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Light Providers

At House and Leisure we're always on the look out for products that offer both form and function at home. Utilitarian art, however, is often limited to handmade ceramics. Local artist Russel Goodman, under the quirky brand Durty Spoon, reinvents the everyday house lamp into a range of modern art masterpieces which he simply calls: Light Providers. Goodman's use of piping in his Light Providers may seem unusual at first, but delving into the artist's past uncovers that it's only fitting that he'd make it his material of choice. 'After studying animation I spent the next five years working for various post production houses around the Mother City,' says Goodman. 'After growing a little tired of the air conditioned environment, I decided to quit my job and go back to school.' But Goodman didn't go back to art, instead he continued his education at a trade school where he studied building, construction and plumbing. Now a qualified plumber by day, Goodman keeps his creative side alive as an artist and lamp maker by night. Already a mixed-media artist, Goodman ventured into lighting design by chance. 'About a year ago, I realised that I didnt know how to wire a plug,' he says. 'So I learnt to do it and I sat with a completed plug, switch and globe, all working. But it had no body. So, being a plumber, I scratched around some used materials from that day's work and built a basic body out of old pipes for my newly wired bulb. That's how the first light was born.' Goodman's brother liked the lamp and persuaded him to make another. The Light Providers grew from there and are now made and painted in Goodman's garage-turned-studio from copper pipe, galvanised plumbing pipes and fittings, steam pipes and brass compression fittings. 'I love the cold hard industrial feel of the metals, mixed with the warm globe – it just feels right to me,' he says. Initially the Light Providers were just 'built to be pieces of pretty metal', says Goodman. But the functional side came in when he began experimenting with reading and bedside lights. He's now looking into extending the pipe designs into bookshelves and picture frames. 'I'm currently working on a bookshelf – with built in globes of course!' Pricing for Goodman's Light Providers vary according to size and the amount of fittings used, but generally his copper candelbras sell from R550-R850 while the heavier metal lights start at R850 and go up to R1 500. 'It all depends on what the client wants though, maybe they want more globes or a fancier paint job,' he explains. 'I like hearing what people want me to build them. It's a rewarding process.' For more information on Light Providers and to order, visit Text: Bianca Packham