Malaysian Artist Creates Steampunk “Harry Potter” Jewelry

There is a wide selection of Harry Potter-inspired jewelry out there, but Winnie Thye’s steampunk creations have to be one of the coolest ones. The Malaysian mixed media artist uses old clock parts, paper, semiprecious stones, and just about any material if it moves her imagination. The results are stunning and intricate metalwork designs that evoke the magical books and create a whole new world of their own.

Thye is 51, a mother of two, and based in the city of Petaling Jaya in Malaysia. She has been a jewelry maker for 11 years and pairs her love of crafts with a fascination with fictional universes:

I have always been spellbound by the genres of fantasy and science fiction, from Middle Earth elves to imaginary flying machines. I am captivated by steampunk fashion, especially the Victorian[-]era opulence and the industrial revolution’s grime and grit. I cannot imagine steampunk without clock gears, dials, cogs and regulator gauges.

The self-taught artist’s most popular items are miniature Harry Potter-related books. She ages paper and binds the sheets by hand, covering them with recycled leather. In the end, she uses her usual cogs, spurs, and even keys to create a cover design. The result is a series of beautiful, wearable works of art.

 

Metal book pendants are pictured with intricate cover designs fabricated out of clock parts. The book titles read Quidditch, Mischief Managed, and Expecto Patronum.

 

Her other creations range from earrings to Eye of Providence pendants. Her Instagram account is sure to leave you scrolling for ages. Although the designs seem incredibly intricate and well thought out, Thye’s process is rather intuitive:

I don’t sketch my designs before I make them. I like to work organically and intuitively. Often, I’d start with an item on my workbench that catches my attention. It might not even end up in the final piece, but it is the catalyst. I am happiest and most creative when I see a story unfolding in my mind.

 

 

 

That is not to say Thye’s job is an easy one. Curating unusual materials is only half the task. Since she works with old, mechanical clocks (the ones that people had to wind every night before going to bed before the digital age), the materials at the artist’s disposal can prove tricky to work with:

Sometimes, I’d pair a rusty flat washer with a jasper stone or a brass clock gear with a red clay heart and a pair of trinket wings. It is unexpected and otherworldly, and that is what I like to capture in my pieces. There is a spring in all winding clocks. When dismantling the clock, one needs to be careful because the spring can pop out aggressively. If you are not careful, it can cut you or worse, spring into your eyes. Plus, these clocks are old, and their mechanism and parts are often stuck together in old grime. The gears are also attached to the central barrel, which can be challenging to remove.

Thye’s designs simultaneously evoke a bygone era and invent one that inspires new stories to tell. Her love of recycled materials is not only good for the environment but also meant to preserve a part of the past in all its richness. The artist’s designs are Time-Turners in their own right:

Vintage items are like timekeepers with beautiful stories to tell. Things that are ravaged by time evoke a certain kind of poignant romanticism, and that spurs my imagination. Take an old key, for example. Imagine how many hands have held onto it. Imagine if that key, or a clock, could talk, what intriguing stories it could tell. I find this notion fascinating. […] Hopefully, this will inspire people to treasure vintage items and preserve their stories.

Has Thye’s style and creative philosophy inspired you? Before you contend with a rusty clock spring in the name of cool accessories, make sure to get a pair of safety goggles.

 

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Dora Bodrogi

I am a writer, a critic, a researcher, a traveler, and a Ravenclaw through and through. My main fields of interest are representation, gender, and LGBTQ fiction, history, and censorship. Incorrigible doodler and theatre kid.