I was asked to create a desk lamp that incorporated an elephant. Two sisters wanted a special birthday gift for their father who has a fondness for pachyderms. After rolling around design options in my head for a couple of weeks, I made a v-e-r-y rough sketch and sent it to one of the sisters, Gina, who is also a college friend.
I wasn’t so sure if the project would proceed beyond that, because Gina called me back and said “I don’t see the elephant...” Holding back embarrassment that I might not get the commission due to bad drawing skills, I convinced Gina there was an elephant in there after all. (We laugh about it now, but at the time I was mortified.) Luckily, her sister saw the elephant right away.
I was given an incredible amount of freedom with this project; the sisters were practically hands-off after approving the initial sketch. I really appreciated their confidence and trust, allowing me to craft the piece in a style that is increasingly one of my favorite approaches: convex and concave hammered sheet welded together with negative space reveals.
I wanted to incorporate glass into this piece somewhere, so I decided to use glass to hide/house the light bulb. I took two design approaches simultaneously -- slumped glass and blown glass -- because I didn’t know which would produce the look (shape) I wanted.
For the slumped glass, I worked with Scotty at Armadillo Clay. I cut the glass to the shape and size desired, and Scotty kiln-fired the glass so that it slumped over a cocktail shaker-shaped mold.
For the blown glass approach, Scotty recommended Dean Wolf of Wolf Art Glass. Dean asked what I was looking for in terms of size, shape, and color, then brought my vision to life. Dean and his wife, Carrie, were able to create the flowing water effect I desired.
I ended up using Dean’s blown glass as the light diffuser in the elephant lamp. As sometimes happens with blown glass, it looks one color when lit and completely different when unlit. File that happy accident under ‘fabulous!’
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