Isosceles Lamp With Cross Shadows

Lamp I made around 1997.

As you can imagine, it was delicate and didn’t survive my cross-country moves. I had more photos of it, but actually sold the photos for a few dollars. This might be the last remaining 35mm print I have of this lamp.

As a side note, I was offered a sculpture teaching job based on the photos of this lamp. But I would have had to move to South America.

The panels are made of iron, brazed with sandblasted plexi. The four equilateral triangles are made of oak. The four trapezoid forms are cypress. The various pieces (not visible in the photo) are held together with iron rods.

The base required a special jig to cut the very unusual angles, which came from a pencil sketch I created. The brazing was also difficult. While brushing off the slag, the motorized brush got trapped inside the tip, which hit me in the forehead very hard. Potentially it was a serious injury, but I was OK. Lesson learned. Ouch!

I finished the lamp just minutes before it was due to be critiqued. The glue was still drying, and the tip was held together with styrofoam. The styrofoam was a kind of unintentional tease. My classmate, without asking anyone, walked up and pulled off the styrofoam. It did not fall apart, and I sighed in relief.

Then someone turned out the lights. The shadows were even more beautiful than the lamp, which I did not anticipate. I could not have foreseen the collective reaction. Oohs and aahs. You never know how people will react to your art. This particular reaction was unlike anything I have experienced before.

In retrospect, maybe the cross-shaped shadows on the table and ceiling inspired some kind of spiritual awe, a surprise the mind could not have expected, due to the complex geometry in relation to the spherical nature of light emitting from an interior point. I owe this experience to my excellent teacher, Tony Shipp.