Posts Tagged ‘light fixture’


The spirit is willing

March 28, 2015

Madame Blavatsky coffee pot lamp

Madame Blavatsky coffee pot lamp

So here’s my latest coffee pot lamp, an ethereal little number named for a 19th-century Ukrainian-born medium. The “shade” originally held a glass serving bowl that’s now gracing a friend’s kitchen, and the percolator came from eBay.

Connecting the bubbler to the top of the shade was the biggest challenge, and required a piece from another coffee pot that was the victim of a screwup by the USPS – which is a long, sad story I won’t go into here.

Anyway, Madame B. is just waiting around for someone to give her a forever home. You can visit and/or adopt at my Etsy shop.

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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.


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.


Pair-shaped, part II

December 4, 2013

At an estate sale in early October, I found (along with parts to complete The Rake’s Progress), two three-piece sets of funky old graters: one trio (Wonder) aged to a dark, warm gray; the other (Rapid) unevenly silver. I was intrigued; they whispered sconces to me, but didn’t offer any details. It was enough. I brought them home.

I first thought of making six small wall lamps, but then thought perhaps larger ones would be more appealing. A pair then, one light, one dark. But lining them up side by side, like with like, I didn’t like what I saw. What to do?

Eventually I decided to mix and match, and flipped the orientation of the mismatched center grater to make the irregularity more obviously intentional. Then it was just a matter of figuring out how to attach the graters to each other and to the wood backplate. And since this was an entirely new design for me, the answers weren’t immediately obvious.

In the end, they came together, though I’m still debating whether I should just paint the graters to give a uniform finish. I’d love to hear what you think.

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For more information, visit my Etsy shop.


The rake’s progress

October 24, 2013

In the waning days of 2012, I was shopping with a friend at the Depot for Creative Reuse, and found an old leaf rake head. I was very, very taken with the texture of the rust and weathered green paint and thought it would make a nice sconce…someday.

Fast forward to summer, when by ones and threes, I start to find bits and pieces that have a logical and/or aesthetic connection: a rusty bracket for a potted plant, some tile trowels (also rusty), a lovely old dented brass spray nozzle, a turned wood plaque with a couple of holes drilled through and a stripped-by-weather finish, and finally from my stash, a greenish X-shaped valve handle, a few screws and washers, and a heavy brass ball that was once part of a blender motor, as far as I can remember.

The engineering was pretty fun: figuring out how all this stuff would fit together solidly, what kind of switch would work best, how to hang it. But the real surprise came when I went to work on the surfaces before assembling it. After cleaning, a couple of shots of acrylic clear coat brought a richness to the old paint and rust I wouldn’t have thought possible. And the wood plaque, which I’d been thinking of as being merely functional – a thing to hold the lamp to the wall – came to life with just a little mineral oil. It’s now a rich, soft red-brown with a beautiful grain that makes a great backdrop for the other subtle colors.

I doubt these photos do justice to the shades and textures, but here they are.

I’ll be showing this piece at the Nov. 1 Oakland Art Murmur and my first show, at Rebooty, on Nov. 7. Details to follow.


Cousins, twice removed

May 29, 2012

Sometimes the same idea, with small variations, can give pretty different results. Think of steaming cafe au lait and sweet, black iced coffee. That’s these two lamps.

Percolander 2: Jules Verne

Frosty the Madman

Made of colanders and coffee pots of different vintages, plus lids, a dessert mold, part of a cocktail shaker, a valve handle, and lamp parts old and new, one looks like an unlikely spacecraft – part rocket, part balloon; the other, something from a Rock Hudson-Doris Day movie. Not much alike, but definitely fished from the same gene pool.

For details or to buy, visit my Etsy shop. To see more photos, go to Coffee & tea pots.



April 2, 2012

“A flying saucer? You mean the kind from up there?”
“Yeah, either that or its counterpart.”

Plan 9 from Outer Space

I’ve had these colanders for ages, and I tried a couple of times to use them. But nothing quite worked out. Then I realized they just wanted to fly solo – or maybe in formation – over a bar or kitchen island, bringing a message of peace and silliness.

Plan 9 colander pendants

For details, visit my Etsy shop.