It’s a Tesla Thing – waterglobe

I don’t know why I feel guilty, but I do: I had never heard of Nikola Tesla until years after I graduated college. How can that be? How does one learn that Ben Franklin invented electricity, Marconi invented the radio, and Thomas Edison invented the electric lightbulb and apparently everything else? Not a word about anyone else’s contributions.

Until one day, I asked someone to give me ideas for a gift and he wanted an out of print Tesla book. A what? Who?

And so my education began. Once upon a time, there was a brilliant man named Nikola Tesla …

Not only have I read up a bit (not everything of course, and I don’t understand all that I HAVE read) on this fascinating, under-appreciated and important man, but I have also begun to appreciate Tesla’s scientific work for its artistic quality as well as his contributions to our life today and for the future. There is so much balance and excitement and energy (no pun intended) in the devices he created and used.

So I have created several snowglobes with Tesla themes, often using the Tesla coil as a starting point to develop a tiny sculpture. This is one of the waterglobes with a Tesla coil – liberties taken – enclosed inside.

Recently, someone asked me what I was working on in my studio these days, and I said casually, “Oh, it’s a Tesla thing.” And my friend said “what? who?” and I realized it was my turn to tell someone else what we had missed in school.  And so, this globe was named.

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If you’d like to comment, please use the box below. If you’d like to tell me that Ben Franklin didn’t invent electricity, that’s cool, too.

Point of View (snowglobe)

Point of View  is a one of a kind custom snow globe with a nod to the drawings of M.C. Escher — only it’s in 3-D.

While Escher used carefully drawn angles and tricks with perspective to create impossible structures in which people marched endlessly — defying gravity — in a snow globe, I realized an artist has no limitations imposed by the laws of physics. The impossible becomes reality. When you make art, you can make your own rules.

On a tiny custom staircase, determined human figures march upward, downward, sideways and in their own plane and space; if you turn the globe upside down, or on its side, you’ll see the tiny world from a different “Point of View.” One lone gentleman sits atop his staircase, perhaps pondering which way to go.

The one-of-a-kind snow globe is finished with an engraved plate (black over brass) and the title, affixed to the black base. When shaken, a light shimmer of gold dust changes the scene, and settles again, outlining the planes and edges of each stair.

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Leave a comment and let us know your perspective on “Point of View.”

That’s just so … cool!

Tesla Coil model in snowglobe

It’s been a crazy May and starting out to be a crazy/fun June. I am starting to see signs that July could be off the charts.

Time to take a moment and thank a few folks for recent mentions in columns and blogs, or for otherwise assisting Camryn Forrest Designs in getting the snowglobe artwork out to be seen by people who might enjoy it.

Here are some recent mentions and features on the snowglobes I enjoy making:

If It’s Hip, It’s Here

I heard from many readers of this site, who discovered my artwork through “If it’s hip, it’s here …”   Very fun!

Illuminati Watcher

Note: You called my steampunk snowglobes “badass” and I thought it was great!

The Trend Hunter (

Thanks for the feature article and all the great photos!

Clockwork Alchemy ( part of Fanime (

Thanks to all the jury members who agreed that snow globes were art, and invited me into the Clockwork Alchemy show. Special shout-out to Sandra Forrer, who ran the artists bazaar and was absolutely incredible about communicating with all of us. Bravo! (And she has the most amazing steampunk wardrobe, as well. Color me jealous: a new outfit every day for four days, including steampunk belly dancer.)

Epbot ( Geekery, Girliness and Goofing Off

Many thanks for including Camryn Forrest Designs in your Saturday Steam section. As a fan of Epbot, it was a huge thrill to see my work on your site!  Double thanks for the unrelated “how to create a patina” tutorial that I found useful for a particular project. Your timing was impeccable.

Tampa Steampunk

I’m just awed that you found my globes! Hope I can get out to a Tampa-area con in the future.

In the meantime, all of you ROCK!  Keep on shaking!


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Love … It’s Complicated

I was working on this snow globe, with a beautiful iridescent heart, bouncing on a tightly coiled brass wire spring, and all kinds of tiny machinery holding it together: connecting this side to that side, propping it up and keeping it in place, building a fence to protect and support the strong but breakable glass heart.

During this marathon workshop time I reached a stopping point, and I went out to have an iced coffee with a friend. I described the snow globe to her in detail, saying that I couldn’t decide between calling it “Love – It’s Not That Hard” and “Love – It’s Complicated.”

She looked at me like I was a little nuts and said firmly, “Love … It’s Complicated.

And so this snow globe was named.

Love may be complicated sometimes, but it sure is a wonderful and beautiful thing. A little steampunk pizazz, maybe a little lop-sided just like real life.  Sometimes when things are shaken up, it’s even prettier in the chaos, and when the dust settles, you can see everything clearly. True in snow globes, true in real life.

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Circular Logic steampunk snow globe

One definition of Circular Logic is restating your premise in a different way and thinking it’s the answer … and after a lot of trial and error, this is certainly true of this piece. It appears to go round and round, but always begins and ends in the same place it started. The conclusion is the same as the premise.

I got a little obsessed making this tiny curious invention, with all its layers of machinery. When I was working on it, I had to set an alarm to remind me to leave the workshop, stretch my legs, eat something. I even set an alarm to prompt when it was time to go to sleep. But I’d be in the middle of making some connection, or finding the perfect component, and I’d reset the alarm for another hour, then another. It was the opposite of the snooze button, wanting to stay awake and see the gears evolve, how the connections worked, spin the tiny wheel.

As you can see from the photo, the finished sculpture was about two inches wide, and less than 3 inches tall when finished.

Placed inside the four-inch glass globe and magnified with liquid and shakeable metallic dust, the tiny assemblage looks larger. The base of the waterglobe is wrapped in leather, and finished with an assemblage of gears and levers, along with an engraved plate proclaiming “Circular Logic.”

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A Little Money

Recently, an artist friend said to me, “I just want to make a little money.”

The idea for this custom waterglobe / snow globe took that comment literally. There’s a tiny cash register, with steampunk detailing in the brass bands and tiny hardware, gear-tipped register handle, and tiny people sitting, standing and resting on the machine. But when you shake this globe, not only is there metallic glitter, but there are tiny dollar signs and tiny dollar bills swirling in the liquid when shaken.

Because, you know, it’s fun to make a little money.

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