I never went to design school, or ever had a class in furniture design, so the things I make are purely influenced by my surroundings and however my untrained mind chooses to translate raw material into functional form. Since I work in historic preservation in New Orleans, I regularly find myself in edifices that are in an advanced state of decay. Inside these buildings, I often play archeological inspector, following the clues left behind by the former generations of inhabitants and the changes to the structure itself perpetrated by both man and nature. Once a house starts to degrade and the plaster falls down or is “gutted” in order to put up drywall (a far inferior finish by the way), then all that is left is the lath and studs. Laths are the thin wooden strips that cover the walls and ceiling of old houses that were originally installed to hold up the plaster. A house striped down to lath is full of texture and patterns and has a skeletal feel, like being in the belly of a wooden whale. Here are some pictures of one such house that I was in recently on a site inspection after hurricane Isaac, and all the textures and archeological ephemera therein that will be my impetus for furniture and lighting design in the future. I’ve mixed in a few images of things I’ve made from similar materials to show what the detritus can become with a little vision and elbow grease.
Tag Archives: hurricane isaac
I’m not going to pretend that I had a lot of fun sitting around the house for the days without power as Hurricane Isaac slowly tore its way through New Orleans, but at least I did something productive. I’ve been asked by several people if I intended to make mason jar lights in clusters, and indeed I’ve wanted too but just haven’t gotten around to it. Well, thanks to the time my hurri-cation afforded me, here is a five jar light which is made for direct wire (not plug-in). Normally, all the jars would be lit but I ran out of Edison bulbs, so that is why only three of the jars are lit in the pics. I like to use vintage jars as much as I can since they have more variety and character, so this light has old Atlas, Kerr, and Ball jar brands, two blue and three clear. And in case anyone is thinking it, I am aware of the irony of making light fixtures during a time when i had no electricity!