It's January, that time of year in Oregon when it almost always feels like the sun is setting, because it's hidden under dark, gloomy grayness. It's the time of year when I bust out my grandma's old hanging lamp and pick either the orange or green panels to add some interesting light to my home. Well, I will be putting that old lamp away now, because I recently discovered a brilliant and unique way to light my space that has the added bonus of true Northwest design. I'm talking about vintage suitcases that are also lights, and are also badass decor.

Mich Conklin, owner and designer at Uppercase Studios was inspired when her daughter, co-owner of the Lost & Found, asked her to come up with some artwork for the new bar. They were going for an eclectic Northwest/woodsy/travel aesthetic, so Mich designed some lights that are permanent fixtures there, and she totally nailed it.

Lost & Found permanent decor
  • Mich Conklin
  • Lost & Found permanent decor

Not surprisingly, it became popular, and Mich decided to make more, and again, nailed it. The silhouettes are cut out of the suitcase and the colored parts that you see are pieces of thick glass that, when lit from within, give off a really nice glow. Some of them are even re-covered in faux fur.
  • Mich Conklin

  • Mich Conklin

  • Mich Conklin

When she was younger, Mich went on a yearlong trip with her husband that started in central Oregon and took them all over the country. While on that trip she was able to explore different landscapes and museums. The trip enriched her as an artist, and when they returned she enrolled at PSU and got a BA in Art Practices and a minor in Art History. She says, "The beauty of studying Art Practices is that it crossed over to all forms of art making. It allowed me to enmesh different art forms and mediums in a way that seems more like life itself. Art History gave me perspective and appreciation for what art has been and done for people through time and place."

The suitcase lamps are currently on display and for sale at The Lost & Found bar, located at 5426 N. Gay. They have delicious and unique drinks like The Draper and The Ron Burgundy, both tasty whiskey drinks that'll warm you up, plus have pinball and nice bartenders. You can also visit the Uppercase website for more lamps and other projects.