Finding that perfect light fixture can be daunting, especially if you're looking for something with a bit of character. So when a friend told me about Gates Moore , a tiny one-woman studio, I hurried over to meet the owner, Pat Moore, to find out what she had to offer.
Pat works in the garage under the home in which she grew up. To the untrained eye (mine) the place seems a jumble of metal, glass and antique machinery. Wall sconces in various finishes, from distressed rust to custom painted, cover one wall and chandeliers hang from the low ceiling. Lamp parts cover every surface.
Pat's father Gates Moore started the business in 1950. He loved working with his hands and used to make lamps from old wooden airplane propellers during the war. Later he ran a repair shop for upscale antiques stores, working out of the barn next door. Customers would bring him old lights to repair and soon he started making early American reproduction light fixtures from scratch.
"My dad didn't believe in idle hands," Pat says, so she and her sisters would be put to work. "I was the only one who really enjoyed it," she says. Pat makes all the Gates Moore early American fixtures entirely by hand. Metal parts are bent and crimped with simple hand tools. Wooden center pieces are hand turned. Pat creates lanterns, wall sconces and chandeliers, following patterns that go back to Colonial times.
Pat sells her fixtures mostly online, as well as to designers and architects. Many customers find her by word of mouth. "I am proud to say," says Pat Moore, "That my light fixtures really are 'handmade in America.'"
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