Spending time in the shop is a special kind of escape for me. It's a time to get some things done, to be creative, and to unwind in my own way. But this time of year it can be hard to enjoy the space. The cold wind and cloudy skies can make it dark, cold, and just not worth the time I want to give it. Here are a few simple upgrades to make your shop a place you can escape to year round.
When you own a new, small business, checking your Facebook page for Likes has a drug-like draw to it. Checking your phone every 10 minutes for an update is a quick way to kill your battery, and perhaps your nerves. Enter this brilliant invention from RedPepper, a lamp that lights up every time someone likes your page!
Just a mere two hours from my house, there exists a Willy Wonka-like factory that pumps out all the world's bright and bold fascinating flourescents: the DayGlo Pigment Plant. There, the factory makes 4.5 million pounds of eye-popping color per year, which goes into all the road signs, traffic cones, toys, and other ultraviolet-absorbing goodies.
Newton's cradle (otherwise known as that swinging, hanging ball thing that people put on their desks and kids play with at the novelty gift store at the mall) demonstrates Newton’s third law of motion - "when two bodies interact by exerting force on each other, these forces are equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction."
If you don't know "bokeh" as a vocabulary word, you certainly know their effect: the attractive blurry, bubbley thing that happens to lights in photographs (and movies) with a shallow depth-of-field. In out-of-focus areas, each point of light takes on the shape of the aperture, most often a round disc.
You can actually take advantage of this distortion, to produce these circles on purpose...which can look pretty great.
That's right. The day has finally come…taxidermy meets interior lighting. Personally, I wouldn't be too keen on having a couple of dead squirrels hanging on the wall above my bed, but that's just me. Oh and just wait until you see the rat swarm lamp...
Graffiti is fun and all, but spray paint can get messy. For those of you that have done long exposure light painting and have similar misgivings about the logistics of aerosol paints, then I've got just the thing for you: the Light Paint Can.
Every once and while, some brilliant soul comes up with such an clever solution to a problem, it's simplicity and perfection is awe inspiring. Things are commonly accessible, but not common sense. Coupled with the fact that this one improves the lives of third world persons and saves energy they don't have to spare, I think this might be my favorite DIY project of the year.
Long exposure light painting photography will never cease to be amazing. From Picasso's early experiments with a flashlight to current artists making hand drawn animations with LEDs, combining actual spaces with impossible images is simply captivating.
And it doesn't just have to be hand drawn, either. There's an entire Flickr group dedicated to creating light paintings with Roomba vacuum cleaners.
Steve Hoefer came up with this DIY, literal take on the book light. "Friends have regularly recommended books as being particularly illuminating, but I admit that after opening them I was as in the dark as ever. Since I’m not one to let a good metaphor go unmolested (and because design schools seem to constantly create designers who’s job it is to make ugly lamps) I made this."
Austrailian photographer Denis Smith uses a moving light source to create these long-exposure shots, inserting a glowing sculptural element into traditional landscape photography.
If you've hung around the DIY blogosphere for any amount of time, you most likely learned one thing above all others: anything can be made into a lamp.
That, of course, doesn't mean you should turn everything into a lamp...I once saw one created from an old 1970s teddy bear that was so awful I actually had a nightmare about it. Literally, this thing haunted my dreams.
Over the last few months, I've seen several sets of super cool lights created from plumbing parts at always reliable sites like Design Milk and Boing Boing. In the midst of redoing my own office, I realized I needed a desk lamp to shed a little extra light on smaller tasks. I went to the office supply and home furnishing stores, but I couldn't find anything that'd work. So, I recalled the pipe fitting lamp I'd seen, and decided to make my own.
Traveling through Morocco and southern Spain, Stregoi fell in love with the Moorish patterns and mosaic that characterize the architecture and spaces
So, he created this amazing pendant lamp inspired by these patterns, and shares his templates so you can make one of your own.
Isamu Noguchi's Akari lamps are among the classic, iconic pieces of mid-century design. These practical light sculptures are a playful take on the traditional Japanese paper lantern; updated with legs that echo the emerging atomic culture of the early 1950s, yet still maintaining the biomorphic shape found in Noguchi's other works. The Akari lamp series has been a part of the MoMA's permanent collection almost as long as it's been around.
IKEA has featured their share of paper lantern-inspired lamps over the years. The most recent rendition is the VÄTE series, a collection of rice paper shades on steel frames that give an obvious nod to
Few things inspire me more than a modern design product constructed entirely out of easy-to-find parts from the local hardware store.
This standing floor lamp is a perfect example: off-the-rack worklights from the home center, arranged and installed with just a bit of effort, resulting in a huge impact.