Since humans started using artificial light, we have found pretty ways to enhance the light source. Bronze Age people simply folded a terra cotta disc, fired it, filed it with oil, added a wick, and let there be light. I borrowed this image from www.worldwideflood.com/ark/technology/oil_lamps.htm.
Using candles, people eventually worked out more elaborate light fixtures, witness the Great Chandelier that originally lit part of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. I would guess that its multitude of candles probably gave off the equivalent of 15 watts of a modern light bulb.
In modern times, the candles in this chandelier in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul have been replaced by electric CFL bulbs.
At the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore this weekend I saw a wonderful contemporary take on electric lighting by GDG Studios, hand-crafted of porcelain in their New Jersey atelier. For more funkiness, look at their website, www.gdgstudios.com.
We at Niermann Weeks, however, work in more traditional forms, yielding many beautiful and functional light fixtures, of which my current favorite is a new one collaboratively designed by members of my family. Joe cut this original maquette from manila file folders. Joe and I have always been fascinated by the hugeness of aerial balloons and their ability to fly freely through the air, so this 8” skeleton reflects years of observation.
My daughters Eleanor and Claire ran with his concept to create our newest chandelier, the Roziere. Here you can see the drawing for the iron worker, showing him the exact scale and type of iron stock to use.
Hey presto – the Roziere in all its glory, with beads in place and the French gold leaf finish. The six lights wonderfully reflect light through the hand-strung crystals.
I love it and hope you do too.
Thanks for reading my blog!