Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lamp making

I'm spending the summer on Vashon island, off the coast of West Seattle. Vashon will be our tranquil northwestern landing pad and transitional home after over a year in Buenos Aires. Vashon is more than the idealized, provincial island community. Happily it is home to many artists, (some of a very high calibre) aging hippies, organic farmers and many stripes of the Teva-wearing, Kombucha-making, wacky, warm, lovely people that make the west coast the best coast.

I have the privilege of working with local lighting designer and sculptor Elaine Hanowell this summer to design a lamp. I had no idea how much work my idea pendant lamp could entail:

First we build an armature with wood and nails. Hammering is hard work! I lack hand-eye coordination.

Then, we sketch out the base's outline and start building up the form of the lamp with clay.

Is there anything more zen than playing with clay?

The day's work on the form -- far from done. And below: My early smudgy sketchs.

I'd like the lamp to have an organic, bilaterally symmetric shape and a geometric (maybe honeycomb-like asymmetric) frame.

After I finish the clay form we cover it in plaster and then crack open the complete mold. I will lay in strips of paper to create the lamp, maybe leaving or cutting vertical slats for the light to filter through.

I LOVE this process and hope to create more complex lamps throughout the summer.

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