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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Beauty of Recycling…Chandeliers!

There’s a funky glass chandelier hanging above my dining room table. It’s big, it’s bold, and – in my humble opinion at least – it’s beautiful. We’ve had it for years, so the regular guests of the Prescott household rarely comment on it anymore. But whenever anybody new comes for dinner, you can bet your best knickers my chandelier will come up in the conversation.

You see, this is not your average chandelier, at least, not anymore. I’ve no idea how old it is, but I’m guessing it emerged from an Italian chandelier manufactor about fifty years ago as a respectable, somewhat nondescript light fixture, spending the first forty years of its life illuminating my Great Aunt Nelda’s dinner guests.

And then, one sad day, my Great Aunt Nelda passed away and my parents had to empty her apartment. The chandelier, lackluster with age, laced in disintegrating cobwebs and speckled with fly pooh, was destined for the dumpster when inspiration struck. I retrieved it, wrapped it in a faded, orange and brown tea towel featuring a 1965 calendar on a background of kittens in a basket, and lugged it home, my artistic streak all aglow.

I put it on the kitchen table, pulled on my pink rubber gloves, filled a bucket with warm, soapy water and carefully eradicated all traces of dust and insect depravity. While it dried, I found my glass paints, and then went to work, my enthusiasm growing as the forlorn old chandelier metamorphosed into a multicolored, wild and wacky luminary masterpiece. When my husband came home from work, he was initially a little undecided on the artistic merits of my creation, but soon saw the light. He rolled up his Ralph Lauren sleeves, found his toolkit and hung Great Aunt Nelda’s chandelier above the dining room table. Hooked up to the dimmer switch, its pink, yellow, turquoise, green, red, orange, blue were mesmerizing. I was rather proud of myself!

Needless to say, my mad chandelier doesn’t spark eruptions of applause from everyone who comes to dinner. But it invariably provokes some sort of response, be it a careful comment, a doubtful glance, or a full blown, wine spluttering, “Oh my God, where did you get that kitsch monstrosity from?”. However, most people seem to like it, as a matter of fact I’ve had several commissions from family and friends requesting similar chandeliers for their homes. I transformed a smaller one I found at a flea market for a girlfriend who lives in Ibiza and was ecstatic when it was featured in a famous Spanish magazine devoted to homes and interiors!

My Great Aunt Nelda is probably giggling in her grave because her revamped chandelier also found its way into my romantic comedy, “Mucho Caliente!”. When Gemma, the main character, relinquishes her cheating husband’s divorce settlement and moves to Ibiza, she decides to make a business out of transforming boring old chandeliers into objects of desire in an effort to become financially independent. I’m not sure she’ll make a lot of money out of it, but she’ll definitely have oodles of fun with glass paints, and (hopefully!) stay out of trouble when Latino superstar Emilio Caliente goes on tour.

So the next time you’re pottering around a flea market, keep your eyes skinned for old glass chandeliers. All you need are some glass paints, a couple of paintbrushes, brush cleaning fluid and some old rags. You can add sparkles, sequins, anything at all. It’s easy, inexpensive, ecologically correct, and it’s fun. Who knows, in these somber economic times, cheerfully customized, hand-painted chandeliers might even be a way of earning some extra money!

With love,
Francesca Prescott

"MUCHO CALIENTE! - Wish upon a Latino Superstar"
An effervescent romantic comedy
LASR: "Best Book" / NOR: "Reviewer Top Pick"
www.francescaprescott.com

13 comments:

Lindsay Townsend said...

Fun and creative piece, Francesca! I love the way you have made art imitate life! You sound to have had as much fun as your Gemma does in 'Mucho Caliente!'

Francesca Prescott said...

Hi Lindsay! I just love messing around with colours, as well as colourful words! I am mega thrilled this week because "Mucho Caliente!" was voted Best Long Book of the Year 2008 by Long and Short Reviews!!! Wow! I hope Gemma sells a few more chandeliers because of this!

Sheryl said...

Great blog, Francesca. Made me hoot. I adore your/Gemma’s chandeliers. I’m also quite impressed with your men! Caliente and hubby! Is Francesca’s man always that obliging? Bless his socks!

Francesca Prescott said...

Sheryl, you know what... my husband is that obliging! I'm a very, very lucky lady. Would you like a chandelier???!!! It's just been your birthday, hasn't it? Oooh, where are my paints....!

Tami said...

OMG, my birthday is in July! :) **hint, hint**

Francesca Prescott said...

Hi Tami! I could do a Barbie doll sized one and mail it to you from Switzerland!!! Aw... I was walking past a little flea market/antique (actually, more antique than flea!) shop in my village the other day and saw they had a load of old chandeliers for sale. It's been ages since I painted one, so I may go and have a snoop around one of these days. It's so easy to do, it's therapeutic, and it's fun. And they look so pretty once you've finished... Go ahead, paint one!!!

lastnerve said...

I love that chandelier. I bet it throws some awesome colors when the lights are on. loved the blog and I love the fact that you put the chandelier in the book!

Tami said...

I'll expect it in the mail soon xxcesca!

LK Hunsaker said...

Francesca, you are such a kick! I love it - the chandelier, pulling it into your novel, and this blog post!

Francesca Prescott said...

Hey Last Nerve, I wish I could find the Spanish magazine featuring the chandelier I painted... It was a really pretty one. I'll have to get my friend to take another photo of it, but this was done by a professional team, so it really looked amazing! I'd so love to show it to you...

Francesca Prescott said...

Uh-oh, Tami! Me and my big mouth!!
I'll figure something out...
xx cesca

Francesca Prescott said...

Thanks, LK! I'm glad you enjoyed this blog. What about the one about the bulls?!!! Cute Swiss, guy, eh?! I think he was Mr. Switzerland a couple of years ago. And that is such a pretty cow...

Tami said...

Awwww xxcesca......the picture is fine. I like picking on you! :)