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A Gift of Time

10/19/16

Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

“If I could save time in a bottle,
The first thing that I’d like to do,
Is to save every day ‘til eternity passes away,
Just to spend them with you…”
Jim Croce

Time, without magic or pretense, moves the three-dimensional universe with no regard for eternity. As humans we measure, track, and watch time throughout our lives. The instruments we use to “keep track” of time have taken on unique and often culturally artistic qualities through the ages. One local glass artist, Mark Richardson, asks us to consider “time” as a gleaming, glistening and vibrant art form. Mark creates one-of-a kind clocks from liquid to solid using a variety of fuse glass techniques.

Texas born and growing up in the Midwest, Mark had his eyes on the ever-present distant horizons, witnessing their endlessly changing shadowy forms. He credits his introduction to the “arts of the earth” to his grandparents who owned and ran a ceramic shop in Fort Worth, Texas. He remembers being put to work while visiting them, as a child. Among the heat of the kilns, spin of the potter’s wheels, and shelving stacked with green and bisque ware, he learned the value of fire in the process of creating art forms. Mark also became a student of liquid color in the form of glazes and soon discovered the magic brought forth in letting the medium move. During the same time, Mark was introduced to the realm of two-dimensional art through photography. His father gifted him with his old darkroom equipment, which set Mark off on a 30-year adventure of snapping and developing images that caught his interest. 

All roads lead Mark to where he is today in his Arizona home glass studio.  With years of experience and the inspiration of artists such as Posada, Esher, Durer and Ansel Adams, Mark produces glass creations that not only capture our attention, but also serve as reliable timekeepers in our lives.  He remarks, “I have always been fascinated by glass as a material both for its look and feel.  I am constantly testing the boundaries of glass in bringing each piece alive.  It is as much about the science of the medium as it is the craft of it.”   Mark incorporates inspiration from Nature, and the patterns he finds in everyday life.  These images and forms are fused into glass clock designs.  Mark is also fascinated by the elegant simplicity found in Native American rock art and the complex lines of Europe’s ancient sites.  About ten years ago, Mark welcomed an old friend to his studio when he inherited his grandparent’s kiln, from their ceramic shop.  The many years of familiar, reliable and unfailing process has passed through time to support Mark’s art for in present and future.

As Pete Seeger once wrote, “I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.”  Now is the time to “take care of your creative side” or perhaps give the “gift of time” to family and friends.  Check out Mark Richardson’s spectacular fused glass clocks.  His work can be seen at Fountain Hills Artist Gallery, visit www.fountainhillsartistsgallery.com for information and during Art on the Avenue in Fountain Hills, every Thursday.  To contact Mark and view a delightful selection of his clock creations, visit his website at www.cactusclocks.com.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.