Michelle McLaughlin meticulously designs her upcycled and unique jewelry made from the motherboards, video cards, and other circuitry rescued from discarded computers for her business MOTHERBORED. Initially inspired by a motherboard she saw in a broken computer in a radiant shade of Caribbean blue, Michelle’s work has taken off in a variety of directions, all with vibrantly colored hues, textures, and shapes. We asked her a few questions about her work and process!
Describe your ideal day of making. What do you have for breakfast? What jams do you listen to? Do you wear fuzzy slippers? Get specific!
The day in the life of MOTHERBORED starts with prepping most of my designs in the garage. Then it’s off to complete each project in the studio room inside the house. With my wooly socks on to stay warm and the natural light shining through the windows, I start adding the finishing touches to the designs. I’m always inspired to finish off my pieces in a relaxed state as I look over at my favorite solar-powered, bouncing flower smiling up at me, and my iPad playing Netflix originals in the background.
Who is your maker-inspiration? What did this person say or do to inspire you to create?
From an early age I knew that I was, and still am, a crafty kind of gal. I remember a time in first grade when I was hanging out at friend’s house. Her mother handed me a handful of clay and said challenging, “let’s see what you can do.” The final product, a robed women with mitten hands, later took first place with a blue ribbon at the county fair. From then on I have always been trying to take my skill to the next level and defy the norm, most notable with recycled computer jewelry.
What is your favorite market/craft show story?
While I don’t have a particular show to recall, I do distinctly remember an experience. I recently had a customer stop by my booth and admire my mosaic motherboard pendants. These designs are the most time consuming, but most enjoyable, to make. After describing to her that each piece has slivers of different motherboards with no two ever alike, she bought all four designs I had made for that show. When she told me that they made her happy and she wasn’t sure which to keep for herself, I was so extremely grateful and humbled to have positively impacted her life
Are you working on any special merchandise for/inspired by GRUMP? Tell us about it!
For the first time this holiday season, I’m creating Christmas tree ornaments from a pile of small defective circuit boards.
If you could have lunch with three artists/makers, alive or dead, who would they be and why?
Klimt ~ After having a customer tell me that one of my designs reminded them of Klimt, I would be honored to have lunch with the artist so that I can ask what inspired him in his work.
Grandma Moses ~ As a self-taught artist myself, Grandma Moses inspires me to keep creating every day. Her art was inspired from her surroundings and she wanted to capture those moments in her paintings- just like how I incorporate my life into my work. After working on and then running her own farm, I bet she cooked fantastic meals and I would love some of her recipes.
Gwen Stefani ~ I’ve listened to NoDoubt and have been a big fan of their music from the beginning, and Gwen Stefani has always been an inspiration to me. It would be great to kick back and have a couple cocktails in hand while talking kids, fashion, and life’s ups and downs that inspire her and her artistry.
YARN / Blanket (crochet by my grandmother that still lays at the end of my bed)
APPLE PIE / Yum
NORTHERN VIRGINIA / Home
YETI / Rudolph
IGLOO / Cold
GNOME / Christmas
NARWHAL / Unicorn
WINTER / Hot Chocolate
HANDMADE / Buy (Buy Handmade)