T.E.S.T. Interview: NeverwaresOnEtsy

We hope to introduce you to all the great Etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 92nd in our series and is with Never Poplar of NeverwaresOnEtsy.  

I think I’ll start off by asking who/what informs your aesthetic. Your website and work evoke a sort of William S Burroughs’ Naked Lunch met Terry Gilliam’s Brazil; a sort of future retro, if you will. Would you call yourself a Luddite?

I adore machinery, and taking things apart to see what makes them tick, literally. ;) I'm inspired primarily by the detail of craftsmanship I find inside. If you open up a pocket watch from the early 1900s you'll not only find a fantastic set of intricate movements, you'll also find elaborate engravings on most of the pieces. I like to find these pieces, make them into something wearable, and show off all the work that went into creating them. I am definitely not a Luddite. I adore technology and the chances for progression that it affords society.  

Tell us more about Neverwares. Where are you from and does this influence your work, how did you get started taking apart typewriters? ;)

I was born and raised here in Toronto, Canada. I don't think it really influences my work at all, except that maybe our disposable western society provided a lot of junk for me to experiment with. I got my start taking things apart when I was a young teen. I'd find old broken electronics out on the street and wanted to see what was inside. I then moved on to analogue machines such as typewriters and broken watches.  

You refer to yourself as a metalsmith. A majority of your work employs found objects; gears, type-keys, buttons, watch parts. How do you curate the items used in your work, where does the metalsmithing take place (do you make your own findings, settings? Do you hand form the rings used?) Tell us about your process.

My process begins with each new machine I acquire. I have a wide variety of sources including friends, antique stores, yard sales, ebay, etc. I'm always on the look out for broken bits to transform. The most joyful part of the entire journey for me from machine to finished jewelry pieces is the disassembly, the discovery. I adore opening things up and discovering the workmanship inside, whether it be the mechanisms in an old typewriter, or the intricate engraving inside a 1920s pocket watch, I see the beauty and potential in all of it.

Once I have all the pieces apart the clean-up begins. Depending on the state of the machine when I receive it this part of the process can be quite time consuming. I have become very proficient in the removing of rust and machine oil. Then comes the design portion, where I lay everything out on my work bench in front of me and move pieces around until I find a pleasing configuration. I find I use my metalsmithing skills throughout the entire process. I have hundreds of hand tools and know how to use them all. I adore cold connections and use rivets to join many things together. As well, I often saw out of metal the pieces I imagine in my mind.

Is Neverwares a full time gig for you, or do you also have a day job? If so, what do you do?

I am thrilled that Neverwares has become my full time job. I recently completed an entrepreneurial course here in Toronto and wrote my business plan. With that clarity in mind I am able to fill in the gaps between creativity and business acumen.
Where do you see Neverwares in the next 5 years, what's in store for your fans?

Design wise, in the next 5 years I see an expansion of my men's line Machine Age. My goal is to marry my goldsmithing skills with my love of old machinery to create timeless heirloom quality pieces. Neverwares' mission is to invoke a sense of nostalgia and to showcase the exceptional craftsmanship of vintage machinery by giving people a wearable piece of history. I intend to continue to fulfill that mission.

Check out more of Michelle's work in her NeverwaresOnEtsy Shop! 

THIS SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2016 You can find Neverwares at the Bazaar of the Bizarre
11am - 8pm
Pia Bouman School
 6 Noble street, Toronto

You can also keep up to date with her here: 
Website: neverwares
Facebook: neverwares
Instagram: @neverwares

Interviewed by Tosca of Nanopod, March 22, 2016 in Toronto.

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