Clocking in the hours

Clocking in the hours

Clocking in the hours
We keep our eyes peeled for constancy and stability but in truth, the passing of time or change is the only constant. An elusive concept, time can be magical to watch as it strolls by. With each tick of a clock, it slips through our fingers, even as we try hard to grasp it. In an attempt to give it a physical form and capture some of its essence, Amruta Kabada, an art teacher at Trio World Academy, makes innovative clocks and has come up with over a 100 designs.

But instead of using plastic and monotone patterns, she gives them a creative touch with the wave of her hand — papier mache, wood, metal, slate and dry wastes lying around the house become her canvas. Amruta has made clocks in the shapes of garlic bulbs, Spider-Man’s web, with ‘madhubani’ designs and more. She’s taken a palette and paint brushes, spoons and other items and turned them into clocks by drilling into them. With a coat of acrylic paints, her works are complete.

And not only are her clocks beautiful, they are functional as well. “I have the necessary machines so I just need to fit them in after painting on the base,” she says with a laugh. But before she became an expert clock-maker, she tried her hands at other craft items like pen stands and piggy banks. “I learnt papier mache in 2007 and made items like pen stands, but moved on to clocks because they make good gifts.” Once word spread about her quirky designs, people couldn’t get enough of her. She mentions that she has always liked crafting and it is a big part of her.

Designed based on a person’s personality, profession or aesthetics, the clocks use buoyant colours and are reflective of the user. Talking of how it all began, she says, “I used to teach at an NGO (this was when I was in college) and that kicked off my love for teaching and crafting. Now, I don’t make as many clocks as before because I teacher primary school kids who still don’t understand such techniques. But whenever I get time, I work on them,” she says. Instead, she teaches them how to make greeting cards.

On the process, she adds, “It takes about two to five days to make one, depending on the intricacy of the design.” Not inspired by anything in particular, she crafts from everything around her.

And along with clocks, she also makes ‘Akash kandils’ (Diwali lamps). “In Maharashtra, where I grew up, ‘Akash kandils’ are very popular. Nearly every house has them during ‘Diwali’. They are different because they are made from handmade paper. When I shifted to Bengaluru a few years back, I found that no one sold them. This made me want to make them.” But even that has its challenges as, “You don’t get a variety of handmade paper here. And the ones that are available are expensive. So I source all my papers from Pune.” On how she makes them, she says, “I either use a wooden skeleton and make it out of paper or use nothing but paper.” Her designs are so unique that even South Indians, who don’t typically use ‘Akash kandils’, are attracted to them.

A serial hobbyist, her designs are well-thought of and intricately designed. And you might not mind the passing of time with her works around you.

(For details, email Amruta on