Ravenswood Remix showcases recycled art

September 2, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Justin Gershenson-Gates is behind A Mechanical Mind, www.amechanicalmind.etsy.com. The local artist deconstructs vintage watches and uses the tiny pieces to create instantly classic jewelry.

Gates said it all started with a desire to see how things work and then to see how they can work differently. About a year ago, Gates found an old, broken watch and picked it apart. He became fascinated by what he found inside.

"There's a lot of old watches that have engraved designs and just very cool pieces to them and you never get to see them and what I wanted to do was bring those out," Gershenson-Gates said.

After gifting jewelry to family and friends, Gates realized that he was on to something.

"I started making jewelry for my family and they liked them so much that they wanted me to put these online and I did and here I am," Gates.

Now, he designs a variety of earrings, cufflinks and all kinds of pendants for necklaces. One of his most popular items is a bird-shape -- made from the gears of an 1880's-era timepiece. He also gets requests for custom creations.

"You may have granddad's watch and it's broken and you won't be able to use it, but why not repurpose it and make it into something that you're going to wear, that you're going to show off every day?" said Gates.

Gates' pieces are exactly the kind of artwork that organizers of the Ravenswood Remix Recycled Art Fair, www.ravenswoodremix.com, are looking to promote.

"Just in terms of where we're at in thinking about living in a more green environment and promoting a green lifestyle. That's something that these artists are really embodying every day, taking old things and making something new and beautiful out of them," Jennifer Gordon, Ravenswood Remix, said.

The Ravenswood Remix Art Fair takes place Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4, from noon to 10 p.m. in the 4100-block of North Ravenswood between Belle Plaine and Berteau. Proceeds will benefit the art program at Hamilton Elementary School.

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