Posts Tagged ‘flying saucer’

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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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Caffeine & gasoline

December 12, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I was trolling online for hubcaps, looking for something to complement a motorcycle brake disc that’s been hanging around for a couple of years. I wasn’t successful, but in the process I did find some pretty tempting wheel covers. I also stumbled on a squarish midcentury-style percolator that I was very taken by. But I resisted.

Well, for awhile anyway.

But at some point I heard what I call the Click, when I realized that one of the hubcaps I’d seen echoed the shapes and finishes of the coffeepot – and then I was lost.

It was supposed to be an easy project, but I ended up having to (pain-in-the-ass-stakingly) repaint the black areas on the hubcap, since the original finish came off in the wash. On the other hand, I already had the perfect saucepan knob in my stash to turn into a finial, along with a shiny metal cup to hide the socket in.

So here’s the result.


Details in my Etsy shop, as always. Happy holidays!

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Everything but the oink

May 31, 2014

The last few days, as I was putting together three Roswells for a restaurant client, I found myself once again considering how the many bits and pieces I’ve collected go into my lamps.

Roswell II extra-large colander pendant

Roswell II extra-large colander pendant

Of course, there are the physical parts, like the saucepan lids and knobs and bits of old fixtures I’ve scavenged and squirreled away for no particular purpose.

And there’s other literal stuff: My dad’s old knife steel I repurposed as a reamer (it’s the same diameter as 3/8″ lamp pipe), the compass and acrylic triangles from the college drafting classes I so loathed, a wrench an old boyfriend bought for adjusting the exercise bike he insisted we needed (and then stuck me with when he moved out).

The list goes on.

Also though, there are other things, intangibles. Fragments of math and geometry that, surprisingly, finally turn out to be useful. Trivia about everything from metalwork to house painting to packing. Thirty years of learning what makes writing work … You get the drift.

And finally something new it seems I’ve mostly learned just from making lamps: Patience. Knowing when to stop, or at least pause. When not to push forward but to wait, take a break, set the work aside until a better solution presents itself.

Some people, I think, know this instinctively. But it goes against my nature, and has thus taken a very long time to learn. I have to wonder what difference it would have made to have had it earlier.

But some things one can never know.

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Black stars and falling leaves

May 7, 2014

I read somewhere recently that black light fixtures and shades were all the rage, and I’d had a couple of people ask me to make some aluminum shades black, so I thought I’d try building something along those lines from scratch.

Since I’d accumulated quite a few star colanders, this is what I came up with.

On the flipside, someone came into (the now-defunct) Rebooty awhile back with a bridge lamp she wanted me to do something with, on a limited budget. I had a shade I’d picked up from a garage sale that happened to fit, along with a lot of old sheet music left over from other projects, so I recovered it.

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I’m really happy with the way it came out – the depth and movement and warmth of it. I hope the customer likes it too…if I can ever get ahold of her. And if not, I have a very solid bridge lamp if anyone is interested.

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Pair-shaped, part III

February 4, 2014

jstandcropWhat do you do when you find a couple old jack stands at a salvage place? If you’re me, you decide to make lamps out of them – and then start hunting for hubcaps.

Before

Before

Why hubcaps? For shades, of course. But they have to be just the right ones. It’s surprisingly difficult.

And it turns out that, when you find them, they look like they’ve been coated with marinara sauce and allowed to cure for, say, a century or so. Yuck.

But there’s some satisfaction to be had from playing with paint remover – and spray paint. The jack stands weren’t quite as crusty as the hubcaps, but I decided to repaint them as well, in two different blacks: one flat, one glossier and slightly textured.

Figuring out how to suspend the hubcap shades was also a bit of a challenge. It took some trial and error – as did compensating for the slight off-kilterness of the stands. Overall though, now that they’re done, I’m pretty happy with the result.

War of the Worlds jack stand and hubcap table lamps

War of the Worlds jack stand and hubcap table lamps


WoWsgl
WoWcu
All they need is a Tom Cruise bobblehead fleeing in terror. Keep an eye out for me?

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In good company

November 8, 2013

Well, the show at Rebooty is up and glowing. It will be there for a several days, maybe longer. Be sure to stop in if you’re in the neighborhood. There’s a ton of upcycled fun inside!

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It all depends

July 26, 2013

Summer is slow for my day job, so I have a lot of time on my hands. Lately, I’ve been using it to make hanging lamps. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

All of these lights, and many more, are available in my Etsy shop, where you can also find out the specifics.