Thursday, August 5, 2010

Where Did That Idea Come From?

It's not easy to come up with original ideas in a medium as ancient and everyday as pottery. Most often, new ideas carry with them echoes of all the other pots we've seen and admired. It reminds me of the sci-fi writer who refused to read other writers' work in order to avoid being influenced by their ideas. I've found that potters are probably the only artists who generously share their techniques, ideas, glazes, and so on.

I learned to make carved luminaries very early in my pottery journey and for a long time I made open and closed carved forms to be used with candles. A few years ago, my mentor, Virginia potter and teacher Jane Cullum showed me how to adapt the luminaries to accommodate a snap-in socket. One of my first sales in Etsy was one of those lamps! Later, I was putting my grandson to bed one night and had just turned off the lights when I saw the glow-in-the-dark planets and moons and stars that his Dad had pasted on the ceiling of his room. That's where the idea of making a lamp with a moon and stars came from. But how about having it project on the ceiling?

I had been making lots of items using closed forms, including boxes, so it was easy to adapt a closed form into a starry nights lamp with a snap-in socket. I've now started making them with other designs as well. Here's one of my favorite lamp forms, which takes two snap-in sockets and light bulbs.

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