Beautiful handcrafted chandeliers made out of reclaimed bike parts and lit with energy saving Edison bulbs.
I recently got given an amazing opportunity… to go down the Access Bike Workshop and learn how to make fully functional chandeliers from old bicycle parts!
It’s recycle, reuse, upcycle… and keep on cycling!
So to give you a little backstory, I work for an amazing organisation in Stroud which runs a variety of inclusive community projects, one of which is Access Bike. The idea with Access bike is that basically, young people need access to a bike in order to be mobile and independent and get themselves to school/college/work etc. And learning how to fix and maintain it also provides them with valuable skills that they’ll take forwards into their lives.
So old bikes are donated to the workshop, and young people (and pretty much anyone else who wants to get involved) come along and learn how to fix them up so that they can be given – yes given – to young people that need them, in exchange for their time learning to fix and maintain more bikes.
The volume of bikes donated has been astounding, and to that effect the team have started holding reconditioned bike sales to the public to help raise money to keep the project running, and doing things like using their excess of parts to make funky creations such as these amazing chandeliers.
With a friendly and welcoming vibe the workshop is a great place to be, and when I nipped down the other day to say hello (and drop off some PVA glue for making Christmas decorations out of bike chains) I got sucked into the art of making chandeliers…
I left five hours later, having half finished a chandelier, learnt a lot about spokes and nipples (that’s spoke nipples!), thoroughly enjoyed everyone’s lovely company, and pledged to return the following day to complete my chandelier in time for them to be showcased the Stroud Goodwill at the end of the week.
True to my word I returned the next day, boyfriend in tow to help out, and just a few hours (and a few hiccups) later, we had a beautiful finished chandelier to add to the collection.
Doesn’t sound too hard right? Well I can tell you it’s a long old process, and parts of it are damn awkward, but it’s well worth it in the end when you’re looking at your amazing recycled creation.
I’m not going to tell you how to do it… you know, trade secrets and all that! But it involved a lot of hammering and drilling, a dash of wiring, lots of creativity, a few rectified mistakes, and generous amount of enthusiasm!
So the idea with the chandeliers is that they’ll be on display at a local venue during the Stroud Goodwill celebrations, so people can come and look at them, and if they like what they see they can order one to buy. The proceeds then raised from selling them will go towards keeping the bike workshop running, and paying a few people who know how to make them and can keep on doing so.
So much good stuff!
And on top of all that they’re a great reimagination of old bike parts, showing how just about anything can be reused and made into something amazing rather than wasted. We’re on track towards our zero waste lifestyle and we’re loving it!
If you’re interested in getting in touch with the Access Bike Project, or supporting it, you can check out their web page here, and have a look at their Facebook here.
So finally, here’s my finished chandelier, because I know you’ve all been dying to know what it looks like!