Lisa Raphael – Raphael Creations

Raphael Creations vintage camera lamp

We’d like to introduce Lisa Raphael of Raphael Creations. Lisa has been a Sundial Wire customer since 2012 and we chatted with her to find out more about her work and the process she brings to creating her pieces.

Lisa Raphael of Raphael Creations

Sundial Wire: Could you describe your work and how you got started making lighting?

Lisa Raphael: Growing up, I collected many different artifacts – from cameras to typewriters and instruments. I create functional artwork out of vintage non-working materials. Raphael Creations started with an old Underwood typewriter that was collecting dust. Next thing you know, I turned it into a lamp. I literally started creating lighting out of anything I could get my hands on as long as it was early 1800s and 1900s. In 2012 my father’s illness had taken a turn for the worse and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I knew I needed to scale back on my film production gig in order to spend more time with them. The lamps took a step to the foreground and I began to sell my work. I jumped full-time into making lamps and I haven’t had a day job since.

Raphael Creations vintage Shure 55 Mic Lamp

SW: It’s great that you were able to turn your family difficulties into a creative direction. Can you tell us what inspired you to start making lights out of microphones, musical instruments and vintage fans?

LR: I had a Shure 55 mic in my collection. I got it right out of high school and was terrified to alter it, but since it wasn’t in working condition I took a huge chance that ended up paying off. I started running into a lot of discarded vintage instruments and decided I would bring them back to life. Growing up I played piano so it was natural for me to want to keep these beautiful pieces from ending up in the salvage yard. There was also a Westinghouse fan I turned into a 4 bulb lamp. That piece took me a few tries to perfect and now it’s one of my top-selling lamps.

Raphael Creations vintage fan lamp

SW: Which of your pieces are you most proud of and why?

LR: I am most proud of my hanging pieces, because I get to be more creative. I came up with 2 pieces that were made out of a 1920s 13-inch glass syringes. I then decided to shred up several hundred-dollar bills and stuff the syringe with the bills. Both pieces found great homes up North and on the east coast. I’ve also had some incredible commissions – one of which was to create a logo lamp for a web series. It took about a month and a team of 3 people to bring my ideas to life, but it was all worth it. All 300 pounds of it! It was so robust we ended up fabricating a special metal case for that sign.

SW: Where do you find your materials – or do they find you?

LR: My materials are a just about everywhere. I would love to drive around the country and pick, but unfortunately I haven’t gotten the chance to do that yet. I also have a lot of wonderful people who know exactly what I look for and they bring it right to my door.

Chop Shop Barber Shop Lamp by Lisa Raphael

SW: Who or what is inspiring you right now?

LR: I have very creative people in my life, both family and friends. They inspire me daily.

Raphael Creations vintage film reel lamp

SW: You grew up in Los Angeles, how did that influence your work?

LR: Since I was a kid I always had aspirations of becoming a film/TV director. For the last 25 years I’ve had the privilege of not only fulfilling that dream, but also being a photographer, cinematographer and producer. A lot of my work contains throwbacks to my first craft. The cameras, reels and film pieces are some of my favorite lamps and the most popular sellers.

Pugs

SW: We know you love pugs. Do they help with the creative process?

LR: My pugs are the best. I recently lost my two babies, Ashley & Gobbles, within a year and a half of each other. I had the privilege of raising them for the last 16 years. Now I am blessed to have two rescues pugs, Samantha & Murphee, who make me happy beyond belief. They usually like to hang out in my workshop and watch me create (while begging for treats). They make me truly happy.

Gas pump wall sconce from Lisa Raphael

SW: What’s the best part of what you do?

LR: The best part is meeting so many amazing people. Seeing the joy on their faces when they pick out, then take a home a piece, is just crazy to me. It still amazes me that people want something I made in their personal space. Thinking about that keeps me humble and on my toes. Every weekend at the Trading Post I meet hundreds of people. If I could cash in every compliment, I would be a millionaire!

Camera lamp Raphael Creations

SW: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in making your pieces?

LR: I’m my own worst enemy – lol. I can be very hard on myself when it comes to my art. There have been issues with people copying my work, so I constantly push to create the next best thing. Sometimes it takes everything in me not to throw in the towel, but then I get a reminder that I am doing exactly what I was put on this earth to do. I would love a dedicated workshop with state of the art machinery. It would make creating easier, but for now I’ll keep dreaming.

Raphael Creations for Hammer and Nails

SW: What are you working on right now?

LR: I am currently working on a few commissions. And I just started on the first of many gas pump handle lamps for the Hammer and Nails Mens Grooming Salon franchise. They are opening 200 hundred locations across the country and I have the privilege of being one of their featured artists.

SW: Thanks Lisa!

You can find Raphael Creations at –
Website
Etsy
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
Or most Sunday’s at Melrose Trading Post (check FB for her space #)

Raphael Creations vintage camera lamp

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