Monday, October 20, 2014

Maker's Session: Sarah Mimo Clocks

Ever come across a handmade item so awesome it leaves you marveling for a few moments? Me too. This post is part of a little series in which I talk to the people who make these awesome things. Not to steal all their secrets, but to get to know these awesome makers and get a glimpse into their day-to-day creative life. Read the other Maker's Sessions here.

Pinterest introduced me to Sarah Mimo's Etsy shop full of stunning, crazy-amazing laser cut clocks. If you haven't seen these beauties you are in for a visual treat because they are awesome. If you are a wee bit curious about how these are made (and I know you are) keep reading because Sarah shares all sorts of interesting bits about her work below. Don't forget to check out her website and friend her on Instagram.

Share a bit about yourself, your creative background, and how you describe your style. 
My name is Sarah Mimo, I'm a NYC based designer/artist, currently making laser-cut clocks. I grew up in the Midwest near Chicago. I went to Pratt Institute to study illustration which wound up being great preparation for what I do now. My work is probably most influenced by Art Nouveau and Mid-Century Modern design.

When did you get interested in working with wood and how long have you been laser cutting?
Wood is a really gorgeous material, I think everyone who works with it falls in love with it. I had always been interested in wood but I didn't really start working with it until right after college when I decided to build my own furniture to save money. I didn't have many tools and absolutely no experience so the end product was pretty crude. I've been laser cutting since my senior year in college. I had been making cut paper art since high school and laser cutting felt like a natural progression. I was drawn to laser cutting because I could work with more heavy-duty materials and therefor make products that were sturdier and more durable, unlike my paper work.

Sophia Clock

How did clocks come to be in your focus?
Growing up I always had a poor relationship with time, I was always running late or anxiously awaiting something. To me clocks had always been annoying because they never had good news, I think that's why so many of my designs are hard to read. But at some point my relationship to time changed, it became my cheerleader when things started to get stressful. Working on the clocks was my extremely literal way of reminding myself that "this too shall pass". Now I'm working on some new things that aren't clocks but I still really enjoy making new timepieces.

What does your creative process involve?
Some designs come together really easily and some I have to wrestle with for a while. Sometimes a clock starts as a traditional sketch, sometimes it's an iphone picture that I send through random apps. I finalize my designs in Adobe Illustrator and then send them through my laser cutter. After a piece is cut I dremel any parts that the laser couldn't get through and then it's ready for gluing, assembling, staining, and finishing. I make each clock myself and I hope to keep doing that. Getting messy and working with my hands is my favorite part of the process.

 How does an average day in creating go for you?
I like to spend the first half of my day working on orders (cutting, sanding, gluing, staining, finishing) and the second half working on new designs. I try to keep a pretty structured schedule so that I don't get overwhelmed. 

Who loves your product?
People who don't normally like clocks. The modern, geometric star clock is a popular design.

What bit of wisdom would you pass on to someone interesting in working with laser cutters?
I have nothing nice to say about laser cutters, they are a huge pain. I wouldn't work with them unless I had to. I use to outsource my cutting, which was a huge pain, and now I have my own setup, which is a different kind of pain. I'm grateful for them, but they have also been the source of 50% of my bad days over the last two years. (I don't think this would be good to include in the interview but it is the truth.)
On a different note, I get all my business advice from Grimes.

Do you teach any classes or have any tutorial/ebooks people can buy?
I don't, but I'm happy to help anyone who thinks they might need it. sarahmimo (at) gmail (dot) com

What is something the creative business has taught you?
Be kind to your fellow designers. I've met some amazing people who have looked out for me and pointed me in the right direction when I was getting started. Andrea at, Kevin Stanton at, and Michael Delaporte at

Any exciting projects on the horizon?
Yes! I'm working on some stuff I've wanted to make for a while. Non-clock things! They really embody what I've always hoped to make and I hope people enjoy it. It took a while for me to get the confidence to put this new work out there so I'm really excited. I'm experimenting with color and different materials. I'll be sure to let you know when it's ready.
Isn't Sarah great? :) There are multiple ways to keep tabs on her awesomeness: Instagram, Etsy, Website.

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