When I was a little boy I stole a strand of Christmas lights from the shed and strung it up in my bedroom. The soft, low glow not only reminded me of Christmastime but offered a mystical atmosphere I didn’t really think much of at the time – lots of kids put up Christmas lights. In my gothic phase [which, thankfully, never fully took off] I even painted each individual bulb black with a permanent marker. This offered an eerie purple-ish glow and ruined a whole strand. Since then I have always had unconventional sources of light in my bedrooms, and when I moved out of my parents’ house, in my apartments. For the most part this consisted of Christmas lights because they glow nicely and are readily available. One day I realized that this love of lighting was a passion and I bought nine spherical white hanging lanterns and a box of light bulb socket cords. Well, those are nice but they weren’t quite involved enough.
I did some research on lighting and discovered an amazing jigsaw lamp designed in 1973 by Holger Strom. He called it the IQ Light not after the Intelligence Quotient test, but for Interlocking Quadrilaterals. It’s a hefty name but is very self-explanatory. It makes even more sense when you see a photo of one of these beautiful lamps.
At its most basic, this is an arts & crafts project, but there is some interesting science that goes into making one of these lamps. For instance, if the rhomboid shape were more square than rectangular the sphere would not hold together as well. Aside from spheres, the shape you see here can be linked together in so many different ways as to create eggs, diamonds, cones, and much more!
Later on this week I will post a short tutorial on making one of these spherical lamps, with photos, videos, links, and templates.