Grape Vine Lamp

For about a year I was driving up to Sonoma County from Oakland every other weekend to see my partner who lived there. Throughout that year I enjoyed watching the grape vines change color and shape. I became really inspired and wanted to replicate them the best I could in metal.

  

The bark is made from 1″ x 1/8″ flat stock. With the power hammer I chiseled shallow cuts into the metal, being careful not to cut through the stock. The cuts were occasionally overlapping and all laying in the same direction, parallel to the edge of stock. I then used a 1″ swedge block and the peen side of the hammer to curl the stock into a hollow tube, making sure to curl the edges first, then working my way towards the center until the sides met.    

I didn’t worry too much about making sure the sides met perfectly. I utilized the gaps where the edges met on the tube to insert some forged out branches. (For the smaller branches I used 1/2″ round stock.) The transition looked more natural to me, and when welded offers more stability.

After rounding out the branch and closing the gaps as best I could on the horn, I came out with a couple branches, about a foot and a half long.

The leaves were plasma cut from 10 gauge sheet, then chiseled to make the veins. I used a leafing hammer and a small swedge to give it body. The grapes were made from old stainless steel ball bearings which I welded together with 1/8″ stainless wire. They are very heavy, which ended up working to my advantage when I was balancing the sculpture.

It took me a long time to figure out how I wanted the sculpture to come together. I must have welded it together and cut it all apart again three or four times. But sometimes you need to walk away from something for a while (and in my case, months), then come back to it with more clarity. It felt so good to finally get this done since it’s been sitting collecting rust for so long. I will post a picture once I get the electrical and the lamp shade all hooked up. 

Wood and Metal Desk

I re-purposed an old shelving unit that I made many years ago because, to be completely honest, I couldn’t look at it anymore. The fit was all wrong, the welding sub-par, and the wood I found was starting to deteriorate. So I cut it all up and decided to build a sturdy and spacious desk, knowing my skills have improved greatly since then.

Welding desk frame
Fitting and fabrication

I followed my drawings exactly for a while, and experimented with different ideas along the way. But over time I drifted away from my original drawings and started going with what just looked good at the time. In many ways, I enjoy spontaneously playing around with the metal, but this has led me to many late nights putting pieces together, which I may not even like the next day. My drifting creativity is a result of lack of a continuity in my work because of my full-time day job as a maintenance mechanic. If I could work on a project everyday until completion, I’m sure the process would be much different, or at least a little more consistent.

Side brackets to desk
Shelving supports
Back supports

This desk is a combination of old and new ideas, consistent and spontaneous planning, and a desire to move away from my typical organic style. For this project, I focused on how to accent the linear frame with curve and joinery. What came out was something more spacious and less pleasing to the eye than I hoped, but a piece of furniture that is extremely sturdy and functional with detailed accents that look beautiful close up.  

A carpenter friend of mine cut, shouldered, and finished the wood from a 7ft slab of white pine. I’m excited about the sharp contrast between the black metal and light pine, as well as the natural colors that have come out of the wood, like greys and dark blues.