Remnants of Tesla

Nobody really knows what Nikola Tesla would have been capable of, if he’d somehow had the unlimited resources and scientific support needed to research, test and implement all the off-the-wall ideas bouncing around in his mind. As it is, we only have glimpses of his potential, and the ability to imagine what might have been.

Remnants_of_Tesla snowglobe CamrynForrestDesigns_2014
One of his most visible projects was the tower at Wardenclyffe, located on Long Island, New York, and reported to be the first step toward wireless broadcasting. The tower, under construction in the early 1900s and finished in about 1907, was dismantled in 1917.

Was Tesla ahead of his time? This is how he described his plans for the tower, which was reported to have a 55-ton dome (187 feet tall) made of conductive metals, and “roots” that penetrated nearly 200 feet into the Earth:

“As soon as [the Wardenclyffe facility is] completed, it will be possible for a business man in New York to dictate instructions, and have them instantly appear in type at his office in London or elsewhere. He will be able to call up, from his desk, and talk to any telephone subscriber on the globe, without any change whatever in the existing equipment. An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant. In the same manner any picture, character, drawing, or print can be transferred from one to another place …” (from “The Future of the Wireless Art,” Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony, 1908.)

It is said that Tesla held initial tests of the Tower in 1903, but just days after these tests, his dream was destroyed when creditors from Westinghouse confiscated his heavier equipment for nonpayment for services rendered. In 1917, the 187-foot tower was destroyed by dynamite explosion as ordered by the U.S. government.

Although often described as a telecommunications tower for wireless transmissions, some researchers and historians claim that there was another, much bigger, plan. “The Wardenclyffe plant was not to be solely used for the transmission of signals across the Atlantic, but more ambitiously, the transmission of electric power to any point on the globe without wires—a dream that Tesla had been constantly working toward for the past ten years. With his tower, he would “wobble” the Earth’s static charge. A successful test of his thesis would indeed be the crowning achievement of the age.”  ( from Wardenclyffe – a forfeited dream by Leland Anderson, 1968.)

Thanks to the help of the website “The Oatmeal” and a kickstarter campaign, building a museum dedicated to Tesla’s work is underway on the site of Tesla’s research laboratory and the original foundation of the tower. While it’s hoped that a replica of the tower will be created, we may not ever know how it was intended to operate, as much of Tesla’s brilliance was kept alive in his own memory and thought processes, and rarely written down.

What we have is an incomplete idea of Tesla’s potential and only a partial understanding of his contributions.

What we really have is, Remnants of Tesla.


Remnants of Tesla, one of a kind snow globe sculpture, miniature tower created from repurposed vintage jewelry. When shaken, slivers of bright silver flecks give the appearance of liquid electricity and wireless energy. All images and design copyright (c) 2014 Camryn Forrest Designs, Denver, Colorado.


In August 2012, in collaboration with internet cartoonist Matt Inman (, The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe (TSC) group launched an internet fundraising campaign that ultimately raised $1.37 million and eventually succeeded in purchasing the 16-acre industrial property, including Wardenclyffe and the original tower base.

For more information on the progress of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, read this.


Tesla Mends a Broken Heart (snow globe)

One of my favorite scientists talked to me about Nikola Tesla a few years ago, saying that if he’d had the support and resources, he could have done amazing things.
In fact, we have no idea what he might have accomplished under other circumstances.

It got me thinking. Along with developing transmission of wireless communication, sharing free energy and maybe weapons of mass destruction, could Tesla mend a broken heart?

Tesla Mends Side 2 2014

In this snow globe, a tiny Tesla is dwarfed by his machinery, including an interior liquid and sparkle-filled tube wearing the mending heart. Shake it, and the water fills with crisp gold shimmers, much like the unseen energy Tesla believed was all around us.

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All designs and images copyright (c) 2014 Camryn Forrest Designs, Denver, Colorado.

A Very Good Year

Experimenting with a very fine
and very dense crushed glitter,
it struck me how rich and red
the liquid was when shaken:
almost opaque,
yet dancing
with a
reflected sparkle.
In the language of grapes:
depth of flavor and aroma;
it is rich, full-bodied and intense.

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“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”   – Paulo Coelho (from the novel “Brida.”)

“A Very Good Year” custom, one-of-a-kind snow globe (water globe), with dense red sparkle-dust in liquid, and a sculpture including wine bottle, glasses and a swirling glass heart. All images and designs copyright (c) 2013 Camryn Forrest Designs, Denver, Colorado.

Inspired by Nikola Tesla – Fate Magazine 1949

Tesla Article 1949 In the fall of 2012, I was fortunate to find a copy of a 1949 issue of Fate magazine, which began publishing in 1948 as a magazine chronicling the paranormal as well as scientific discoveries.

While the 1949 issue is no longer in print (and I was lucky to find a copy), Fate magazine still exists and is published as an online publication which can be found here:

For those of us fascinated by Nikola Tesla, this particular issue included an article which begins like this:       “Contemporary with Edison was another inventor, not so well known, but of the two, the more spectacular. This was Nikola Tesla …

As Tesla died in 1943, it intrigued me that he was not well-known at the time of his death, despite his contributions to technology (more than 300 patents, some suspected to be still languishing untested in patent archives). My original copy of Fate magazine was given as a gift (to the person who first introduced Tesla to me), but as many people asked to read it, I scanned the article before gifting. I hope you enjoy it.

And for anyone who expected this blog post to be about my curious snow globes, as is typical, scroll to the very bottom of the page for a small gallery of sculptures inspired by Tesla’s inventions. And to the most recent email inquiry: No, these are NOT working miniature Tesla coils. Nice try. I don’t know what Nikola would think of building an electromagnetic coil inside a 4-inch tall liquid-filled glass orb, but I am pretty sure it’s beyond my technical abilities.

Tesla Article 1949

Tesla Article 1949

Tesla Article 1949

Tesla Article 1949

Tesla Article 1949

While Tesla has been credited with the invention of a machine that harnessed a mechanism for generating tremendous electrical force, known either as the peace ray or the death ray, depending on your point of view, he also designed and demonstrated a number of inventions typically called “Tesla Coils.” Tesla coils were used to conduct innovative experiments in electrical lighting, high frequency alternating current and transmission of energy without wires. The design of these coils has inspired several of my one-of-a-kind snow globes, which — when shaken — vaguely suggest the power of electrical force through reflective glitter and metal pieces shimmering in liquid.

Tesla Snow Globe

Tesla’s Workshop, one of a kind snow globe, Camryn Forrest Designs, 2012

Tesla Thing snow globe

It’s a Tesla Thing, one of a kind snow globe, Camryn Forrest Designs, 2012

Tesla Mends a Broken Heart

Tesla Mends a Broken Heart, snow globe, Camryn Forrest Designs, 2012

Tesla Copper Coil snow globe

Tesla Copper Coil sculpture snow globe, Camryn Forrest Designs, 2012

Tesla Chained snow globe

Tesla Chained snow globe sculpture, Camryn Forrest Designs 2012

Tesla’s Workshop, Snow Globe Style

Tesla Snow Globe, Camryn Forrest Designs 2012I was looking for  a particular photo to explain how this snow globe, “Tesla’s Workshop,” came to be.  When I was introduced to Mr. Tesla, far too late in my life for any reasonable explanation, I was fascinated with the Tesla coil and alternating current and how Tesla generated energy. Or managed it, directed it, whatever it is he did.

And I found this blog that summed up a lot of stuff:

Nikola Tesla is Better Than You
Here’s Why

If you’ve never heard of Tesla, that will give you a taste. Not the deep down scientific awesomeness that is so significant my head hurts just trying to grasp his genius, but enough to make you think: how come I don’t know more about this guy? I mean, he was BFFs with Mark Twain and all that.

I am hoping this blogger comes forward (unless I’m totally dense, I could not find his/her name on the piece), but you never know. The last entry was in fall of 2011. Makes me wonder. Will someone find THIS blog someday and be saying: Why did she quit writing? But for now, I write when it strikes me and the rest of the time I am either making snow globes — or making money to buy supplies. It’s a life.

But when I discovered Tesla, this image below intrigued me. I loved that at the turn of the century (the last one, in the early 1900’s) this man built these outrageous machines, spewing sparks and currents and man-made lightening, and pretty much cooking the bacon on your BLT before you could say How d’ ya do?  People must have been mystified and shocked to see such a thing, when they were still using candles and oil lamps half the time. But Tesla, he’s not impressed. He’s the honey-badger of science, just sitting in his workshop, reading the funny papers and not even noticing that the ceiling is a glittering outpost of electicity over his head. This is one calm dude.

Tesla in workshop

While I usually just make tiny “curious inventions” in my snow globes, I was struck by his focus and calmness (under fire), and I thought a fitting tribute was to add a tiny Tesla to my snow globe for perspective. Shake this globe and watch the sparks fly!

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.