A Greenbrier County artist makes unique lamps from repurposed junk.
Eddie Booze is on a first-name basis with the staff at his local salvage yard. He’s a regular at auctions and yard sales, and is sometimes seen out in the woods, scouring old trash dump sites. Vintage car parts, old sewing machine parts, telephone line insulators, valves, gauges, switches, and pipes—he’ll take them all. Because anything antique looks good in the right light.
He’s a hair stylist by day but, in his spare time, he makes lamps out of repurposed materials. The Greenbrier County native says he has had a fascination with art his entire life. There was just something about creating—painting, drawing, sculpting, you name it—that he found fascinating. He wanted to go to art school, but life had other plans. Yet he has always kept art as a hobby. He’s designed logos for several businesses in Greenbrier County and did a lot of small-scale projects. But his focus changed the day he went antiquing with his fiancée, Cathy Carey.
“I’ve always appreciated antiques, because it’s like a museum. When you go to an antique store or a flea market, you’re like, ‘What’s this? Where did this come from? What’s this?’ That’s what’s really cool,” he says.
While in the store, his fiancée spotted something that piqued her interest: a lamp made from an old glass insulator. “I could make you one of those,” Booze told her. “Then do it,” she said back.
He taught himself how to do the wiring, put a few personal touches on it, and realized he was onto something. So he started making more. It took him a good while to sell his first lamp. His business got a boost when his longtime friend Mark Bowe took an interest in the lamps. Bowe, star of the DIY Network’s Barnwood Builders, owns the Barnwood Living store in White Sulphur Springs, which sells hand-crafted furniture and gifts made by local artisans.
When Bowe added his lamps to the store’s inventory, Booze figured it would be months before he’d need to make more. It was only a few days, however, before the store was called. His lamps were a hit.
Booze and his fiancée work in their small workshop together, sometimes spending up to a week conjuring up the next lamp. “I’m not really trying to please somebody, I’m just trying to please myself. Or, maybe I’m not even trying to please myself. Maybe I’m just trying to see where it goes,” he says. “It’s the trip, not the destination—or, sometimes, it’s both.”
574 Main Street West, White Sulphur Springs, 888.941.9553, barnwoodliving.com