Paper collage artist Rosalind Freeborn explains how her new lampshade business is lighting up her life
Paper collage artist Rosalind Freeborn explains how she’s making her art available beyond canvas with her new lampshade business
Rosalind Freeborn spent her post-graduate art diploma painting in oils, but a fascination with paper soon took over, and she found a niche creating portraits of people in her unusual paper collage style. Recently, she’s started an art-based lampshade company called Papershades, which specialises in floral designs, and operates out of her studio in London’s Muswell Hill. Here, she reveals how it came about...
What gave you the idea for Papershades?
For years I looked at lampshades – my own and in other people’s houses – and thought how boring they were. I wanted to find a way to make them into art, whether the light was on or off. I spent a lot of time looking at the way lampshades were constructed and decided I had to do something radical.
How did you get started?
A couple of years ago, I had a show of floral paper collages made with brightly coloured tissue paper. They sold well, but not everyone can afford this kind of art, and I didn’t want to do the usual run of framed prints. That prompted me to explore ways to use these colourful pieces in a different way.
How did you go about making them?
Developing the product was the hardest part. I explored the properties of paper and realised that a stiff card or cartridge paper could be self-supporting. I then worked on finding a means of keeping the panels of paper in place. That’s when the ‘re-invention of the wheel’ happened. How long did it take to develop this technique for making lampshades? It took about 18 months from the initial idea to the launching of the website in December 2016. I’m not technical, nor am I a designer; I’m an artist. However, I had terrific and generous help from designers, website experts and paper manufacturers, who were kind enough to advise me on the right way to take the idea forward.
And you’ve been teaching it to other people in workshops too: when did that start?
The Papershades workshops coincided with the launch of the business, and have been a thrilling learning curve. All kinds of people have taken part. The glory of the technique is that you don’t have to be an artist or even particularly creative to participate.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
I’ve learned that perseverance is very important, as is accepting help from experts. I’m enormously grateful for the support of all the people who helped me: the printers, the paper people, photographer and website builder.
What keeps you creatively inspired?
I see things all the time that strike me as the starting point for a collage composition. I might spot some unusual paper in a shop, pick up a discarded magazine with amazing photos or textures, have a conversation that triggers an idea, or go to a gallery and find myself intrigued by an artwork and want to know more about the piece and the artist. The ideas never stop coming!
Rosalind Freeborn is a collage artist who uses a wide variety of paper to make her art. www.paper shades.co.uk