Sunday, November 13, 2016

Molded Plastic Lighting

I was going to hold this post until I was done with the final lighting installment but at this time I'm having artist's block. So - I'm going to write this for now and try again soon. Basically, I was inspired by Chihuly and my past project melting plastic to make some translucent light fixtures out of melted plastic.

So one thing adults do in the privacy of their rooms makes you want to not have too much harsh lighting. And pink light makes the skin look best. So I set out to make a full bed canopy with a light in the center. You know, to set the mood. I spent a few days on a ladder draping fabric and came out with this view from laying inside my bed (disclaimer: I was really into snapchat at the time):


Buying list ($19) for this chandelier was as follows: 

First I made the large bowl into a center base. If you need to know how to use a heat gun please see my previous post. So I heated the edges down to flatten and create textural interest. Then I heated the center so much it became a large hole. That's where the light bulb hangs. I then heated the small red bowls much the same way - flattened and textured - but I accidentally gave them holes in the center, too. So I used the bottoms of the glasses to fill them in. Honestly I think it looks stupid - like a demented wheel. But luckily for me that part (the top) is less visible because of the drapery.
Then I melted down the cups - I would heat them, so they became a little wonky - remember: "textural interest" and then I'd stick them to the bottom of the big bowl in an overall conical shape. I kind of sat the chandelier top upside down and then pushed a bunch of wonky cups together so they formed a nice gradual point - then I heated them so they stuck together. Making sure they stuck together was a terrible time - many scorched fingers as the cup plastic isn't as "sticky" as the bowl plastic. Finally I made sure any large holes (mainly where the 'wheels' hit the base big bowl) were covered with the cup bottoms. And it was done!

 

Once I had finished, I hung it - this took forever and so much balance on top of a stool on my bed. At one point I fell down and the lamp fell and broke into two pieces so I had to stop and fix it. Crying may have ensued. Why do I make my life difficult? The pictures below are me holding the completed chandelier (that's my hand inside it showing where the bulb sits), and views from laying in the center of the bed staring straight up with the chandelier off and the bedroom light on, then with chandelier on and bedroom light off. 


I think it's pretty boss. And so does really everybody else. Every person who has gotten lucky (pun intended) enough to see it has been like "HOLY FREAKING WHAT. THIS IS CRAZY AWESOME." And the red light from it makes it seem like I'm blushing under compliment - when really I'm drinking that ego stroke in like "oh yeah, tell me I'm great again." Even my Mom, who I had talked to about it repeatedly, and also gives a lot of (deserved) side eye to my crazy projects, asked me why I was doing a real people job instead of putting my art in the MoMA when she saw it waiting to be hung up. Yeah, I was pretty smug about that. 
But as a disclaimer, heat guns are VERY hot. I sustained a large burn during this project that, 11 months later, is still visible. I also burned straight through my multiple layers of canvas drop cloth and burned my carpet. (strangely enough I was able to clean the burn out of the fibers....still not sure exactly how...seems wrong.) So don't try this at home without proper precautions - like a covering clothes and a substantial drop cloth/ floor you don't care about.



So the second lamp is blue (my bedroom is mildly "Arabian nights" themed - decadent drapery, jewel tones {Reds for the canopy, Blues for the desk/shelves, Purple closet/bedding} and Gold accents.) The light sits above where I should keep my desk - that's a long story I might tell in this blog in the future if I even find a good arrangement for my furniture. But the desk is dark blue, the shelves go from medium blue to very light aqua.

On a very snowy day I got everything out and prepared. The $22 buying list is:


So I started with some sketches this time around (snapchat actually helped here):


I, of course, melted down the big aqua bowl as a base with a hole burned into the center. Then gave the cups and bowls some melty texture (flipped the base on it's head) and started making them into a conical shape. 

 

Finally I finished it by breaking the dark blue bowls into thirds and attaching them to the top of the base. It's not my favorite choice. But it's hung up now and Done is better than favorite. The lamp really blunts the light that it puts out now. (This is the reason for my artist's block as the next lamp is the main light of my room and I need it to put out a generous functional amount of light.)


Here are videos of the lights going on an off so you can see! (They do have sound...so mute as you like)
  video video video