A devastating accident left Jim Morgan totally blind. We are proud to have had Jim present his art at the 2020 Festival.
My name is Jim Morgan. I am a former teacher, cabinet maker and home builder. Now I am The Blind Clockmaker. The blindness was a result of an accident that I had in March of 2014. I was struck by a car while riding a bicycle through a crosswalk in Ft. Myers, Florida. I suffered many injuries, the worst of which were multiple skull fractures and massive bleeding from my head. My wife Cathy saved my life that day by curbing the blood loss until the ambulance arrived to transport me to the trauma center. The trauma doctors gave me little chance of surviving, but by their efforts and God's grace, I pulled through. The one lasting effect is total and permanent blindness.
Suddenly, I had to learn to adapt to a new sightless world. I did so by going back to tasks I had previously done and devising a new way of completing them. I design the clocks in my mind and conjure a method in which to build them by feel alone.
Many times I have been asked if my other senses have become more acute. No, I don't believe this is true but I have definitely learned to rely and depend on them more to compensate for the vision loss. For instance, I used to identify many domestic woods such as walnut, cherry, oak, sassafras and hickory by sight. Now I detect the odor, hardness, weight and texture by feel and smell to identify the variety of wood.
I frequently have heard that I am an inspiration to those who receive my clocks, but the opposite is true. The people inspire me and give me purpose.
Two things I often say about my clocks: they are all one-of-a-kind because I cannot copy, and the one who built it will never see it.
In the making of more than 100 unique clocks, I have used at least 25 different species of exotic and domestic hardwoods. Every clock has been a gift. Many have gone to friends and family for special occasions – weddings, birthdays, graduations – or to just say thanks to those who have helped my recovery. Several have been donated to fund raisers for area churches, the Nationwide Children's Hospital, and the Lighthouse for the Blind. One clock was auctioned at a benefit for a wonderful young man who went through a very similar traumatic accident as mine. Another was auctioned to assist with funeral expenses for the sudden loss of a very close friend.
In January of 2020, I sold several clocks as part of the Cape Coral Music and Arts Festival. The sale of these clocks helps to defray my cost of the expensive woods and materials I use. In addition, money from these sales helps to purchase some much needed safety equipment for my shop so that I can continue my charitable work.
Watch Jim's video about how he builds clocks in complete darkness.
Jim met but did not see patrons at the Cape Coral Festival.
This clock is made from Wenge and Persimmon Black Heart.