Workshop Review - Shade School

Blog / 16 June 2014

Some of you might have spotted some awesome pics on Instagram and Twitter last week of the beautiful lampshades that were made in the first Shade School (Traditional Lampshade Making Workshop).

My friend, the lovely Zoe Darlington, who is a professional lampshade designer and maker shared her passion for her craft and inspired us all during the one day workshop. I couldn't resist joining in on the action too!

Zoe set up her own company making the most amazing lampshades 3 years ago and has designed collections for Anthropologie and Pedlars as well as special commisions for interior designers and boutiques. You should check out her website!

Image from

So, for the workshop, each student was given a little kit to create their bell shaped shade with super duper instructions including lots of pictures...

Zoe took us through each step of how to make a pattern piece for the particular shade which was specific to the fabric we picked. As the fabric is stretched around the shade on the bias, the size of the pattern piece will differ with different fabrics. It was hard work on the hands but so great to learn the process as it means you then know how to make a pattern for any size of shade.

Once we pulled and stretched and pinned and stretched again, then did lots of hand sewing we got to choose some gorgeous trims to finish off our shade from Zoe's own collection! What a treat! They were so beautiful!

We didn't quite get to finish them off due to the amount of hand sewing required but even without top and bottom trims everyone's looked so lovely! And all really different. That's one of the things I love so much about workshops...we all do the same project and same methods yet everyones looks so individual and different. 

A few hours of hand stitching in the garden the next day and my trims were on too...

Still not sure where this lovely little shade will live yet, maybe my office. I still need to find a base too...I'm thinking a super bright pink one!  As ever I'm itching to make another one and have my sights set on a bigger one....if only there were more hours in the day! 

There are stll places left on the August workshop and we will be planning more over the Autumn and winter too, you should join in! It's so much fun!