Visit Pine Knoll Clock Works at WaterFire Sharon, PA
Dorrin Mace’s hobbies used to be clocks and antiques. “Now they’re my job,” said Mace, who previously handled cruise missile logistics for the U.S. Air Force.
Mace, 53, and his wife Patty moved from Germany to Findley Township, Mercer County, in 1988. Their homestead became the Pine Knoll Clock Shop where nearly 15,000 clocks have now been repaired. They’ve been shipped from all over the world for Mace to work his magic.
For the first time, Pine Knoll Clock Shop will have a booth at WaterFire Sharon where festivalgoers can check out his handiwork and even buy a one-of-a-kind piece made especially for the event.
Mace built the clocks – called Daisy because it looks like the flower- out of recycled materials. An ideal gift for teachers, the clock has pencils for hands and its base is a clay pot. The Lucite dial is actually made from industrial waste, Mace said. Each one took four to five hours to make.
His passion is turning recycled materials into clocks.
“You can make anything into a clock,” said Mace. He’s made beautiful pieces from windows and shutters, old flooring and records. He also likes taking antiques and reimagining them for a modern house.
The Clock Works made 24 different styles this year and will have 10 designs for sale at WaterFire. All Mace’s custom clocks are named after relatives – Daisy is his great-aunt. He says they match the personality of their namesakes. Some may consider horology a lost art, but Mace disagrees.
“I haven’t lost it. I’m still here,” he said, adding that people often come into his workshop and ask to talk to his father. “ ‘You can’t be the clock man.'”
But he is.
Mace runs the shop full-time – well, more than full-time. Some weeks he spends 70 to 90 hours building and servicing time pieces from the 15th Century to modern day. He even makes house calls in some cases.
The artist’s interest began as a child exploring his grandfather’s war grant home where one of the summer kitchens was full of clocks. Young Dorrin liked to take things apart and he knew that if he tried that with clocks he’d lose fingers. So he got books and started reading.
“You have to have an analytical mind and curiosity,” he said. “And you have to have the drive to do it.”
And he continues to learn about the craft he’s spent a lifetime honing. Mace said he believes WaterFire is a perfect fit for his work, though the idea hadn’t crossed his mind until recently.
“Believe it or not, I had customers from New York coming in and telling me about it,” Mace said of WaterFire Sharon. He’d been to the festival once before, but hadn’t thought about bringing his work as an artisan until Land Operations Manager Karen Anderson mentioned it again.
He’s excited at the reaction of the public and the opportunity for artists to experience such an arts festival.
“It’s been very positive,” Mace said of WaterFire’s impact on the artisan community. “Artists get to sit out there and discuss what they do. “That’s the hardest thing – to get people to understand what you do. (We) love to talk with people. It sparks a curiosity.”
Also an estate and antiques appraiser, Mace and his wife have three grown children, four grandchildren and a gaggle of dogs, cats, geese and chickens.
“I very much like my life,” Mace said.
The second and third generations also love the clocks. In fact, the oldest child Brooks is a carpenter in his father’s shop.
Mace said he doesn’t do much advertising for his business.
“I’m busy enough without it,” he said, noting that sometimes folks show up hours before they open with a clock that needs some TLC. “It’s Antiques Road Show every day in here.”
Sometimes, customers bring him a piece that will cost as much as it’s worth to repair, but because of the memories attached it’s worth it to them. Once, a man hauled what turned out to be a very rare clock made of china to Mace in a milk crate in the bed of his pickup truck.
“It was worth several thousand dollars being treated like a 50-cent piece from Woolworths.”
No matter the condition of the clock, Mace is confident his experience and education make him the right guy to fix it.
“There are very few I can’t repair or restore.”