Knight Moves — black snowstorm waterglobe

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  May we present to you, the elusive double snow globe. Inside the glass globe, with a curious tower of metal and glass, a tiny chess piece waits, wearing blinders made of watch gears. Rising in the globe is a second clear tube, filled with shimmering crushed crystals which are black as coal. When the waterglobe is shaken, a storm of black dust swirls in the liquid, but a second storm occurs inside the clear tube as the denser black pieces come to life within.

On the exterior of the tube, a knowing face smiles serenely, never betraying the secrets inside.

Knight Moves snow globe

Time Warp distorted clockface water globe

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As Einstein said once, time is relative. He may have been talking about the physics of moving objects, but I think it applies to ripping open an envelope you’ve been waiting for with excitement, pacing the doctor’s waiting room, and to waiting in lines at an amusement park. It goes fast when you are having fun and slows down when you are waiting for something wonderful (or painful) to happen. Sometimes it seems minutes and hours just whiz by, and you don’t know where the time went. Anticipation, and fear, can make time feel warped and twisted.

“Time Warp” is a handmade liquid-filled snow globe with two clockfaces, back to back, and a few extra timepieces, including an hourglass thrown in for good measure. On the largest clockface, in front, tiny people figures ride the arms, count the minutes and wait. Time has warped and no longer has a point of reference for how much as passed. Instead of traditional snow, the liquid fills with a mixture of iridescent dust and silver numerals that have become separated from the clock, setting their own pace as they swirl and fall.

Perhaps one of these quotes applies to you:
“Time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time.” – Marthe Troly-Curtin.
“Let’s do the Time Warp again.” – Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Scavenger Hunt Airship – the dark “Snow” Globe

ImaginScavenger Hunt snow globeing details in a past that never was, great airships travel the skies, seeking adventure and fortune. But what do they leave in their wake?

As the moon will attest, explorers may leave a few items behind, the flotsam and jetsam, the tossed cargo, the unnecessary items shed in the rush to embark. This waterball (snow globe) is a snapshot of a mysterious scavenger airship carrying cargo wrapped tightly with chains. Recycle, re-purpose, re-use the refuse.

The patched and battered zeppelin floats slowly, thoughtfully, perhaps hovering while deciding whether to scavenge lost parts and useable items from the surface below. When the glass globe is shaken, the liquid is filled with a cloud of dark, smoky gray metallic powder, reminiscent of the heavy air in an industrial city. It’s hardly fair to call it a snow globe, when the world is full of sparkling mystery and dark opportunity.

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The waterball base is wrapped in space junk: gears and parts of machines, wheels and chains. Hand-engraved plate reads “Scavenger Hunt.”

Skating the Issue – custom snow globe

Skating the Issue custom snow globeSkating the Issue custom snow globeA tiny Ferris wheel contraption with four antique brass roller skates instead of seating is enclosed in a glass globe with shimmering liquid, for those who like endlessly “skating the issue,” steampunk-style. It may have wheels, but this curious invention is going nowhere on purpose.

Now I know that “skirting the issue” reminds me of when someone wraps around a banquet table, ostensibly to cover up anything the guests don’t need to see, a place to tuck your problems, wires, empty dishes, etc. behind the curtain.

But what is “skating the issue?” I imagine it’s when the issue is like a spot of cracked, thin ice, and one skates around it, but tries ever so hard to avoid it. That of course, would involve ice skates, and these are old-fashioned four-wheeled roller skates, so the analogy doesn’t work at all. This waterglobe (or snow globe or waterball, if you must) does exactly what it is supposed to do.

Skirting, skating. You choose.

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Airship Voyager Water Globe

Voyager Airship Snow Globe

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The funny thing about this snow globe is … I was trying to remake a particular favorite globe. It didn’t seem like such a big request, after all, I’d done it once before.

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So here is the globe I MEANT to re-make:

Airship Snow Globe

… and here is the globe I made instead. (I admit it: Not even close.)

On the other hand, sometimes the sequel IS better than the original. The biggest and most interesting difference (to me) is the attempt to weather the ship to show it had been places, seen things, survived adventures and come home to tell the tale. Paint and stain was used to indicate wear and tear, repairs and how the elements might affect an old airship through the years.

The original sculpture is tiny, as evidenced here before it was inserted into the glass globe and liquid. Yes, just over 2 inches.

Voyager Airship insert sculpture

When shaken, the snowglobe fills with glittering swirls of metallic (mainly gold) dust, which shimmers and floats very slowly to the base, creating an illusion of perhaps sailing in the clouds near sunset, or a world with industrial smoke and residue.

Detail of the waterglobe (snowglobe), showing the propellers on the nose of ship, followed by the tail view, as the ship sails off to a new adventure.

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.