Shine - A Redemption Story


I get to meet the most interesting people on my travels as I go around buying and selling furniture. A friend and I went to view a couple of pieces the other day and when the gentleman opened his garage, we were amazed at the array of ‘stuff’ he had in there; all perfectly organised and neatly stored so he could easily access exactly what he wanted when he wanted. Mirrors, picture frames, assorted lengths of timber; it was an eclectic mix of things he had collected over many years and from many different places.

What was most interesting was the number of chandeliers he had hanging from the roof of his garage, all in different states of disrepair. We struck up a conversation and he took great delight in telling us about his love of rescuing and restoring chandeliers. He took us around the back of his house where he had his workbench set up. There he spends hours, meticulously rebuilding, polishing and restoring these old, broken, and rejected pieces.

When I returned later to collect the furniture, we continued our conversation and he invited me to have a look at his antique collection in his granny flat at the back of his house. I felt like I’d taken a ride in a time machine. The rooms were full from floor to ceiling with the most incredible ‘finds’ which he had collected and restored. It was like a museum. I could have spent hours poking around in there and listening to the stories about the different times and places from where they came. But it was the chandeliers that caught my attention again...

He reached over and turned on a switch. The chandeliers he had ‘rescued’ and restored, lit up in a display of pure beauty. It was an incredible sight to see. All the time and effort he had devoted was so worth it. To see them returned to their former glory and given the chance to ‘shine again’ just resonates in deep places for me.

There is just something about the process of redemption that I love. I simply had to blog this experience.

As I think about what I do with my upcycling and what I've seen here, I think there are three ingredients needed in a good redemption story: love, time and vision. The ‘creator’ must have a love for creating. Like my new friend, Tony, he clearly loves his chandeliers and finds great pleasure in restoring them to the point that he will go looking for them. He has vision. He is able to look at a broken and dusty chandelier and see its potential for beauty. He can see beyond the ‘brokenness’ and delights in the possible; believing in what it can become with time and effort. He takes his time. Piece by piece, he painstakingly cleans, rewires and rebuilds. Then, when he finally turns on the switch, it is a stunning work of art, with beauty, purpose and value. It is time to shine again. 

Trish Bartell