TV

Illuminating exhibit

Olympia artist Pam Corwin had one of those light bulb ideas – to create an art show where all of the art lit up.

“I’ve had the idea for so long that I don’t even remember where it came from,” said Corwin, best known for the clocks and other graphic gifts she creates under the name Paper Scissors Rock.

But the idea lit a fire under local artists. “I called a few people and said, ‘Do you know anybody?’ and within a day or two, it was pretty much full,” she said. “We were going to cap it at a dozen, but people kept wanting to join.”

And if the resulting show, at Childhood’s End Gallery through Sept. 26, has a lot of lamps, sconces and hanging lights, it also includes an illuminated suitcase and two guitars (all by Joline El-Hai), a 6-foot-tall replica of the Space Needle (by Pat Tassoni) and an old TV showing static.

“A lot of the pieces are quirky in a really fun way,” said Nancy “Siggy” Sigafoos, an Olympia artist who made art from her parents’ old TV set, decorated with old postage stamps.

“That was the television that my parents watched the Vietnam War on, and I watched the first episode of ‘All My Children’ on that television in 1970,” she said. “It still works, but when you turn it on now, it’s just snow. It creates an interesting light.”

The cancelled stamps – Sigafoos bought a shoebox full of them a few years ago – date from 1962 and ’63.

“One of the things that drew me to these stamps is that the cancellations say, ‘Pray for peace,’ ” she said. “The U.S. Postal Service was stamping ‘Pray for peace’ on the stamps. I thought that was so beautiful. I can’t even imagine that happening now.”

On the more practical side of the show are the light fixtures, including sconces by Nikki McClure and partner Jay T. Scott and lamps by Bil Fleming, who works with recycled materials.

Corwin also created lamps for the show. They appear quite traditional until you take a close look.

They’re covered with tiny beads, applied one by one with a needle into a mixture of pine pitch and wax – a traditional Native American technique.

She beaded two purchased lamps and made a papier-mché torso as the base for a third.

“There are over 12,000 beads on that lamp,” she said of the torso-base lamp. “The other two took months. It’s an insane thing to do.”

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