“ Who doesn't want their home lit by Art? „
As some of you may know I recently bought a house, and doing it up with no budget is tough, now I am at the stage where I can start dressing the house, as I mentioned earlier, I have no budget, whatsoever, so any items that are bought are very carefully considered. I chose this particular "lampshade" (lampshade is in inverted commas, you will find out why in a bit) because I had wanted it for ages, I originally spotted it online before I had even bought my flat, and what made it better was that it was incredibly affordable and by a designer that I have admired for ages - Tord Boontje, all very simple so far
.but is it?
~What is it? Why do I want one?~
This is not your typical lampshade, it is one long continuous strand of etched metal (1.6m in total), etched into delicate shapes - leaves, flowers and the like. It comes in three different colours, bronze, gold & silver (looks black and is the version that I own), in a flat A3 cardboard envelope.
The reason that this particular light so appealed to me was that firstly, it was by a really well known designer and I found it for a very affordable price, secondly, the nature of the light itself was something very different, it was a long strand of photographically etched metal, this required it to be wrapped around my light bulb, a la flower arranging, thus creating a really unique light fitting, the reason that this so appealed to me was that even if other people had the same light fitting, theirs would not look the same as mine, as they would have arranged it differently. Also, you can bulk out your Garland light by buying more strands and adding to your existing light.
So to sum it up, an affordable piece of art, which will be completely individual, by a well known designer at an extremely affordable price. This light is actually available to view in a permanent collection at MoMA (New York) & The V&A (London), so grab yourself a bit of art history today!
~I want one NOW!~
Tord Boontje originally was commissioned in 2002 for Habitat & then again, in 2004 for Artecnica. I have seen this same light on a variety of "lifestyle" or "designer" websites for all sorts of prices. I actually bought mine from Habitat for £20, which I thought was extremely reasonable, I have seen them on EBay, and they generally go for in excess of £25 (excluding p&p). A couple of other websites are selling them for in excess of $80(U.S.) excluding p&p. So if you do want one, I would highly recommend going to Habitat, as I don't think that anyone else is doing them for this price!
~I got me one! Now, how do I install my new piece of art?~
As mentioned earlier, it comes flat in an A3 cardboard envelope (like the ones for giant cards you get), with a little window in the front, so you can see what colour you are choosing.
Opening the envelope, the Garland is still connected to the frame, a thin boarder of metal round the edges, taped to another piece of cardboard, with a little rubber ring (to put on your light pendant) taped to the back .. Now this is where the design flaws start to show.
~Issue No 1~
I immediately noticed that I needed to cut my garland, which has been laid flat, in a sort of repeating s-shape inside the frame. You need to have really good light and vision to do this, as the garland is connected to the frame by the tips of the leaves. I was immediately aware that if I cut in the wrong place I may end up cutting a bit of the leaf off, luckily I managed to find some small nail scissors (not nail clippers) and set to work snipping away. Whilst cutting away, I did manage to bend a couple of leaves & flowers, at first I was a little worried, but soon realised that it was all going to be OK as the metal seems really durable and I was going to be bending it sooner anyway.
~Issue No 2.~
As soon as I had finished cutting away, the Garland from the frame, I realised that the instructions were on the back of the card - DOH! How was I supposed to read the instructions on the back of the card and follow them as I was wrapping 1.6m of metal Garland round a light bulb?! If I took the Garland off the card, where it had so nicely been laying flat I would be in a world of pain, so I opted for, lift the card up above my head, and read like that!
~Issue No 3 (Installation) & 4 (dangerously combining thin sticky outie bits of metal with electrickery).~
Having managed to read the instructions and remove the rubber ring from the back of the cardboard, Snarf and I set to work. I had already bought a simple pendant light from B&Q so all we needed to do (in theory) was put the rubber ring around the light (remove the light bulb and fit around the base) and then start wrapping the metal round the bulb.
Well we managed to get the rubber ring on easily enough, but the wrapping of the Garland was another matter. At one end of the Garland is a small open ended circle, so you can slot it over the wire bit that hangs down on the pendant, tighten it to keep it on, and then begin wrapping your metal Garland round your light bulb. *REMEMBER TO DO THIS WHILST THE LIGHT IS TURNED OFF.*
So I was positioned at the top of the ladder, whilst Snarf held onto the cardboard, we figured, leave the Garland as flat as possible and wrap that way - no such luck, because of all the flowery shapes, the Garland had a tendency to hook itself onto itself in the most random places. This was not the easiest job to do, even with two of us, one controlling the unruly end of the Garland (Snarf) and one trying to make the damn thing look purdy - after about half an hour, I gave up and just wound it any old way and then moulded the metal into the shape that I wanted.
~Issue No 5 (going solo)~
In the end I was quite happy with the way that the Garland looked wrapped around my light bulb, but it did look a bit sparse, for 1.6m of metal, there was not much volume to it, so I decided I needed another one, to be honest I think that one Garland would serve for a bedside table or small lamp, but is not really sufficient for a ceiling lamp, so off I went, back to Habitat to get another Garland.
So I got home, with my second Garland and I cut all the bits out, as before and then attempted to add the second Garland to the first. As the first was already in place, I thought this was going to be slightly easier .How wrong I was. As I mentioned earlier, the Garland, because of all its little sticky outie bits tends to get tangled in itself, this time, it really got tangled, remember this is 1.6m worth of thin metal, and it kept getting caught on the Garland that was already in place, this time it took me nearly an hour and a half to get the second Garland up. This bought up another problem - if a couple of areas get caught on themselves, it is near enough impossible to untangle them, so do bear this in mind when installing it, as sometimes you just have to go with it and make the best out of the way it has decided it wants to be. Originally I had wanted to have a small part trailing (like in the picture attached), but I gave up, after getting wrapped in the damn thing, so as before, tried as best as I could to wrap round the light and other Garland and then moulded into place. I had managed to create some sort of trailing bits so was quite happy.
~Issue No 6 (How many Tazzywazzy's does it take to change a light bulb?)~
Luckily I had the sense to install an energy saving light bulb that should last for about 12 years, as I have no idea what you are supposed to do if your light bulb goes. The stuff is impossible to unwind, I also thought about what I would do if I were ever to move - simple answer, we are going to unscrew the pendant from the ceiling and move it in-situ.
I am actually, despite all the problems, absolutely thrilled with my new light, I have a bit of modern art history in my bedroom, by a designer that I love, it is delightfully gorgeous and girly and would look lovely in a young girls bedroom or an adults bedroom. There is something really romantic about the way that it is hung in such a natural trailing way, the surprising thing is that even though it is made out of metal, the overall effect is really soft. The light it produces, obviously depending on the bulb, is really nice and soft, so I would recommend that you choose your light bulb before you install the light. I personally love this light and even though went through absolute hell to put it up, would not change it for the world, when it is on in the evenings, it bathes the whole room in a wonderfully soft light, you can hardly tell that it is coming from the ceiling.
Although I did have to buy a second Garland, which was never mentioned anywhere that I read about it, it was thoroughly worth it - each Garland cost me £20 and my pendant cost me £5 from B&Q, so I spent £45 on a gorgeous, one off light.