Tupelo native turns antique watches into art

TUPELO – Old timepieces become timeless pieces of art in Tracey Savery Davis’ studio.
The Tupelo native specializes in “micro mosaics,” small, detailed displays of Christian imagery.
“My work starts with antique watch cases from Europe and America. They’re usually from the 1880s to the 1940s,” she said during Monday’s luncheon lecture at the GumTree Museum of Art. “When they come to me, they’re in pretty bad shape.”
She removes the busted gears and cleans the accumulated grime, then decorates the watch cases with coral, shells, vintage ribbon, died alligator gar fins, bits of paper, gold filigree and, on occasion, diamonds. The finished pieces, which can be worn with necklaces, feature tiny portraits of Jesus, Mary, saints or guardian angels.
Tina Lutz, museum director, said she first encountered Davis’ work during an arts festival.
“I just kept coming back to look again,” Lutz said. “Her work is so intricate and beautiful. I’ve been trying to explain it to everybody. I just can’t do it justice.”
Davis has sold pieces to Morgan Freeman, Gloria Estefan, Courteney Cox Arquette and Maria Conchita Alonso.
“I stared doing the micro mosaics about 10 years ago,” said Davis, a 1979 alumna of Tupelo High School who lives in Pensacola, Fla., “but I’ve been doing these full-time for about three years.”
The daughter of Joe Savery and Anna Kathryn Edwards of Tupelo, Davis’ only art class was from Mitzi Moore at THS.
“She was always enthusiastic, and very creative,” Moore said.
While at the University of Mississippi, Davis studied to become a counselor. Art re-asserted itself in her late 20s, after Davis had a stroke while delivering the second of her three sons.
“After I had my stroke,” she said, “different ideas that I like kind of got knitted together.”
Her appreciation for Peter Carl Fabergampé’s intricate, jeweled eggs is reflected in the close-up work her pieces require. Davis’ creations are more impressive when you consider that she’s had glaucoma in both eyes.
“My glaucoma doctor can’t tell you how I see to do them,” she said. “Sometimes, I can’t see to read a book, but I can do this.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal