To some, post-consumer Popsicle sticks are little more than prime vegetable garden composting fuel. But West Hollywood artist David Hrobowski looks at each four-inch piece of discarded birch wood as prime lumber for his latest New Orleans-inspired floor lamp design.

These are not dollhouse-sized sofas or hand-held summer camp crafts, but mahogany-stained, 20,000 stick glass-topped dining tables and 2-foot-tall Art Deco table lamps with shirred wood lampshades.

Popsicle Stick + Elmer's Glue Designs; Credit: jgarbee

Popsicle Stick + Elmer's Glue Designs; Credit: jgarbee

A lamp was in fact Hrobowski's first Popsicle project nearly fifty years ago, when as a young boy in St. Louis the local news station discovered his ability to turn someone else's trash into functional lamp art.

A few years ago, Hrobowski took up his old Elmer's glue habit again and made his first self-dubbed “riffstick” debut at Highland Park's Mor York Gallery. Since then, those life-sized, 18,000 stick Christmas trees still take months to grow, stick-by-stick.

The obvious question — wherever does one find the patience to glue 18,000 Popsicle sticks together? Hrobowski smiles. “Wine helps.”

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Yes, it's that time of year again, or almost. This is one of over 400 pieces that will be appearing in our upcoming Best of L.A. issue, out October 6th.

LA Weekly