Hello Cool Design: Meet Hot Art

Is it human nature to collect things? I think we’ve all done it. Sea Shells? Salt & Pepper Shakers? Christmas Ornaments? For guys, I suppose it’s Fishing Lures? Baseball Hats? Mine started with stuffed animals and Barbies of course. Now it’s a little more sophisticated. I have a small collection of religious iconic art – the stuff you see in Santa Fe or at Tesoros here in Austin. In particular, I love retablos and crèches. I also love plates and serving utensils – and yes, Christmas ornaments. More on that another day… Today, I’m thinking about clocks.

I guess I started collecting clocks about 4 years ago when we bought this Modern Cuckoo, designed by Ingolf Haas and available at dwr.com. Only about 150 clock makers in the world make remarkable time pieces such as this (which is certified as an authentic Black Forest Clock). Namely, it must be purely mechanical (no batteries or electric cords), and entirely produced (even all interior parts) in the Black Forest, a wooded mountain range in southwestern Germany.
This next clock I found a few months ago at one of my favorite boutiques in Austin – PerriBerri – which is mostly a purveyor of gorgeous women’s clothing (great brands such as red haute) and jewelry (designer chan luu is my favorite). QLOCKTWO, by Biegert & Funk, has received numerous design awards (reddot, iF, and interior innovation) and is manufactured in southern Germany, in a former jewellery factory in a town famous for its gold and silver jewellery.

Almost as soon as I found QLOCKTWO, we received the latest Design Within Reach catalog, and low and behold was another clock of my dreams – the George Nelson 1948 Ball Clock, conveniently reduced 15% as part of the semiannual sale! George Nelson often collaborated with other designers, and in the case of the Ball Clock, was at a dinner party with Isamu Noguchi, Irving Harper and Bucky Fuller. As the story goes, they were all sketching and “had a little bit too much to drink.” In the morning, they saw a drawing of the Ball Clock on a roll of drafting paper and none of them truly knew who designed it!

One of our artists – T. Graham – surely understands my obsession with clocks. Graham’s work consists of an array of modern works of art, architectural abstracts and night time city views. A Measure in Thought I has a Synthetist aesthetic that reminds me a bit of Edvard Munch. If you didn’t know T. Graham already, take a look at http://www.gallerydirect.com/art/artists/t-graham. You’ll like him even better when you see the picture of him holding his sweet baby!

My kids seem surprised with this steady influx of clocks – why I don’t know – as clocks epitomize the cool design objects that they know I love. (And they actually despise the cuckoo clock — or at least  how noisy it is), so I’m sure they’ll be dismayed with my next clock purchase. I don’t know what that will be yet, but I do know that it will occur!


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