Tommie Carol commissioned me to make a floor lamp base for a stained glass globe her brother had made for her. Originally designed as a hanging fixture, Tommie Carol preferred that the globe be featured in a floor lamp.
To keep the glass globe as the central focus, I struck upon a simple design with a forged element to accent the globe.
I offset a 1/2”-square central tube (for housing the wiring cord) with 4 pieces of 1”-square tubing. The ‘bread loaf’ dies John Crouchet and I made at his shop last fall were used for bending the 1” tubing to make a wide enough base to support the heavy glass. This bending was the first legitimate use of my flypress!
To support the globe, I welded 1/2”-square tubing into an octagonal armature. I welded the armature to the tall lamp base. The lighting housing, wiring, and foot pedal switch all came from Tipler’s Lamp Shop, an old-school lighting store nestled in the heart of Austin.
Along the way, I realized the glass globe didn’t look right sitting atop the lamp base. The scale wasn’t right. I did some cutting down to size until the glass globe and lamp base were scaled appropriately to each other.
Next, I incorporated a forged element to tie the base and globe together visually. I ultimately decided upon a Paul Zimmermann S-twist. It’s a beautifully elegant -- yet deceivingly simple -- element.
Paul Zimmermann is a German blacksmith who designed this U-shape twisted into an S. I made this S-twist years ago as a class exercise in a blacksmithing class taught by William Bastas at Austin Community College.
The design of this lamp base fell into place. I mention this because it’s not always the case. Although the projects I embark on turn out well in the end, some can feel like slogging through molasses to design and complete. But the stars aligned on this one, and I finished in two weeks’ time -- from soup to nuts -- design, execution, wiring, plugging the lamp in and watching it glow...
I was given carte blanche with the design on this project -- Tommie Carol didn’t know what I’d made until I delivered it to her living room. Such artistic latitude is rare, and I’m grateful for her trust. Thankfully, she’s pleased with the end product which measures 65” tall x 19” wide x 19” deep.
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