Ted’s Excellent Adventures

ted harris, chicago artist
The repurposer in his West Side studio.

Ted’s Excellent Adventures
Ted Harris makes a living creating lamps out of other people’s garbage and turning old furniture into painted gems. There’s virtually nothing that Harris, who works out of a West Side loft, can’t find a use for. He is the kind of person who makes a U-turn at the sight of a stray lug nut. And, if you look closely at one of his pendant lamps, you just might be able to discern said nut, along with a discarded saltshaker or shot glass that has been recast as a delicate shade. Strung on long cables, these charming fixtures can be rested like a glittering necklace on an end table, hung in a series, or clumped into a chandelier.

Harris also takes on larger projects, including antiquing kitchens. He recently transformed a boring Batavia kitchen into a rustic, old-fashioned cucina by priming, painting, and varnishing the cabinets (for half the price of new). “If somebody said, ‘Here, take these rocks and I’ll pay you to make something out of them,’ I would find a way,” he says. He always does.

Harris’s wares are available at Scout, 5221 N. Clark St., 773-275-5700; at Beverly Hammel, 1216 W. Webster Ave., 773-529-8630; or by calling Harris at 773-332-1001.

Photograph: Thomas Chadwick

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