Hands of Time - Page 4

Gifted East Bay clockmaker's joyful, heartfelt timepieces tell intimate tales as well as time
  Hands of Time
"When I work with heavy textures on clocks, sometimes the only place I can sign it is on the hands," says Hurst of his piece above.

"Steve has a hell of a sense of humor," says Jeff Wright, owner of Bridge. "He is very animated. He can pop nuggets into a conversation, and that keeps it going and puts everybody back on their heels.

"Steve's clocks are made from mundane materials, but they are astounding. He's very good at taking the ordinary and finding something extraordinary in it."

An illness caused by an autoimmune disease made it hard for Hurst to work for three years, but he is back in the studio and feeling better.

"My new series of clocks are very meditative clocks," he says. "They are clocks that people can look at. They can see the different lighting effects. I actually zone out on this and meditate."

Clock faces, sometimes made from drum-kit cymbals, are pocked and backed with LED lights, often programmed to create varied patterns. "This one has 300 different patterns," Hurst says.

  Hands of Time
Six more Hurst designs: family members ready for a home.

"They fade on and fade off randomly," he says, adding, "And this [effect] looks more like a nighttime sky."

"You can't imagine the amount of wiring, and stashing ten feet of LED light strip around a three-and-three-quarter-inch acrylic tube," Hurst says of the clockmaking process.

So why bother making clocks at all? Hurst, who also paints and illustrates, says, "If I took the [clock's] hands off, and it's just a piece of wall sculpture, it just sits on the wall like lots of paintings do in galleries, waiting, you know, for someone to buy it.

"But because they have a purpose, that's why my clocks sell."

Hurst understands that he is selling not just art, but a functioning product—and that product needs to keep running. Visitors to his home studio see a workshop crammed with clock parts, electronics, drill presses, and half-assembled clocks. In his adjacent living space, they find walls filled with clocks.

  Hands of Time
Customer and friend, Lisa, holding her new acquisition, a collaboration with Hurst.

"I test my clocks for months with batteries to make sure that they are accurate," Hurst says. "The ticking drives me crazy."

Nonetheless Hurst's timepieces remain like family to him. "You know, clocks are kinda like our bodies," he says, referring to one of them. "A mess of ugly stuff on the inside, but beautiful on the outside."


• STEVENart Clocks have been produced in Steve Hurst's home studio in Point Richmond. At press time he was planning to relocate within the Bay Area. Steve_Hurst_Clocks on Instagram is the best way to check out the clockmaker's wares and follow his observations. Also find him online at stevenartclocks.com.

Photography: courtesy STEVENart Design Studio, Dave Weinstein

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