Last week, we interviewed one of the founding members of Artistic Portland. This week we're giving you the perspective of a newbie, Deb Beechy, who joined the Co-op in June. Deb is a local artist who creates clocks out of recycled bicycle parts and other reused metal items.
You recently joined Artistic Portland (and we’re happy to have you!). What appealed to you about the Co-op?
The appeal of a little alone clock shop time blended with retail time sounded great. Add the strong wisdom of so many other artists working together and the amount of knowledge I'd learn and it only got better. Icing on the cake is retail space in Portland for pennies compared to market rent values.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Ohio and Michigan. Moved here 8 years ago.
What jobs have you had other than being an artist?
I've worked at New Seasons Market for 8 years. I've worked in group homes for people with developmental disabilities, I worked for Special Olympics International, I used to be a therapist for people coming out of prison, worked midnights for a while at a domestic violence shelter and spent 4 years at what had to be my favorite job, a small farm town True Value Hardware store.
I watched a random video of a guy making a clock out of some unconventional item and I tried it out on my bicycle gears I had just replaced. I just seemed hooked on it from the beginning. I loved that some worn out "trash" could be so beautiful and functional.
Where do you get the recycled materials you use to make your clocks?
I go to about 10-12 bike shops around town and they let me dig through their recycle bins. I also keep an eye on their "used but still good and for sale" bins and buy some really cool gears/chainrings.
Do you always work from the same spot?
For the last 2 years I've been very fortunate to have a large 2 car garage that is my clock shop. I love it!
How has your art changed over time?
The assembly of the gears has evolved, tiny teensy nuts and bolts now intermingle with different metal wires. Colors and designs are constantly changing especially with custom orders (my favorite!). The next evolution will be learning to weld.
What’s your goal in your art-making?
To remember the solace and grounding that comes from spending time creating. To remain open to the possibilities of where my art and I will go.
What inspires you?
Colors, textures, random "trash". This art I'm making helped me when my dad died a few years ago. That I have kind loving friends and family around me makes me want to live as full of a life as possible. I'm doing that when I create.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be?
I would love to be able to draw.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I once hitchhiked home from college with a couple of nuns...that story is a bit too long for this interview.
Stop by Artistic Portland to see and purchase Deb's handmade clocks in person!