How was yours? Are you full to the brim with festive cuisine, cracker jokes and a little too much sherry? Well I have something delightful for you to whisk you away momentarily into a world of creativity and innovation…
On my search for all things ‘lampshade’ I recently found the most lovely invention by a paper artist called Rosalind Freeborn. I was quite blown away by her simple, interactive, arty and truly striking invention.
Ros wanted to find a way to make her art available beyond a work on canvas, and so, after hours of experimentation, plotting and planning the idea for Papershades was developed. Papershades is quite simply a lampshade made using five panels of paper. This is where the art comes in, you get to design your paper panels! Or, if that feels too daunting you can use the pre-printed panels in the pack with Ros’s beautifully cheerful designs ready to go! Ros is launching her wonderful packs in spring 2017 and will be running workshops for people who would like to try their hand at paper collage and create their own paper lampshades.
I caught up with Ros and asked her to tell more about her Papershades and the artwork that adorns them. Read on to find out more and tune in again in two weeks for a step by step guide on how Papershades are made.
Rosalind Freeborn – Papershades
I’ve always been an artist and I’ve always been fascinated by paper, the texture, colour, versatility and strength. As a child I was always cutting up paper, gluing it together and making paper sculptures. I eventually made it to art school when I was quite grown up and spent a glorious year at City & Guilds of London Art School.
Tell us about your artwork
Whilst a student at City & Guilds of London art school I had a garret studio space of my own and spent hours not only studying the techniques of the ‘old masters’ but exploring ways of using paper in an imaginative and creative way.
I love the look and feel of paper and delight in its amazing versatility. Having learned the properties of oil painting I started making work entirely in paper, using thousands of fragments of paper like strokes or blobs of paint. I now use a variety of tissue, wallpaper, wrapping paper, packaging and pages of magazines to make my art.
I make art of all kinds out of paper, but I do mingle the paper with other mediums like ink or paint. As well as Papershades I specialize in making portraits. I take commissions to make a portrait in my paper collage style, which is not only a great likeness but I can surround the subject with their ‘favourite things’.
What’s your business story?
Having decided that I wanted to create a new kind of paper lampshade I spent a long time experimenting with different kinds of paper and designs. Paper is strong, light and translucent and it can carry strong printed colours. I realized that a new approach was needed and after a lot of experimentation, created two sizes of ‘wheel’ which grip panels of paper to make an easy to assemble lampshade. This lampshade fits comfortably and safely on the average light fitting. I set up an online shop and now sell directly to customers. I’ve started with a floral range, based on a selection of paper collages I made to brighten up a very long and dull winter.
I filled my studio with images of big bold poppies, wild flowers and foliage. I plan to expand the ranges, based on my own art, each year.
I’ve always thought that lampshades should be interesting. We tend to have so many of them in the average home, whether they are on table lamps or pendant lights. I decided that lampshades should be art, whether the lights are on or off, and set about creating a range of very original paper lampshades which feature my brightly coloured tissue paper floral collages.
Where would you like to be in 10 years time?
I hope that Papershades will be well established as an online retailer and I may well expand into physical retail too. I’m also interested in participating in fairs and getting feedback from potential customers and stockists.
I want to build up the Papershades workshops. These are great fun for me as well as the people who participate. I will show everyone how they are going to make their Papershade, explain how they will create the artwork for one panel and then see their work printed onto five panels. Some people come with a clear idea of what they want to do and others have no clue – but everyone finds a way to create an amazing lampshade design and goes home with something totally original
There’s nothing more exciting than putting a blank canvas on the easel in my studio and starting work on a piece using nothing but big pile of paper and lashings of glue!
Any tips for new lampshade makers in business?
I don’t really have any tips since I’m brand new to this. But the key thing is to have an idea and then make it happen. It wasn’t easy – this project has taken at least 18 months to develop and I have had a lot of help from experts in the world of printing, paper manufacture, design, photography and website making.