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    DAVID   T.   ARTS    

       I first discovered these translucent beads in Peru at a bead store and bought a few big handfuls of them without any idea of a project.  Upon arriving home I decided to place these beads on a 'light box tracer' that my friend had given me.  The beads illuminated nicely as I arranged them into the shape of a tree on top of the light box.  These beads are in the form of leaves so the shape of a tree is fitting.  Now I wanted to make this almost flat image 3D and I had to figure out how.  

      As much as I was thinking about making a lamp for the first time, like all of my projects the place where these creations are constructed are not their final destination.  This lamp would have to be assembled with at least two pieces because moving one large connected glass piece of a base and top together would be risky when transporting.  

      Then I began the search online for tree molds, lamps and other things for influence and advice on this idea that I had no clue how to create.  I didn't find anything to what I had in mind though, as I desired the entire tree trunk and top of the tree to be covered by these translucent beads.  So for the time being this project was delayed and put to the side.  

      One day at a thrift store I found a glass lamp shade originally from a ceiling fan unit and a long glass oil lamp so I grabbed them.  I attempted to place one on top of the other but they were not compatible as the oil lamp was to narrow and the lamp shade opening was to wide.  This was still the closest idea I had found so I continued brain storming in this direction.  Eventually I thought of flipping over the oil lamp so that the wider section traditionally on the bottom was on top.  Although it still wasn't a good fit, I realized that with a wider oil lamp the lamp shade could be placed on top of the oil lamp without it sliding down.  Online I then ordered a larger glass oil lamp that was a perfect fit when it arrived.  I stuck some clear silicone pads on the outside of the oil lamp so that the physical connection of the two pieces of glass together would not actually be touching.  I still didn't know how to make these two items remain balanced when standing upright, but this was still a progression for the project.

      Next I had to order more of these beads since there was a realistic possibility of creating this lamp.  I searched online and found a seller abroad which arrived after 2 weeks.  Thinking how to apply these beads I didn't want to glue them randomly.  Patches of different colors dominating certain areas is the opposite of the consistent evenness of color throughout the lamp that I desired.  I decided to run an experiment with different quantities of colors in small groups.  4 orange, 7 blue, 6 purple, 5 yellow and 7 pink is one example.  I then mixed them together to see how visually pleasant they appeared and after testing different combinations I found my favorite.           Since neither the oil lamp or lamp shade is flat in any area, I glued in small sections so that gravity would not tug these beads out of place.  As I began gluing beads to the oil lamp and lamp shade, I attempted to keep the exterior as smooth as possible without any pieces randomly sticking outward.  You can see this if you zoom into the lamp along the edges.  The placement of leaves interlocking over the connection of the two glass pieces was also important so that the lamp would appear as one complete object.

      After the gluing process I concentrated on the table base of the lamp.  I needed a soft material to clench the bottom area of the glass oil lamp.  I couldn't just stick it into a table top of wood or metal because neither of these materials are flexible.  Any big bump of the table could result in breakage as the lamp would want to tip over from the impact.  At the hardware store I picked up and examined many tool parts and gadgets finally discovering a rubber plumbing part called a 'shielded coupling.'  With this flexible part I could insert the oil lamp into it and also tighten the circumference bringing stability and a proper fit.  This plumbers part also has a ridge inside the center so that the oil lamp cannot simply slide through even if the circumference is not tightened properly.  I returned to the light box tracer, cut a hole the size of the oil lamp base through the cover panel and stuck the oil lamp though it into the shielding coupling beneath.  The balance of the lamp was kept because the oil lamp depth underneath the cover panel was far down enough that it could not tip to either side.  Although this worked, the light tracer box was very bulky, wide, square and made of metal.  The square shape did not compliment the lamp even when the metal parts were concealed.  

      Eventually I decided that my only option would be to make a custom table that would contain the shielded coupling in the middle.  I chose a circular table top and decided the circumference that I thought was appropriate in proportion to the size of the lamp.  Using a band saw I drilled a hole into the center of the table top and then hand sawed part of the circle to fit the shielded coupling since the part is not entirely circular.  I then glued the shielded coupling into the hole and began connecting the table top to a sturdy table base that could be disassembled for transport.  The matching fabric on top I acquired in Sri Lanka while I sewed the trim to the border of the table cover.

      All that was left was to make this into a functional lamp requiring a 'lamp rod' to run though the body of the lamp.  The lamp rod is threaded at the ends so that you can attach a socket which holds the light bulb.  This was tricky because the lamp rod could not touch any part of the glass.  Anything touching the inside of the glass would display a shadow on the outside of the lamp when illuminated from the inside.        I had to cut and attach a piece of wood that would hold the lamp rod in the center while also allowing LED wires to run through it.  Over this lamp rod I placed a piece of pvc pipe which enabled me to stick LED strip lights to it in a spiral pattern from bottom to top to illuminate the body of the lamp. I experimented with different types of light bulbs and LED lights.  

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