Posts Tagged ‘desk lamp’

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Obsessonomics

November 19, 2016

Sometimes an idea gets so firmly ahold of me that it drags me down a pricey rabbit hole, kicking and screaming the whole way.

In the beginning it seems harmless, a modest acquisition that shows promise. But then it starts to make demands. It’s like adopting a rescue dog that’s so cute and friendly you can’t resist, but it’s not young. So there are vet bills and meds, and pretty soon you’re thinking, What was I thinking?

But you love it, so on you go.

This project started with a pair of jackstands from an estate sale. Then I got the idea in my head that they had to have Volkswagen hubcap shades. I found a pair on eBay, for not too much (as hubcaps go), but I could tell they weren’t in the greatest shape. I thought I’d go rustic. But once they arrived I just couldn’t do it. They were less rusty than crusty.

So things sat.

Eventually, I decided to paint both stands and shades, which meant getting the hubcaps sandblasted. And that meant venturing – twice – into the wilds of San Leandro (though the folks at Myers couldn’t have been nicer) and parting with a chunk of change. Then filling the pits and low spots. Then sanding the filler. Then priming and painting.

In the meantime, the shades wanted accessories of their own: high-end acorn nut finials and teeny VW bugs for pull-chain ornaments. And then, when I thought I was finished, I realized I really needed some way to keep the legs from scratching the tabletop. Trying different things took another couple of weeks.

But in the end they got done.

Learn more about the Roboto Ronin in my Etsy shop.

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Standing out from the herd

May 21, 2015

I’ve built enough lamps now that inevitably I’m repeating myself. New ideas are getting harder to come by. Case in point: A year or so ago I made a pair of jackstand-and-hubcap lamps I called War of the Worlds.

War of the Worlds jackstand and hubcap table lamps

War of the Worlds jackstand and hubcap table lamps

They sold pretty quickly, so when I found another jackstand recently, I snapped it up. I didn’t want to just recreate the exact same lamp (besides, there’s a bunch of similar ones for sale on Etsy now), so I spent a few days perusing the many flavors of hubcaps available on eBay – a lot of them yummy but too pricey, or too small, or otherwise wrong.

Finally I found a pair of ’60s Mustang hubcaps with nice scalloped cutouts around the edge, for a reasonable price. I knew the shallower shape would fit the S-arm cluster I had salvaged from a lamp my friend Becca gave me, and I could figure the rest out when the package arrived.

So now, a few months later I have. I kept the original black-and-red color scheme of the jackstand, but sanded and repainted it to look sharp – the red is more delicious than the photos can convey. And the lines of the hubcap are a good match for those of the stand. I think it’s a lot of fun, and I’m hoping it will find its way to the desk of someone who likes it as much as I do.

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Available for now in my Etsy shop, or contact me directly.

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Repeat after me

April 14, 2015

In college, I studied textile design. I wasn’t very good at it. As taught, it was all about making a repeating pattern that added up to something greater. Something fluid. Something with life to it. But I just didn’t see that way.

The problem was, maybe, the two dimensionality – flat just doesn’t speak to me. I never really tried to figure it out; I just stopped messing with fiber after I graduated.

Lately, though, I’ve come back to pattern, in a very small way: picking up a motif from some object and replicating it on a shade I’m decorating to match.

The one I tried a couple months of ago came out pretty nice, so I decided to try again with a tall brass candlestick I found in a thrift store. I had a ready-made shade the right size and shape, but it was too white. So I dyed it with some tea I decided I’d never drink. Then I added a decoupage border that mimics one of the shapes stamped into the candlestick.

When the lamp is off, the shade looks something like a damp plaster wall with a frieze (but it smells much better). With a light inside, the texture evens out and the shade glows a soft golden color. Altogether, it sums to something more than its parts. Something so warm and welcoming that I wish I had a place for it. But I don’t, so it’s for sale in my Etsy shop.