MATERIALS + PROCESS
My lightsculptures are made with love and intention, keeping my clients in my mind & heart as I create. I am working in the tradition of the man who founded this technique, a wonderful artist named Stephen White, in Eugene, Orgeon. In his intention to spread this artform far and wide, he has generously shared his wisdom with many apprentices.
Each piece is valued depending on the size & intricacy of the sculpture, but because of the slow and fine process, tend to take a minimum of 6 – 8 weeks to complete.
All of the driftwood I use is native to British Columbia, near where I live on Salt Spring Island. Many of the more intricate pieces come from the Interior of B.C., where man-made dams have gently polished the wood leaving its details intact.
Once the driftwood base is leveled off so it can sit nicely on a table or floor, or be mounted on a wall, a channel is then drilled through its center for the wiring. A standard lamp socket is then installed and the shade framework can begin. I am always tickled when people ask me how the sculptures are illuminated, because they really do appear to glow far more mysteriously than your usual light bulb.
The framework is created using bent reeds of different diameters, depending on the size of the detail. Finding the right shape and flow is the x-factor and takes some time to get right, considering both the personality of the driftwood and the ultimate 3 dimensional mass it will take on. I try to create each piece so it is lovely from every angle. If you’re anything like my partner and I, you will rotate them every few months to get a new view.
Ahhhhhh…this is where I settle in for the long-haul. The skin of the sculptures is cast on in 12 layers, painting tiny strips of hand-torn paper on the framework with a gentle resin. It’s a delicate process, this papering into thin air, like Papier-mâché on tiptoes! I have worked my way up to 4-5 hours sittings now, but it is most certainly a kind of yoga. Each layer reinforces the strength of the shell and, when all is said and done, it is hard to the touch and gives off a pearl-like glow.
I get a huge number of requests to offer workshops for lightsculpturing, but can not at this time offer that. Consider that this is a very in-depth process that takes a long time to master, so it doesn’t lend itself way to a day-long, or even weekend-long workshop.
Due to the need to scale back in my life, I am no longer accepting commissions. But my wonderful, gifted husband Craig Paterson has taken over the light-making and you can find him at kindredforms.com