I’m the ultimate pack rat and a mad collector,” admits Susan Schneider, owner of Shandell’s, a working studio in Millerton that sells lamps and other housewares Schneider creates from vintage parts. “I like to take recycled and found objects and use them to create something that makes you smile,” she says.
Each of Schneider’s lamps is one-of-a-kind — except those that come in pairs. Her more unique lighting fixtures include a duo fashioned from rusted conveyor belt chains; another made out of strap hinges from a ship’s hull (“It stands about four feet tall and looks like a big door hinge,” she says); and one made from fan blades culled from a Connecticut foundry. She scours antiques shops twice a month for materials — “hunting,” she calls it — and friends send her objects from all over the country.
“I like items with rust, I like decay — something that has a history,” she says. “Objects that make you wonder, ‘What has this thing done in its life,’ and make you think about the person who created it 100 years ago.”
Schneider also creates lamps for clients who bring in their own pieces (usually something with a little weight at the bottom works best). “I had one couple bring in an empty magnum bottle of Champagne,” she says “There isn’t anything a customer has brought in that I haven’t been able to make into a lamp.”