Monday, January 4, 2010

Just because I could, Part III

In the previous two installments, I made a release-paper-covered polystyrene foam mold for a 9” high, 12” diameter carbon fiber bobbin lace lampshade, worked the lace, and smooshed a 24-hour epoxy into the fibers.

The next morning (yes, less than 24 hours later), I returned to the lab to attempt removal of the composite lace from the mold. The first task was to remove the wax-coated toothpicks which I had used as pins. I used a pair of pliers to grip the toothpicks, and pulling out with a slight twisting motion was usually sufficient. However, three toothpicks did break off as I tried to remove them. Considering that I used an entire box of toothpicks on this project, though, three breaking off is not bad. After removing the toothpicks, I went back and focused my attention on the broken stubs, and successfully removed them as well.

But even with the toothpicks removed, the thing was still stuck to the mold. However, my experience with removing the toothpick stubs pointed the way. See, I had grabbed one of the popsicle sticks that are stocked in the lab, wiggled it around under the lace to loosen the resin from the paper, and then turned it on edge to raise the lace high enough to reach in and grasp the stub. So to prepare to remove the shade from the mold, I slid the popsicle stick under the lace at an already loose point, then wiggled it around under the entire thing.

Finally, I pulled the slightly-flexible plaits along the bottom out and up enough that they were on the side. As you can see in the following picture, once I had everything loosened from the release paper, it slid off pretty easily. I had designed the top well enough that it kept everything stable as I pulled the basket-like structure off the mold. I just grasped the sides with my fingers, and pushed on the top of the mold with my thumbs. This was probably the quickest and easiest part of the whole project!
Next, I carried my carbon fiber composite basket across the street to my lab where I’d left the lamp hardware and assembled it all. I used a small piece of poplar as a support plate for the shade. After taking the project up to show my teacher, I took it home and hung it up in the dim corner by my fiction bookshelf.
I would like to put up another swag hook a little further from the shelf so that the lamp doesn’t block my view of the artwork on the top of the bookcase. But that will be a project for another day. In this slightly blurry view from the interior, you can more clearly see the lace pattern. The next picture, also an interior shot, shows the top pattern.

Almost everyone that I told about this project was intrigued, even if they were stumped by either the term “bobbin lace” or “carbon fiber” (or in some cases, both). This is definitely an example of how my wide ranging interests in making stuff come together in an unexpected way! I am fairly confident in stating that I am the only person in the world with a carbon fiber composite bobbin lace hanging lamp!
(Doesn’t it make a pretty pattern on the walls and ceiling? I should put in a liner to make it more of a lampshade though, and I should probably do that before friends come over for my birthday and burn their eyes out staring raptly at my fascinating lamp.)

6 comments:

Crowbirdie Beads said...

Love it!

Judy said...

wow...what a project! Don't you feel neat though that you not only constructed it, but designed it? Shell

~T~ said...

Wow! Maybe a lampshade is not as fun as a canoe, but it is probably more useful, and definitely more original!

La Beq said...

So, T, one day while I was working in the lab, a couple of guys brought in a long, skinny mold. I asked if that was the infamous canoe mold, and it turned out is was just the electric drag racer. Darn.

Joyce said...

wow! love the shadows it makes on the wall! very cool!

Guzzisue said...

unique, love it. Always good to take bobbin lace away from the 'norm'