How I’m trying to survive the madness

I’ve always had a sense of stewardship and preservation. While I love making a run to the dump as much as any guy, I’m not entirely fond of just throwing stuff away — single use plastics are the worst, but perfectly good lumber is probably the hardest for me to toss into the landfill.

One day, a video popped up on YouTube showing a guy melting down plastic in a toaster oven and then making art from it. Markie has been collecting Starbucks iced drink cups at her salon since the curbside recycling stopped taking that kind of plastic and we had three or four garbage bags of cups sitting around.

So I had an idea… First I fooled around with melting plastic — I recorded some of the process and put together a little video, all the while thinking, “I’ll bet I can make a lamp out of this stuff.”

Melting and forming the plastic took a little practice, but the hard part was all the math required to get all the angles right. Cutting the wood at all those tricky angles meant I had to build things to help hold everything in place.

Craftsman Style Lamp from Reclaimed Wood and Plastic Cups

Over a month or so I slowly figured out the tricks and tightened up the design and I’m able to actually build lamps in a reasonable period of time. My original idea was that I could do this on the side while I took on a couple tech consulting gigs and create a bit of life balance between my career and a hobby.

Then Covid-19 came along. The odds of getting a tech consulting gig when so many people are furloughed while there also is so much uncertainty has put a huge wrench in my plans. My safety net is getting a bit thinner as it’s been a couple months since I left my last job and with the economy at a standstill, I’m sure it will be a few months before people start hiring my particular brand of tech again.

Of course my shop is in my home (well my garage), and all that lumber and those plastic cups are just sitting here waiting to be made into something awesome.

So, in the spirit of perseverance, I set up this website to tell the story and have a place to sell lamps online, which has been an interesting exercise in itself. I had to relearn some basic web tech, explore all the social platforms, and avoid getting ripped off by all the web hosting platforms.

My hope is that I can sell a few lamps to help keep from going broke waiting for this to end, and also keep myself sane by keeping busy — after decades working in the ethereal world of internet applications, and in a rather unsettling time, there is something comforting about working with old wood and making art from garbage.

If you like my lamps, but aren’t interested in buying, feel free to share the link on your social platform of choice. You can like and share the Facebook or Youtube pages, follow me on Instragram, maybe save a pin or two on Pintrest, or even follow my Twitter account.

Honestly, anything helps at this point and it would be great to not only survive this stay at home thing, but maybe find a new career with making things from, well, a bit of a mess (metaphor intended).

You can buy my lamps directly from this website, or feel free to contact me directly to cut out the internet middlemen and arrange a socially safe delivery.

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