Katie Baker Bolton built her first lamp at age 8. Her grandfather, a lamp store owner by trade, had told her not to, that little girls don’t play with electricity. So she waited to actually plug in the completed lamp until she had shown it to him.
“Well, you did it right,” he said. And it worked.
Since then, she said she has had a lifelong sickness and incurable addiction to lamp making.
For years Bolton practiced drilling holes on cups and saucers from thrift stores before moving on to porcelain vases to act as a lamp base. Later she would teach herself faux finishes to revive old lamps and learn to look for vases, figurines or other architectural pieces to serve as bases. Eventually she would add children’s blocks, an antique ship, bird cages and old wooden laundry hampers to her repertoire.
“If you can come up with an idea of what you want, I can figure out how to do it,” she said. “Sometimes I wake up at 3 a.m. with a solution.”
Since 2000, Bolton and her mom, Dianne Baker-Clelland, have run Baker Lamps and Linens. Her mom had a lamp store on Lorna Road before coming to the Inverness business.
“You don’t see things made in the way we try to do it,” Bolton said. “We reclaim, restore and redecorate. You can repair an old lamp much easier than a new lamp.”
Bolton’s three kids have lamps made of a bubble gum machine, a stack of three baseballs, a parking meter — anything she can figure out how to run a rod through or behind. Around her house you’ll also find eclectic lamps made of a silver clarinet, wallpaper rollers, wine bottles, an old decanter and an old water cooler glass.
“When looking for a lamp, I encourage people to think outside the box and not just settle,” she said.
In addition to completed lamps, Baker Lamps and Linens sells lamp parts for customers interested in making their own.
Baker Lamps and Linens is located at 5299 Valleydale Road, Suite 115. For more,call 981-3330 or visit bakerlampsandlinens.com.