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I made a lamp today. I made a lamp and wired it and frankly, I'm feeling pretty good about it. I've rewired lamps plenty of times. I've put in all new wiring and replaced fuses and done all that kind of simple electrical stuff, but this time I made an entire lamp. I designed it, built it, and wired it and it works great and looks great. I even built the wooden base and stained it with black tea and vinegar and waxed it with bowling alley wax. I was going for broke on this lamp and I made it out of hardware. It is very industrial chic, if I do say so, myself.
My industrial lamp creation may not impress anyone as much as it impresses me, but I'm happy. There is nothing that pleases me as much as creating something and making it myself, whether it is something I sewed, knitted, crocheted, painted, wrote, or built. Having something in your mind and making it real is the most satisfying thing in the world to me and it doesn't matter if it is artistic or utilitarian, I love it.
I had the idea for the lamp in my fetid little brain for awhile. I had thought about it, drawn schematics for it, and even researched the materials for it, but for a long time, never acted on it. Sometimes I get an idea in my head and before I can actually make it happen, some new idea comes along and I get fixated on that instead. It isn't that I don't have good focusing skills, because I do, it's just that I tend to have too many ideas bounding around in my head simultaneously and I'm obviously not bright enough to take one on at a time and manage to keep the others at bay. I need to learn to prioritize and compartmentalize better.
I finally went to the home improvement store to see if I could find what I needed to create the lamp I had in my head. I ended up in the plumbing department amongst about a million different pipes and fittings that I had to check out one at a time. In the course of the business I ended up on the floor with a bunch of items around me trying different combinations to get what I had envisioned. An older gentleman who worked in the department finally came to see if he could help me, even though I was pretty sure he really didn't want to. From my position on the floor all I could see were his shoes as he loomed over me.
“If your trying to figure out what you need to fix a drain you're going about it all wrong,” he said.
“Not a problem,” I answered. “I'm not fixing the plumbing. I'm making a lamp.”
“Then you're in the wrong department,” he said. “The electrical supplies are down at the other end of the store.”
This guy was beginning to annoy me just a little. I don't care much for unhelpful remarks when I am on a creative roll. I told him that when I wanted a socket and wiring I would head down that way but at the moment I wanted a reducing tee, a 1 inch flange, and a ? inch end cap.
“Are you some kind of hippie or something?” he asked. What a jerk. Also, hippie? Really? Dating himself much?
“If I were a hippie I would tell you that love is the answer, but I'm not, so I'm telling you that a 1 inch flange is the answer,” I said.
Right when I was seriously thinking about the possible ramifications of accidentally dropping a heavy pipe on his foot, another pair of feet came into my view. These belonged to a young man who looked intrigued at what I was doing rather than judgmental. The older guy told him what I was doing in a manner that strongly implied doubts about my mental health. The younger gentleman dropped to his knees beside me.
“Really? A lamp? Totally cool idea,” he said. Thank goodness for young and open minds.
The nice young man was very enthusiastic and fully engaged in helping me find the fittings I needed while I explained to him how I wanted it designed. The older guy shuffled off shaking his head and looking disgusted. After we found everything we needed the helpful young man personally escorted me down to the electrical department and then to the nuts and bolts to get what I needed there. I promised to bring the lamp in to show him when I was done. He was a very nice boy.
There will always be people who don't really get on board with creativity and generally attempt to discourage it, but I don't let them bother me because there are also people who get energized and excited by it. They are an important part of the whole creative process and their encouragement and engagement make the experience even sweeter. In the end, I have my lamp and I am happy with how it turned out. I think I'm going to make another with a different design and a customized shade and if I need help finding what I need, I know just where to go and who to talk to.
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