I built this as an experiment. At the time I was living in a loft in Montreal, working just a little and making things a lot. It was a free time when I had very few bills to pay, and no one to answer to. I didn't have a wood shop, and I had not yet been to furniture school, so this was an experiment in the true sense of the word.
I wanted to make a lamp from beads, so that it would glow with warmth. I imagined this lamp hanging from the ceiling in the corner of a room, beside a comfortable reading chair.
Without access to industrial experts, it is very hard to work with glass. Even if you can find a shape that you like, drilling, cutting or joining glass is next to impossible. Glass can be either cast or blown, and I wasn't able to do either. Instead, I sourced a material that was relatively cheap and accessible--glass beads. The beads glowed excellently, but they needed to be applied to a framework. I sourced metal wire that the beads could be fit on to, and then figured out a way of building up the frame work.
The shade form is a spiral, starting small, and getting bigger and bigger in diameter, increasing in size, and then decreasing again in size to close in the hollowed shape. Every 5 beads or so, I would connect the current layer to the layer before it with another smaller gaged wire. I guess this technique was inspired largely by my experience with knitting. At that time I was making many hats and knitting constantly. When you knit, you build shapes the same way. Circular prisms can be built with spirals that are either increasing by adding stitches, staying the same, or decreasing by removing stitches.
The glass bead form built well, but it was incredibly labour intensive. I used needle nose pliers to twist the smaller wire neatly around the larger wire. If I tried such a thing again I would consider spot welding them instead.
This wire work inspired a whole group of sculptures made from metal wire. It's a great material--very malleable as well as being strong when bent. Its the type of material that gains strength the more you work it. Must have something to do with the molecules of steel.
once I had the frame built, I secured an antique brass lamp casting to the top. A chain was attached to the fitting and voila it hung! Edison style bulbs were not popular back then, but that would be the natural choice if i ever went back to this.
So there it is: glass bead lamp----its currently in storage.