Tuesday, April 17, 2018


The makers of these beautiful vintage clocks never dreamed  that one day their beautiful creations would be altered, restored, given new life and transformed into a one of a kind piece of art.
                       Welcome to my Fortune Tellers

I have been asked over and over questions as to how they came about, what they are made of, what is the process etc., So, I decided to do a post answering some of those questions.
Recently I was invited to create some artwork for Quirks Art Gallery Grand Opening in Williamsburg, Virginia. The theme of their opening is the Circus/Sideshow so I decided to make some Clown Bird Assemblages. As I creating these in my studio, across my work table directly in front of me sat a Vintage clock that I've had for a long while with the intentions of doing something with it... (my life story). The more I worked with the Clown Birds and gathered supplies to create with them, I became so inspired looking at that clock everyday that I knew I could incorporate it somehow into the Circus theme. And so, the Fortune tellers were born.

Some of the questions I have been asked, "where do you find the clocks?" To be quite honest, they are difficult to find,at least at any decent price because most of them still work and of course, I'm going to destroy them. You have to be on a quest for them. It's a treasure if you are lucky enough to find one in a flea market or perhaps a garage sale. With Estate sales and antique places, they generally are in good working condition and you will pay more for them.

"Are they expensive?" Yes, they are expensive if you purchase the ornate ones, which tend to be the oldest, and most of them come with all the workings. However, whether they work or not, the ornate ones, which are my absolute favorites, are generally the most expensive and the hardest to find, of course.

"What is your process?" My process for each one is entirely different. The first thing I do is disassemble the clocks from the clock bodies, then I fill in holes where screws or other cracks may have been. Next, I sand the rough edges and then I gesso the entire piece with two coats. It takes a lot of gesso, but it's worth it. The gesso also helps to get in the cracks and helps to stabilize the clock more, it also works as a great "grabber" for paint, embellishments and other sculpting work I may want to add. Underneath the finished piece, you would find at least 2-3 layers of different colors of paint. Lastly I finish it all with crackle to let those under layers shine through. After adding collage and embellishments, then it is time to make the Fortune Teller Doll that goes inside.
"Where do you find your faces for the Fortune Tellers?"
Like the clocks, I do a lot of searching. The faces are extremely hard to find. I like to keep the integrity of the antique clock by using as many vintage/antique items as I can. The faces I use are very old porcelain doll faces. The small ones are the hardest to find, as well as the hand porcelain arms/hands. 
"How many will you make?"  That is a good question, I don't know. After making one, I just fell in love with them. I realized when I was making the first one as I began to take apart pieces on it that the maker of this clock years ago was much like me. He or she was an assemblage artist and a clock maker. It made me feel very honored to have this beautiful clock body in my hands and to be working with it so many years later, giving it a new purpose and life, yet still displaying it's ornate beauty in a new way.
The Fortune Tellers are definitely one of a kind, and there will never be two alike. They not only display a beautiful work of art from the past, but also a remembrance of a time gone by for those who were lucky enough to go when  "The Circus was in town".
"Never Let a thought that makes you smile, pass you by"