Come across the creek with me for some fun in the studio!
My newly 'crystallized' chandelier!
The same chandelier 'before'....
I bought this chandelier in August for $15 at a yard sale in Delhi, NY. It’s probably from the 1960s, constructed of a resin plated in brass. It didn’t have a single crystal prism on it, but I knew I could find some antique ones and supply the rest from Gallery 84.
I dismantled it and put all the pieces I wanted holes for the crystal prism wires in a vise and drilled holes with my drill and a 3/16” bit rated for metal. It’s important to wear eye protection because little bits of metal go flying. This is why I cheer when Fifi O’Neill writes, “A girl’s best friends are power tools!” How easy the process is, and how free I am from paying or begging some man to do it for me. Sorry I don’t have pictures of this step, it was before I started blogging! I reassembled it and spray painted the whole thing white with Rustoleum.
In September I found a large number of crystal prisms at Brimfield in a booth from a man named Steven Wheeler of One Stop Antiques in Ohio in the $5 parking field across from Heart of the Mart. I didn’t expect to get everything I needed, but I did luck out and score nearly 20 ‘French’ pendants and a nice variety of other things that came to $100. The rest of the prisms are from Gallery 84, bought without connectors when possible because a) it costs less, and b) I like using wire that’s already ‘shabby’. Even then, it was nearly $200!
I’m having a terrible time getting the lacquer off the brass on the beaded chain by soaking it in acetone. I detest the newness of the chain, so I’m going to have to paint the links with Triangle Craft’s ‘Sophisticated Finish’ in Blackened Bronze from Michael’s, a tedious process that doesn’t make it all that wonderful in the end but it’s better than that tacky gold.
Old brass wire is the best wire!I’m using 22 gauge wire, which is too thick but it’s all I’ve got. I have a pair of jewelry making wire cutters with round, pointy ends that make the little circles of wire I love. The butterfly clasps are a lot faster and easier to use, and I ended up using some I had because it took hours to wire up the u-drop prisms with their top bead and by 1 a.m. I wanted to go to bed!
Nice, old brass wire and my attempt with round/pointy ended jewerly pliers.
This is the 'first draft' of the prism 'structure'. I know I want a lot hanging down to balance out the chandelier. One of my favorite web sites to go for inspiration is My Paris Flea Market, a store in San Diego that Fifi shot for Romantic Country. She sells a mind-boggling number of European antiques at any given time. The prices are equally mind-boggling for little ‘ole fiscal administrative assistant me, ranging from $3,000 - $5,000. She finds those fabulous Italian tole chandeliers with the macaroni beads.
Photo by My Paris Flea Market
Another new place to look for the real thing is Disegno Karina Gentinetta, a lovely woman who has a New Orleans and Etsy shop that’ll stop your heart it’s so so so beautiful. You won’t believe she’s a former lawyer that lost everything in Katrina-- it looks as if she’s been in interior design for a lifetime.
Photo courtesy of Disegno Karina Gentinetta
I love chandeliers so much I have three in my studio that’s about the size of my senior dorm room in college only with a sleeping loft and a front porch! I don’t think you could have enough ‘chandys’. I want a pair of girandoles or table chandeliers for the mantel, and a sconce for over the love seat, too. So I pray to the Garage Sale Gods to bestow something on me this summer.
I’ll post updates on my chandelier as soon I have another chance to work on it.
Until then, stay shabby!