Proving that lampshades can be the most creative part of your room, Cath of Crushshade has blown us away with her incredible sculptured lighting that not only oozes beautiful form, but incorporate clever use of colour and pattern too. Drawing on her studies in Textiles and surface pattern design, Cath sees each of her shades as a piece of textile art, which we wholeheartedly agree with!
We caught up with her for this month's Meet the Maker interview to find out more about how she created Crushshades and what sparks her imagination.
How are you today and what’s on your workbench?
I’m enjoying the warmer weather and working on a couple of Kaffe Fassett lampshades. I’m loving the colourful prints, they would brighten up anyone's day.
How do you start the design process and where do you get your design inspiration?
I love to take inspiration from my fashion mood boards on Pinterest. I love to get inspiration from imagery and prints that spark my imagination and gives me a sense of escapism and fantasy.
How would you describe your style?
The shape of my shades are influenced by European design and the Arts & Crafts movement. They are quite traditional in shape, my prints however are more contemporary. I like to mix the old and new and think my lampshades work in either a contemporary or traditional interior.
Just recently I have been planning on an up-cycled range of textile lampshades, made from silk scarfs and fashion fabrics. I plan to move completely over to using eco-friendly materials for making my lampshades, making my shades sustainable into the future.
Your shades are incredibly unique. Where did the idea for your shades come from?
I designed many various prototypes along the way until I found a template shape that aesthetically worked and practically was functional. I have designed 3 different styles that you see today. I have other prototypes that I’m working on in the pipeline that I am keen to share eventually.
I studied textiles and surface pattern at university many years ago now and I always have loved to explore and experiment within surface pattern and textile design. My shades are like pieces of textile art to me.
When did you start making lampshades?
About 4-5 years ago, I needed some shades for my 1930’s bungalow that myself and my partner had finished renovating.
What’s your favourite part of the lampshade making process?
I love weaving together the components together and seeing it on the frame. You get a surprise each time you do this and it feels good to see all of your work come together to form a uniquely patterned lampshade.
In your shop what is your most popular selling shade?
I only ever make small collections of shades and sometimes I only make one in a particular fabric. The smaller contemporary prints seem to sell more quickly.
What’s the mix of shades you sell online versus lampshade commissions, as part of your business?
I sell more online and to shops. I have had people message me about commissions and have done a few, but I have also had some challenging experiences working on commissions.
How tricky are your shades to make?
It can take up to 2-3 days to make from scratch. All the frames are spot welded together and sprayed painted. The fabric panels are made and clipped out by hand in my home workshop, these are then flattened in a press and later assembled. Sometimes I will print my own fabrics and this adds a day onto the making process, depending on the amount of colours used in the design and drying times. If I use printed fabric by other designers I sometimes spray paint the edging a colour this helps define the shape. The making process is slow yet enjoyably therapeutic.
What tip would you give to other lampshade makers?
My tip would be to enjoy what you are doing and it will show in your work. You make far more mistakes by rushing and cutting corners.
Is Crushshades your main job or do you fit it in around other things?
Crushshades fits in around my job within a hospital therapy team. I have always enjoyed doing creative activities and up-cycling in my spare time.
When are you most productive?
Late evening and weekends mainly.
And your favourite sustenance when you’re working?
4 in a bed and lots of nice teas and coffees.
Could you let us take a peek at your workspace?
Where would you like to be in 10 years
I would love to work with interior designers/stylists on a few lampshade projects. That would be a dream. To create an artisan collection for a global brand would be phenomenal.
What have you learned that has been invaluable to your creative process?
You can’t rush a good thing, trust your instincts and believe in yourself.
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