Posts Tagged ‘sci fi’

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Tempus fidget

March 25, 2017

Time flies, whatever you’re doing, or not doing.

I haven’t posted in months, but I have been making – or I was for awhile, before I got busy with other stuff. And I’m still at an impasse about how worthwhile it is to keep doing the same thing. I might need a new playground. Or maybe just a time-out. Or perhaps I’m waiting for a sign.

Sigh.

Regardless, I thought I’d at post some photos of my last few projects, for anyone as in need of distraction as I am.

Take one stand mixer, gut and clean it. Reassemble with a three-way touch switch and a cocktail shaker shade. Doubles as a charging station!

What You Will stand mixer desk lamp


Marry two colanders, a thermos, a percolator bubbler, other bits and bobs: Presto shadow!

dot.bot tabletop colander shadow lantern


Make a metal flower from gooseneck lamp parts and a salad mold. Use it to interrogate the cat.

Grandiflora Sasquatch gooseneck desk lamp


Details at 4flighting.etsy.com.

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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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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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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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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.

Mid

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

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Roundabout

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.

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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.