It's no secret that I do, on occasion, enjoy a good scrounge in the odd skip or two. It might even be fair to say that I have a bit of a reputation for it. Lisa likes to joke that I'm a Womble (not entirely sure which one) whilst Lisa's Dad, less endearingly, calls me Steptoe. Still, you'd be amazed at what people throw away. Take this strange looking object, for instance ...
I came across the white aluminium shell of this initially unidentifiable something whilst tipping around in a skip which had recently been littered up by generous donor 'Nick-the-Tug'.
It was clearly missing some parts so, whilst trying to figure out what it may once have been, I continued to rummage and one by one the missing pieces began to turn up until eventually, the all-important domed front window appeared and I realised that what I had in front of me was some sort of underwater submarine camera. Not exactly your everyday skip find.
I was feeling pretty smug with my discovery but it took some time before I eventually figured out what I was going to do with it next.
After studying it from every angle, leaving it unattended and sneaking the odd sideways glance, dismantling it into various parts and staring at it over a cup of tea, I decided that it was probably going to become the oddest lamp that I had ever attempted to make.
The main body was coated in some white paint that really didn't want to be removed and it had a horrible silicone feel to it. Neither were part of my vision for the lamp so I had to spend many hours of paint scraping and wire brush work to return it to the bare aluminium. Some further sanding and a trip to the buffing wheel eventually revealed the shine I wanted. The front window also needed some work to remove some of its worst scratches. The main body came apart into two pieces: The top half I discarded (at least for this project) and the bottom half I retained. I then went in search of the other parts I would need ...
One big problem was the gaping hole at the rear of the lamp from a missing part, so I searched all over the place with tape measure in hand, not really knowing what I was actually looking for, when one of those rare moments happened: Exactly the right thing, precisely the right size, presented itself at just the right moment, cunningly disguised as an old car speaker. More cleaning, the countersinking of fastening bolts and a paint job later and I had solved the problem of the missing piece.
So, just the details: Curtain pole bracket, brass pipe fittings, copper pipe, rubber grommets and feet, a load of stainless steel screws and M6 bolts and, oh, lots and lots more polishing ... There is always more polishing ...
All that was left now was to choose the electrics. These needed to be all new to comply with regulations. After some discussion, Lisa and I decided on a really pretty twisted brown flex which matched the wood base and the copper pipe, and a black switch and plug.
For the light itself, we had originally thought of using a full frequency SAD (seasonal affective disorder) bulb, so the lamp could be positioned on your desk for feel good vibes on those winter days, but for the purposes of photographing (and because it looked so nice) we settled on a vintage globe bulb.
The end result is a repurposed submersible camera, turned upside down and re-imagined as one very strange and unique desk lamp. We think it looks a little like a sea pig, a creature from the deep and certainly something which will be a talking point in its new home.
The 'Sea Pig' lamp is currently available to purchase from our Etsy Store for £295.00.
Tim & Lisa
We are both artists, living