Artist Tanya Tier likes nothing better than to scour antique shops and car boot sales for items that other people are keen to see the back of.

She specialises in sculpture, making good use of her various finds, but her latest project has seen her re-purpose some of the old materials hoarded over the years as one-off lamps.

These include a set of scales, an ashtray, and an old paraffin lamp, which were either unwanted or out of order, and have now been given a new lease of life.

Tanya’s first collection of 12 lamps was snapped up by retro furniture and interiors shop Elemental, in Shoreditch, London, and she is now working on her second collection for the store as well as on individual commissions.

“All artists are hoarders by nature, you never know when you are going to need something,” says Tanya, who lives in Worthing.

It was while looking through all of the things she had in storage, keen to find a use for some of them, that the idea for this side project came about.

“To me they are little pieces of sculpture,” explains Tanya.

“I have always wanted to make lamps, and I have done a lot of work with bulbs over the years.”

“I learned how to wire up the things without burning the house down. A really interesting part of the process is learning new skills.”

No two lamps are the same, with the materials influencing the look of the finished piece to a large extent, though the overall style could be described as industrial.

“Ninety per cent of the time, when you are working with old pieces, is the head-scratching at the beginning,” says Tanya.

“The materials tend to dictate the process of how it is going to evolve.”

Her aim has been to bring together a combination of history, design, art and engineering.

Locating the right materials for the lamps is not always easy, and Tanya can often return home empty-handed from her trips to vintage and second-hand shops.

“I like the process of re-using things. There’s quite an onus on recycling things, but that needs to be ramped up a lot,” she says.

“Word started to get around that I liked to recycle stuff, and it’s really nice because now people think twice about throwing stuff out.”

Tanya, who has a degree in Fine Art from St Martins, has also worked as a political cartoonist for the likes of The Guardian, and previously worked in television, writing for sketch shows such as Smack The Pony and TV To Go.

Tanya says that she has always drawn and painted, but it was while working as a cartoonist that she evolved her own eclectic style behind the scenes, and began to focus more on sculpture.

“Everyone feels safe with a picture, whereas with sculpture it gets in your way, it’s very demanding.

“It’s attention-seeking art, and that’s what I love about it.”

Tanya’s other artwork is no less unusual. Her sculptures appear like fantastical specimens, such as pieces titled Captured Space Angel and Mementoes of a Civilisation.

Her pieces reflect the fact that Tanya is concerned with themes of magic, enchantment, illusion, other worlds, myths, time and science.

It is possible to visit Tanya’s studio by appointment to view and buy artwork or discuss a lighting commission. Alternatively drop in to one of her open days: the next one is a Halloween House special on Saturday, October 31, 11am to 5pm. Check the website for updates and news about future events at, or find Tanya Tier Lamps on Facebook.