Posts Tagged ‘tripod lamp’


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.


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.


Mechanical passions

June 4, 2012

“The mind is made out of used parts, engineered by a blind watchmaker.”
-Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide

I was reading Lehrer’s book (in which he quotes Rene Descartes on emotions, which is where the title of this post comes from) while I was working on the lamp below. So in some sort of loose, off-kilter way, it all seems connected. Plus, I just love that quote. It perfectly describes the way I feel most days these days.

Schrödinger’s Parakeet

I suppose I could spin a line of BS that this thing is a model of the human mind, or make some joke about cartoon ideas (bubble, light bulb). Or I could repeat my usual story about patience: having one piece (thanks Dad!) and waiting around for its perfect mate to appear, but you’ve heard it already.

Mostly I just like how the lamp looks like some goofy Hammer horror movie/mad scientist apparatus. Oh, and then there’s the name I’ve given it – which is of course nonsense, but not much more so than its namesake.