In the spring of 2015, we were asked to design a light fixture featuring Jimmy Buffett’s famous parrot logo. It would be for the brand new Margaritaville in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. That October, we shipped out fourteen handcrafted polished copper sconces graced with the iconic parrot.
Usually, the last time we see our fixtures is when we hand them over to the nice young lady at UPS. We were pretty thrilled to get a photo of one of our fixtures lighting the night at Margaritaville in St. Thomas. Wow! If you are headed that way, send us a photo of yourself with one of our lights and win one of our candleholders! There could even be TWO lucky winners! The first photo received, and our favorite of those submitted.
It is so amazing to live in a world where a small business in Hawaiʻi is selling products globally! Mahalo to Beachside Lighting and Design for doing such an awesome job of marketing our lighting!
Our lights are each handcrafted right here in Hilo, Hawaiʻi. We thought you might enjoy seeing how the ones for Margaritaville were made. So, if you want music, we’ve got the Newport concert below.
The first step in making the copper light fixtures is, of course, getting the copper. The next step is cutting it to size.
I love working with copper. It’s a whole different experience than working with the stainless steel. The steel actually hardens when burned, carbonizing and blackening. The areas that are not yet burned and the surface will oxidize in shades of golds, purples, and blues, depending on the amount of heat applied. You have only one chance to get what you want. Any cleaning or polishing damages the surface.
The copper softens and turns red, with flakes of black carbon coating it. It becomes flexible and easily formed. The oxidation can be left on, or it can be polished off to reveal the shining metal beneath. After it is burned, each piece is hammered to give texture and detail. Depending on the design, this process can go pretty quickly, or can take a very long time.
Once the design has been hammered, the metal may be left oxidized, which has a beauty all its own, or it may be polished to bring out the unique sheen of the copper.
Manu generally does the polishing of the copper. I (Leilehua) do the burning and most of the hammering. Manu cuts the backplates so that the electrical wiring can be fitted into the fixture.
The fixture then has be be hammered into the curve needed to cover the light source. While this particular parrot belongs to Jimmy Buffett, we can make a different parrot design, or something else entirely!
Every fixture is slightly different because each one is a handcrafted work of art. If you have a question about what Malama Torch (TM) or other custom light fixture would be good for you, please feel free to write: Leilehua@LeiManu.com
Have a beautiful day, and let the light of aloha fill your days and nights with beauty.
You may see some of our other installations HERE.