Mission Arts and Crafts Lighting

The basic mission lamp consists of a simple box made out of panes of glass with a cap that looks like the roof of a house. The panes are divided by a simple cross that goes across both the horizontal and vertical center. There are many variations on this theme.

A simple ring at the point of intersection can add an elegant touch to the way the vertical and horizontal lines divide each pane. The panes of glass may be divided by a horizontal line about two thirds of the way up. This is intersected by a vertical line that comes from the top but does not go below the horizontal line. In this way each major pane is divided into three minor panes-one large at the bottom, and two small at the top. The panes up top may be further divided by a grid work. Or the panes may be divided by two horizontal and two vertical lines, either evenly spaced, or varied to provide some sections that are larger than others.

The top of the lamp may be flat rather than peaked. The glass to the lamp may be clear, dappled, or frosted, all while retaining the basic look of the mission lamp.

All of these effects may be transferred to a lamp that is not quite rectangular in design. Simply tapering the panels slightly toward the bottom can have a pleasing effect. Or the panels can taper outward slightly toward the bottom for a bolder look.

Changing the number of panels from four to six can provide a different, more rounded look. Or you can go for the completely rounded look with a globe that looks something like a wide vase with metal bands encircling it both horizontally and vertically. This effect can also be achieved with a cylindrical globe that has a cap both at the top and at the bottom.

These caps can be the focus of considerable artfulness as well. Curlicues, filigrees, knobs, spires, and fleurs-de-lis are all welcome diversions for the eye. The bases can have a similar ornateness, coming to a point just like the caps. Or the bases can sport four or six metal feet curving outwards or curling under themselves. The caps can also have more rounded effects, looking like the dome to a gothic cathedral.

You can also bring a nautical look to the composition with some simple lamps such as might be found at a seaside in. A basic white globe can be protected by a simple metal cap that encircles the globe with a grid pattern of protective wires. The cap itself can take on a little character by being bell-shaped or it can remain a simple cone.

The metals used in construction are typically brushed rather than polished. The goal is to give off a soft, warm glow rather than a bright reflection. The more artsy craftsy may wish to go beyond simple frosted or rippled glass. Colored glass can control the look of the lamp and of the light it casts making it warm or cool. Or the glass itself can be stained or painted with any number of designs from the world of nature or art.

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