Luminosity and the capturing of light to be scattered throughout a room can be fascinating to some people and it is for Micha Foster, someone who has been capturing that luminosity in the creation of her unique and distinctive lamps.
For 15 years, she built these creations for herself and friends.
When Foster would buy a lamp, she normally didn’t like the lampshades and sometimes even the lamp itself.
“I used to buy lamps, but I didn’t like the lampshades except for the rice paper lampshades. I started this hobby by putting rice paper lampshades in all different sizes and shapes on my lamps,” said Foster.
Almost everything in her home is built by her, found by her or handcrafted by a local artist. She builds lamps, reupholster’s old furniture, updates old furniture, builds furniture, makes curtains and pillows, and more.
She has spent many hours sifting through antique stores, flea markets, and old parts stores to find the perfect pieces for her table lamps, hanging lamps, and ceiling lamps. Her goal is to make a floor lamp next.
In order to become more familiar with the intricacies of electricity, Foster has taken an electrical course and was an apprentice with some electricians at a company she used to work for.
She said the wiring isn’t difficult, but sometimes it is hard to make sure the hole is big enough for the bulb and the bulb can easily be taken out and changed.
She added, “The challenging part is finding parts and pieces that fit with the lamps. Anyone that wants me to make them a lamp is welcome to bring me pieces and I can see if I can build a lamp with those pieces. I have made lamps and lampshades out of interesting pieces.”
In Feb., she started selling some of her artwork online. Her first piece that was sold online was a hanging lamp that was made out of half of a drum from a washing machine.
Foster makes lamps out of gas pipes, jars, washing machine drums, and more. She makes lampshades out of fruit bowls, drinking glasses, Lucite cake covers, and more.
“It’s easy to make a lamp out of a gas pipe because you can make it any shape you want to make it. I love making lampshades out of Lucite cake covers because they produce such a beautiful light,” said Foster.
All of the pieces are plugged in and checked for at least 24 hours after she builds them. Most of her parts and pieces are recycled parts and pieces from old lamps or from other found items.
Recently, Foster donated pieces to the Mississippi Diabetes Foundation and the Lee County Foundation.
“I love building lamps. I like the pulling together of old parts and pieces and building lamps because that’s the most beautiful thing to me. I don’t like overhead lighting – I like the light to reflect something and for light to be scattered throughout the room. I think a lamp can make or break a room’s décor. Building lamps is something fun for me to do,” said Foster.
Her work will be on display at this weekend’s Arts, Beats and Eats event as well as on permanent display at the Art of Dixie area inside Bankhead Gallery, located at 100 E. Bankhead Street. She will also have a booth set up at Memphis’s annual Cooper-Young Festival in mid-September.
Foster has an Etsy page called fosterluminosity and she has a Facebook page called Foster Luminosity. For more information, call Micha Foster at 662-266-7700.