Local senior gives new life to recycled objects

Photo by Karen Cody Jim Wright proudly displays one of his recycled lamp creations.


NORTH RIDGEVILLE – Jim Wright is a man who stays busy. He likes to create and sees new potential in everyday objects. You may look at a tea pot, a coffee pot or a toy fire truck and see nothing more, but Wright sees a way to spread some happiness, whimsy and smiles by turning them into lamps and clocks.

He started making the lamps about eight years ago as a way to be active and earn extra money. He has been making clocks for 15 years. Since starting these hobbies, he has given new life to numerous objects through these one-of-a-kind creations. He likes building and has constructed wooden flower baskets, wishing wells and home trellis structures.

One particular piece has special importance in his home. His wife, Christine, had kept an antique wooden cutting board that belonged to her mother after she had passed away.

“It was old and beat up,” Christine said. “It had deep cut marks in it. I didn’t really know what to do with it and I hated to just keep it in a drawer or in a box. I didn’t want to throw it away. It had special meaning to me because I had good memories associated with it. I remember my mother cutting up vegetables on that board to make chili for us. I remember her using it so many times.“

Jim took the cutting board and turned it into a tribute to Christine’s parents. He added a lacquer to the wood, giving it a smooth appearance. He then applied images of red and yellow roses, the favorite flowers of Christine’s parents. Jim also personalized the board with his late mother-in-law’s name, Annie. To make it a functioning part of their home, he turned this into a clock that hangs near their kitchen.

Wright says he always looks at ordinary objects with the view of “I wonder what I can do with this?” His ideas can be very surprising. He has created clocks out of items like a special Valentine candy box given by his wife and a cast iron skillet that had been painted with fall pumpkins.

Some of the objects he has turned into lamps have been hand mixers (with the power button turning the light on and off), whiskey bottles, popcorn containers, coffee percolators, clothing irons, boats and baskets of flowers. He also takes custom orders.

“I like making people happy and giving them an option to use those items that they don’t know what to do with,” he said. “Things that are sometimes kept in a basement or in an attic. Objects that belonged to someone in their family, maybe.

“People have memories attached to these things. They remember their grandma using a skillet, for example, and they don’t want to part with it. I can give them a nice way to display these items in their homes.”

Wright and his wife are active in the North Ridgeville senior programs and also enjoy reading and collecting various treasures. For more information about his recycled goods, you may email customlamps@live.com or call 440-353-0940.

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