I met Randy Voltz at Steel City Comicon a few weeks ago. The introduction came because my wife saw his booth and was infatuated with Randy's craft. She nearly ran people over to come get me and show me the Steampunk Pipeworks Booth.
All I had to say was "WOW!"
The imagination and skill to make such fantastic pipe work creations is surreal. Randy sure knows his trade and has the fortitude and vision to create some of the most bizarre lights, lamps, sconces and fixtures I have ever seen.
SPPW- Believe it or not, I woke up in the middle of the night with the basic idea of building a lamp out of old pipe fittings. By the time I fell back to sleep, I had the design worked out. Over the next few weeks, I would go to the hardware store and gather various pieces and parts that I didn't have, only to put them all back. For some reason I kept talking myself out of moving forward. Eventually I decided to quit messing around and go for it.
IMP- How long have you been making electrical fixtures?
SPPW- I've been in the home remodeling business for about 35 years. Very early on I discovered that I love electrical work. It requires attention to detail and allows me to "stretch" my brain, if that makes sense. I perform all aspects of construction, but electrical work I enjoy. I guess the answer to your question is that I've been making electrical fixtures officially for about a year and a half, but I've been getting ready for years.
SPPW- The most challenging part of making the fixtures is when I find a particular piece. I immediately try to figure out how to incorporate it into something. However, it can't be just anything...it has to be cool.
IMP- What are some of the strangest/ most unique items that you have made into light fixtures?
SPPW- I've made lamps from steel pipe and copper pipe. I've integrated electric outlets and dimmer switches. I've even used old valve handles as dimmer switch knobs. The most unique lamp, however, is made from an old aqualung scuba diving tank. It even has the backpack and old inspection tags still attached!
SPPW- That's a good question...I can't really answer that. The sky's the limit. Who knows what I'll see tomorrow? What I hope to avoid is making something "cheesy". Anybody can drill a hole in an object and stick a light socket in it. I truly want my creations to be functional artwork that belong anywhere from a desk, to a nightstand, to an office setting.
IMP- Any projects in the works that you're excited about?
SPPW- Recently I've been thinking about using an antique fire extinguisher as a lamp base. There are some very ornate ones out there that deserve to see more life. It would be a crime for something that may have saved someone's house from burning down to end up in the scrap yard.
IMP- What is your favorite piece that you have made so far?
SPPW- I truly enjoy making all of the fixtures, but my favorite is the scuba tank. When I found it in a warehouse, I was like a little kid at Christmas time. It's fun to see what you can do.