DIY Lighting: Paper-Clip Chandeliers

Where most people see discardable office supplies, Penelope Bridge sees artistic potential. The British Columbia-based artist is the creator of these amazing paper-clip chandeliers which she sells through her Etsy shop, ReDesign Technologies. Not only do these unique light fixtures cast web-like shadows on the ceilings, they are one of the few completely recyclable home accessories designed with no waste.

"In college [at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Canada], I specialized in water systems and water conservation, so I wanted to focus on developing a product that had very little to do with water use in the raw materials," says Bridge. "Paper clips are made from the most recycled bits of steel trimmings, weigh almost nothing and use very little raw materials -– the perfect medium for me."

Finding influence in everything from opera hall chandeliers to pieces from 1950 America, Bridge says each piece takes a minimum of one to two weeks to construct, and they keep their shape thanks to "pure magic -- the magic of physics, tension and gravity."

"The paper clip chandeliers seem to straddle the boundaries of art, design and to a certain extent engineering," she says. "I strive to use and reuse sustainable products in every step of my process. I also encourage my patrons to reuse the packaging materials that I have passed on to them. I especially try to reuse plastics if I must use them at all, as they cause a host of unintended problems in our water system."

With local exhibits in Vancouver and Kamloops, Canada and a recent piece sold to a restaurant in New York City, Bridge's limited run of 100 chandeliers are holding their own. She's currently working on a DIY kit for those looking to make their own paper-clip chandeliers; a second chandelier series made from repurposed animal antlers; and a line of organic silver jewelry available through her other Etsy store, Birch Beer Boutique.
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