is a collection of handmade ornamental automata and mechanical jewelry designed and fabricated in the studio of watchmaker Lindsey Pei.
These automata are designed to operate off the power stored by winding the mainspring of a mechanical watch movement. They are composed of hundreds of individually handmade components, fabricated to precise tolerances of fractions of a millimeter. The materials used in the construction of each mechanism are those traditionally used in the watchmaking profession: brass, steel, jewel bearings, and delicate springs thinner than a human hair. Silver, brass, glass, and gemstones are used in the creation of the mechanism housing.
Each tiny machine starts out as a conceptual sketch, and then a series of technical drawings, before fabrication begins. Basic machining and soldering of metal, as well as traditional sawing, filing, and hand finishing techniques are all employed in the process of creating each piece.
It was a fascination for animal skeletons that indirectly led me to the arcane field of mechanical watchmaking. observing the beautiful forms of bones and the integrated, precise functionality of skeletal systems was like discovering the hidden mechanics of the living form. I’ve always been interested in understanding the systems at work beneath the surface of things, so when I discovered a school that taught the traditional art of watchmaking, I was intrigued.
I quickly fell in love with the amazing world of precision micromechanics. There is a quality of miraculousness about a delicate machine the size of a quarter that keeps time to the second. In watchmaking school, i was taught to see things on a microscopic level, to fabricate tiny parts and make minute adjustments that would be invisible to the untrained eye, to refine my manual dexterity to an incredible degree of delicacy, and to evaluate and solve problems without always being able to see the cause. this training allowed me to analyze a watch movement, understand how it was supposed to work, why it wasn't, and how to make it function as it should. From a technical perspective, this is what I learned. But all watchmakers know the thrill of being able to make a watch’s heart beat again. There is a wonder in that moment that is much like being in the presence of a living, breathing thing.
I have always wanted to apply my watchmaking skills to the creation of my own designs. this is what led to the birth of Ornament Incarnate. I love the antique automata created by master jewelers and watch or clockmakers of the past. Incredible vision and skill was required to make such mechanical wonders as a child that can draw a picture or write a poem, a glorious silver swan that dips its beak into a stream to eat a fish, or a tiny, exquisite bird that pops out of the barrel of a pistol and sings! My dream was to have a workshop where I could design a new world of unique mechanical objects and bring them to life.
© 2016 Ornament incarnate