Shop spotlight on Lampara. This business is focussed on making contemporary handmade drum lampshades along with matching cushions. Bringing a raft of UK print and pattern designers together, Diane Wilson offers a solution to bland home accessories. These colourful creations feature strong, graphic designs which are often influenced by nature. The products are made from quality fabrics which have been designed and manufactured in the UK. You’ll find unique lampshades for floor lamps, table lights and pendant lights. I caught up with the owner, Diane Wilson, to find out more about Lampara.
Lampshade and Cushion by Ana Montiel
Meet the Lampara Owner
Diane Wilson studied BA Hons at Bradford Art College. She tells me, “although I did a general art and design degree, I was influenced by the textile history and the mills of Yorkshire. We regularly visited Salts Mill, Saltaire (an old textile mill now converted into the David Hockney gallery) and I was fascinated by this history and dying industry. While doing my degree back in 1989-92, I saw an entire textile department close down as this was no longer a relevant business at the time, which made an impression on me.”
The business venture came about when Diane was made redundant for her job in publishing after the company was taken over. She didn’t want to relocate or commute to London because she loved her life by the sea in Brighton and all that it entailed like riding her bike along the seafront. Diane reveals, “I decided to go back to my roots, get out some old books on pattern design, which re-ignited a passion for design and textiles. I had experience from publishing with licensing, and I felt strongly about promoting UK design and manufacture. I didn’t know what ‘my’ product was going to be, until I did a three-week business course and then ‘ping’ – a ‘lightbulb’ moment – lampshades!”
Cushions by Nadia Taylor
The business is focussed on producing handmade drum lampshades and matching cushions designed by UK based print and pattern designers. Diane explains, “I love colour and I was finding homewares quite dull. I had been looking for large drum lampshades online and could only find plain coloured shades. I decided that the lampshade could be like a ‘frame’ and would be a great way of displaying contemporary design. I also loved the idea of promoting UK based designers. So, you can expect to find modern home accessories which are bursting with colour.”
Cushions by DanYELL
Once Diane decided on UK designers and lampshades, the name soon followed. She explains, “Lampara (which is usually spelt using all capital letters) is simply the Spanish word for a lamp. I wanted a name which would define my products and be easily searchable. It also sounded musical and lamp ‘like’ or ‘ish’ to give a certain ring to the product.” After creating a website which took a couple of months, Diane launched her business in October 2013 and hasn’t looked back since!
Cushions by Sarah Arnett
Diane is based at home in Hove and a studio set up in her small spare bedroom. She tells me, “this was the most cost-effective way to work when I started my business, and I decided to keep it this way.” It’s all panned out well for Diane, who reveals, “I love the flexibility of being my boss. If I want to meet up with friends for a long lunch, I can make up the time later. It’s great to be ‘the mistress of your destiny’ so to speak, to be able to create whatever you want and take the business in any direction.”
Diane tells me about the designers she collaborates with, “I usually choose designers who have a strong graphic style and often take their inspiration from nature. DanYELL, for example, is very graphic and geometric, but still conveys a sense of nature which I love. Sarah Arnett is another interesting designer, and she spent her childhood in Africa so has a tropical, colourful style which is nature-inspired.” The designs range from abstract shapes to birds in flight, green leaves, orange tulips and more. Some are retro in style, while others are very contemporary. Here is an overview of the ten designers featured by Diane on her website:
- Sarah Arnett: Illustrator and designer who graduated from Brighton University and trained in woven textiles. Sarah grew up in Africa, so is influenced by wide open spaces and plant life. Her work features colourful nature-inspired prints like tree motifs and abstract tropical plant patterns.
- Nadia Taylor: London based designer and printmaker. Nadia is known for her limited but distinct colour palette featuring bold shapes and striking patterns. Her influences are nature and mid-century modern designs.
- Oliver Goddard: Oliver graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with first-class honours in fashion. His experience has been as a fashion print designer working for a wide range of high street to high-end retailers and fashion houses. He is passionate about colour and manipulates hand drawings and paintings for contemporary and intriguing prints.
- Kate Gabb: Kate is a textile designer. She graduated from Loughborough University with a BA in printed textiles. Her work explores concepts based around geometric forms and architecture from the New York landscape. She uses heavy colour which is manipulated to create a kaleidoscopic effect.
- Isabel Crossman: This textile designer and printmaker is based in London. After graduating from university in 2013, she has screen-printed book covers and underwear. Her work layers hand-drawn images using block colours. She loves East Coast deco patterns like tropical and exotic plants and the old beachfront hotels.
- DanYell: Danielle Cassells is a surface pattern designer who likes to brighten up spaces with her very vibrant fun prints. She often hand draws her work which is then tidied up using Photoshop. There aren’t any hidden messages behind her work, she draws shapes and objects and has fun while she’s doing it.
- Beki Gowing: London based printed textile designer and illustrator who graduated from Brighton University with first-class honours in Printed Textile Design. Her work captures movement like birds in flight.
- Ailsa Munro: Ailsa is a printed textiles designer who specialises in digital design. Her style is influenced by visuals gathered on her travels between Morocco and Spain so expect to be delighted by ancient Arabic patterns constructed with mathematical geometrics and organic floral curves.
- Katrina Voloder: Katrina is a multi-disciplinary illustrator and print designer. Her work shows bold graphics and strong colour. She was born in Croatia, grew up in Germany and now lives in London where she studied at the College of Fashion.
- Ana Montiel: Ana is a Spanish visual artist and designer who lives in London. She works across many creative mediums including screen printing, ceramics and video art. Her designs show richly coloured geometrics.
All of the lampshade designs are digitally printed onto 100% cotton with a 100% cotton contrast interior. The cushions are made from 100% cotton satin and come with a luxury feather filled pad for a plumper finish. The fabrics used for the lampshades and cushions are designed and printed in the UK, which is something Diane is passionate about. She explains, “the business ethos is about promoting UK design and manufacture. It is much more expensive to print here. Still, after studying Art in the city of Bradford and seeing the textile industry practically die, I decided that I wanted to be part of reviving the UK’s textile industry.”
Buy Lampara Products
If you want a beautiful bright drum lampshade or cushion with an exciting design, go to the website at Lampara. The product prices for the lampshades are 20cm diameter £64, 30cm £79, 45cm £119 and 60cm £164.00. Cushions retail at £58 for 43cm x 43cm. The products can be shipped worldwide. If you require bespoke lampshades and cushions, you’re in luck! Diane can help you with your quest – take a look at the section on the website for further information. She often makes extra-large versions for interior designers and commercial properties. Please note that products are handmade to order so may take about three to four weeks.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Lampara. Thanks: Diane Wilson.