While many crafters find time flies when they’re in the creative zone, Court Theatre set builder Richard van den Berg is more aware than most of the minutes ticking by – he spends his spare time in his Christchurch home studio designing and creating clocks, which he sells in his aptly named shop, Kinetic Craft.
What do you make?
I make handcrafted clocks in my spare time after my day job as a set builder and scenic artist at The Court Theatre in Christchurch.
How did you get into your craft?
Many years ago I made my first clock for a present for a friend, who wanted something a bit different to sit on his mantlepiece. I got such positive feedback from people that I decided to sell them at the Arts Centre Market and have expanded from there.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I have a diploma in visual communication, majoring in 3D studies. As a kid I also obsessively played with Lego for enough hours to earn an engineering degree.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I really enjoy the process of casting, especially making silicone rubber molds. I like the idea that you can spend hours on the original piece, getting it just right and then having the ability to replicate it quickly and perfectly every time.
What inspires you?
Bridges and aircraft, along with so many other feats of engineering, seem to hold sculptural qualities that inspire me in their aesthetic.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Apart from the intrinsic enjoyment I get in making my work I get a thrill at the idea that pieces I create end up in different places in NZ and all over the world.
Describe your workspace:
My studio was badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquake. It seems to have attempted to leap away from the side of our house so the walls are cracked and the floor has sunk but I still love working in there. However, I can’t blame the quake on how messy it is.
What are you currently listening to?
At the moment I’m listening to Catch 22 on audio book while I’m working in my studio.
Five words that describe your mind:
Your favourite childhood book? Reader’s Digest – Mysteries of the Unexplained.
What are you reading now? The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot.
Your hero/heroine: Jacques Vallee
A favourite quote:
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. – T. S. Eliot.
Do you have any pets? Two beautiful dogs, both King Charles Cavaliers.
Richard’s clocks are available from his Felt shop, Kinetic Craft and can also be seen gracing the shelves of Toi Toi in the newly opened Restart container shopping centre in the heart of Christchurch.