My aunt, Chicago radio personality Carla Leonardo, sadly passed away in 2013. With February’s passing of my grandmother as well, my family and I have been curating and organizing the items left in that home. It’s been an interesting experience to find myself on the back end ofan estate sale after having attended so many over the last few years accumulating items for the Inglewood Craftsman.
Aunt Carla, a crafter extraordinaire, had accumulated tools and materials in all sorts of media: beading, embroidery, loom weaving, metal clay, and stained glass, among others. I once visited the stained glass studio she’d been taking classes at, where she showed me some of her in-progress works (and the trials of constantly breaking glass by accident).
Grandma’s basement had a section reserved for Carla’s stained glass work. There, I noticed a beautiful dragonfly lamp base with no shade; Carla had planned to make a glass shade for it. I could see the matching sheets of unbroken glass as well as an intricate styrofoam outline of the final shade plan.
Several months before, I’d bought a glass shade with green accents at a garage sale for $25. Though I’d tried it on all the fixtures in the house that I’d pictured it on, sadly the shade fit on none of them. My shade frustratingly sat in the basement collecting dust. When I saw Carla’s project lamp, I knew they’d be a great match- and hoped that they’d fit.
I asked my Aunt Cathy if she’d allow me to have the lamp base, and she said yes! Though I got stopped at the airport with the heavy metal lamp in my carryon, we made it back to LA safely. And…. a perfect fit! Not to mention a perfect match in the green glass.
Some strange substance was stuck all over the base of the lamp, and no traditional cleaning products are able to remove it. I didn’t want to use anything stronger on the delicate glass, so I scraped much of the gunk off with razor blades. Just a little cleaning of the rest, and voila!
I’m so lucky to have been able to finish Carla’s project for her while finding a home for my own project lamp part. Oh, and today is Carla’s birthday. Happy birthday, Auntie!