By Emily Hoard • Staff Writer • 

Artist of the hour

Currents Gallery is now featuring a display of Durley’s mixed media art. Titled “Clockworks and Other Works,” it opened Saturday, July 18 — in time for McMinnville’s Art and Wine Walk and the downtown gallery’s 10th anniversary — and will continue through Aug. 11.

Originally from Missouri, Durley moved to Oregon 40 years ago. Before getting into antiques, she worked as an engineering technician.

The gallery is owned by a group of eight artists, and she has been a member of that group for the last three years.

In addition to tapping her inventory of leftovers, Durley collects tin toys, small statues, game pieces, stamps, goggles, optometric instruments and such. She scours antique stores and eBay postings for items she can incorporate into her art.

“My theory is, when I find something good to make a clock, one would be good but 100 would be better,” she said. So she is prone to buying in bulk.

At her home in Independence, she has turned a single-car garage into a studio. Her collection is housed there, filling more than 100 drawers and 50 cigar boxes.

“The stuff by itself is not worth anything,” Durley said, “but it’s too wonderful to throw away.”

image 073115-Ann-Durley-Clocks3BW.jpg not found Rockne Roll/News-Register##Durley enjoys adding surprising features to her clocks, like the face of a doll.

One of her prizes is a set of foundry molds that a friend rescued from the scrap heap. And that has enticed her to look for others.

“There are a lot of different kinds of foundry molds, and I want them all,” she said.

Designing the pieces takes more time than actually assembling them, she said.

She starts with a frame, lid or board capable of serving as her canvas. Then she begins adding parts, creating a unique work as she goes along.

The clocks use quartz movements, making them highly functional. “I have a knack for putting things together,” Durley said.

One clock incorporates half of a tin toy dog. Another clock features the other half.

Durley said the broken toys are pieces of trash, in a way. “Normal people wouldn’t keep them, but I love them,” she said.

Another clock uses the front of an old gas pump as a canvas. A chair incorporates dominoes and a croquet set.

An oversized spool of string supports one of her tables.

“What would an ordinary person do with that?” she asked, pointing at the string. “I don’t know because I’m not ordinary.”

The table’s surface consists of century-old wood from a renovation job in Salem, trimmed with metal straps Durley found by some railroad tracks.

Another Currents artist, Marlene Eichner, said the whimsical and quirky works match Durley’s personality. “They’re one of a kind,” she said.

image 073115-Ann-Durley-Clocks2BW.jpg not found Rockne Roll/News-Register##Ann Durley often adds antique toys to her clocks.

“One thing that’s neat about the clocks is each one has an inventory hidden on it,” Eichner said. The inventory designator serves as the clock’s title.

It consists of an initial and number. For example, clock G-72 includes a “G” scrabble piece and a “72” metal piece that might have been used as a home address.

Starting with A-1, the clock numbering continues through A-99, then starts over at B-1. She recently created clock H-13.

“She’s been making them for years, and they still sell like wildfire,” Eichner said.

Some pieces that don’t sell during the show will remain at Currents as part of the regular display. Durley’s art can also be found at Independence’s River Gallery, Lincoln City’s Ryan Gallery and Crow Valley Pottery in Eastsound, Washington.

Next month, Currents will present a show of Eichner’s textile-based art. For more information, visit


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