Fashion graduate Sharon, of Rosella and Lime, takes inspiration from her sketches of nature to create stunning collections of lampshades, with gorgeous complimentary, and often bold, colour palettes. A fan of playing with proportion, her eye-catching elongated conical shades lend a mid-century modern twist to any room and in month's Meet the Maker, we go behind the scenes of Sharon's business and studio, to find out more.
How are you today and what’s on your workbench?
I’m good thanks! Today is a busy one, with 20 table and floor lamps to make up for a lovely gallery/shop here in Scotland.
How do you start the design process and where do you get your design inspiration?
It’s usually a 2-prong approach, a colour palette on one side and plant illustrations on the other. Colour inspiration comes from almost anywhere – a building, a fashion photo, a travel location and develops into a palette for a collection. Plant illustrations are based around a theme, for example, plants I’ve sketched and photographed at the seaside. They then all come together on the computer and are arranged to fit the various shapes of shades I want to do.
How would you describe your style?
Colourful, layered prints, inspired by nature with a mid-century twist.
It’s clear you have an eye for pattern. Do you follow trends, or do you just go with your instinct on what will work for a lampshade?
I don’t follow trends as such, but I keep an eye on what is happening. Sometimes a new colour combo or texture spotted online can be the starting point of a new collection.
We couldn’t help but notice your love of conical-shaped lampshades. Where did the idea come from to make this shape and how do they fit into your design process?
Ever since fashion college, I have loved playing with unusual proportions, and the tall conical shades are the lampshade version of an unexpected proportion. I also like the geeky challenge of getting my plant illustrations to stand straight on a curved cone.
When and why did you start making lampshades?
I started about 5 years ago, after doing an evening course in screen printing at Edinburgh Uni. I was looking at layering colours and shapes and shining a light through it, on a lampshade, which seemed a natural practical progression
What’s your favourite part of the lampshade making process?
Rolling the shade. There is still something thrilling about seeing your design go from a flat piece of fabric to a 3D object.
How has your lampshade making evolved?
Well, I’m definitely a lot neater and quicker. I’m also a lot braver in creating my own shapes as well as the standard drums.
In your online shop, what’s your most popular selling shade?
The botanical prints in the dark colourways are always popular, such as Botanic Hedge, dark.
Any tips for new lampshade makers in business?
Don’t be scared to start slowly. It can take a while to find your own style and niche in the market. Enjoy honing your skills and experimenting with ideas whilst you’re still working on a small scale.
Where does the name Rosella and Lime come from?
It’s a bit of a mash-up. My daughter’s name is Ella, so that’s hidden in there. I grew up near Sydney where one of the most common garden birds is the Crimson Rosella. As the name suggests, it's rather colourful. So, a nod to my roots and love of colour. Finally, the ‘and lime’ made it sound like a colourful cocktail, which cheers me!
Tell us what a regular day at work looks like?
It can vary a lot. I tend to always start with 30min of admin, so emails, new orders, to-do lists – I’m a big fan of lists! I try to designate days as ‘making’ days or ‘designing’ days so I can batch tasks and hopefully work more efficiently.
When are you at your most productive?
Probably late afternoon / early evening. Definitely NOT mornings. It’s a bit of a running joke amongst family and friends that they shouldn’t talk to me until I’m on my 2nd coffee.
And your favourite sustenance when you’re working?
See the aforementioned coffee plus ready salted crips
Could you let us take a peek at your workspace?
We noticed you often show at tradefairs. What do you find beneficial about having a stand?
It’s really great to be able to talk to trade customers face to face. You can learn so much about your customers and get so much feedback in just a couple of days. The shows are a big outlay though, in time and money, so I tend to be very selective about how many I do.
Where would you like to be in 10 years' time?
Gosh, I have so many ideas! Personal commitments mean working from the home studio is pretty essential just now, but in 10 years I’d love to have a combined studio retail space. I’d also love to be doing some hand-printed limited edition pieces. Oh, and wallpaper. I’m a bit daft for wallpaper and would love to branch out into that as well.
What have you learned that’s been invaluable to your creative process?
Remember it’s a creative process. Sometimes the making, packaging and admin seem overwhelming, so I now make a point of spending time sketching, painting or printing at least once a week, regardless of how busy I am with orders.
Browse Rosella and Lime's gorgeous range of colourful and nature-inspired lampshades, available in a range of shapes and sizes, on the website and give Sharon a friendly follow on Instagram and Facebook.
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