Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Clock Idea

My quest for functional art combined with 2-D art landed me on the idea of clocks. And clocks are what I made.
I started out with the idea of cutting unique recognizable shapes out of wood with my parent’s scroll saw. It worked brilliantly, especially since I didn’t have to buy any wood. I had press board and thin quality wood piled up randomly around the studio. That’s my pack rat side; I can’t throw something out that might be useful for a future project.
I cut out stars, guitar picks, hot air balloons and plain circles. Then I primed and painted them in various colors. Some of them I took my time and painted elaborate artistic scenes. Others I painted quick back grounds so I could embellish them in creative ways.
One of my favorites was a rectangle piece of wood thatI had cut out a medium size star from the lower right hand corner. I only had intention of using the star, but when I saw the piece of wood left behind after the star was cut out I fell in love. I primed it up and painted night sky cityscape. I painted a starry sky above the city and then cut out stars and painted them in beautiful changing colors to mount for numbers.
I found ways to incorporate many different loves of my past into clocks, one of them being watercolor. There are ways to prime almost any surface to accept almost any medium. And lucky me I know my way around those odd projects thanks to my dues paid in art supply retail.
When my free pile of wood started to diminish to nothingness I began to fret over how much material was actually going to cost me. Up to that point I was using stock from my studio for almost everything except clock mechanisms. This is when I started to think of alternative materials that I could cut into desired shapes.
I had already started using old vinyl records for plain circle clocks and they worked great. The records were perfect. They were light weight, already had a hole for the clock mechanism, perfect size and best of all I could acquire them in large quantities for free. The only obstacle was getting them into the shape I wanted.
It took a lot of experimenting. I went through quite a few tools and supplies before I finally started to catch on. Heating them up in the oven was not an option I decided. It felt wrong to put possibly toxic plastic into the same facility I baked my famous chocolate-chocolate chip cookies. So after a lot of testing and tool experimentation I finally figured it out. My detail is still somewhat limited. The only way to get around that is to invest in a laser cutter. An idea I wish I never would have mentioned to my husband. Guys will do anything for a tool, even if it’s one they don’t really need. Luckily its too expensive to buy on a whim. I need a new drill before a laser cutter.
So I’ve scrapped the wood dials, except for a few particular clocks that just work better in wood, and have moved completely over to upcycled records. I haven’t looked back. I cut, paint, layer, embellish, paint some more and have so much fun with it.