Functional Creativity :: Build the hearth

by Admin on 05/04/2013

in Guest Editors 2013, Home+Decor

During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Mary Jo for the month of April :: The theme for this month is functional creativity.

Mary Jo :: Five Green Acres

Traditionally, the hearth was the physical center of every home, where the fire was kept to provide heat and cook the food. While the physical presence of the hearth remains in some homes today, the spirit of the hearth can be cultivated even if no actual fireplace exists. I like to think of “hearth” then, as the grounding center of the home as well as the presence of heat and light throughout. Depending on the season, you might find yourself either encouraging the presence of the two or keeping them out as much as possible.

Curtains, then seem a natural extension of Hearth, as are candles, lampshades and light fixtures.Thinking specifically of the “light” aspect of hearth, then, I embraced the opportunity to rewire the lamp which illuminates my desk. If you’ve never rewired a lamp before, fear not; you need not be an electrician to do it safely, but you do need to understand a few simple details about how the wiring works. The rest is mostly structural hardware.

Get your hands on a few old (free, thrifted) lamps, start taking them apart, and you’ll quickly understand how they are put together. The threaded hollow tube that is often found running up the center is called a nipple. A nut threads onto the bottom to keep it secured to the lamp base. There’s another nut securing it at the top of the base. The cord runs up through the center, comes out the top, and is wired onto the socket. You must take care to secure the correct wire of the cord to its corresponding screw, but once you know what you’re looking for, it’s an easy task. That’s about all there is to it. I found this tutorial to be a good resource, as well as this one, which has a great explanation in the comments section about identifying the positive and neutral wires.


With this handful of know-how, you could turn just about anything into a light fixture.

Build the hearth
1. Tripod Lamp Tutorial 
2. DIY Chandelier
3. Chandelier to Lamp
4. Repurposed 

Or maybe you’d like to alter just the shade.

1. Rustic Linen Shades
2. Fish Scales
3. Tutorial: Recover a Lampshade
4. Knit Shade Covers 

It’s quite empowering to combine your handmade prowess with old-school-handyman skills, no?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary Jo, Five Green Acres April 5, 2013 at 10:34 am

Whoops – looks like the links to the images are listed in the wrong order. Sorry about that!


2 Kim@Reposhture April 11, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Thanks so much for including my ski pole tripod lamp in this mix! What a pleasant surprise while researching my stats!


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