Rockford’s Eric Brown enters “Pandora” in ArtPrize

July 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL  The last vacation Rockford resident and stained glass artisan Eric Brown, owner of the Squire Street business by the same name, took was in 2000. Brown along with his wife, Pat, were visiting Alaska to fulfill a lifelong dream of discovering our 50th state first-hand. “While there I was struck by small trees growing and living in the hostile and rocky environment with their roots clinging tenaciously to the barren rock surfaces,” said Brown adding, “I had the thought that one day, if I could find the perfect rock, I would create a stained glass lamp, depicting a dwarf wind-swept bonsai like tree, using the rock as a base.” That day arrived in early 2010 when Eric came into the possession of an ideal rock, a beautiful 41 lb. piece of green fluorite quartz. In a labor of love requiring 216 hours (27 days in total) Eric created a one-of-a-kind stained glass table lamp that he calls, “Pandora”. Eric is a master of many artistic talents, all of which were required to bring “Pandora” to life. Beginning first with the base, it was necessary to drill a 7/16-inch hole through the center of the 1ft. x 1ft. rock, to accommodate a threaded rod to electrically wire the lamp. The boring of the quartz rock was no easy task as it contained many faults that could easily rupture. Eric had to adapt a diamond core bit by adding a long enough stainless steel shaft to drill completely through the rock. Exhibiting the skill of a diamond cutter he accomplished, what was to be, the first of many steps. Using graduated diameters of PVC pipe, Eric then formed the core of the tree’s trunk. He demonstrated his metal crafting skills by painstakingly winding hundreds of feet of copper wire, beginning with roots clinging to the rock and working upwards around the core to the very branches at the top. It was then necessary to add many pounds of molten solder to the wire creating a spiraled and gnarled tree-like surface. Brown then wired the lamp, adding lamp sockets to the tip of each of the five branches. It didn’t get any easier as Eric had to then move on to the creation […]