Last night we watched the new Wonder Woman movie. Now I’m not a big super hero fan. I have set through a painful number of Spider-Man and Batman movies and I truly hope to never see another Wolverine flick…EVER (sorry Hugh). I have to say though, Wonder Woman was pretty good. I liked the message it sent; that women can be strong, tactical, capable and smart while still being feminine, sensitive and kind. As a female, I often struggle to find a balance between embracing my femininity, which I enjoy, and wanting to play in the mud and operate power tools. Of coarse things are FAR easier for women these days. Today, girls are taught they can do anything a boy can do and they don’t have to give up their girly-ness to do it. In my generation though, their is a tape that plays in our head that says, “you need a man’s help to operate power tools. You should let the men do the electrical stuff because it’s dangerous. If you do guy stuff you aren’t feminine and you can’t be soft with callused hands.” These aren’t things anyone told me directly, they are just beliefs; messages that somehow society put in my head. I think that’s one of the reasons I craft because I want to make things and in crafting, I can do that in a way that socially supports the idea of being feminine. But sometimes I want more.
Last week we watched another movie, Cast Away, where Tom Hanks plays Chuck, a Fed Ex employee who gets stranded on an island for 4 years (stay with me here; it will tie in, I promise). The Opening Scene of Cast Away (click for the first 40 seconds) shows a Fed Ex guy picking up a package from a woman who is in the middle of welding this massive metal wing sculpture in a barn equipped with enough tools to make Tim the Tool Man sing. I watch that scene and I think, I want to ‘play’ like that! I want to use those kind of power tools! The Fed Ex guy comments about her choice of pink for the wing stamp on her package and she says “yeah, it’s a pink day today.” At the end of the movie (spoiler alert if you have never seen it), Chuck runs into this mystery artist when he attempts to return the package that basically gave him hope and kept him alive during his entire ordeal. In this scene, she hops out of an old red truck and she is petite, pretty, smart and friendly. Imagine that.
My point in all this rambling is that there are creative things I’ve always wanted to do but I’ve been intimidated because they involve ‘guy tools’ and ‘guy knowledge’ and ‘guy power’. One of these things is to make and wire my own lamp from scratch; not from a light kit where the plug and cord and socket is already put together for you (nothing wrong with that) but where I figure out the entire thing myself. I want to plan it, build it, and wire it all on my own and hopefully not electrocute myself or burn down my house. I convinced myself that I just hadn’t found the right inspiration to take on this electrically charged project but in reality, I just didn’t know where to start and was a little scared of it.
A few weeks ago I came across a bin full of these awesome galvanized grain scoops and I got the brilliant idea that they would make fabulous industrial pipe light fixtures. Hmmmmmm. Now, I had no more excuses.
It was time to unleash my creative super powers. I would whip these lights up faster than a dashing dachshund, use tools more powerful than…a screwdriver and leap tall Home Depot aisles in a single bound. I am going to make a lamp!
There were so many challenges with this light fixture and it took me a ridiculously long time to make what seemed so simple. The galvanized pipe I wanted to use (because I was familiar with it from our Industrial Coffee Table Project) was too bulky so I used copper which is less user friendly. The regular sized light socket was also too big for the scale of the grain scoop so I switched to a candelabra. I learned how flippin’ hard it can be to drill a 1/2″ hole in a fairly thick piece of galvanized steel. A creative solution was needed for the curved back of the grain scoop and that meant several trips to the hardware and electrical sections of Home Depot and my local Ace Hardware store. I’m fairly certain the clerks thought I was a crazy woman who had nothing better to do than invent projects and open every nut, bolt and washer drawer in the store while talking to herself. BUT… I DID IT. It didn’t go as planned. It wasn’t easy and it was way outside my comfort zone but, I DID IT! And in that moment, when I slid the plug carefully into the socket, held my breath and watched the bulb light up into a warm glow, I was a Creative Wonder Woman. I’m not trading in the sewing machine and glue gun for the welding torch quite yet but I am a little more confident in my ability to use my creative super powers. What’s your power?