Posts Tagged ‘sconce’

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Generosity & regeneration

October 2, 2016

I’ve been working lately with things people have given me, some of which I’ve had for quite some time. This led me to thinking about the words gratis and gratitude.

Oddly, it seems these have different Latin roots (though I’m no linguist, so I’m not exactly sure how all this works). Gratis comes from gratia, meaning grace or kindness, whereas gratitude comes from gratus: thankful. Interestingly, according to Google both words saw a steady fall in usage from 1800 to 2000, but a slight gain since then. For extra credit, you can speculate about what that says about contemporary society, and if there’s any connection to the rise in popularity of zombies.

Which brains brings me obliquely to the topic of resurrection – that is, upcycling. The first project marries a wine crate donated a few years back by a then-neighbor with radiator screen my brother salvaged from work. The other one uses more of the same screen inside napkin dispensers my friend Ami gave me. These also sat on a shelf for years, waiting for me to figure out how to use them.

So I give you, with gratitude for the kindness of friends and family, a little grace and silliness.

St. Benziger's Relic

St. Benziger’s Relic

Tardisque

Tardisque

Visit 4f Lighting on Etsy for details.

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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.

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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.