Central hanging light
The main, overhead light was indeed a problem simply because I didn’t want wire wrapping round a chain hung fitting, but still, like a tantrum wracked two-year-old, wanted a chain-hung fitting. There are beautiful candle chandeliers with central poles which house the wiring, but they felt too up-market for my rough fiddlings. The preference was for chains.
As there are no tablets to cure being opinionated about unimportant matters, the decision made itself and the central hanging light was going to be made sans cable and therefore electricity. I could have hidden a wee flat battery in it somewhere, possibly but, knowing how delicate the arrangements would be, the chances of knocking the whole thing for six would be high, when all you want to do is activate the light.
The Building of the Light
I’d imagined a fairly heavy-looking lighting fixture.
You know those small cans of tomato paste? Cutting them up can be fun if you count your fingers first.
I took the top and bottom off and then took the top and bottom off. I mean I removed the lid and base and then chopped off the top and bottom sections of the cylinder to what I figured was a required depth, giving a couple of rings of approximately one inch depth a-piece.
Bending the cut edge over was diabolical and assistance had to be called.
The idea was to use one of these as the basis for the ring of candles and keep the other behind my ear for later.
I figured that there were one or two sets of candlesticks or candelabra I’d come across on eBay which were chunkier than others and at a price that wouldn’t make me cry too much if I chopped them up.
Thus I purchased one to have a go with after which, I braced myself and bought another two. All three added up to about a fiver plus postage. This probably means that the resulting light would cost more than if I’d bought a good one and taken the wire off!
Anyway I proceeded to vandalise them. I broke off the side arms at their point of attachment to the main stem. This gave six candle holder arms to play with. I chose them not just because they were slightly larger than usual but they had an undefined character about them. A certain je ne sais quoi.
More scrap needed
The whole enterprise needed more, very malleable metal. I had, indoors, some of those ovalish serving dishes made of thick tin foil. You know, the ones that always have the hot dogs on at some do or other.
Don’t be fooled by their apparent flimsiness – they are very sharp when cut into strips, and quite strong.
I cut strips out and twisted them together to make a stem which was then wrapped with florist’s black wire to hold it together better. I used some strips to make arms, into the ends of which were stuck the candle holder bits. Repeatedly, until I got it right.
Is this fairly flimsy? Well, yes if you knock it about a bit. But on the whole it’s fairly strong.
The whole thing was painted with black matt enamel paint before the chains were added. The paint made it all that bit sturdier, too.
The black chain was bought, again on eBay, from one of the jewellery suppliers, and is nice to work with. It doesn’t twist and knot itself up, and falls quite freely. It’s just chain, not shaped with a flat face and a little twist, which is more common with jewellery chain.
The chain itself – no problem.
Getting the whole thing to hang evenly – ahem.
Measuring the chain lengths so that they matched did not work. The slightest variation in the distance of the candle holder from the body of the chandelier made a tremendous difference to the choice of which chain link to fasten where.
The chains were going to hold up each candle holder and link up to hold up the whole light.
I ran all the chains together towards the top and made a link of wire, which, in turn could hang on the hook put in the central beam.
It needed tarting up further, and, reverting to the earlier theme of getting some colour higher up the room, I made imaginary Fimo coats of arms. No, the Fimo was real but the heraldry was all made up and painted with enamels. I made more than I needed as I wasn’t sure what colours would look OK up there.
Having made a choice, the shields were stuck on between the candle holders.
The candles are all off-white birthday ones, heavily melted and deformed. This provided chunky shapes and, surprisingly fitted exactly into the candle holders without adjustment.
End result – not an all together satisfactory experience
Am I happy with it? Simple answer, no. The overall idea’s OK-ish, but I don’t like the the central shaft. I’d started it with the intent to have splaying leaf shapes up there but it just looked totally messy. Since then they’ve had a short back and sides and, although tidier, they still get me going.
Some day I’ll make another, I hope, but for the moment,it’s doing a job, the colouring and positioning are about right if you just don’t look to hard.
So where will the light come from?
Firstly there are wall lights. Two single bulb, torch/flambeaux from Ray Storey, one each side of the fireplace, provide some light, along with the flickering fire.
Throughout the model, I’m trying to use led lights positioned near windows to give a daylight look as well. They are mostly warm tint but I’ve bought a sheet of stage lighting gel and slipped layers into home made slide casings in front of the lights I’ve used so far, to give a bit of a warmer glow.
In the Great Hall there will be windows at the end opposite the entrance hall, and I’ve added a light strip there, high up.
This was all well and good at time of doing it, but, as I’ve since extended the Hall, they’re a bit stranded. However, I think that they’ll be OK, as I’m planning to add a fretwork screen type walling on the upper level of the Hall extension, looking out onto the first part of the Hall. Doesn’t make sense. Well stick with me and I’ll see if I can make it clearer when the time comes.