parts I use for the jewelry I make are safe, lead free and non toxic.

Many people are unaware of how outstandingly colorful & uniquely pretty electronic components and circuit boards can be. Getting people past their initial bias about computers is a challenge I face at each event and online as well.

My jewelry isn't solely for geeks or eco-minded people. The average US home has 3 computers. 90% of people in US work with a computer on a daily basis. Doesn't that make us all geeks (at least a little)?

Beyond Junk:
Do you see your work as a recycling project? If so, how?

Clone Hardware:
Absolutely! Much of North America is not responsible with the electronics they dispose of. If there is not a recycler or you city doesn't recycle tech - my hope is to turn all the amazing components, circuit boards and wire into something unique and lasting. Fun jewelry and geeky accessories that are a real conversation starter. About both geek chic style recycling.

Beyond Junk:
Tell us a bit about your plans for Clone Hardware.

Clone Hardware:
I really hope to expand my business in the coming year as well as add more of a unisex or mens-specific line. The amazing community of Geek Girls has been so supportive and I want to include more ways for them to enjoy the jewelry and accessories I make. More than that I want to educate people about the importance of responsible recycling of these electronic components.

Here's a small sampling of Alisa's delightful work:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring Vintage Finds

Beyond Junk carries a selection of vintage items, not because they're recycled, but to make use of things we've already made. The idea is to avoid consuming new material and creating more demand for manufacturing. The charming aesthetic of these pieces is just a bonus!

This month's vintage additions to the shop include plastic flowers, brass chain, typeface pieces, coins, and alarm clock plates. Enjoy!