Bad Dog Designs – Inspiring Upcycling Artists Series

How absolutely wonderful are these nixie clocks from Bad Dog Designs?!  The fabulously talented Paul Parry creates these using salvaged tubes and recycled test equipment. We asked Paul to tell us all about his creations, here’s what he has to tell us….

Please tell us a bit about yourself

Where are you based?
I’m based in Pillaton in Staffordshire, working out of a converted stable.

Do you run your business full time?
No I still have a day job, although I doubt I will have after the next 12 months the way things are going!

How long have you been a professional artist/maker?
Ooh, good question.. I started taking my toys apart when I was 3 and putting them back together as other things. I formally trained in electronic engineering when I left school, but all my life I have made things. I started making the clocks as a business in April 2014.

Did you attend college/university or are you self taught?
I did my EITB in general engineering, then went on ONC / HNC / HND in electronics (many years ago now!) However the artistic side to the clocks is self taught, well not even taught I guess, it just comes to me – just seems to be something I can naturally do.

Please tell us about your work

What do you create?
I create Nixie clocks, these are a rather obscure type of clock using a 1950′s technology – long since obsolete that displays the time, and I use recycled bits of old test equipment to make the casings of the clocks.

Do you use eco friendly methods?
I guess so! All done by hand – no big machines or chemicals. Most of the parts would otherwise have gone into landfill.

Which is your most popular creation?
Everyone seems to love the ‘Gemini’ clock – made from an old 1940′s combined Volt / Amp meter.

Can you tell us about the first piece you created?
The first piece was an old military frequency counting machine, that I converted into a clock. I put it on eBay to see if there was any interest in these ‘Nixie Clocks’ and someone hit the buy it now within 4 hours, which sort of helped me justify what I wanted to do!

Do you have a favourite piece?
I am very fond of the detailed little clocks that I make, Tempus Thermo is definitely one of my favourites

Are you working on any new lines?
I don’t have product lines as such, each clock is a unique handmade piece, although I do give them names.. such as Gordon / Araminta etc, more to help me remember which is which, a lot more personal than model numbers! If I then make a similar clock, it becomes Gordon MKII for example.

Do your undertake commissions?
Yes, 95% of my work is commissioned I do not have enough time with the day job to make pieces solely for general sale, or to go on display – which is a great shame as I have people with shops and galleries asking for a couple of clocks to put on show almost every week now.

Do you teach?
No, I just do not have the time to run a workshop.

Have you won any awards?
I have won the Theo Paphitis #SBS small business Sunday award, and also the #Kingoff award on Twitter. I am also a nominee for the International 2016 Arts and Crafts Design award.

Other notable achievements?
I made it through the Liberty’s open call and got to meet with Ed Burstall who loved the clocks. I’ve been in quite a few magazines – Stuff / Reclaim / Reloved / Homes & Garden etc. I also export all over the world, with my pieces going as far afield as Singapore / Australia / Canada / America.

Your thoughts

Which artists inspire you?
I’m inspired by scientists the likes of Farady / Tesla / Edison and the things that they invented. I do not really follow or know any artists who paint in that style, although I do like the work of Dali and Kitt Williams

Do you have any advice/tips for aspiring artists?
Always create from within, use your heart to make a piece, rather than what you think someone would like to see.. keep it ‘yours’ and above all enjoy the creative element, your passion shows through in your work.. and never give up!

Where can your work be seen and purchased?
People are welcome to pop by the workshop if I’m in and see what is being made, however all the pieces I have made to date are on the website To purchase something, just contact me and I will take on a commission.

We highly recommend you visit the Bad Dog Designs website to see more of  Paul’s creations!

About Kirstie Adamson

Kirstie Adamson is a magazine & junkmail collage artist. Co-Founder of EcoCreate art & craft network and a passionate revamp crafter!

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