Artists are happy making art

Van Gogh travel alarm clock

Vincent Van Gogh’s floating left ear is the second hand on this clock.

There is no doubt that the artist’s life brings real challenges for many in the modern world, especially during an economic downturn as people struggle to sell art…but the artist’s life also gets a really bad rap in ways it does not deserve. Thanks to notables like my friend Vincent Van Gogh here, the stereotype of the brooding, miserable artist is deep in our social psyche. But does the stereotype hold any water?
I was encouraged to find this study that concluded we artists, on the whole, are actually a pretty resilient and fulfilled group of people. And I know enough happy artists that I’m not actually surprised.
Don’t be afraid to follow your creative aspirations. Though you might be broke at times, you will not have to end up a one-eared, tormented, broken-hearted failure.  Studies show.

Paper Scissors Rock Studio Tour

Wonder where the whimsical wall clocks are made?

A lot of people ask me about my artistic process, and while I am sometimes reluctant to talk too much about it (how interesting could this really be??) I am always fascinated by how other artists work too, so I understand the curiosity.

I spend a lot of time alone, and while you might think that would get boring or lonely, solitude is where I experience a lot of joy and renewal, as well the inspiration that helps me make stuff. My home studio is the hub of my art life, so I think the best way to explain my process is to show you around my space…so…welcome to my studio!


whimsical clock drill

Here is the corner of my “factory” where I drill holes in my wall clocks to place the hands. Even these mundane parts of my work are a holistic part of my creative process. They are not done in a factory overseas, but by me, in my home. I daydream about new designs or take breaks from developing a new piece while I make things with my hands. You can see the signs of that process here in the colorful clutter. 🙂
On the bulletin board I post stuff I’ve been working on, and random things that I find that inspire me…juicy color that draws my eye, photos of interesting or unique shapes and textures, and of course, my cats, whose interruptions of my work are the source of the many gifts I make with cat lovers in mind.


painting whimsical frog wall clock

This is where I paint. The froggy clock and flying pig wall clock were works-in-progress at the time of the photo. I frequently work on a new piece over a week or more, letting it sort of come together organically in its own way.


studio window view painting whimsical clocks clock studio window

Here in my creative corner, I have a view of the lush Pacific Northwest forest that surrounds my house, getting visits from deer, birds, and the occasional fox. A number of my designs show glimpses of the Pacific Northwest, and my love of animals. Of course, I have all my drawing and painting stuff here…lots and lots of brushes, reference for drawing human anatomy, and Prismacolor markers (THE BEST). I also draw inspiration from spirituality– from many of the world’s traditions. You can see my Tibetan prayer flags in the window. In addition to the spiritual aspect of life, I am a big fan of miniature things and colorful things. So, I really, really love these prayer flags. (See if you can spot all the miniature things in these pics.)

frog wall clock
Unfinished frog clock painting…it went through some evolution after this. Its still a frog though. 😉


Painting miniature pig clock

flying pig wall clock progressI can spend hours adding tiny detail to my work. When to stop?…when pigs fly?





In the background you can see my collection of tiny beads. These are not part of my clocks or other gifts, but I really enjoy working with them. (Tiny, colorful, painstaking to work with…what’s not to love?) I don’t sell my beadwork, but I can’t help but do it. I’ll post about this someday, too.


Pike Place Market Seattle clock painting
This painting of mine was selected as a poster celebrating Seattle’s Pike Place Market, where I have been a craft vendor for more than 30 years. The Market is a very special place. If you visit Seattle, come say hi to me on a Saturday. I have a wall clock celebrating Pike Place Market available hereIn the background you can see the area where I assemble wall clocks. Sorry for the mess under the table…ugh. I really like to have a clean studio, but since I do everything here, sometimes its not.


artist Pam Corwin Paper Scissors Rock office

Here is me, at the desk  in the office side of the studio. Proof that if you ever call to order a clock you are not getting a call center! 🙂 That is actually me. Yup, I answer the phone, too.


wall clock assembly

Clock assembly. Again, not the most artsy work, but its all part of the process.

I also shot some video on the day we took these photos, so one of these days I will post a video that shows the whole wall clock making process from sketching to shipping. Stay tuned!

Phillip Lomax at Pike Place Market…My brush with the almost famous


Phillip Lomax, whimsical clocks, Pam Corwin, Seattle Pike Place Market, X Factor

X Factor finalist Phillip Lomax with artist Pam Corwin at Pike Place Market, Seattle

(9/1/13). Phillip Lomax, X Factor Finalist 2011 was our guest bell ringer at the Pike Place Market in Seattle– which means he rang the bell to start roll call, which is when all the artists choose their spaces for the day. Afterwards some folks coaxed him into singing for us. See the video of Phillip singing at Seattle’s Pike Place Market here.

Later he came by my booth. We hit it off, he’s a total sweetheart. Before he left he asked if he could have his manager take a picture with me. (My reply “Why? I’m not anybody!”) I asked him if he could make me look 10 pounds thinner so he crouched down (he’s tall!) to block off my whole body. His manager sent me this pic the next day.

Welcome to the Paper Scissors Rock blog!

Proof that I answer the phone.

My name is Pam Corwin. I am the artist behind the Paper Scissors Rock line of handmade gifts.
I have always loved to create, and I have made my living making things for almost my entire adult life. When people find this out, they’re often like, “Wow. You lucky dog. I wish my job was making art!”
And its true- I am lucky. I work for myself and get to be creative and I am so, so grateful to get to do what I love for a living, as well as for all the lessons I have learned along the way.
Its also hard…I went years without taking a day off. I am responsible for all aspects of the business, not only the designing and painting but the parts that I love less. I handle the finances.  I deal with many shipping logistics. I order supplies, clean the studio, run errands, answer all the email, and do grunt work. I answer the phone, even on days when I’d like a break from it. I handle the crises that happen on a Friday night or a Sunday morning…you get the picture.
All in all it’s not all roses and clovers, but it is a pretty dang good gig. Like, really good.
If you are here looking for my products, you can find the home page here with my whimsical clocks, bookmarks, nightlights and other gifts.
I want to use this blog to share some of the stuff that doesn’t make it onto my main site, which I try to keep streamlined and user-friendly for my wholesale and retail customers to order online.
In this forum I will share things like the most frequently asked questions, stories from the Pike Place Market in Seattle where I sell my work, things that inspire me, funny stories of my life as a working artist, information about my products, new designs and other art I am working on, online promotions, and possibly other stuff….so stay tuned, if that sounds like your thing.