Posts Tagged ‘interior design’

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Inner resources

July 25, 2016

It seems like a shockingly long time since I posted here. I was busy with other things for awhile there, but really I just haven’t felt like I had anything much to say. I’ve been a bit bored, or as John Berryman’s (or Henry’s) mother would have it, lacking in “Inner Resources.”*

Still, I’ve kept up the lamp making, in between and around. But all the new ones are variations to one degree or another on old projects. Which doesn’t mean they haven’t been enjoyable – just not thrilling the way coming up with something really new is.

And that’s a dilemma. As one gets better at a thing, I think, it gets harder to find a challenge; the risks get less risky. So the glow that goes with finishing a piece gets dimmer and shorter lived.

I suppose that’s why people carp about “process” being the important thing. But to me that always sounds like glorifying drudgery. Competence is one thing. Routine is another: inevitable, but deadly. Essentially entropy.

I don’t know where I’m going here. I’d like to think there’s something on the far side of this void, or fog, or wall, but I can’t make anything out from the spot where I’m standing.

So on that cheery note, here’s what I’ve made over the past couple of months.

Not Just a Cigar Box accent lamp with LED bulb

Not Just a Cigar Box accent lamp with LED bulb

*Dream Song 14, one of my all-time favorite poems.

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Brass band

March 13, 2016

For no particular reason I’m aware of, last year I picked up a lot of brass objects. So, gradually, I’ve been transforming them into lamps of various kinds. Here are the most recent.

As always, they are available in my Etsy shop.

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A tale of two whimsies

November 22, 2015

Back when I was taking writing classes, I had a teacher who would say about a piece he felt wasn’t quite working, “Leave it on the desk.”

It was good advice – not that I always took it. But I find it applies to making lamps at least as much as to poetry. I’ve been working on a couple of lamps for a few weeks now – not because they’re so complicated as just that they’ve been a bit stubborn.

This first one came together fairly easily, except that the piece I’d originally intended to use as a shade – a domed but shallow lid from something or other – just didn’t work with the cocktail pitcher base. So I went looking online for an alternative, found one, bought it, and made a shade of it. And then the lamp squatted on my dining table, making me wince inside every time I looked at it.

Finally, last weekend I found a stainless steel colander at my local Goodwill, and after a bit of dithering, got it, reasoning that I’d eventually use it for something. A few days later I found the time to drill out the center hole, and tried it on the lamp…and OMG the relief. It worked so much better in every way.

The other one was less problematic, but still kind of balky. I’d bought a nice Ford hubcap earlier this year, and when I stumbled on a listing for a space-age Presto percolator, I knew it was just the thing. So I bought it, only to have my payment returned immediately: the seller had already sold it but hadn’t taken the Etsy listing down. So I went to eBay, reasoning that there had to be more of them.

And there were. I chose one, but when it arrived a few days later, one of the plastic feet had been smashed to bits in transit. The coffee pot still stood up though, so I figured I could repair the foot well enough, and that would be easier than hassling with a return.

So, Superglue and tweezers, and a Sharpie for touchups, and it worked. Setting the bubbler in the hubcap took awhile, mostly because my cheap hole-saw attachment was worn to nubs. Wiring the switch was a little trickier than I’d anticipated, due to tight spacing, but not too bad. No, what fought me most was getting the shade to sit straight. Sigh. But in the end all was well.

Ford Presto coffee pot lamp

Ford Presto coffee pot lamp

Both Ford and Mimsie are available for adoption in my Etsy shop. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Hard drives’ night

October 17, 2015

Some weeks back, a gentleman contacted me through this website with an unusual request. He had a couple of computer hard drives, circa 1980s, that he wanted made into a lamp.

He had no ideas for the design, and very little in the way of requirements, so I pretty much had free rein—something I tend to struggle with. But I was coming up on one of those birthdays that cause one to stop and tally things up, and admit to one’s shortfalls. So I needed the distraction of a challenge.

Of course, it turned out a bit more than I’d bargained for.

Ordinarily, the object that is the jumping off point for a project largely dictates the rest of the form. But the drives, when disassembled, offered a plethora of choices with no clear direction—cases and circuit boards, mirror-finish metal platters, spindles and read/write heads, along with other assorted bits and pieces—none of which seemed to speak to one another, at least in lamp terms.

After toying for over a week with the notion of a box with a light inside and sides made (somehow) of platters and boards (but never really falling in love with the idea), one evening I fell asleep imagining a tower of platters, floating around a glowing tube. And the next morning I awoke with an idea of how it might be done.

Measurements and much online window shopping followed, until I came up with what seemed like a viable plan. Although I wasn’t sure it would work, I decided to take the chance that I could figure something out if my original scheme failed.

It almost did, too.

The fit of the parts was much more restrictive than I typically deal with, and the materials were ones I had no experience with. Also, most of the time connections in lamps can be undone and redone as needed. But for this, I had only once chance to get it right—and once I started I had to continue. So it was nerve-wracking enough already. Then when the day came to construct the “shade,” the temperature was in the 90s. So there I was, in my kitchen, improvising on the fly when method A didn’t work, swinging a hammer, bleeding from an injury I still don’t know how I got, swearing and sweating like a sailor. Talk about black moods.

In the end though, it came out all right. I got to make something completely different. My customer thinks it’s “awesome.” And the way it plays with light is a magic trick I hadn’t anticipated at all.

Seagate Tower hard drive lamp

Seagate Tower hard drive lamp


Want something custom made? Drop me a line.

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Deja vu(ish)

July 12, 2015

So far, it’s been a summer of repeats, more or less. I built a new shop for the launch of Upcycle Post’s Marketplace, and I made a new heater light that marries the styles of two previous ones: the compact shape of one with the color changing properties of the other.



And then…well, I guess I got bored. Because one day when I was supposed to be doing something else, I wandered into my workshop and started stacking. I had a couple of small aluminium coffeepots, both of them incomplete, and though they didn’t match in any way other than size and material, I put the smaller atop the larger, and then just kept going, without resorting to anything you might call logic.

After a few discards and addenda, I found something that seemed to work. So I assembled it, then took it apart a couple of times for tweaks, added some finishing touches, and (drumroll, please) attained this:

The Towering Cafferno

The Towering Cafferno

Yeah, I know. It makes no sense. And yet it kind of does, if you don’t think too hard about it.

Details on both these lamps can be found in my Etsy shop or on Upcycle Post, if you’d like to check out the new venue.

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Repeat, rinse, spit

June 3, 2015

I had a couple of recurring experiences this week: one bad, one good.

The bad one involved this light that I’d finally found a home for, to my delight, only to find it had met the same fate as another package I mailed a couple of years ago. I’m guessing that, due to the way the objects I work with can look on an x-ray, it was opened at a postal sorting station, dropped (catastrophically), then repackaged and sent on its merry way.

In any case, this is what arrived, and what it looked like before it left.

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The buyer was understandably not happy. Nor was I.

The other story is more run of this mill. A year ago I “made” (decoupaged) a shade for a customer, and I liked the way it came out so well I decided to try it again. The fun thing about making these shades is that I never know what I’m going to get until it’s done. The darker parts of the pattern are made up of overlapping shapes, but you can’t really see them until there’s a light inside.

Then I had to construct a lamp to go with it. I’d bought a fireplace tool set (minus most of the tools) awhile back, so I repurposed the holder bracket into a base, and added other pieces to make a form to suit the shade.

Cock your head and squint, and you just might be able to see the tree. Details, etc., 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.