Meet Jane Ellison, a talented printer who's 'modern retro' style is influenced by mid-century classic design and modern shapes. From making lampshades for a one-off show, lampshades are now one of her bestsellers, alongside her range of homewares, that include cushions, napkins and travel accessories - all printed in small batches in her distinctive style.
We catch up with Jane to find out more about her lampshade making journey, her inspiration and of course, a sneak peek into her studio!
How are you today and what’s on your workbench?
I’m well! Today has been a busy mix of finishing shades for online and bespoke orders, printing samples for a new wholesale range of cushions and wallets and cutting fabric pieces for the next batch of my new ‘Corita’ shades. I now have a waiting list for this design…
How do you start the design process and where do you get your design inspiration?
I start by looking at art and patterns from people I admire, this could be from books, in galleries or online inspiration. I then sketch out patterns and ideas.
How would you describe your style?
It’s a mix of mid-20th century abstracts and modern geometric shape; I like to call my style ‘modern retro’.
You’re clearly in love with printing. How did you come up with your specific aesthetic?
I studied printed textiles at art college, where I developed my skill in screen-print. I love the graphic, bold style of screen-printing. I’m really drawn to pattern history, the textile designers and painters of the 50’s like Lucienne Day and Jacqueline Groag. My recent design ‘Corita’ is quite 70s looking and is perfect for lampshades.
When did you start making lampshades?
I started in 2019 with a couple of Dannell’s lampshade kits and made a series of shades for a pop-up show and sold out.
What’s your favourite part of the lampshade process?
I love the part when you have attached the tape to the rings and start rolling the shade – it’s strangely satisfying!
In your online shop what’s your most popular selling shade?
My ‘Radial’ design in navy and orange – customers really like this colour palette in their homes this year.
What’s the mix of shades you make to sell online v lampshade commissions, as part of your business?
I’d say it is now 50/50 at the moment. I supply bespoke shades for a local specialist mid-century home-ware store. They sell quickly so I am trying to print extra fabric for online stock, whenever I have a commission to make. Instagram has been great and I get a lot of work through my account.
Any tips for new lampshade makers in business?
Keep pets out of the picture! I love my dog, but he is banned from the studio when I am making shades. I keep a lint roller handy for stray hairs…
What other products, apart from lampshades, do you make and stock on your website?
I print fabrics for cushions, wallets and also make appliqued wall-hangings with the offcuts of my prints. The large wash-bags have been popular this year.
Is Jane Ellison textiles your only role or do you juggle this with other work?
I also work in an Art University as an Inclusion assistant p/t – I support Fine Art students with additional learning needs and disabilities.
When are you at your most productive?
I’m actually an afternoon person. It takes a while to ease into my studio day after chores, dog-walking. Then it’s pure concentration from 1pm onwards.
And your favourite sustenance when you’re working?
Coffee and cereal bars!
Could you let us take a peek at your workshop?
Of course, I tidied especially.
(Photo creds to my daughter who is studying art at college)
Where would you like to be in 10 years time?
I hope to retire and live somewhere hot and beautiful like Crete or the Costa de la Luz in Spain and take my studio with me.
What have you learned that’s been invaluable to your creative process?
Follow your instincts, accept criticism as just another opinion and never give up, creativity lives with you.
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