Tag Archives: lampshade

Happy New Year!

I know it’s a little late, but Happy New Year! Sorry for being so quite over the last month or so….. things got rather sketchy towards the end of last year and I’m just going to come right out and say it….. it ended on an all time low and a bipolar diagnosis. I am heading out the other side now and its all being managed with the right medication, some common sense, and a huge amount of support from the Worcestershire NHS Mental Health Team who are fantastic, along with a huge amount of support from my friends.

So, there you go – that’s why I have been a bit quiet.

I’m slowly getting back into work and have so many great plans for this year. I am signing up to do the monthly market at The Fold in Bransford, fourth Sunday of every month 10am until 2pm – come down and say hello! I have also just finished my first lampshade of the year….. do you like? I’ve gone with a Valentines theme…..am not a huge fan of the day myself, but if you are, and would like to order a lampshade like this, please do get in touch.

heart shade 1 heart shade 2 heart shade 3 heart shade 4


Filed under Lampshades, Life

Thursday Showcase No. 9. Gilhoolie Lampshades

Hello, and welcome to Thursday. Thanks for joining me for another interesting person! I discovered the Gilhoolie website very early on in my adventures with lampshades, and so I am very pleased that she has agreed to feature on my showcase today.

And here we go with the questions….

1. Whats yer name and where d’ya come from?!
My name’s Julie Gardner and I own a business called ‘gilhoolie bespoke lampshades’ – the name speaks for itself really! I chose the name gilhoolie from a nickname at university a long time ago – it just rhymes with Julie and I wanted something a bit quirky and original.

2. How long have you been doing what you do, and how did you get into it?
I had to count the months on my fingers for this one! I’ve been making lampshades for 18 months now. I stumbled across a designer and lampshade maker called Helen Rawlinson on the Internet one day (http://helenrawlinson.blogspot.co.uk/). There was a photo of her standing in her workshop, surrounded by colourful drum lampshades and I immediately thought that was what I wanted to do one day.

I started with drum lampshades and then moved onto hand-stitched empire lampshades which I absolutely love. A lot of work goes into them so I find the end product beautiful and incredibly rewarding.

I also teach how to make drum lampshades at my house in Maidenhead and for a lovely shop in Caversham, Reading, called Make & Do. (http://www.makeanddoworkshops.com/index.html)

3. What is the hardest part of your work?
The pins! J I use hundreds when I’m pinning fabric to a frame and it takes practice to not get sore fingers plus I’m always worried about dropping them on the floor and someone treading on one! I also find it hard to find fabric that I like, I wish I lived near a big fabric shop, but then that would probably be fatal for my bank account!

4. And what is the most rewarding?
Teaching is really rewarding for me and it’s great to be with other people rather than on my own all the time. It’s really good to be able to teach others and see their excitement as they see their lampshade take shape!

Also, believe it or not, just finishing a hand-stitched lampshade is really rewarding for me – I always stand back and admire them and say to myself “I did that!”

5. What do you class yourself as – artist, designer/maker, crafter, creative?
Designer/maker I guess. I like drawing too – I take orders for ink portraits of people’s houses and wedding venues for wedding gifts and I love sitting down and drawing when I get the time. I also like drawing pictures using machine embroidery – it’s a great way to incorporate pattern and drawing and gets easier the more you do and the more you relax at the sewing machine!

6. Who from the creative world do you admire?
I originally dreamt of designing my own fabric to make things from and still really admire the work of a lady called Lotta Jansdotter (http://www.jansdotter.com/). Her designs are very simple and fresh and I love her drawing style too. I have made lined drum lampshades from one of her designs, which hang in my hallway.

7. Where does your inspiration come from?

As I live near London, there’s nothing like a trip to some fabric shops and Liberty; I’ve just decided I need to make time to do that more! I‘m also a bit obsessed with simple, geometric and retro patterns on anything, plus I love looking at old houses and browsing in boutique shops and antique shops. I recently bought a 1960’s J & G Meakin platter for 50p from a local antique shop, because I liked the retro blue flower pattern.

8. Do you listen to music/watch TV whilst you are working, and if so, what?
I listen to six music a lot when I’m making lampshades (if I’m not sitting in the garden when it’s nice weather!) I really like Lauren Laverne’s show in the morning – it’s good to have a mixture of new music and friendly banter while I’m working. If I’m writing a blog post I can’t listen to anything though, I’ve always found it hard to concentrate with lots going on!

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Well, I’d like to be doing more of what I do now really. I’d like to be making more lampshades for clients and to have several Interior Designers that I get work through. It would be good to teach more too, oh and to have my own studio space in the garden where I can go and be creative whenever I like!

10. What sacrifices have you made for your art?!
I’m not sure I’ve made any really. I’m lucky that my children are both at school (and a very supportive husband!) so I have time to work on gilhoolie during school hours, except in the school holidays when I find it really hard to do both!

There we are, another interesting person for you! One of these days I may have to beg her to teach me how to make amazing hand stiched empire lampshades, althought I think it may take a while as she is so dedicated, neat, and hard working!

Please do go and check out her work further in the following places….
Gilhoolie Website

Gilhoolie Twitter

Gilhoolie Facebook

Thats all for now, see you again next week for another interesting person!

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Filed under Artist Showcase

Wedding Commission

Wedding commissions – I have a love hate thing going on with them!

I love to do them, and have done a fair few now – both lampshades and original artworks. It is such a privilege to be involved in the most important event in a couples life, and to have been chosen from thousands and thousands of other people to make that special piece. I love that I can bring a friend or relatives ideas to live, and can work on an artistic project with someone else, or in some cases several people – it is wonderful having so many different takes on that little seed of an idea, and watching it grow into something we can all be proud of.

But…… there are dangers! A commission means doing what your client asks, and they don’t always have the most straightforward requests

Can you do a dog on a lampshade?

Can you do a cat exactly like ours?

Can you fit this very long sentence on one line?

Can you do exactly the same but in graduating sizes?

All these questions strike fear into my heart. As I answer with a cheery ‘well, we can certainly give it a go, and I am sure we can come up with something’ what I a really thinking is ‘F@4&, never in a million years’.

And then there are the timescales, and finding the right paper, and ordering the ring sets/mounts/frames on time and in the right sizes.

And the sheer pressure of knowing that if you cock it up, you only have a very short amount of time to dust yourself down, pick up your scalpel, and work through the night starting from the very beginning.

But, as I have said before, a glass half full attitude (and a glass of wine) makes everything all right really, and if others have faith in me, maybe I should have a little more faith in myself and just get on with it. And do you know what, every time it seems to work, and every time (so far!) the client has been over the moon with the finished product.

The last commission I did was organised by the sister of the groom. She arranged it so that the artwork would be finished and actually in the happy couples home on their return from honeymoon. I hope they are enjoying it as much as I enjoyed making it. Note the little dog int he bottom corner who had t be part of it! Here it is….

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Bird & Leaf Lampshade

You may have seen the beginnings of this lampshade on Facebook last week – I am pleased to say it was finished on Friday, and had an outing to a fair on Saturday! Here is the story….

OK, so, first off, I made a start on some paper cutting for a series of Christmas cards. I have to say, I should have perhaps put away the other project I was working on first as I seem to have muddled up in my head which design I was working on and I was thinking about Buddleia when I should have been thinking about baubles, and for some random reason my brain desided to override both, but sticking with the latter B, and so I cut a little birdie, which was rather sweet. And it got me thinking about a design that has been at the back of my mind, slowly taking shape, for a few weeks now. My thoughts had been for a lampshade with birds and grass and so on, thought it would be nice and summery. And I had a piece of yellow fabric in mind for it.

So, whilst I was looking for some green card for the cutting, I came across a papercut I did ages ago, just a sort of foliage type pattern – here is a picture of it….

Does it look familiar? Well if you follow me on twitter (@mrsmcindoe) then you may have spotted that it is my wallpaper. And if you look closely at this blog, you will see there is a grey version of it as my background (is it wallpaper or background? Not really sure!)

And so, I thought I could use that style/pattern/whatever along with the birds, and then perhaps some vines or something to link them together.

So these pictures show the early stages of the design. You might have already seen this over on my Facebook page (mrsmcindoe).

As you can see, I don’t drawer it out first. From the feedback I get from people, this often comes as a surprise – how can you cut without a pattern or a line to follow, how do you know where to cut. Well, look at it this way – the knife is my pen…. or pencil….. when you drawer a picture, you don’t have a line or pattern there already for you to follow (or maybe you do, but in my book that’s cheating!) Anyhoo – I do sometimes think, maybe I should draw a bit out – and so this time, I tried drawing in a bit of the trailing vines…….nope…..didn;t work….I just got all confused and nearly made a  big mistake! So totally freehand it is from now on! I suppose I should add (because if I don;t I will feel like I have mislead you) that the original bird I cut out I used to line up where I wanted the birds on the lampshades, andso I did use a template in some way – but I did’t cut strictly round it! Honest! I am not sure why this is so important to me, but it really is!

And so here it is….the finished shade. What do you think? I am rather pleased!

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As I mentioned, the shade had its first public airing at The Guildhall in Worcester on Saturday. A friend was having a shoe sample sale there (hundreds of amazing Italian and Spanish shoes), and in return for help with setting up and packing away, she let me have a little side-show of my shades and other work. Gottta love working with other local small businesses! By they way, if you want to go onto the mailing list for the next shoe sale (once a quarter at The Guildhall) let me know and I will pass your details on.

Anyway, the lampshade – it had lots of admiring glances, and one lady who has gone home to measure her lamp base and see if it will fit!

Overall I am very happy with the design. I didn’t manage to get any grass in there as originally planned, but I did fit in vines – win some, lose some I guess! The only slight problem is that the green of the cutting does not really show through. I did realise it probably wouldn’t when I started as the paper is quite thick, but I carried on regardless – hey, who likes perfect anyway!


Filed under Lampshades

glass half empty, or glass half full?

What a week this is turning into! I’m not even going to mention the ‘            ‘ which as we all know has been unseasonable to say the least. But, in other areas, it has not been a good week so far either.

Firstly there was the disasterous cutting, which you already know about.I am almost at the point of seeing the funny side, but not quite.

Then we have had the news that our camera is non repareable – apparently it is out of date and they no longer make the parts – we thought we had only had it a couple of years – amazing how a couple of years can actually add up to more like 8 years!

On top of this we have had the cancellation of the school mini olympics, due to bad ‘         ‘.So total re-plan of how tomorrow will run. I mean, I know I will have more time to do what I need to, but some how that isn’t helping with my plan as I now have faffing about time before my trip to Ludlow.

To make it even worse, my 2 year old will not stop repeating his bestest joke, which really, is not all that great.In fact, not even really a joke at all!

I have also had a bit of a nightmare with Linked In this week after accidently inviting everyone I have ever e-mailed to ‘connect’ with me – have ended up with some very interesting connections, including a couple of people I really don’t care for – and now it would just be trez rude to delete them, no?

AND total PTA overload – we had a big thinger at school on Friday which was fab, but then the fall out is that as joint treasurer there is alot of adding up and messing about with receipts and dishing funds back out blah de blah – its hard work when both parites involved in these delicate financial entanglements are being yanked this way and that by impatient school children and screached at by hungry toddlers.

But, I am not generally a glass half empty kinda gal, so lets look on the positive side…… lets see how many I can come up with…..

1. I am delivering lots of stock to a new retailer tomorrow – watch out Ludlow! Will report more in another post!

2. I am all ready prepared for my stall at the local high school summer fair – how orgaise am I!!

3. I managed to clean the bathroom floor today (might not seem like alot to you, but its a big nasty job to me!)

4. I am on the verge of signing up to a regularly monthly craft fair at a place I very much admire – watch this space for news on that one, and if you are a Worcester/Malvern person intersted in a monthly craft fair, get in touch and I will tell you more.

5. I have managed to turn my studio back into a dining room in time for the weekend.

6. I made a new lampshade – I like it very much – here is a picture!

This rings me to my final point – we have 17 people in da house this weekend.! Nine adults, eight children, and lots of terrible ‘              ‘ – what could possily go wrong?! Should be lots of fun! Old friends from school/London/Bristol days who are all a huge part of our lives still. Loads of beds to make up, a mahoosive supermarket shop to do, lots of cleaning and tidying, and meal planning etc. and a huge amount of cleaning up and washing to do when they have all gone home. Depends which way you look at it – glass half empy? Nah, most definately half full!


Filed under Life

War on Lampshades

War on lampshades – the title says it all really, well, kinda. This is the first in s a new series, the tile of which is ‘camouflage’.

I have had this idea rolling around inside my skull for some time now. Then a few weeks ago I got an itchy scalpel finger and did the cutting. The major problem then was finding some camouflage material. You have no idea how hard it is to find! I went to my usual fabric lady, who did have some but it was the wrong weight, far too heavy, and the light just would not come through. I tried several other fabric shops, but nobody had anything. Then I hit upon my grand plan – try the outdoors shops and see if I could find a cheap ground sheet or cagoule that I could cut up. You wouldn’t believe how many of these shops Worcester has on offer (think I went to about 6) but nothing anywhere. Then one drizzly June day I was driving up to the printers and spotted an army surplus store – I had never noticed it before. All sorts of camouflage!!! Most of it was too heavy, but I did manage to find some murky green knitty-netty type stuff plus a tarpaulin and a large t-shirt in camouflage. And so I was in business. Luckily the t-shirt was just the right size for the papercut. And here you have it – the first in the series…. check out the slide show at the bottom (sorry, I couldn’t work out how to put two slide shows on the same post!)

And there is a second shade in the series already. I found some lovely snuggly lightweight furry fabric and thought it would be fun to use. I spent ages thinking about the right word for this  camouflage lampshade. I wanted something fun, something fitting, and something not to……well…., the ones I thought of and discounted were ‘love to love you baby’ but the writing had to be big enough for it not to get blocked by the pattern so it wouldn’t work. Then I thought of ‘sexy beast’ and ‘wild thing’ but they were too brash for my personal taste (but I might do them at some point!) I hope I have managed to strike the right balance between cute and saucy by going for ‘Kitten’. I’ll let you be the judge…..

One last thing before you look at the pictures, I am thinking of some kind of competition for the ‘camouflage kitten’ lampshade, so if you ar interested in winning it, watch out for more blog posts over the next couple of weeks!

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Filed under Lampshades

Lampshades as Wedding Presents

Seems to be a popular choice, at least for some, fortunately! Would you consider a custom-made lampshade a suitable wedding present? It is certainly unique, and perfect for that enviable couple who already seem to have pretty much everything they could possibly need or want.

I have done a few commissions for weddings now, and I have to say, there is something very special about it, knowing that I am playing in a role in conveying how much love and understand one friend has for another, to commission such a personal item for such a personal occasion. I have to say that it is also rather daunting – I mean, who wants to be stuck with a naff wedding present that they hate and have to display for  years because a good friend gave it to them?! For those of you that are married, you know what I am talking about, right?! Don’t deny it! You know as well as I do that there is something you would like to get rid of but can’t!!!

Anyway, back to lampshades. Below is the most recent wedding lampshade. The couple had written a poem which was at the top of their wedding invite, so that is what I cut. I cut all the letters freehand, which may sound a bit crazy, but I find if I write them out first before cutting they lose some of their natural flow and just don’t look right. I did draw lines fo the text to sit on so that it wouldn’t wonder up or down a the ends. So, here you go….


Filed under Lampshades

Postcards, London, Lampshades!

Well I have certainly been busy, but not as busy as I should have been! Let me explain…..

Firstly, I have been sorting out some new postcards – postcards to use instead of flyers and business cards. When I set up in January I got some business cards made and at the same time had some postcards done, as I thought it looked quite cool! Well, I have given out almost all of the postcards and hardly any of the business cards! The reason is twofold – firstly I prefer to give them out, it feels less formal than business cards, and so I feel more comfortable. Secondly, I think people like a postcard rather than a business card – as you, dear reader, are ‘people’ perhaps you could tell me if this is the case or something I am imagining!

Secondly, we have bene up to London to visit the Queen! Well, have a little look at the outside of Buckingham Palace – the Queen was there, as it was trooping of the colour, but we didn’t actually see her. My daughter is doing a project on London at the moment, and we were also invited to go to a party, so we made a proper trip of it. I have to say, it was lovely going out in London on Friday night, and talking about work things, with work type people (it was a party for my mother in law, who has just retired from an architectural practise she helped set up many years ago). Managed to catch up with some family and friends, and also make some new friends. On the Saturday we managed to do all the things my children wanted – travel on a tube train, travel on a double-decker bus and sit on the top deck, see Buckingham Palace, and go to a Museum (well, it was the National Gallery – daughter feel in love with Van Gough’s Sunflowers and son now a big fan of Rousseau’s ‘Surprise!’)

And yesterday I managed to make a new lampshade, in a new design. The design is something that has been in the back of my mind for some time, and I think being in London has given the final creative push for the design to be born (does that sound terribly arty-farty? Sorry!). And here it is…..

What do you think of the picture? The lamp base is new. I have spent ages trying to find the right kind of base to display my lampshades, and the only ones I can find that I like are super expensive – always the way! However, I managed to find some very cheap bases, and am rather pleased with them – do you like? Who can guess where I got them from?!

And now the reason I should have been more busy – I am having a stall at Upton Jazz Festival next weekend and I have a huge amoutn to do to prepare for it – and so I will leave you, and get cracking – better get my skates on as there are only a few days left to prepare.


Filed under Life

Seeing Stars

Stars – all I can see is stars – I seem to have been staring at them for days. It started off with an innocent enough little bit of cutting one evening, and then two days later we have a lovely paper cut and two lampshades – that’s just how it goes sometimes! Well, I had a little time on my hands, waiting for the right sized ring set to turn up to make a commission, and so I was able to play around and cut whatever I felt like, and I have been mostly feeling like stars, so there you have it.

Take a look at the photos – I would be interested to know which you like best – the plain stars one, or the one with the text. The text says ‘star light, star bright, first start I see tonight’ – I remember it from a Madonna song in the 80’s, but I think it is originally early 19th century American (if my googling is correct!). I may do the full verse on a larger lampshade at some point (the end is ‘I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight).

Anyway, here are the pics…

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Filed under Lampshades

My Window Display

On Saturday I did my first ever window display. unusually for someone who doesn;t have a bricks and mortar shop! It all came about when a crafty friend of mine, Mo (a.k.a. Crafty Mo), was given the opportunity to move her fantabulous craft shop into a larger premises. Once in the new shop she found herself with two big windows to fill, instead of the previous one window. Mo happened to mention to me one day that she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to find the time to change the displays as often as she would like, to keep things fresh for her customers, and keep the shop looking wonderful. I offered to help out! It seemed like the perfect storage solution for all my lampshades!!

Now I have to admit that despite having taken down the measurements of the display area, and booked a time to come and set the display up well in advance, I was still somewhat unprepared when I arrived on Saturday morning. And I quickly learnt that dressing as window is not as easy as one might imagine! Fortunately Mo was able to provide me with all the things I had forgotten to take – staple gun, scissors, pliers and screwdriver (to get out the staples when you put them in the wrong place!).

Once the basics had been done I was able to mess around with the placing of the lampshades and other bits and bobs. This involved rather a lot of tea drinking and standing outside the shop with our hands on our hips, heads cocked to one side!

And then it was done – ‘ray!

A great ‘two birds with one stone’ solution – Mo gets her window dressed, and I get somewhere to store and display my work. And Mo is also rather pleased that she now has other people interested in window displays at her shop, and is pretty much booked up until Christmas!

So if you are local, or just passing through, go and take a look and see what you think – make sure to pop back at least once a month to see the latest displays by local artists, designers and craftsmen/women.

Those of you who are not local will have to make do with this little slide show (taken on husband’s iphone and EOS still out of action).

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