Artisan Learns Time-Honored Skill, Crafts Metal Shades By Hand
What does it take to a transform a flat sheet of metal into a light shade? Spinning metal by hand is a lost art, but here at Barn Light Electric, we have revived this centuries-old technique to craft our one-of-a-kind American-made lighting.
Today we’re featuring Eddie, one of the newest metal spinners on the Barn Light team. Eddie started working at Barn Light doing maintenance work, but this past spring, Josh, Barn Light’s manufacturing supervisor, asked Eddie if he wanted to try spinning.
“Oscar started teaching him, then James helped as well,” Josh says. “Eddie caught on quickly and has been able to grasp and adapt to what we do pretty fast.”
On a typical day in the machine shop, the spinners manipulate sheets of aluminum, copper, steel and brass around molds to create our signature barn-style shades such as The Original™ and Bomber. Eddie throws himself into the task each and every day.
“I like everything about spinning,” Eddie explains. “I like the environment in the machine shop and the people I work with.”
“Eddie is a good dude,” Josh adds. “He’s always positive and gets along with everyone.” The goal for spinners is 60 shades per day. Josh admits that some days are slower than others while other days the team will produce more than 100 shades.
“Spinning takes patience and good hand-eye coordination,” Josh notes. “It’s not an easy task.” Eddie adds that the natural metals can be difficult to work with.
“Copper can be hard and brass is tough to spin,” he says. “You can’t push it, but you can’t be too light with it either. And once it’s hot, it’s easy to break.” With multiple materials, multiple sizes, and multiple shade styles, every day brings a new challenge.
A New Jersey native, Eddie moved to Titusville in 2015 and got married. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with friends, go dancing, and play sports, especially basketball.
“It’s been impressive to see how quickly Eddie caught on,” Josh says. When asked what talents Eddie brings to the job each day, Josh adds, “He makes good empanadas! He brings them in and we eat them!”