Let There Be Light!
Is this title catchy or cliché? Oh the woes of writing a blog. Should I try clickbait? “You won’t BELIEVE these lampshades!” “Ten lampshades that will make you drool!” “These 5 lampshades will give you goosebumps!” Alright, alright, moving on. I’m here to show you some lampshades, friends. But not just any lampshades.
I’m still on my British design kick, and with that, my love of patterned gathered shades is burning strong. My precious grandmother ‘Nini’ mailed this clipping to me a few months back and I wanted to reach through the USPS and hug her. She sweetly asks, “Do you know about a ‘Sari Shade’? What makes it so?” I say to her, and to you — what makes it so, is the beautiful Indian sari fabric used to create its gathered beauty.
Fun fact: A ‘Sari’ is me, the architect’s daughter. (That’s pronounce sare-E, if you don’t know me! Rhymes with Mary!) But a sari is a traditional Indian garment, now recognized as a cultural icon. Oftentimes more inexpensive saris are made using a blockprint pattern, while fancier saris can feature an ikat pattern — which is produced all around the world, from India to Central Asia, Southeast Asia to Japan. Both blockprints and ikats are popular textiles for gathered shades, and it’s not hard to see why.
Perhaps my love affair with patterned gathered shades began last September, with this lil multicolor ikat number at an unreal Airbnb in Edinburgh. Here are two of the five thousand photos I took:
My fondness was fueled further two months later, when I fell in love with Mallory Mathison’s Little Boy Bleu room at the 2017 Atlanta Home for the Holidays Showhouse. The custom gathered shades were the perfect detail to tie it all together. (Or was it the grosgrain ribbon bordering the wallpaper? Or the art? Or those fabulous beds? Oh, how this room mesmerized me last year.)
Earlier this year, we had a pair of custom gathered shades made from Schumacher’s lilac watercolor pattern for a client’s home. The fire in my heart was stoked again when Soane Britain mailed out the below postcard over the summer. I kept it on my desk for weeks. I’m not even a ‘pink and purple’ kinda gal, but wowza!
So where can you find yourself a pretty gathered shade? A lot of them are overseas, admittedly. And some are a little pricey. But a little searching and you can find a few reasonable options, like this beautiful green block-printed shade from Etsy. Chairish usually has a few. And One Kings Lane is worth a visit.
This isn’t a gathered shade, but I’ll allow it, because my parents let me pick it out for our house in Maine and BOY did it turn out just perfect. None of Matilda Goad’s lampshades are gathered, but they’re still British…and they’re still perfect. Cane! Raffia! Scallops! Too cute. Below, some of my favorite Matilda shades. I’m leaving the price in British pounds because it feels better.
P.S. What makes gathered shades even better? Gathered shades for charity! One of my favorite lighting and furniture makers Vaughan recently announced the launch of the ‘Made in the Shade’ campaign to benefit Watts of Love.
15 interior designers were selected to create unique lampshades for their favorite Vaughan lamps in their local showrooms. The lamps will be on display throughout November. For every social media post that uses the hashtags #vaughanXwattsoflove and #madeintheshade, Vaughan will donate $1 to Watts of Love, a global solar lighting nonprofit dedicated to bringing the power to raise themselves out of the darkness of poverty. Below, a few gathered shades from the campaign.
P.P.S. I counted over 67 lampshades in this post. Is that lampshade overkill? I’m sorry! I couldn’t stop! Until next time…