A Love for (Upcycled) Clocks: Artist Shannon Ruby Finds Time for Making

“My very helpful husband brought me several slices of oak one day. After playing with them, I decided that a clock was a must! I started stacking the pieces and covered an old record. This clock is one of my favorites because it looks like a pile of wood. (at least that is how I see it). Just a simple pile of oak that helps me remember where I need to be,” says Shannon.

Shannon Ruby is a San Antonio-based artist who uses recycled materials (her specialty is paper art) to make fabulous pieces of art for the home. “I believe in the tried and true adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I am continually looking and thinking of new and innovative ways to recycle and reinvent in my work. (Most of those thoughts occur to me around 3:00am),” says Shannon.


Why clocks? “If you asked me five years ago about clocks, I would have told you that clocks are great for telling me when I need to be at a meeting or when to leave the office. Now, I see clocks as unique pieces of art that enhance a room or space and really reflect a person’s style or personality,” says Shannon. Her one-of-a-kind timepieces are inspired by the colors of the world and what she finds in her travels.


“I use whatever I think will work. I could probably walk outside right now and find something that I could and would use to create a clock. I use old vinyl records, river rocks, dominoes, small slices of oak, vintage doilies, embroidered pieces and lots and lots of magazine pages which I turn into beads and such,” says Shannon.


This artist also loves communicating with her clients: “One of the most memorable custom projects I made was for a single mother with six children. I created a 18″ in diameter paper bead clock. She was trying to teach the kids how to tell time, so I added painted paper beads and large colorful stones to the numbers. I painted the hands bright blue. I loved making it for them. The clock took about 3 weeks to finish and was well worth it when I received a picture of the children holding it. Her youngest son was amazed by it! When she put the battery in and the second hand started moving, he screamed…’IT’S ALIVE!'”


“Clock-making is a weird form of relaxation and therapy for me. I could sit and roll paper beads or paint a melted record for hours and be totally content….and relaxed. I’ve worked into the wee hours of the night before, and weekends are just more days to do what I love…make clocks and things from old things,” explains Shannon.


I love anything with lots of color, so that includes material, paint, and paper. I have a close friend who makes fun of me because anytime we go to a craft store, secondhand store, or art show, I touch everything. I think that the way things feel inspires me in a weird way. I can envision so many things by touching things and figuring out how to manipulate them into what I would like. I normally have about 7,000 ideas in my head every day, but for some reason when I touch things, the ideas multiply.

Check out Shannon’s online shop here.

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Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.