Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 28, 2010 - Something new

Howdy. It's been too long I know. What can I say but it's winter and everything in me goes a bit slower. The temps are very slowly rising and although I have sympathy for those out east getting more white stuff they can handle I'm not missing it here in Wisconsin. But then I'm not a huge winter sports participant. There are many here who love to get on the slopes and the ice rink. Judging from the piles still out there I think they're pretty happy. With only one big storm in December it's been pretty normal here. The temps do seem to be lower than the average but next week there's hope of reaching almost 40. I hear birds singing and steady drip of melting snow. Music to the ears.

I've been making lamps for 5 years now. Didn't know a thing when I started. I know a little more now. I've pretty much kept to the same materials of wood and paper. This year I'm in the need for some new inspiration and ideas so it's a year of exploration. I'm not planning on doing any art fairs in 2010, sorry, unless of course something comes up out of the blue. I'm just not good at the outdoor art fair thing. It's hard to display lit lamps in bright sunlight and the weather is a never ending source of anxiety for me. My lamps are basically box kites when a big wind hits. Except their tendency is to crash rather than fly. So this year I'm in learning mode and the first is glass. It's taken me way to long to start exploring this very flexible medium.

I'm starting simple. The photo above is my first stained glass project against a rather stark winter background. It's pretty good for my first time. There's a few rough edges. I'm taking a class at The Vinery here in Madison and hope to take a few more. Fusing is next on the list. I have to say it went better than expected. But then I didn't push myself too hard with the first project in terms of difficulty. I just wanted to learn the basics. My next step is to start thinking about how glass might be used in some of my current lamp styles, the first and most simple being the Iotta box lamp. But down the road I'm hoping to find new and imaginative ways to integrate wood, paper, glass and any number of materials to create something unique. I'm definitely getting inspired.

My biggest challenges were: 1) Choosing the glass. There's a lot to choose from and I'm used to just flipping through paper swatches to find what I want. 2) Cutting the pieces to fit. I did pretty good but this is where practice and experience are really going to help. I was surprised at how little pressure is needed to score the glass. 3) Soldering is definitely a challenge. Getting a smooth rounded bead is not simple. But the good news is that you don't have to get it right the first time. You can re-melt the solder and strive for something better. Overall I'm pretty proud of my first project. I'll keep you abreast of my next project, in fact I'll be working on a pattern today.

Talk to you soon. Next posting will be about some cool products that use wood in some unconventional ways. m

Friday, February 19, 2010

February 19, 2010 - Well, it's unique

I like to bring you the latest in lamp design. Here's one that seems to be getting some attention. It's called the Less Lamp. It's designed by Jordi Canudas and when you bring it home it's a sealed egg of a lampshade. Only a little light escapes through a hole in the top. Your job is to use the specially designed pick hammer and chip away until you're happy with the result. You can poke a pattern into the shell or chop off a chunk. A truly interactive lamp design. Only $875. You better get it right the first time. m