Pipe Dreams and more at Thorold art and craft show

The Niagara Falls Review - - NEWS - CATHY PEL­LETIER

Ralph Kelly’s affin­ity for pipes makes peo­ple as­sume he’s a plumber.

When they wit­ness the way he bends and trans­forms the pipes into a va­ri­ety of cus­tom shapes, and wires them with a light bulb, many think he might also be an elec­tri­cian.

But when they see the fin­ished prod­uct, there’s no mis­tak­ing that he’s an artist.

But in re­al­ity he’s a yoga in­struc­tor, and an artist, who takes gal­va­nized steel pipe and vin­tage finds and com­bines them to cre­ate eclec­tic lamps and other oneof-a-kind art­work.

“I’ve been do­ing it for three or four years,” says Kelly, whose Pipe Dreams busi­ness be­gan when he made his first lamp from a piece of pipe, a ma­son jar and a light bulb.

“It’s some­thing I fell into and I love it,” says the Wel­land artist.

Call­ing his wife Kelly an in­spi­ra­tion, he says she comes home with unique finds from an­tique shows, which he in­cor­po­rates into lamps and, some­times, chan­de­liers.

“There’s no weld­ing; just fit­ted pieces of pipe.”

Be­cause each lamp is dif­fer­ent, and of­ten tai­lored to the cus­tomer’s life­style or hobby, it be­comes a nat­u­ral con­ver­sa­tion piece.

“Floor lamps are fun, too, but I don’t just do lamps,” he says.

He made a podium for a min­is­ter that was built with a pipe base. He has also cre­ated a golfer, a hockey player, a dancer and a yoga fig­ure, all from pieces of pipe.

His S-shaped lamps and book lamps are also pop­u­lar.

This past sum­mer was the cou­ple’s first tour on the craft show cir­cuit. They trav­elled across On­tario sell­ing his cre­ations. Even­tu­ally, Kelly hopes to do all cus­tom com­mis­sion pieces.

“Ide­ally, I don’t want to leave my garage.”

Pipe Dreams will make its de­but at Thorold’s 24th an­nual Christ­mas Art & Craft Show this week­end at Thorold Sec­ondary School, join­ing 87 other ju­ried ar­ti­sans. Ac­cord­ing to the show’s main or­ga­nizer, Cathy Hen­der­son, Kelly’s lamps re­sem­ble “steampunk fash­ion.”

Some of the other ar­ti­sans will be sell­ing strudel, in­fu­sion tea, “sassy” scarves, Tus­cany con­crete, hand­made soap, crys­tals, dolls, soaps, choco­late, honey, quilts, gourmet dips and jams, pottery, pret­zels, re­newed glass, wood­works, wine bar­rel and Cana­dian al­paca prod­ucts, bird­houses, feed­ers, Men­non­ite Christ­mas cook­ies and much more.

The show takes place Satur­day and Sun­day, 10 am. to 4 p.m., both days. Ad­mis­sion is $3, with pro­ceeds supporting Thorold Sec­ondary School pro­grams. There will be an ATM on site.

CATHY PEL­LETIER/ SPECIAL TO POST­MEDIA NEWS

Wel­land artist Ralph Kelly will be among ven­dors at Thorold’s 24th an­nual Christ­mas Art & Craft Show this week­end.

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