Mechanical Dreams by Heather Miller |
Mechanical Dreams by Heather Miller

Title: Mechanical Dreams
Year: 2016
Size: Approx. 7″ diameter  x  .75″ deep

Mechanical Dreams was made using a repurposed metal gear, embroidery thread, spray paint, metal chain and variety of embellishments.

The Story:

Several years ago I bought a bunch of old gears off Ebay.  My intention was to create some higher quality Steampunk art (the steampunk community frowns upon merely glueing gears onto things).  Unfortunately, I didn’t stop to consider the requirements of actually using large metal gears.  Once I did, the gears just sat in a pile in the corner of my studio collecting dust.

In 2016 I finally decided I was either going to use them or give them away.  I decided to start with two to see if I could find any way to use them.  These were real gears that were removed from various machinery so they are thick, heavy, and had a good bit of rust and grease on them.  Cleaning & sanding them was no small task.  Once completed, I spray painted this one with a metallic copper Rustoleum paint.  Then I just kind of stared at it for a while.  It was cool, but there was still a problem of what to do with this large round object.

About 20 years ago I spent some time with a numerous people from various Native American tribes.  I was taught to create dreamcatchers.  I haven’t made one in nearly 20 years at this point and I certainly didn’t think I would create one using a gear.  But, the gear is not far removed from the brass rings I used to use so I decided to give it ago.

After it was woven, I decided to experiment with different embellishments.  That’s when I realized that I chose the wrong color of spray paint.  It was a good problem though as I wanted a different look & texture for the weaving.  I spray painted the entire gear, weaving included, with a hammered antique gold paint.

Drilling the holes for the chain was the next challenge.  I have a nice set of drill bits specifically for metal but I still managed to break one.  It took a LONG time to get through the metal.  From there it was a matter of decorating.

Will I do more of these?  Just one.  I sanded and painted 2 gears to experiment with.  The other will get a similar treatment & then I’ll likely give away the other gears.  I’m a bit sad at that thought, but considering how difficult drilling holes into them was, there isn’t much I can do with them.  Luckily I know some people who do ‘real’ steampunk art so I’m sure they’ll find some really amazing use for them.