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An unusual canvas and a lightbulb moment: Handcrafted paper shades

Rosalind Freeborn Portrait

SideStory Insider and portrait artist, Rosalind Freeborn, is an artist with a love for paper. She brings to life her passion for the medium by making portraits using scraps from magazines, tissue, wallpaper and packaging. Most recently her love for paper took an unexpected turn. Looking around her home and those of her friends, the artist realized that lampshades tended to be dull: a perfect blank canvas. It was this epiphany that led her to venture into the art of furniture decorating, and her range of collage lampshades came to life.

paper shades art experience

“I’m on a mission to make lampshades art, whether the lights are on or off,” says Rosalind. Her prior work – big bold canvases loaded with flowers made from tissue paper, wallpaper, wrapping paper and everything in between – had been a huge success. Putting this new idea into practice, however, was a true challenge. “Finding a way to develop a self-supporting paper lampshade was quite tough. I worked with the wonderful paper company G.F. Smith to work out which paper to choose. It had to be strong and stiff enough to fit into the ‘wheels’ I created, be translucent, heat resistant and provide a good print surface for my artwork to be reproduced. I had a lot of help from designers, printers and computer experts to get the product [and process] just right.”

paper art experience

But Rosalind did not stop there: “I thought hard about how to use this artwork in a new way, and that gave me the ‘lightbulb moment’!” Having discovered a way to reproduce her own art, Rosalind wondered whether it might be possible for other people to learn how to create their own paper shades. She created a paper shades template on A4 card and started experimenting with designs made from all kinds of paper. She ran a few experimental workshops with family and friends before deciding lampshades were something anyone could do if they attended a workshop. So the workshops were officially launched: small groups can join Rosalind in her north London studio and learn how to create their own paper lampshade. A perfect little creative experience in the company of a true art Insider and innovator.

To join a workshop and learn how to craft your own paper lampshade over a chat and some tea, visit the Papershades website.