Reduce/ Reuse/ Recycle.... Louise Nevelson Inspired Lamp

Introduction: Reduce/ Reuse/ Recycle.... Louise Nevelson Inspired Lamp

About: I am an artist living and teaching ART in NYC for over 30 years, and I am a CZT, Certified Zentangle Teacher. I love to explore all sorts of art making both in my teaching and in my own work...check out my s...


Practicing these activities in art can be fun while it helps to create a healthy environment.
As an art teacher I constantly am trying to instill in my students the old adage, Waste not Want not, or giving new life to old goods. While trying as often as possible to re-use materials, I planned a project for my second and third graders in the wood shop to build lamps, based on the artwork of Louise Nevelson. The children investigate New York during Social studies, therefore, in art class I introduce them to the art of Louise Nevelson. I explain that, as a young artist , Nevelson studied at The Art Student's League of New York, one of the nations oldest art institutions. Her early work consisted of found objects, often pieces of wood that she picked up on the street and assembled into sculptures.
My students project is to create a functional, low cost piece of artwork that embraces our theme of Reduce/Reuse/Recycle.

Step 1:

The puzzle like artistry of Louise Nevelson's sculptural work is created using these easy to find and affordable supplies, an empty wine bottle, masking tape, assorted sizes of wood scraps (including a piece for the base, approx 5"X5") wood glue, sand paper, minwax protective finish (water base) paint brush and an electrical lamp adapter.

Step 2:

Sand the wood piece that will be used for the base of the lamp. A piece of wood approx. 5"X5" works well. When all edges are smooth, glue to the wine bottle.

Step 3:

Next the electrical lamp base is inserted into the bottle and with masking tape, secured down the side to the base. (This type of electrical fixture can be purchased at most hardware stores. Because my classes are large I order mine from an on line source, National Art

Step 4:

Small wood scraps need to be sanded smoothly on all edges. A variety of shapes and sizes are necessary.

Step 5:

Using wood glue, the pieces need to cover the entire wine bottle. (Not the lamp adapter)  Alpply glue to all surfaces that are placed on the glass and other wood. Often chop sticks or skewers work well to fill in small cracks.These may need to be cut and sanded to fit. The object is to eliminate as much of the visible wine bottle as possible. Fill in all the spaces like a puzzle.

Step 6:

Work the wood around the cord on the back side of the lamp.

Step 7:

Use small scraps such as dowels, chopsticks or even tooth picks to fill in small spaces.

Finally when the glue has dried and the wine bottle is as "invisible"as possible, paint entire surface if wood, not metal lamp fixture, with Minwax Polycrylic protective finish. (I use minwax with my students because it is water base, non toxic and easy to clean brushes afterwards)

*Any clear finish works. Another option is to have the students paint the lamp using acrylic paint. I personally appreciate the look of the natural wood.
 As an extension of this project my children make lamp shades and the colorful accents they use on the shade, nicely accent the look of the natural wooden lamp.

Step 8:

Insert an energy smart light bulb, plug in the lamp and enjoy.

The hand made lamp shade is another project!

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    2 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not sure why you used the bottle when it's totally covered but it is a really great looking lamp

    Susan Cirigliano
    Susan Cirigliano

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I used the wine bottle with the kids because it is a good sturdy base for them to work on.