Dinner Time Chimes, based in Clinton, NC, is an eclectic collaborative of Erin & Gavin Thompson. Their focus is on creating functional and beautiful house wares and accessories from recycled or reclaimed items. If you have been looking for a low profile recipe stand or a funky birdhouse like no one else in the neighborhood it is likely they will have just the thing. They are known however for windchimes made from silver plate flatware and unique bases. Very fun way to repurpose!
I (Erin) work at home so it’s a just a few steps of a commute for me. I try to be finished up with my “real” job by the time Gavin gets home from work. Recently it’s been evenings working on remodeling our house and then to bed late. We try to spare a little time on the weekends to work on making windchimes and bird houses.
Who or what influences your work and why?
Our crafts are influenced by what we can find in thrift stores and at estate sales. People are always getting rid of what they consider “junk” but they make perfect materials for us.
Is it your personal belief that creativity and the ability to create art is innate?
Someone can teach you how to hold a pencil or a brush (or in our case, how to use large machinery), but what do and make after that point is the true art.
Explain your art- what exactly is it you do? How do you describe it?
We make windchimes and other assorted goodies from silver plate silverware that we purchase at thrift stores, flea markets, auctions and the like. We also create a few birdhouse out of found objects, such as boots and cooking pots too. It’s certainly unique creations, but we like to think of them as practical things created from trash that are sure to make people smile!
I first became interested in working with the silverware when I was in middle school. My dad saw the chimes somewhere and thought that it would something good for us to make together. On family outings to flea markets and antique stores it gave me something to look for and it taught me about “business” early on.
What is it like working as a team?
It certainly makes the work go quicker!
When did you first discover your talent and artistic ability?
I’ve always loved making things with my hands and I think that stems from spending most days with my grandparents while my parents were at work. I learned so much about life, sewing, and baking for starters.
Can you tell me about your creative process?
We were both raised in farming families so it comes pretty naturally to us.
What have you done to incorporate an eco-friendly approach to your house wares?
What have you incorporated into your lifestyle to facilitate going green and conserving energy?
We are relying more and more on home-grown veggies and meats. It’s quite refreshing to know exactly where everything came from.
Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire?
I’m really not into work by ‘famous’ artists, but I absolutely love creations from ordinary people such as quilts and needlepoint that were created by people many years ago.
What is important to you about conservation and preserving our environment?
It’s the only one we’ve got and it’s very important for us to take care of it. We live in the country and thus the conservation of farm lands is closest to our hearts. It’s amazing how many children don’t know that food doesn’t actually come from a grocery store!
What is your favorite project or work you’ve completed thus far?
I really like the large windchimes that we’ve created lately.
The internet has helped us reach customers that would have never otherwise found our wind chimes. We’ve even sent one internationally to Ireland! One thing that has worked to our advantage with non-local customers is the addition of a slide show of our windchimes with SOUND on our website. Without the sound, it’s hard to convince potential customers that silver plate spoons actually do sound great, but now they can hear for themselves.
What is your greatest ambition as an artist?
To make people smile.
What are your long term career goals?
This craft business will probably always remain a hobby, but we hope to always enjoy it and the wonderful people we meet as a result.
What are you currently working on?
We’re working on gathering supplies to make more windchimes, in hopes of stocking up for the holidays.
What advice would you give a young artist just getting started?
Follow your heart and make what you love. If it feels like work, it’ll never be worth the time!
What green product would you recommend to our readers?
Vinegar + Water does wonders when you need to take down old wallpaper. It’s been a huge time saver for us while remodeling our home.
What is your best going green tip?
When it’s time to plant your garden and flower beds, ask around to see which neighbors or family members have plants that need dividing. You do them a favor, spend almost nothing and end up with a lovely yard filled with plants that you know will grow in your area!
How would your friends describe you?