Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hugo, Gears, and Steampunk

My husband and I have been wanting to see the movie HUGO for months and finally got the chance yesterday . . . just days before the Academy Awards. The movie is up for ten awards and worth a few wins in our book. It was visually stunning, entertaining, and enchanting. Big players in the film were the gears. Many, many gears, in many forms, some of them larger than life. Taking place mainly in a Paris train station in the 30s - it is about a young boy who lives in the station and keeps the clocks set to run on time. Go see it soon!

Before my visual encounter with gears in the film today, I had been noticing that they are everywhere right now. I've seen them in TV and print advertising, in jewelry, and in home decor. It started a few months ago when my daughter was experimenting with gears for a business logo for her marketing company. She wasn't able to find a combination she liked at the time and never created a logo using the motif. Since gears are being used over and over again now, I am kind of happy she didn't end up with a gear logo. When something gets too popular I tend to not want to use it much. 
Here is an interesting mix of gears I found in a simple search on Google Images.
It's from an online gallery:
After doing a bit of research about gears as a popular motif, I came across this from about the origins of steampunk jewelry: 

"The most popular steampunk motif is the gear, symbolic of industry. Watch faces and clock hands are also popular because of their connection with clockwork. In fact, a decorated pocketwatch is preferred type of steampunk jewelry." 
Steampunk Ring

I had never heard of the term "steampunk" before today. There seams to be a lot of debate on the term and what it means and I am not interested in getting involved with that. But, at least I do have a better notion of how GEARS have become popular in the world of design and imagery.

Macy's 2012 holiday windows in their  NY store featured moving gears

Steampunk Gears and Clock from
This item (above) is such a bad example: Gears Wall Decor from

Gear Objet from Restoration Hardware

This DIY tutorial from the blog, Mama With a Dash of DIY Drama, decided to make her own after being inspired from the Restoration Hardware versions. She won an award for her design. I like it.

animal magnetism

I even used gears as a background a few weeks ago in a set on Polyvore, without having a clue about steampunk. I called it "animal magnetism." Even though there is something about the gear motif that I like, I doubt that I'll be using them in any interior design projects soon. Can't help but wonder what we'll start to see a lot of next?

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