Nerd Chic

Lets start with a confession: The pendant I’m talking about in this post is crude and unfinished. I mean, it’s done, it’s just rough. I’m telling myself it’s more like a rustic stew full of large chunks of vegetables served with a hunk of bread torn from the fresh loaf than a light, dainty creamed soup served in an interestingly shaped modern bowl with a fancy swirl of crème fraiche. That is partly true, but the other half of the truth is that this is my first experiment in the realm of recycling computer parts into jewelry. There are a few techniques that are new to me, a few that I’m making up as I go, and all in all I think it came out fairly pretty with that considered. Nothing exploded in the process of making it either, which is a small miracle and cause for celebration in its own right.

Most of the above pendant started out as pieces of a broken computer. The idea for this came in to my head when my laptop’s keyboard kicked the bucket. I paid an utterly unreasonable amount to have some people-who-shall-remain-nameless-but-often-drive-around-in-VW-bugs-with-their-logo-on-the-side fix it, and when they finally did so (after many, many weeks, I might add), they returned the defunct keyboard to me like I was going to be able to do something with it. It turned out they weren’t so far off, because just having the thing meant I had to rip it apart down to its smallest components. Those components are actually rather pretty.

Then for a long time I did nothing with it. The idea was there, almost exactly like this pendant in my head, but the motivation was not. That is, until two more dead keyboards found their way to me via a garage raid. Now I had so much material I couldn’t just tuck it under the coffee table and forget about it.

I love a lot of the concepts behind this project – for one, I’m recycling, which I’m always for. I’m also exposing the inner workings of a computer component that most people don’t ever really see, and finding that they are actually rather beautiful.

The backing of the pendant is the metal bottom plate of the keyboard (which is inside of the plastic case you see, if it’s an external keyboard). On top of that is the clear plastic sheet with lines and dots on it that makes up the next layer in a keyboard and which probably does something fancy like make pressing the keys work, but I’m not smart or educated enough to really know. All I know is that it’s pretty.

To give the whole thing some rigidity and durability, this assembly is covered in clear resin – and to hold in that resin, I bent copper wire around the edges and used it to make a shallow cup. Essentially what I’m saying is I made a lazy brilliant bezel setting. Sort of. It leaked resin while it was curing (did I mention this was my first time using resin and I didn’t really know what I was doing anyway?), making an uneven layer across the back which was easy enough to sand off but left that part with a rough texture. Neat looking, but it made extra work and was not the best way to do things.

I do plan to make a lot more of these though. Not exactly like this – I’ll probably vary the shapes, make some pendants or earrings or beads, and refine the technique so they’re cleaner and neater in the future. Some will probably be made with other parts of dead computers (I’m looking at you, pretty blue plastic being used as the stand in the above photo). It’s an unrefined start, but an exciting one.

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~ by maramas on July 8, 2011.

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