Celebrating Design: Monmouth glass studio

Monmouth glass studio is based in New Zealand, where they hand-make a range of bespoke blown glass lighting and home-wares, as well as custom made glass objects.

“The lighting is free-blown, without moulds, which allows for individuality and a genuine hand-made aesthetic.”

Their aim is to make things that have value in their aesthetic beauty, necessity and function. That’s why every piece is hand shaped and finished using traditional glassblowing techniques that date back hundreds of years.

“Here at Monmouth Glass we handcraft exquisite glass objects that people need and use every day. ”

 Glassblowing is a limitless and versatile medium. The intrinsically fluid properties of glass make it unlike any other material.

“Each piece is hand-blown by us in the traditional method at our studio in Grey Lynn, Auckland”

Their philosophy is based in the handmade for everyday use: “There is something invaluable about using handmade objects in daily life: to drink from, to eat out of, or to light the space we live in. We believe in quality items that are well-designed, well-made, and will stand the test of time.”

“Bell Pendant – Steel Blue”

Monmouth is a traditional glassblowing studio. Their furnace holds 120 kilos of glass.

Stephen Bradbourne and Isaac Katzoff. Monmouth is a traditional glassblowing studio.

It is kept molten at a temperature of 1110 degrees Celsius twenty four hours a day seven days a week. Every piece is gathered from the furnace then hand shaped and blown.

“Square Cups – Bronze and Tea. Each of these cups are handmade and one a kind”

Monmouth is a small collaborative glassblowing studio in Auckland. It was established in 2013 by Stephen Bradbourne and Isaac Katzoff.

Ghost Pendant – Clear

Customers can also choose a design and customise colour and size to suit their space and needs.

Thanks for reading! If you want to find out more information and visit their website just follow the link by clicking on the Logo image below:

Bespoke Light Fittings

Lamps and Lights’ customer Bruce Stanley, Light fitting maker from Scotland sent us a great short article about his experience and design in converting bespoke light fittings. Here’s Bruce’s message:

“Over the years, I have made numerous light fittings for friends and family members. My “appointment” as “light fitting maker” comes from the fact that I am very much against drilling holes in vases and other such pieces to be converted into a lamp and the simple fact I have quite a comprehensive workshop…and yes, I can drill holes in porcelain, glass, etc..

Essentially, I can make these fittings in any shape, size  or style depending on the wishes of the owner/recipient, however there does seem a preference for the older styles. Over the years, I have collected quite an array of old brass fittings but, unfortunately, although nicely made, most of them are unusable because they no longer comply with the latest regulations or, in some cases, are just too expensive to repair.

Excellent components, meeting all specifications, can be obtained from the Lamps & Lights Design & Restoration Hardware Company who market a comprehensive range of fittings and materials.

My basic design to meet most applications entails the making of a wood (or any other material come to that) holder will can be inserted in to the neck of the vessel being converted into a lamp. Following machining and soothing the wood is stained and polished or painted to obtain the desired finish and effect.

As seen on the photographs, the main feature of my design is the fact that the electrical cable comes out of the side of the lamp fitting insert and not through a hole in the lower vessel.

Following assembly, the holder insert in place by wrapping the shaft with thin bubble foam so that it is a firm in the neck of the vessel. It is very important to note that, when completed , some lamps can be top heavy and require a certain amount of ballast – washed pea gravel, lead shot, etc. inside the base of the vessel to ensure adequate stability.

All electrical work should be done by a qualified electrician.”

Thanks Bruce for sharing your experience with us! If you are thinking of converting a bottle and/or a vase into a table lamp, we have various table lamp kits to choose from and for more help how see our useful information page.

How to make a trumpet table lamp

Lamps and Lights’ customer Mike Wyn Davies, proprietor of Unique Trophies from Wales sent us this fab story of his journey recycling an old battered brass trumpet, found lying around in his attic for years, into a stunningly unique table lamp. Here’s Mike’s story…

“The plan was to mount the trumpet vertically on a hardwood base, this meant that 3 core cable had to be fed through the trumpet from the bell, through the three valves, around the pipes and up through the pipe holding the mouthpiece.
Feeding the three core cable though the trumpet was the biggest challenge as cable is flexible and it just kept doubling up on itself inside the trumpet.

A fine steel wire was used to feed through the trumpet, but the three valves still posed a problem. This was solved by removing and cutting them down, so that the wire did not have to go through them.

After successfully feeding the steel wire through the trumpet, the three core cable was warmed up in an oven to 70°C for 30 minutes and then secured to the end of the wire. Silicone spray was used down the pipes and on the cable to lubricate it.
It took some effort to pull the cable through, but it was completed successfully.

The photo shows the cable running through the three valve housings.

The base was cut from a hardwood kitchen worktop off cut using a band saw, and a router was used to give a bevel edge. The base was sanded and stained using a solvent based walnut stain, and finished with four coats of acrylic varnish.(Alternatively you could use a Lamps and Lights’ ready-turned and sanded hardwood Pattress).

A cork was used to seal inside the battered bell of the trumpet. Silicone spray was used as a mould release. This end was then filled with a fast setting modelling plaster. When set, it was removed and then this was used as a template and former to produce a close fitting wood cone on a lathe to fit into the trumpet bell to attach it to the hardwood base. The cone was screwed and glued to the wood base and drilled to take the three core electric flex. The trumpet was then secured to the cone using a silicone adhesive.
I used a Brass BC Lamp Holder with shade Rings (
Ref: LHbrass04-BC) and Brass Reducer (Ref: BBbrass01:1) I modified the reducer and soldered into the end of the trumpet where the mouthpiece fits.

The photo on the right shows what lies hidden underneath the shade ;
the brass lamp holder with shade rings, shade carrier, light bulb and lampshade.

This lamp looks very effective and has proved to be quite a conversation piece. Using a very battered old trumpet that was going to be thrown out has now been recycled. With a matching shade, I think you’ll agree it makes a unique and attractive table lamp.

Spotted at an Antiques Flea Market, this is another take on using a brass instrument converted into an unusual lamp. Musical instruments can form the basis of very unique and high quality lighting and lamp projects”.
Mike Wyn Davies

Thank you Mike, this shows there’s so much you can upcycle to create a stunning lamp!

Light Art with Jessica Gill

jessica-gillBritish artist, Jessica Gill, has found the perfect marriage between sustainability and creativity. Beach combing for materials, she draws on nautical and floral themes to create her own brand entitled Light Art and provide as she claims ‘a positive means of making a creative difference in the world’. man of war II

Treasures can be found in nature, at carboots, charity shops and the internet, finding their way into my work. Humour and irreverence are strong themes and my playful approach to sculptural lighting attracts all ages”.

beach lamp

I work at East Beach Studios in one of the 12 converted beach huts where artists work and sell their ‘creations by the sea’ in Worthing”, a stones throw from where Oscar Wilde wrote ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’.

tripod lamp

All of my work is made to a high specification, is up to British safety standards code.

Everything electrical is new and Lamps & Lights are a great source of these components. Most of my work is commission based but I always have a small selection of pieces that are available to buy ready made. Feel free to pop down to the huts and see for yourself.

crab chandelierOne of my most favourite pieces that I’ve made is Herbert, the crab chandelier. A local restaurant, The Crab Shack, commissioned me to make a statement on their ceiling. Inspiration came from the book The Time Machine by H(erbert) G Wells where the hero fast forwards to the end of time on earth and he discovers that all remains are giant crabs and screeching white butterflies.

The base is an old brass chandelier which was rewired to present day standards. Next I collected hundreds of crab shells from the beach opposite my hut and after cleaning and soaking them in bleach, painted them gold. Old chandelier crystals decorate the body of the giant crab made up from the multitude of shells found on the beach and green sea glass was used for their eyes. Finally, two oil lantern glass funnels were used to become the main claws of the giant crab and a giant white butterfly hovers just above. Everything has a story 🙂

chandelier 02There’s seriousness to my work in its sustainability – everything is naturally sourced or recycled – but is also a reminder to take a light-hearted look at the world.

Art for me is about fun; if I can literally light up someone’s world, even better”.violin lamp

We are honoured to be Jessica’s choice of lighting parts supplier. We receive great praise from so many of our designer customers, who continue to be pleased with our growing range and quality of products, delivery and our service.

Light Art by Jessica Gill.
Studio 43, East Beach Studios,
Beach Parade, Worthing, BN11 2FG.


Arcobaleno – light entertainment!

Arcobaleno means ‘rainbow’ in Italian, and it is an apt metaphor for the work of avid upcycler and maker Richard House. He and his wife Rosie run the business together with an emphasis on the unusual. While Rosie will make all sorts of things from beautiful fabrics, Richard makes table lamps from the most unlikely objects – he will try to use anything, so long as it has originally had another, totally different use.

Starting about five years ago making a lamp from a stack of old teacups and saucers, Richard has sold his lamps across the country, and a few have gone abroad (not just to Wales and Scotland, but even as far as Australia!). Recent projects have included a novel new use for clothes pegs, inspired by the attractive patterns that the light makes through the gaps – he says this looks like it could be the start of a whole new range of ‘peg sculptures’.peg sculptures

Richard House-mannekinA regular and very popular lamp has been the modified manikin. Starting from a standard artist’s wooden manikin, Richard adapts the form and, as he says on his website: ‘Arms and legs are moveable, so you could say he’s a man you can manipulate – not often you find a bright one of them!’ Richard House-coke can

A recent challenge that has featured on Richard’s stand at a number of craft shows and makers’ fairs has certainly attracted attention. When he claimed to be able to make a lamp out of anything, somebody handed him a prosthetic leg, saying that would be impossible. Maybe not to everybody’s taste, but it is undoubtedly different!prosthetic legAll these projects are made using Lamps and Lights products. Richard finds the quality, range and price to be second to none, and with prompt delivery and reliable fulfillment of all his orders, he is a regular customer.

And so, what does Richard plan next? Well, he has a few ideas developing, but to see what comes next, why not take a look at his website www.arcobaleno.co.uk.

Of course, if you have something that you think could make an interesting and unusual lamp, Richard would love to hear from you – as you can tell, he is always up for a challenge.

Tripod Lamp – A customers story

After coming to the decision that I couldn’t find a good-looking tripod lamp without spending big money, I decided to create my own.

I sketched a few ideas and perused the Internet for inspiration, but what I was planning was fairly unique. I wanted to match simple geometric shapes to produce something clean and fairly timeless. I’m also a sucker for old nautical hardware, so solid brass and dark wood was my starting point.

chris-harris-image4The domed brass crown was first turned down by hand using a metal lathe, from 100mm solid bar. The sides were then cut on a milling machine, but a slight slip of the hand-wheel meant I had to adapt a few dimensions! A 1/2″ thread was then tapped into the centre hole to accommodate your solid brass light fittings.

1/4″ Brass dome nuts were sourced locally, but I found it almost impossible to find the perfect thumbscrews. In the end I found a Canadian company making these beautiful round ones, and a week later they had arrived with me in New Zealand!

The surface of all the brass parts were finished by hand, giving them a uniform but slightly textured matte finish. It took me many hours and multiple attempts to get this right, but I’m happy with the result.

chris-harris-image6All of the brass was left overnight in a salt and cider vinegar solution, and then baked in an oven to age the metal. It darkens the metal overall, but the patina is unpredictable and mine didn’t look pleasant.

I should note that I had to first remove lacquer from one of the brass parts using nail polish remover. Extremely important before baking as it’s highly flammable.

The parts looked like they’d been pulled from an old sea wreck! But I had further plans: rubbing the raised areas with Brasso brought the surface back to a shine, with the recessed areas retaining their patina. It’s a very subtle antiqued look, which doesn’t look forced. I finished the brass with Renaissance wax to prevent further oxidisation.

chris-harris-image5The legs were turned from Kwila wood, and I used the old milling machine to cut each of the slots. Most of my time was spent sanding the wood, all the way down to 600 grit.

Two coats of Danish Oil brought up the grain beautifully, with small golden flecks naturally mimicking the shiny brass hardware.chris-harris-image3

The lamp is wired using Lamps and Lights’ braided flex cable in burgundy and I plan to add a floor switch at a later date. I also opted for the large globe filament bulb without a shade. However, the option is there for the future!

Hope you like my project – it’s the first lamp I’ve ever made, and the first project of this kind I’ve ever attempted. It’s definitely been a labour of love, but I have a feeling it should last me a while.chris-harris-image7All the best, Chris
(New Zealand)

We hope you liked reading about Chris’ project as much as we did, extremely informative and very helpful to read his ‘highly flammable’ warning 🙂 It’s great to see our products being sought after across the globe! Welcome all to our sister-site www.lampsandlights.com

vintage reclaimed designer lamps

Lamps and Lights‘ parts have been perfect for helping me to create my first collection of bespoke custom lamps, thank you” Tanya Tier

I’m an artist who lives and works in Sussex, and my artistic practice is concerned with themes of magic, enchantment, illusion, other worlds, myths, time and science.
Tanya Tier blowtorch lamp 3Like most artists I am attracted to the things that people throw away, and I have been collecting old materials for many years (broken vintage /antique items and components) which I then use in my artwork. The lamps are an inspiration whereby I could find a further use for some of the lovely old bits and pieces which I have collected.

Tanya retort stand lampThese lamps are elegantly constructed using antique and vintage reclaimed materials. Each lamp is unique, and the materials are sourced far and wide from items which have been discarded because they are unwanted or dysfunctional – then painstakingly restored and re-purposed into these beautiful pieces to give them a different function. tanya tier testing box lampI have endeavoured to give these old objects a new lease of life by creating a collection of industrial style lamps, and to bring together an interesting combination of history, design, art and engineering.Tanya Tier inkwell lamp
The lamps are perfect for interior/set designers, film or fashion shoots, or simply as an original unique and functional feature in the home.Tanya Tier tripod lamp 2

I have been lucky enough to have some of my first collection showcased at a beautiful interiors shop in Shoreditch, London called Elemental, TT lamp 5very popular with interior designers and stars of stage and screen the specialise in vintage / period pieces of furniture TT lamp 7and homewares, renovating all their own salvaged and reclaimed pieces in-house.

As each lamp is unique, they cannot be replicated exactly. However please contact me if you would like something similar made or to enquire about commissions or current available pieces.TT lamp 4 Meanwhile I also have art exhibitions coming up in Arundel (August 2015) and Brighton (September 2015), where I will be showing some of my playful curiosities work. Tanya Tier balls lampTT lamp 2

Please check my website for further details www.tanyatier.com

or see my Facebook page.

Tanya Tier inkwell lampduo“What an interesting story about where some of our lovely components have ended up, thank you Tanya and good luck with your Autumn collection, we look forward to seeing more from you!”  Lamps & Lights

Turning the Tables

Our fabulous funky coloured fabric braided flex is used in many ways, not just in lamps and lighting. We have seen it used on telephones for period dramas, in radio restoration and now a turntable!
Lamps and Lights’ customer Kevin Taggerty tells us about his creation …

Project: Garrard Zero100 SB turntable

Playing proper ‘albums’ is my preferred way of listening to music, and I have several turntables. The most recent purchase is the oldest, an American built Garrard Zero100 from the seventies which looks gorgeous with its brushed aluminium plinth and chrome details.  I saw it in an electrical exchange shop window and simply had to have it!

Garrard_ZERO100_SB_croppedBecause of it’s age it was not playing well – factory applied oils and grease had thickened or dried up affecting the speed, and on the first long playing it stopped altogether. However, the American motors in these turntables are known to be strong so I guessed it was simply a matter of servicing.  The existing cable was a discoloured and stiffened ubiquitous three core round white (well I assume it used to be white, it was more of a creamy beige in places), so I decided to re-wire it at the same time.
Because the mains power lead is connected directly to the underside of the deck which sits on four springs, I considered that the more flexible the cable was, the less it would affect the turntables ‘suspension’, and a three core cable that could be separated easily into three strands where it enters the base at the back seemed like a good idea to me.  So I looked on the internet for ‘three core cable’ and found Lamps and Lights, and a range of colours to choose from.
Garrard_ZERO100_SB_close-upI decided not to make a feature of the cable (as attractive as it is), and judged from the website photographs that the ‘Grey’ would compliment the brushed aluminium and was delighted with the colour when it arrived.  I found an old-fashioned looking, but modern, shiny hard-black-plastic plug which finished it off nicely and now the turntable looks as good as it sounds.
We thank Kevin, an artist and designer for sending us this lovely article about the design of his fantastic project. You can follow him on Twitter @KevinTaggerty.
We look forward to his next idea…

SteamPunk; Victoriana with a kick

We received a wonderful article from Lamps and Lights’ customer Dan Child. Here’s his story of the ‘making of a lamp’ …
photo 4

I was looking for a classically industrial/steampunk-esque pair of bedside table lamps for our new guest room, which is decorated in a warm grey with other quirky items such as a Smeg fridge door displaying our magnet collection, and a floor lamp constructed from steel car parts. I was struggling to find anything suitable, at least for anything less than £100 per lamp, but I was inspired when I saw some cloches for sale in my local Sainsburys.

photo 3I knew immediately that they would make a great house for some eclectic light fittings, and I was up for the challenge of wiring my own lamps (something I’d never done before).

Now I just had to find some fittings. This search was another struggle. Not content with many of the cheap plastic fittings available on eBay and alike, I came across exactly what I was after on Lamps and Lights.

photo 2For each lamp I bought a base bulb fitment with cable grips in antique brass finish, a light switch, three pin plug, and several meters of antique brown fabric-corded cable to give that authentic last century feel. I completed the look with some Edison light bulbs for a warm and elegant glow not provided by many of today’s harsh energy savers and LEDs.

Before my parts arrived I had prepared each cloche by sanding down the base and coating in a rich brown varnish. I left the finish a little imperfect to age the parts. I also used a household bleach to remove the butterfly motifs printed on the glass covers. When my parts arrived from Lamps and Lights I was able to measure up to ensure I could feed my electrical cables in through the bottom of the base, and grooved out a channel to allow the cable to exit from the side of the base. After wiring up the plugs and switches, I wired in the light fittings and screwed them to the bases.

photo 1-3Finally, I installed the bulbs, plugged in and switched on and sat back and enjoyed the soft glow of my very own bedside table lamps, all for about £30 per lamp!

What a great ‘successful’ project, thanks for sending in to us this Dan !

Emma Mackintosh – Glass Chandelier design extraordinaire

We love working with designers and here at Lamps and Lights we especially enjoy it when they come back to us sharing their photos, showing how our products fit into their designs and the interesting processes behind their creations. We are regularly astounded by the innovative beauty of their work and recent Lamps and Lights’ customer Emma Mackintosh did just that.

emmaEmma produces the most stunning bespoke and totally individual glass chandeliers showing the detail achievable with flameworking. The art of flameworking (also known as lampworking) is a method of working with glass using a small, very hot gas fired torch to melt rods of glass to create uniquely detailed sculptures in contrast to the traditional glass blowing involving a large hot furnace. Emma uses the small torch to allow her to control more precisely and personally the aesthetics of a finished product. Using borosilicate glass, one off pieces are created as the glass colour changes with the light.

Emma says “Producing glassware that is both classic and contemporary, with purpose and a unique twist, I am inevitably influenced by the stunning setting of the Lake District: nature and the natural world often find their way into my work. My own personal style and methods of working have been added to through learning from internationally renowned flameworkers from the US and Germany. I have recently had a piece chosen for the US Glass Art Society Lifeforms exhibition at Pittsburgh Glass Center, and have demonstrated flameworking at the International Festival of Glass in Stourbridge as well as at the UK Flame Off and Glass Gossip in Holland”.

Emma Mackintosh-poppiesPoppies is a single chandelier-style glass shade with hanging poppies, leaves and buds. Fitting securely to the chandelier, the elegant top shade can be made in glass or metal and fits into spring clips that hold it in place. There are 16 holders for the hanging leaves, flowers and buds – each individually worked and joined together with small chandelier rings. This allows some movement, which is a nice effect and also very practical. The poppy petals have been worked in a way that gives them texture and variation in colour which adds to the interest of the piece and the chandelier has an ‘arts and crafts’ feel.

“The Poppies chandelier uses an antique coloured gallery with spring clip and matching bayonet lampholder, I also matched this with an antique coloured flex and aged brass chain to complete the look”.

Emma Mackintosh-White lilies glass chandelier

Photograph by Tim Murray of www.timmurrayphotography.co.uk

Elegant white lily-shaped flowers and clear leaves are a favourite for chandeliers. Emma designed the frame for this chandelier to match the style of the glass drops and give the whole piece a contemporary yet still classic look. Each flower was made using hand-mixed glass cane to add fine detail and all drops were finished with little leaves.

“The white lilies chandelier uses an E27 bulb lampholder with hook. The rings on the lampholder hold the shade in place and I used a matching lamp chain and flex cord“.

Pale Ghost glass chandelier shade uses a pale, semi-opaque white, highlighted with accents of colour to create a more subtle, neutral look. Fitting securely to the chandelier, the branch-like shade structure at the top of the chandelier has a clear glass ring that is worked to fit into spring clips that hold it in place. Each ‘branch’ is then coloured and pulled to the correct size before being securely joined to the main structure at the torch. Small glass attachment points for each of the approximately 72 hand made leaves and blown flowers are then added before the whole is placed carefully in the kiln for annealing. These individually worked leaves and flowers are fixed with small chandelier rings. This allows some movement, which is a nice effect but is also very practical as it makes the glass less fragile if brushed against.

Working with flameworked glass allows me to add colour, detail, texture and intimacy to classic chandelier and lighting styles and produce something eye-catching, full of personality and completely unique. My bespoke glass chandeliers and lighting installations are individually designed to order, working in consultation with the customer and taking into account the space they need to occupy. Whether the commission is for a new design or to update/refresh an existing installation, the result is a totally individual, one-off, artisan-made item”.

Emma has been working on a new series of chandeliers that will include individually-designed metal tops, combining the unique nature of the flameworked glass with practicality.
I was delighted to find Lamps and Lights. The products are brilliant for my designs and I like that they come in a range of colour finishes. They are also easy to combine to get the exact fitting that you need. The coloured flex seems to have become very popular recently and I am really enjoying using this to add that small final flourish to a chandelier.

Lamps and Lights’ service has always been excellent and delivery is quick. There have been times when I have needed items delivered in a hurry and this has happened without fuss”.

If you would like further information about Emma’s chandeliers visit her website  A Flame with Desire.

Emma also produces a variety of glass commissioned special gifts for weddings, anniversaries or other occasions working with you to make something absolutely unique and one-off, something that will be treasured for years to come. Wine goblets and engraved glass spoons, bud vases, a sculptural piece to mark an event or a set of jewellery.

Visitors are welcome to visit Emma’s studio to view examples of her installations. To discuss or order a commission, please contact Emma on: glass@aflamewithdesire.co.uk