Computer junk as useful objets d'art and furnishings
"Chip jewelry" is a techie term for computers that are destined for the trash heap -- some of which end up fashioned into earrings and cuff links by high-tech artists. Motherboard Enterprises of Chicago has taken the idea of high-tech recycling a step further with an impressive catalog of desk accessories, furnishings and personal accessories made from computer circuit boards and other high-tech castoffs.
For the desk, Motherboard offers an in-out tray ($39.95), a note pad holder with pad of recycled note paper ($15.95), a desk or wall clock fashioned from a circuit board and a compact disc ($31.95), and a PC Organizer ($25.90). This organizer looks like a DayRunner but has covers made from circuit boards. For the adventuresome executive on the go, the company also has a line of briefcases that incorporate motherboards into their designs ($199-$250).
Motherboard Enterprises is the brainchild of Suzanne Bevan, an artist who had previously been using circuit boards in her fine artwork. Business partner Chuck Weaver explains the lure of the motherboard: "Circuit boards are the perfect material. They are colorful, intricate and extremely durable. Our supply is changing all of the time, making our designs unique and one-of-a-kind." Motherboard's recycled products are also keeping tons of circuit boards out of land fills each year. The company even recycles all the materials left over from its production as well as boards it can't use.
Information: 312-842-6788 or www.motherboardinc.com
Turning industrial cast-offs into things of beauty
Taking a more low-tech approach, Portland, Oregon's Resource Revival makes similar home, office and personal items from junked bicycle parts. The firm collects more than 30,000 pounds of parts and other used materials each year to incorporate in its products.
It's truly amazing to see what a creative eye and hand can do with what looks to everyone else like junk. Resource Revival has a line of picture frames made from either aluminum stock, bicycle chains or gears ($5-$98), furnishings such as coffee tables, magazine racks and stools ($48-$725), and accessories such as bottle openers, bookends and jewelry ($3.95-$28).
Some of our favorite pieces include a pendulum desk clock ($74), made from a bicycle wheel frame, chain and sprockets, a CD/CD-ROM rack ($88) that can hold up to 40 discs, and a desktop business card holder ($24). You'll be the talk of the "cube farm" with any of these gorgeous and eco-friendly items on your desk.
Information: 800-866-8823 or www.resourcerevival.com
-- Gareth Branwyn
You can find full reviews of these and other neat gadgets at www.streettech.com.