Sky-obliterating billows of blue smoke, an earth-quaking engine rumbling, the protesting squeal of grinding gears, a hissing twist of steam, the rude “Ah – OOGAH!!!” of a horn – there could be no mistake, Arabella was test-driving another one of her creations. That would be Arabella Tinkerton of the North Boston Tinkertons clattering down Tremont Street, while her stepmother’s chauffeur tried to revive the grande dame with an ampoule of smelling salts and a stiff shot of whiskey. “That girl is going to be the death of me!” wheezed Mrs. Tinkerton, loosening the stays on her corset. Inventing was in Arabella’s blood, as it had been in her mother’s, and the tragic workshop explosion that had claimed the life of the first Mrs. Tinkerton, as well as young Arabella’s left hand had proved no deterrent. In fact, it seemed to have fueled the girl’s resolve; as soon as Arabella had healed from her devastating injury, she had taken up her mother’s work in the Back Bay laboratory that she had begged to have restored. Weak with grief, her father’s fears and protests had been no match for Arabella’s determination, and it seemed that all her mourning was funneled into a flurry of ambitious projects, including an impressive robotic prosthetic hand to ameliorate the injury that paled in comparison with the loss of her beloved mother. Arabella wore her mother’s heirloom pearls twirled about that wrist in remembrance.
Senior faculty from the science and engineering departments of M.I.T., Tufts, and of course, Harvard, tiptoed gingerly around the landmines of detritus cluttering her cavernous workshop to draw on their pipes and try to disguise their amazement at the sheer genius of her endeavors. Their attempts to appear dignified – or even casual – as they put forth their offers of scholarships and honorariums were seriously impaired by Arabella’s puppy, Patina, who was in the habit of barking at them vigorously and nipping, non-stop, at their voluminous black robes. In the end, it was the Pentagon that got her, appeals to her patriotism succeeding where appeals to her vanity had not. So instrumental were Arabella’s mechanical inventions to the Allied victory that she was awarded the Defense of Freedom Medal, the highest military honor awarded to civilians. Even her stepmother was proud.
This 8” x 6” x ¾” original collage depicting Arabella Tinkerton and her charming puppy, Patina, has been hand-printed, hand cut and hand assembled on a stretched hand painted gallery canvas and features vintage images, handmade paper and black German Dresden trim with embossed brass corners and actual watch gears and workings. The gear on the largest wheel is fastened with a brass brad and rotates.
This original artwork and story are copyright Ramona Szczerba 2010. Copyright to this material is in no way transferable with the sale of this item. The buyer is not entitled to any reproduction rights – neither image nor story can be reproduced without my express written permission. Thanks!