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When it comes to dramatic lighting, the chandelier has always been the gaudy Auntie Mame of the fixture set. The earliest chandeliers were multi-candle affairs that lit the interiors of larger churches. Most families lived in the dark with the flicker of a single candle and only the wealthiest homes could afford chandeliers. The ornate forms of these fixtures reflected the notion that if you could pay the big bucks to hang a light from your ceiling, you were one rich bastard.

By the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries, huge crystal chandeliers were standard in the over-the-top Baroque mansions of the fabulously rich. These days, multi-tiered crystal chandeliers are found mostly in ballrooms and museums with sufficient staff to have someone dust all of the little pieces.

The chandelier has mutated over the years and its form has been interpreted in less, shall we say, glittery ways. One of my favorite forms is the "wagon wheel" where lights are placed at each spoke of the wagon wheel and the whole fixture hangs from a ceiling by a chain. A "wagon wheel" chandelier can be found in any Western dining room, to me it just says, "Bob, we've got a flat. Let's just leave the wheel here by the road."

Another one of my favorites is the "mess of antlers" chandelier. I think my dad may have invented this one as a way to use his giant pile of deer antlers. (He was a taxidermist, but I will discuss that in a future column.) The "mess of antlers" is a huge grouping of deer antlers with little lights scattered throughout. Variations of this form are the "moose antler" and the "elk antler" chandeliers, both of which can get by with fewer actual antlers.While some might think that the "mess of antlers" chandelier is worthy of a bucket of red paint, antlers are actually shed naturally each year by deer.

These fixures are not cheap though, a large "mess of antlers" chandelier can run in the thousands of dollars. Artificial antlers are used for much less expensive versions of the classic form. Check out the selection of fabulous fakes at: http://www.horns-a-plenty.com/antler_art_testimonial.htm

There are a variety of places on the web to buy the "mess of antlers"or the "wagon wheel" chandeliers. For the very best selection of where-the-hell-did-she-buy-that-piece-of-crap chandeliers, go to http://www.sisalnet.com. Browse through the "Whimsical Collection" where you can find over 100 styles of chandeliers incorporating monkeys, frogs, and dogs in ways that are not natural.

But if you have no money to go out and buy your dream chandelier, you can work with the fixture you've got.

"The gluing is pretty straight forward." Go To Page 2

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