Hands of Time - Page 3

Gifted East Bay clockmaker's joyful, heartfelt timepieces tell intimate tales as well as time
  Hands of Time
This clock has Hurst's usual unique ingredients: a ten-inch round steel disc, formed rust, eucalyptus leaf, cork wallpaper, and pistachio shells. Hands are colored with an iridescent paint that shifts colors when viewed at different angles.

Hurst made his first clock circa 1988 "because I wanted a cool clock for my studio in Westchester County, in New York, and I couldn't find a clock…so I just made two for myself.

"And a year later, the recession hit in New York. I wasn't getting any money from my graphic design business. I needed a product, and I just started making the clocks. I made something like $1,500 on a Saturday and Sunday and decided that could be a business."

Hurst, who had fallen for California on a visit in 1983, moved here in 1998 and settled into Point Richmond. There, he soon met another artistic clockmaker, Steve Kowalski, who had a business that over the years produced "millions of clocks," Kowalski says.

Hurst was already familiar with Kowalski's work, which he admired. Two clock artists in one town? What a coincidence. Clock artists are uncommon, Kowalski notes.

  Hands of Time
Clock faces await future projects.

"It is strange. I ended up moving out here, to Point Richmond, in 2001," Kowalski says. "Steve [Hurst] was already here."

"In Point Richmond," Kowalski says, "people knew there was a clockmaker named Steve, so there was some confusion, because I'm white and Steve is black. They knew there was a Steve clock person in Richmond, and there couldn't possibly be two."

"Steve Hurst's style is way different than mine, more abstract and modern," Kowalski says. "My style is more archaic and industrial Victorian."

"For his age, he's very youthful-looking," Kowalski says. "If you see Steve Hurst on the street, you'd think he was 50. He's a genuinely good guy."

  Hands of Time
"I learned at an early age how to work with materials," says Hurst (above). Among his materials was hair, which he learned to style, achieving success in the hairdressing trade.

In Point Richmond and the greater Richmond community, Hurst has become a bit of a celebrity, known for promoting and MC-ing a popular free-concert series in the heart of the Point while wearing a pith helmet.

Hurst has served with local arts organizations, and is a former resident artist at Bridge Storage and ArtSpace, home to artists' studios and a gallery. Hurst helped lay out the space, he says.

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