Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Enlightened... Judy Makes a Lamp

Remember a few blog entries back I was listing things I'd like in a care package, and whimsically included 'a lamp'? Well, the price of lamps everywhere seems consistently high. But as our livingroom has all the warm and cheery atmosphere of a dental waiting room at the moment, I have taken steps to remedy that without dropping fifty bucks on a fixture - I've made my own.

While at the big stationery store in the basement of Gosok Bus Terminal the other week, I happened to spot a string of LED mini-lights in the hobbyist section, right next to the flocked trees, train gravel, and log cabin dioramas. The box was 12 thousand for a string of fifty white mini-lights, with funky rectangular slabs of bulbs about the size of Katherine's thumbnail. 'I can do something with those,' I thought, and scooped them up.

Back in Yongin I found some marvelous hanji (handmade mulberry paper. It will feature prominently in these discourses, so remember the word!) in a coarse brown fiber - very strong, textural, see-through, and flexible. If you remember my 'jusi' (banana fiber) baseball cap from the Philippines, that's what this hanji looked like. I bought two sheets: one to lay artistically across the mundane coffee table, and one to make into my lamp.

Then I spent an hour or so outside our house picking out long straight sticks from the bushpile on the hillside and cutting them roughly to size. I selected eight short sticks, about eight or nine inches each and about the thickness of my index finger. It took longer to find the four straight uprights which needed to be just over two feet. I took them all inside and while the glue gun was heating up, I formed a box frame held together temporarily with twist ties. A dab of glue to secure the round sticks against each other, and then a good tight binding with brown sisal twine (that great rough string you use to hold up peavines in the spring, or wrap presents with), letting the cut ends hang down about an inch or two - very artsy and rustic, what with the bark on and all...

The frame looked very much like an old-fashioned box kite on end, with a square base against which the bottoms of the uprights were tucked securely, and a square top with the ends of the uprights protruding about an inch or so. The next and simplest step was to wrap the sheet of hanji around the rectangular body, allowing the base and top to show at both ends.

Then I took one more stick, about ten inches long with a nice bark pattern, and put it directly across the top, centered, gluing and binding it with the sisal again, exactly like a handle. I took the string of lights out and wrapped it in foot-and-a-half-long loops (to fit within the shade of the hanji). Gathering the loops all together at the top (LEDs don't emit any heat to speak of) with another piece of sisal, I tied the bundle to the handle stick in the centre, letting it all hang freely and centred within the square of the lamp. The bottom of the loops were about two inches from the floor.

I let the control box (yeah, since the lightstring was designed as for advertising or Christmas display, it came with a little green box near its plug end which allows it to flicker in eight different settings or pulses) sit freely just outside the frame and plugged the whole thing into a socket behind our newly-scavenged armchair.

It looks great! The roughly textured, see-though hanji sets off the bark and sisal, the lights pulse slowly (on setting number four, that is), and it's illumination and sculpture all in one. Once I dig out the digital camera, I'll take and post a picture so you can see it in situ. Which reminds me that I need to take and post a lot of pictures - particularly Katherine!

Must go eat now as my office hour is over and my lunch hour has begun. Enjoy whatever meal you are going to sit down to!



Anonymous Audrey said...

Who needs Canadian Tire? Way to go, Judy. (Bryan in particular might not want to be reminded of a dental waiting room!)
Please do post some pictures of Katherine. Is there a way we can send you pictures?
Audrey & family

March 22, 2007 at 11:01 a.m.  
Blogger Liese said...

That does sound really cool. I wonder if something like that would work in my living room, with the mural you did, Judy.

If we scan pictures here we can probably just e-mail them to you, right?

Mike has been having nothing but problems with his new computer. It's gone back to the shop for the THIRD time now. We're getting ticked off--as repeat customers (we have previously bought computers there with no problems) you think they'd want to keep our business with good service.

Anyway, it's not set up yet. I'm hoping the shop will have it fixed soon.

Love from,

Liese and Co.

March 23, 2007 at 1:05 p.m.  
Anonymous Artimidor said...

*lol* Seems there's nothing Judy can't handle when the situation needs it... Next time you'll make a nuclear reactor out of a matchbox just like MacGyver! :D

You need to post some pics somewhere of your invention, Judy! ;)


March 23, 2007 at 11:39 p.m.  
Anonymous Judy said...

Audrey: Of course! It's called e-mail.... (wicked grin). Sorry, couldn't resist. Unfortunately I'm not enough of a script wizard to have set up a photo gallery at the Alembyc yet. Something it WILL have in the future... So in the meantime you'll just have to use 'old-fashioned' email and 'attachments'... :)

Liese: Yes, actually it would look stunning! I should've thought of that while I was there and HAD hanji to hand. (pouts) I still think you need another of those glowy salt rock lamps... but I'll gladly make you a hanji 'primitive' lamp, even if I have to pack it flat for assembly. You'll have to put your own lighting in, of course, because our system is different voltage. Do you have an outlet behind the piano, or at least on that wall? I see a hanging version working really well in that corner over the piano.

Art: Hey, it's Lighting 101, not nuclear fission! I have access to LEDs but not uranium... and yes, photos will be coming; I just have to put batteries in the digital camera (blushes)

March 25, 2007 at 6:07 a.m.  

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