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Lisa Malyon – Bristol-based artist who draws buildings directly onto lampshades

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Do you hunt? I do…

As Needcraft’s social media ninja I do a lot of hunting about for fabulous and inspiring lampshade stories across the web, hard print and real live places and people! I found Lisa Malyon’s expertly drawn lampshades while at local art gallery ‘Hidden‘ while seeking general inspiration and was mightily impressed. Firstly as when I draw, the result looks like a squiggly mish-mash of lines, not neat and measured like Lisa’s and secondly, to then be able to draw with that expertise on a lampshade, a curved surface, wow!

So I hunted Lisa down and she kindly agreed to give us an insight into her process and business progress so far…

Why lampshades?

It all began when I attended a lampshade-making class at Bristol Folk House. I hung my finished piece in place of a plain, white drum lampshade that was in my bedroom. This lampshade sat on my dining table for weeks until I had the idea to draw on it. I drew several Bristol landmarks on the lampshade and gave it away as a present to a family member, they loved it and suggested I do more.

Why draw and not print on a lampshade?

As an artist, I specialise in drawing buildings and structures and it is the process of drawing with a fine art pen that I love, if I had the lampshades printed it would take away the enjoyment aspect of what I do. Prior to introducing lampshades into my art practice I received occasional commissions for pictures but it is the lampshades that have sparked people’s interest. I am able to draw any building or structure as long as I have good quality photographs that do not infringe any copyright laws. As well as regular commissions of Clevedon Pier and Clifton Suspension Bridge I have drawn private houses, shop fronts, art galleries and even derelict buildings onto lampshades.

How do you price your lampshades?

I price accordingly for a bespoke hand drawn piece as well as incorporating an hourly rate. Prices range from £85 – £200.

What inspires you to draw?

Living in Bristol is a constant source of inspiration with the myriad of architectural styles. I am a fan of Victorian engineering and in particular Bristol Temple Meads. Clevedon’s Grade I listed pier is a favourite structure to draw and, in particular, the intricacies of the ironwork in the struts. It is a pleasure also to draw less-commercial buildings and a recent lampshade commission featured the Barbara Hepworth gallery in Wakefield so, as a lover of concrete and Brutalism, I was in my element.

Bristol artist

Where do you sell your lampshades?

I launched my lampshades in 2013 when I was involved in a collaborative six-month pop-up shop in Bristol City Centre and, as a consequence, I was invited to sell via galleries in Bristol and Somerset but neither business is trading so I market my business via social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and I am a regular exhibitor at Bristol’s art trails throughout the year.

Bristol has numerous art trails whereby people open up their homes, studios and community spaces to exhibit local arts and crafts and these have proved to be a successful route to gaining a customer-base. Each art trail is specific to an area of Bristol with a website and location map of all the venues to visit. It is very satisfying when a customer comes to see my artwork as a result of my profile on the trail map.

I like to demonstrate my drawing at an art trail and bring along a plain lampshade to work on during the course of a two-day event as it encourages customers to ask me more about my work. The most common questions I am asked are “how long does a lampshade take to draw up?” and “what happens if you go wrong”, my answers are “2-3 hours” and “how do you know I haven’t?”

What does 2016 hold for your hand-drawn lampshades?

A recent commission for a new pub opening in Portishead has given me the encouragement to steer my business towards the commercial hotel/pub/restaurant trade. I understand the group behind Hotel Du Vin have bought the Avon Gorge Hotel which has the best view of Clifton Suspension Bridge so I would love to draw up bespoke lampshades to feature in their public spaces and bedrooms.

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