quincylampshades

Archive for the ‘Fabric’ Category

Let me introduce to you a certain Mrs O. From Scotland; hard-working, ambitious and creative. Nerves of steel, it would seem, to set up a wee business whilst working a full-time job involving overseas placements for months at a time. ‘Help!’ she said over email to me late one night, ‘I need to MAKE!’, she cried. Tired of batting administrative emails to and fro, Mrs O wanted to learn how to make the lampshades her and her business partner, Mrs G, had been outsourcing to a lampshade-makers elsewhere. Now Mrs G is a talented designer, producing the most lovely, hand-printed country landscape prints, linens and silks featuring stags, hares and hummingbirds that sell like hot-cakes. With an over-flowing order book, a not-so-flexible lampshade supplier and an eye on the numbers, Mrs O travelled all the way from Inverness to spend a day with me, learning how to make their silks into shades. We had a very good day. I shared my skills; she shared her knowledge. (She’s a clever one.) Since then, I have picked up some work from this happy partnership supplying lampshades direct to their customers and I am super-stoked to see them feature at Top Drawer, Sept 2012. That’s Orwell and Goode then.

And on the arrival of a beautiful Orwell and Goode lampshade as made by me? Here’s what our first happy customer said:

I just wanted to drop you an email to say that the lampshade has arrived and that I’m utterly thrilled with it. It’s far more beautiful that I thought it could be and the finish is so hugely neat & professional.

Stunning, thank you!! A very very happy customer!

You can have anything you want when you go bespoke… My client wanted to light up her dining room with a huge shade (60cm diameter by 45cm high!!) for her mahogany standard lamp base using a gorgeous fabric by illustrator Heather Moore, a South African designer who runs her own label, Skinny laMinx. The result? Exactly what she wanted – a statement shade that gallops away with style!

How can you successfully make a lampshade with a 4-year-old boy kicking around?

  1. Postpone interruptions with promises of ‘in a minute’ until child reaches non-stop whining point.
  2. Accept the disturbance and just do/give whatever child wants.
  3. Limit subsequent interruptions by giving them an ‘adult job’.
  4. Take pleasure in child’s imagination and skill.

Voila! One beautiful lampshade and one happy lampshade-maker in the, well, making.

 

The last one of these sold today. I made it at my kitchen table this morning and it was at the post office by this afternoon, ready to begin its overnight journey to a lovely customer in London.

This was a really popular lampshade, especially with parents buying for their children’s rooms. So why did I allow it to sell out? Because, quite simply, I didn’t buy enough of the fabric and it has now gone out of print. In my search for more I found that crafting cottons such as these have ‘seasons’ – they are printed for one season only and are usually in the shops for just one or two years until they sell out. It’s very rare that they are reprinted. Sigh. So, next time I see something I love I’m just going to buy a load of it, then keep my fingers crossed that you guys love it too! Another lesson learned. Wave goodbye to our friend the Owl…

 

People often ask me how I feel when I teach lampshade-making to individuals who then go on to make and sell their own lampshades. They ask me if I’m giving away my secrets and how I feel about the competition. Thing is: I don’t mind. We all know very little about a lot, and a lot about something. My something is lampshades and I want to share my skills and knowledge. Not everyone who attends a lampshade-making course at The Makery or has one-to-one tuition with me intends to set up business, but some do. I feel pleased and proud to help them on their way.

My first ever student was Maya Wilson, who runs her own interior decoration and fabric design company – Source. With me, she made a beautiful lampshade featuring her bird design fabric. Maya has gone on to produce her own select range of lampshades.

Maya Wilson - Source

Next was Gillian Goodman who wanted to offer her clients at Tala Valley Upholstery a bespoke lampshade-making service. Here is her first ever made-to-order shade. It’s rather lovely.

Gillian Goodman - Tala Valley

Most recently, Naomi Mcindoe, passionate and skilled in the art of papercutting, wanted to bring her papercuts to life as lampshades. So she came to me to learn some basic skills and do some experimenting. We were both chuffed to bits with the results. Naomi is in the very early stages of setting up business and I’m sure that with work like this she’s going to do well.

Mrs Mcindoe

Mollie Makes has a great fabric fortune cookie tutorial over on their blog in honour of the Chinese New Year. If you want a different method, there’s a great one by Megan at Brassy Apple, which I blogged about last year. I use a modified version of Megan’s technique, using my trusty hot-glue gun and pipe cleaners. Every Quincy customer receives a fortune cookie with their order and I always have a stack of them to give away at markets and fairs – they are great conversation openers and act as samples for customers to match up fabrics to their home decor. Plus they are keepsakes for customers to remember my name. I still love making these little favours, especially when I need some encouragement in business. The fortunes, even though I know them off by heart, often give me a kick up the bum and make me do a double take.

I’m a bit sad. One of my most gorgeous fabrics has gone out of print and I can’t get any more. I have just enough to make one last 45cm standard lampshade, like the one below.  I love this Alexander Henry fabric – it whispers ‘Quincy’ to me. It seems to encapsulate what I’m about – bold, fresh and beautiful. The ornate Japanese Odoriko dancers hold court, floating on a sky blue background, whilst cherry blossom swirls at their feet and golden flowers frame their elegance. If you want it, shout now. Or forever hold your peace.


Welcome! Tell me your thoughts.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Twitter Updates

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 68 other followers

%d bloggers like this: