Saturday, February 25, 2012

Teacup Lamp

Last fall my grandparents were cleaning house and they brought down from the attic boxes and boxes of old serving sets, some hadn't seen the sun in my lifetime.  My wife and I took a cup and saucer from each pattern and made ourselves a nice eclectic tea set.  One of the serving sets was a beautiful pale blue set called Fire King.  A month later I went back for the whole set not knowing exactly what I would do but knowing I didn't want it to end up at a yard sale of at the landfill.  Two months later my grandmother passed away and I had a box of glassware that reminded me of her and a feeling that I needed to make something from them.  I decided on a two-headed touch lamp for our kitchen to fit above our old double-basin sink.  Full disclosure: I am not the first person to make a lampshade from a teacup.

First the raw materials:

2 cups, 2 saucers, 1 small bowl.

2 small chandelier arms courtesy of Ebay.

Isn't that nice?

1/2" and 1" glass and tile bits.

Make sure to drill under water.  Glass dust is nasty.

Drilling glass ain't so bad.

2 of 4 pieces hung up for painting.

The results:

Pie Crate Shelf 2011

Last year my wife said she'd like another shelf in the kitchen, one that would be primarily for her cookbooks.  I briefly considered seeing what they had at Home Depot but I wasn't happy with that idea.  I found this Table Talk Pie crate while pawing through a perpetual garage sale in our neighborhood.  After a little love, some repairs and a pair of off-the-shelf brackets, she had her shelf.

Drawer Shelves, circa 2005

These are some shelves I made from a set of drawers.  I salvaged my workbench from a mill building and found that when I got it home I needed to remove the legs to get it inside.  In order to remove the legs I had to remove (smash) the cabinet that had been attached to the underside of the work surface.  I saved the drawers and attached them to the wall with a simple cleat.  I thought of refinishing them but they all had such nice watermarks.

Clarinet Lamp, circa 2005

I thought I'd start with some older projects I've had kicking around.  I apologize for not having any making-of images for these past projects. Oh well.  This is a touch-lamp I made from a clarinet (I've since been informed it may be a straight sax) and some left over walnut from a furniture project.

I find myself drawn to lamps in particular as they are useful and can come in any shape you can imagine.

What is the meaning of this!?

Inaugural post.  I shall endeavour to answer some of those questions you may be asking yourself like: Who?  Why?  Doesn't he know that to be a proper play on words it should go repurpose, rinse, repeat?

To the first question:
I'm a thirty-something artist living and working in Providence, RI.  I studied Illustration at UMass Dartmouth and Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design.  For the past six odd years I've worked as an architectural illustrator.
While at UMass studying and creating a body of student work that was represented mainly in two-dimensions, I had the good fortune to take a "furniture" class with Steve Whittlesey.  I put furniture in quotations because while having the course prefix FURN and actually taking place in the furniture department it was, in truth, a class about making things from found objects (junk).  Salvaged wood and scrap metal turned into fine furniture, toys made from bamboo or an evening gown made from plastic bags were pieces that turned up in that class.  The only real stipulations were that there be a recycled element and that you could talk about the decisions you made and why.  This was my introduction to the idea of recycling and repurposing to make art, that artists could resurrect unwanted objects and materials to make something beautiful.
Later at RISD I took classes outside the architecture curriculum with Walter Scadden and Tucker Houlihan that taught me a lot about ideas and craft and helped foster the idea of working with recycled materials.
I count these three among the most influential instructors of my college experience.

To the second question:
I never thought I would find a use for a personal blog, but I often have friends over who see odd bits of junk on my workbench and ask what I'm doing with it.  Later they ask how that project is coming along and I'll answer "It's finished" or "It's not."  I take this as proof that at least four or five people might find these projects interesting and visit this page occasionally.  It may also offer a small measure of accountability, when I am feeling lazy and let a project languish.

To the third question:
Junk is often dirty, you have to rinse it first.