Posts Tagged ‘lamp’


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January 22, 2015

Lulu & Tutu

Lulu & Tutu

I had originally set aside a couple of the parts in this lamp for other projects – ones that haven’t gelled yet. But a few days ago, when I was noodling in my workshop, trying this and that, those two parts got close enough together to trigger a magnetic pull. Not literally, since neither is ferrous. Rather, they just clicked as if made for each other.

So at that point I had the hose-nozzle column sitting atop the candlestick pedestal. Seconds later, a third part (where the socket hides) had joined them. Click. And it took only another minute of searching my hoard to find the exactly right mold for the shade. Click.

The finial was trickier. I went through my stash of actual finials, then bubblers and valve handles, and nothing worked. So I moved on to the box of saucepan knobs, and the perfect one, nestled toward the bottom, was immediately obvious. Click.

The key to all of this is compatible finishes, the repetition of shapes, and of course proportion. You can’t fake that, or force it (or, well, not much).

It’s a very sweet thing when something comes together like this, almost effortlessly. It feels like a piece of luck you’ve earned. And what’s better than that.

For details, see the listing in my Etsy shop.


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!



September 8, 2014

Recently, browsing on Etsy in an idle moment, I saw this fabulously globular coffeepot and had to have it. And though I’m sure there were dimensions in the listing, I had no idea how really big it was until it arrived. All by itself it was taller than most of my table lamps.

And then there was the issue of a shade. I’d thought it would go with a star colander I have. But no, that turned out to be dismayingly small, proportionally. So disappointing.

Then I remembered the restaurant kitchen colander I’d found at a garage sale quite awhile ago, which had been hanging on the back of my workshop door ever since – except when from time to time (Clang! Shit!) it fell off.

Miraculously, the big colander and coffeepot took to one another. And once I’d cleaned up the parts, drilled out the rivets holding the handles on, and made a few more necessary/decorative holes here and there, a big ol’ lamp was born.

S'no Snowman table lamp

S’no Snowman table lamp

Available, as usual, in my Etsy shop – at least for the time being.


Goes around, comes around

July 29, 2014

A couple of months ago I was dropping off a load of stuff at Urban Ore. Over to one side of the donation station was this big, rusty, intriguing cylindrical thing with holes in the sides.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“A washing machine drum. It just came in. It was used as a fire pit.”

“Can I buy it?”

Yes, I could.

When I got it home, I stuck it on the back deck, planning to clean it up and make it into a pendant light. But when my friend Ami saw it, she said it would also make a good floor lamp. I said, “Yes, but…no,” and thought that was that.

Of course, it wasn’t.

Wasting time on eBay a few weeks later, I stumbled on a vintage wood tripod that was a bit battered (though well repaired), and not well photographed, so it wasn’t drawing a lot of bids. I took the plunge, and won. And when it arrived I realized it was the perfect partner for my washer drum.

The tripod had been retrofitted with a mismatched camera mount, which came off to reveal a beautiful aged brass spider that matches the extra-large brass knobs used to adjust the legs.

The handle from a fireplace tool set I bought recently, plus other bits and pieces from my stash and a few new parts, and I had what I needed to build the lamp.

I figure this is the third incarnation for the major components, so I call it Life After Afterlife.

Update: I could have sold a half-dozen of these if I’d had them, so if you have an old washer machine drum you’ve used as a fire pit, or a wood tripod you want to offload, please do let me know.


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!


Match point

October 11, 2013

I’ve mentioned more than once waiting for the right piece to come along to complete a project. Sometimes it seems almost mystical when it happens, even for a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic like myself, especially when I never expected it at all.

Wfell off cls

Several few years ago I ran across this great old Arts and Crafts ceiling fixture shade in an antique store in Ashland, Oregon. I couldn’t leave without it, and fortunately the car I’d rented had a big trunk (I bought a lot of great junk on that trip), so I brought it home, not knowing what I’d do with it. But I had the idea of making it into a small table sort of thing, figuring I’d have to have a frame constructed.

Time went by, and I never got around to doing that. I tried to sell the shade once to a vintage lighting place (they passed, dummies), and I thought about selling it online, but never got around to that, either.

Then one day I’m doing my semi-monthly pass through the Depot for Creative Reuse, and in the back room, I see part of a table frame sticking out of an unsorted pile of donations. I accost a guy on his way out and ask if I can see it. “Busy,” he mutters, “Gotta…Talk to the manager,” who of course is just disappearing into another room – bathroom or office.

So I wait…And wait…

Finally, the manager reappears and I tell him what I want. He says the stuff in the pile doesn’t go on sale until tomorrow. I look pitiful and beg: “It’s right on top.” After a pause for effect he gives in and pulls the frame out. And without hesitating – or more importantly, measuring (because I’d never gotten around to writing down the dimensions of the shade) – I grabbed the thing, ponied up, and drove home with it.

Five minutes after walking in the door, I had the shade on top of the frame. It fit perfectly. And a little paint and wiring later, the idea I’d had years before came to life, better, and stranger, than I’d ever imagined.


From the ridiculous to the sublime

May 27, 2013

When the bases arrived through my tin pipeline, I wasn’t sure. Yeah, I thought, they’re fun…in a kind of embarrassing way. The question was how to redeem a cliche.

After ignoring the issue for awhile, within a short space of time I stumbled on a number of different straw coolie hats at estate sales and thrift stores. Having successfully used a similar hat on one of my own lamps, I knew they could make good shades. And that gave me the answer.


One cliche is merely trite. An agglomeration of them can be happily ridiculous. But the right number, in the right arrangement, might be profound.

For more information, visit my Etsy shop.