"Rach you work with all kinds of old papers... sewing patterns, music sheets and the like... do you think you could make a lamp shade design with architectural drawings?"
Her father was an architect, now retired, but she had access to some of his beautiful hand-drawn house plans and wanted me to make a feature out of them on a lampshade.
It was an exciting thought... "can I even do this? well can I?" and the answer is always inevitably "Yes!" because once the bubbles of inspiration take over, there is no going back.
It took a bit of experimenting. Initially I thought the semi-translucent paper of the original plans would be perfect, imagining the light shining through when the lamp switches on. However the trial examples of the paper would buckle and generally looked awful once they got slathered with my homemade paste. Back to the drawing board.
I started using photocopies and was relieved to find all the charm of the hand-drawings was captured. After that it was a simple case of nutting out which sections would fit around the sides of the lamp. My friend had chosen a rectangle block shade and had indicated her favourite "bits" so as always, it's a jigsaw puzzle to fit it all together.
My next client wanted something a little different. She was ordering two diffuser shades for an open plan space. They needed to match in size and colour tones, but derive from completely different themes. One was to feature an upcycled McCalls pattern with warm honey toned paper and charcoal-black print. The other was to feature house plans dating back to the 1950's. They had recently bought an old house and were in the process of renovating and updating, but she loved the idea of utlising the original building plans as a nod to the history of their home.
"Can you come up with a design that's just a hint of the house plans?"
"You mean a kind of abstract interpretation of the original?"
"Yes, exactly" No problem.
So I began selecting and curating the bits of the plan that I thought worked, zooming in, printing out and arranging the sections until I had enough coverage. You can see a photo here of my not so high-tech "drafting with pegs" stage!
After that the usual decoupage process began and I finished off the design with a layer of unprinted sewing pattern paper that matched the tone of the other shade. Not only would this ensure the two shades would compliment each other, it also helped to inject some warmth into the black & white house-plan design.
I have some more custom orders featuring house plans already booked in for the near future - they are the "ultimate" bespoke item and add a truly unique and sentimental piece for any home.
Feel free to contact me if you would like a similar bespoke piece made for you or as a gift.