The Boat Jumble
For us, authentic salvaging, or upcycling, is about taking an object which has been given up on and truly discarded, recognising its hidden potential and coaxing it back to life as something new and beautiful. There is something quite deeply satisfying in this process. The 'before' and 'after' photos, the knowledge that you have given something old, ugly, abandoned, a new purpose ... Not that we want to get all deep and metaphorical about it, but everything deserves a second chance, after all ...
Therefore, we're generally reluctant to visit auctions or to purchase items which are already perfectly good as they are, simply to make them 'prettier', so when I was invited to a boat jumble by fellow boat dweller, Geoff Seago, I was in two minds, worried that I'd end up spending money on 'stuff' that I didn't really need. Still, thinking 'what's not to enjoy about a good boat jumble?', I tagged along anyway. (Geoff, incidentally, has spent several years working on the magnificent conversion of his ship Diction into a houseboat and has kept a great blog recording the process at mvdiction.co.uk.)
As it happened, it was Geoff who spent all the money. I parted with a total of £12.50 on a pile of plunder which took the two of us two trips each to carry back to the car and fill the ample boot. I'm not sure exactly how much Geoff spent, but his one small carrier bag and the look on his face assured me that I had had a very good day.
The Tilley Heater / Lamp
Two of my purchases from that bountiful day, a couple of extremely dirty, dusty old paraffin heaters, came from a very interesting French gentleman who I enjoyed spending time chatting with. One of these heaters has given me all sorts of problems with its lacquer coatings and fittings. I've lost track of all the times it's been finished and then unfinished! That one, however, is a story for another time.
This old Tilley here is a delicate combination of polished brass parts and sympathetic restoration, my aim here being to create an electric light that looks like it was originally made that way. All the brass fittings have been restored, whilst the 'reflector' has been polished to an incredible shine which reflects the light of the bulb in a really interesting and unique way. This is also due to the polished stainless steel mesh basket - (which used to be the sea water strainer from a boat engine!) - which acts as a shade for the bulb and creates an incredible pattern on the reflector, even when the light is switched off. And the base, which retains the patina of its years, has been buffed to a sparkling shine.
Admittedly, I never expected this old paraffin heater to come to much, but after all the hard work restoring and converting it into a lamp, we think it's one of our favourite pieces and has that perfect combination of old meets new.
If you're interested in purchasing this lamp, be assured that it has been fitted with all new electrics, including a complimentary gold flex, a new plug, and a bayonet bulb fitting with on/off switch, and it is currently available to buy from our store on Etsy for £220.00.
Tim & Lisa
We are both artists, living