The National Trust commissions The Salvage Sister for their #Beautifulanduseful campaign

/The National Trust commissions The Salvage Sister for their #Beautifulanduseful campaign

The National Trust commissions The Salvage Sister for their #Beautifulanduseful campaign

The National Trust have launched a campaign to inspire people to reuse & up-cycle, so of course they contacted none other than reuse expert & designer Charis Williams!

The brief was to design & build a lamp from a wine bottle, I was told it had to look ‘sleek & designer’ with the aim to inspire a nation. I was also asked to make something from old forks… oh and I had a week to come up with the goods!

The lamp and the functional fork art would then be the focal points in two stop motion films to be released on Instagram and Youtube for The National Trust’s #beautifulanduseful campaign competition. The lucky winner would win the fantastic prize of year’s free energy… worth a fortune by anyones standards!

Fork_Frame             Bottle_Frame

If you are interested in entering the competition all you have to do is make a short video or take a picture of something you find both beautiful and useful and then use the hashtag #beautifulanduseful and mention @nationaltrust with it. The closing date is 12th December 2013, so get a wriggle on!

To learn more about the competition click this link;

So… It was half term when I received the call from NT and I had two children under my feet, although I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge, particularly when the environment needs me! So I set about designing the lamp. The hardest part was finding the right materials to fix the lamp-holder inside the bottle neck whilst making it sturdy & safe in a very short timescale, having said that I loved making the lamp and I think it’s one of my best up-cycles so far. I’ve had lots of Tweets, messages and emails from many people telling me they are inspired which is fantastic.

I used a variety of different items to make the lamp, the wooden base was taken from a thick plank I salvaged from a skip. I used a variety of different washers, threaded bars, jubilee clips & lighting equipment too. The structure is solid & all bolted together giving it strength and an ‘industrial designer’ look.

I also had to work out how to cut the glass bottle safely & effectively, plus remove any sharp edges.

Below you can see the wine bottle before it was cut, being held by the base & on the right without the end on.

just bottle           IMG_2311

It looks really cool with or without paper inside, you could write a ‘message in a bottle’ to a loved one, have your company logo or print a photo onto the paper.

I used an energy efficient LED bulb in the lamp (as if I’d use anything else!) So it is safe to put paper inside as they don’t heat up like conventional bulbs.

with paper

On a sunny October morning I drove up to central London in my bright yellow van to meet Taylor Made Media and film the video’s. The traffic was a nightmare but it was well worth the journey! I arrived, met the crew & got set up. The fork in the video had to be bent as we filmed, so between every frame they would pass me the fork & I would bend it very slightly, put it back in shot, repeat… over and over!

We filmed the lamp in reverse, so we took it apart bit by bit to film it then reversed the footage to give the impression of it putting itself together. I advised we did it this way as it’s so complicated I knew if we got a washer or nut out of place we would have to start again & I didn’t want to waste time!

I’ve never worked with stop motion before, although I’ve worked with lots of crews on different projects across the country. It was a really fun day & I learnt something new, I will definitely be making more stop motion movies.

If you want to give it a try you can download the app ‘iMotion HD’ for free & give it a go. It’s a really useful app as it uses what they call ‘onion skinning’ which means a faint impression of the last frame is left so you know how much to move your objects.

Here we are filming;

filming it           boys filming

Incase you’re wondering that is not my furry arm in the second pic! Lol.

Have a great time giving this a go, good luck & let me know how you get on!

To commission me to make you a wonderful piece of eco functional art email me via the contacts page,

for media enquires please go to

The wine bottle lamp is available to purchase, if you need it by Christmas get in touch quick!

Bye for now…


Charis 😉

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