Thursday 10 July 2008

Once Upon O'Clock

GOOD DAY to you all! I would like to proudly announce my newest venture, one which I have had planned for years but not quite got round to until now... I am becoming a clockmaker!
As you know I have a delight in Heath Robinson-like contraptions, automata and all things that clink and clonk, I love to paint folk tales in medieval hues, and make things from wood. So I thought to combine all these things into Once Upon O'Clock, my laboratory of creaking and ticking and a place where you can buy my original paintings with a twist.

My first toe-dip into the horological workshop was a few years ago when I made this clock on the left as a gift for my parents. These new once upon o'clocks are made from slices of wood from a tree down the way that has been logs for some time, logs that are a perfect round clock size.

The wood, once cut, was sanded and the bark left on. Then the hole for the spindle was drilled, off centre to match the rings of the tree. The "Old Mother Time" painting is inspired by the many world myths of the fates spinning the threads of our lives and of time and the familiar old woman of fairytale who spins.

I liked the idea that the hands of the clock would turn around her spinning wheel, and I have spent time making the surface of the paint look aged and worn and the cracks in the wood into a feature. I hope that these clocks will be unique and unusual treasures, useful and beautiful, strange and old, ticking away once upon o'tales on your walls ...

To celebrate my new creations, I have been busy making a ticking tocking website-with-cogs where you can spend time in this once upon o'clock world. Tui has made the most amazing music for the site out of recordings of clocks and treadle sewing machines, bells and scuffles, as only he knows how. I think the sounds add a whole new dimension to the page and make wandering off into the imagination of this wonky contraption of a place quite unavoidable.
I invite you all to go and have a look ... it will grow as I make more clocks, there's even a rhyme. And don't forget to turn your speakers up!

Pricing of works is always a dilemma and a half for me... Artists who make their main living from their art, as I do, have to charge prices that reflect the time and costs involved in the making of a piece; this, after all, is a wage. But it is an ever present problem that if you price a work that has taken you two weeks for example at an amount even half another person's average fortnightly wage, they fall backwards in horror, mutter "um thanks anyway" and scuttle off never to be heard of again!
So what's the answer? Either to undercharge dramatically, subcontract your work to a factory in China, or fill your living room with wonderful never-seen artworks.

With this problem in mind, neverending drizzle outside the windows, and a cavernously echoing piggybank, I have decided to try to make these clocks at affordable prices, because I want people to buy them. The idea is to make a one-off original painting in oils on wood which I would normally charge several hundred pounds for and turn it into a useful object: a clock, a unique creation that will never be made again and charge just sixty pounds - one pound for every minute!
I hope that each one I make might sell and then I will make another. This one took me four days. I would really like to hear your views on whether you think this is too much, too little, affordable, silly, cheap or otherwise. Would you buy one? Why/Why not?

Here is the new Once upon O'Clock Etsy Shop where I hope these clocks will flit in and out in a tick and a tock ... first come first served!

To begin this little story:
It was once upon o’clock

When a jumping jackanory

Called to his ticking flock:

“Come and spin a yarn with me

Around this loom of time,

And I’ll tell you horologically

Of the spinning wheel of rhyme.”

PostScript: It has sold already!! Hooray and thank you! And a custom order is being planned too!


Shelley Noble said...

It's a truly gorgeous site you've built for the clockwork works, Rima. The wonderful sounds there really do enhance the wondrous effect!

I think you've priced the clocks well, perhaps not enough for your efforts, but affordable enough for those with enough funds to buy things they love.

I'm very close to the bone in my money and have cut out nearly all purchases for pleasure, but if I made money like most people do, I'd buy a few of your originals on wood as there's really no substitute for your original hand seen on a natural object.

I would collect little bits of found objects or lumps of wood with quick paintings that you could do more easily. Small, even tiny, works of any sort, paper, fabric, leaves, discarded metal hardware, anything that spoke to you, I would love to collect.

Please ignore me. It was only a rambling notion.

Elva Undine said...

So beautiful! I'm dripping in awesomeness just from reading this post.

Karen said...

There is something special about clocks. I find them relaxing but also abit menacing when I think of time ticking away.I have always wanted to own a grandfathers clock, after reading 'Tom's midnight garden'as a child. (Hopefully I will one day!) I love your new venture and the website with sound is wonderful.I think the price is fine. I always find it hard to price work, I think artists always under value their own work.
Have a magical day!

Anonymous said...

Pricing work is a always tricky for me, too! Your figure seems very fair, given that they are hand-made and local, to boot.
Good luck with the venture and perhaps, if I sell some prints, I may buy a clock from your next collection. Who knows?

tlchang said...

Rima, these are wonderful. If you were selling them for $60 instead of pounds - I'd say it was a total steal (too cheap by far!). At $120, you are still underpricing yourself too much, I'm sure,... It's very generous of you.

The site is amazing. Gorgeously designed and the sound effects really add to the whole thing.

Best of luck in your ventures!

AC said...

I think a price nearer £99 - £150 would be fair.
Love the new site...good luck:-)

AC said...

Am I right in thinking it has sold already:-)

Ted Marshall said...

Oh, oh, oh, covet, covet!
I, too, think the price is entirely reasonable. I like the concept of £1 for every minute, but I also agree with ally that you would sell them at something around the £100 mark.
If you managed to get into one of the mainstream magazine features like Country Living then I suspect this would be a hugely successful venture.
I'm going to put aside the dosh, keep a close eye on the Etsy shop and snap one up soon.
It's interesting to see you doing this, I recently bought a book about clock-making and have been toying with the idea. Wouldn't be anything like as good as yours though. Sigh!
Finally, I love the clock website - the main illustration and most especially the way the little cogs go round (I am so pleased by small details!).

d. moll, said...

The clocks are amazing, I love the feet on the figure, and how wonderful it has already sold. Pricing is tricky. I guess the bottom line is that it is better to undersell yourself than not to sell at all; as you create a market for yourself you can inch (or is it centimeter up?) your prices up to reflect something closer to living wage. Of course all is tempered by the general economic situation and such like. But who am I to talk, I have sliding scale for my acupuncture practice because I think the medicine should be available.....The website is really cool and that Tui fellow did a lovely job with the sounds/music. It is quite exciting;}.

tui said...

LOVELY detailed music on your website :)
Well done love for selling your first clock

Vinara said...

Wow, these are so wonderful! If I wasn't so poor I would definately buy one :-) sigh...
You've got a great, unique idea there.

Not too sure when it comes to pricing, maybe you could offer a range of different prices? That way it would give people a choice and you could see what people will or will not go for.

Best wishes!

Acornmoon said...

I think you should gradually increase your price, I think as a society we undervalue the crafts in general. Also, you could maybe take a photograph of your clock face and use it on another product, like a calendar perhaps? I love the moon/faces you paint, they remind me of old grandfather clocks which I adore.

Carolee said...

Wonderful new site!

Pricing is always tricky, but as someone who's been painting clocks for a bit (albeit mostly Halloween) I have to say I think you're underpricing them...Your work is amazing and magical, and will sell easily at double the price!

Best wishes,
~ Carolee

Jennifer MacNeill said...

Absolutely amazing clocks! Wow!

herhimnbryn said...

Hallo, here via The Green Man.
Oh my, what a wonderful site you have and these clocks are gorgeous.

Jai and Lauren Soloy said...

Hi Rima,
You visited our blog a couple of weeks ago, and left a lovely comment, and I finally had the chance (and some quiet time to myself) to come and see what you have been creating. I've been a fan of your Etsy store for a long time. I love the new clock, and really enjoyed the website you have created. The sound is wonderful, I usually turn it off when a website has music, but I actually left this one on in the background because it is so pleasant.
I guess you are learning the sad truth that pricing handmade objects has different rules than pricing "art." I've never really understood why that is, but that said, I think your clock price is very reasonable, and that you will have no trouble selling at that price, and will probably find very soon that you need to increase it.
Anyway, I'll keep checking back, as I would love to have a beautiful painted clock in our house!

Amy Short said...

Ahhh I love your talent. You are amazing. I have given you an award, to get it you need to visit my blog ok? All the best! Amy

Anonymous said...

rima, how wonderful!! i haven't visited in way too long...and once again you have blown me away with your talent. just enchanting. i am in love with your time pieces....and your price is more than fair...what a marvelous, lovely way to watch time go by.....yay for you! and thank you for your kind words regarding my little one on the way!! i'll keep you posted when i find out what it will be!! xo lisa

Gretel said...

One day I will be able to buy one - this is so exciting, this is beautiful and I look forward to seeing the next one, even if only to look at!

Ciara Brehony said...

I saw this yesterday and went off and got lost in your website (left the sound on in the background for a wee while) and then got waylaid by Tui and his magical sounds, (listened to each and every one) and then forgot to come back and leave a comment!
So. A comment for all of them methinks:

Clocks! Rima, what inspiration! I love it! Magical time-keepers, as they should be. Beautiful website. Beautiful sounds. Beautiful music.

Thank you....

Jan said...

Obviously your price was affordable. I will be waiting for an opportunity to be able to purchase one for myself. I agree with a previous comment that you could slowly inch your price up. Truly, these should sell faster than you can produce them. They are unique and fascinating. Best of luck you you. I'm glad someone sent me a link to you.
Jan in Oregon, USA

Kyoko said...

Absolutely beautiful clocks. Really really nice. Well done for all the hard work! Would you make a standing one as well as wall clock?

Unknown said...

A wonderful new venture!
The clock looks magnificent!

Ulla said...

Rima! I love it! Anything and everything you touch is filled with magic and enchantment! Bravo...! personally ~ cannot wait to see what you will create next!

Rima Staines said...

Well, hello and thanks to everyone for your thoughtful feedback and encouraging words :)
It seems that this venture is having successful beginnings! The first clock sold very quickly and I have several custom orders and people waiting on any new clocks that I make. It seems that the general consensus is that I am undercharging... so the prices might fluctuate a bit, at the mo I am thinking of keeping the price low ish for the clocks I make and then sell on etsy, but custom orders a bit more.
SO chuffed at the positive response and happy that people are liking the idea :)
On with the next one then!
Thanks again
x Rima

Megan Coyle said...

I somehow found your blog, and I'm glad I've seen it. Your paintings are lovely and I love the title for the series, "Once upon O'Clock." I also like the color palette you use. Your style is just so magical. Well done.

Lady Em said...

Oh I am so excited!! I am going to have to get one of your clocks. Would you custom make one for a nusery? I love your work, I am so intrigued by all of it. So wonderful and beautiful, like visiting another world!!
~Lady Em~

valonia said...

Hi Rima, I'm facing up to my shyness and have come over to say hello.

Keep painting such wonderful pieces. :)

I have given you an award over at my blog - don't feel like you have to follow the award rules as you have alresdy received so many awards already. Just accept the spirit of the gesture. :)

x V.

Avus said...

I have arrived at The Hermitage following Valonia's recommendation and am so glad I came - wonderful and fascinating blog.

Yoli said...

Oh how did I live without your blog? It is gorgeous and you are so talented! Glad I found you! I need one of those clocks!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Bravo, Bravo! Wonderful, magical work!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Also, we meant to tell you that we have included you in our list of "Splendid Locales" over at our place!

Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

I was told to visit your blog,I'm so happy I did.I can not say how truly dumfounded I am. These clocks are devine.This site is devine.You should be very proud indeed. Marie Antionette

Tess Kincaid said...

What a fantastic idea, Rima! Absolutely wonderful and so unique. Hope they will fly like time off your Etsy shelves!

I had to make a clock one time WAY back in a college design class, but it was sadly nothing like a Rima clock.

Anonymous said...

You just found a new niche for your fantastic artwork and creativity, Rima.The clock is just magica...and now I'm off to your clock site. I love how artistically you take us all to another world. Beautiful!

dragonladych said...


I've been watching you for a while and I adore your work! So imaginative and poetic!

About pricing, yes we all have this problem. But I agree with Tess. 60£ is really too cheap, how can you make a living with such prices? If it was a painting that took me 4 days I'd probably charge twice that price but I agree that not many would pay this for a clock. So the 100£ tag sound like a good compromise.

You're not selling "just" a crafted object but a complete work of art!

Deb said...

Hello rima. how are you? sorry for the late reply but thank you for the print you sent me! it is beautiful. i dont check your blog enough and was trying to explain to one of my illustrator friends from uni what you do etc. i think your clock is blooming beautiful! I am saving up the pennies! dx.

The Dutchess said...

Found your blog,found ,"once upon a clock"and made a post on The Dutchess with a link to "the clock". Lovely lovely lovey etc.. your work is enchanting.

BT said...

Rima, your clocks are amazing. I would like one for my step son's wedding, but it is on 6th Sept. Is that too soon? Please contact me via email if you like. I also want one for my 'snug', our little front room. At £60, they are highly affordable. See how they go and up the price if you get swamped with orders. I feel about double is probably nearer the mark,