Not everyone knows that Coe Lamps just don’t get mass produced in China and go on a shelf ready to ship. Yes, some parts get made by subcontractors, like foundries. And the wire and some sockets are made by others to my specifications. A day in the shop may involve cutting bronze from a big plate and heating it to forge it to the shape I want, then assembling these pieces into shades, harps, and other lamp parts.
I use propane to heat my furnace, then once it is heated, I hammer the bronze on my anvil, which i had made in Sweden when I began my career. Or I might work the bronze against a giant woodblock. Hammering against wood leaves no marks on the bronze since the wood is soft, compared with hammering against metal forms.
I have a traditional blacksmith shop, except for using propane. I was a university student when I first apprenticed to a carriagemaker in Yosemite National Park. We built and restored stage coaches for the visitors to ride around, and we had beautiful teams of horses to pull the coaches. It was here I found my passion for working with my hands. I later apprenticed four more times, to metal artists, a shipwright, and a fine house carpenter. I built a 130-foot-long square rigger sailing ship for my journeyman’s project in Hawaii.
My shop and these bronze lamps have evolved from this passion for working with metal and functional art. Everyone is welcome to visit my shop any time, its like a museum.