13 August 2012

Lighten Up: Interview with Zoe Darlington

When I first came across the wonderful Zoe Darlington, I felt I had to contact her straight away and share with you her amazing lampshades. After launching her business only eight months ago, Zoe Darlington has shone bright with her colourful creations. Quintessentially British, the bases are constructed in the Midlands by craftsmen, and the shades are hand-stitched by Darlington herself. Now, let's get to know her a little better......

When did your love for lampshades start and how did it come about?
I love antique and vintage designs from a variety of eras and when we bought our first home five years ago,  I struggled to find vintage shades that were really beautifully made and weren’t museum pieces. I began studying soft furnishing and upholstery – initially to renovate a lovely mid-century chair I’d found – but quickly moved on to making lampshades using traditional methods and mastering the craft. I found that I loved working on this smaller more intricate scale and creating the kinds of pieces I’d been looking for and couldn’t find for my own home. Commissions from personal recommendation fairly quickly followed, after which I launched my website to reach more people.

Where do you find and seek inspiration?
All kinds of old things! I love old books and have some beautiful  old cloth bound volumes about decorating the home in the 1930s which were a lovely gift. They have these amazing vibrant hand coloured plates which provide great colour inspiration.  I get inspiration for shapes from vintage fashion and all sorts of strange things like the curve of a vintage car. And I love a rummage around old junk shops and auctions where every piece has a secret story.

Above: Welles | Below: Delilah

How long does it take to make one?
My pieces are all handmade by me to traditional techniques which means all fabrics and trims are hand stitched – no nasty glues! They are intricate, delicate pieces that are really time-consuming – but beautiful as a result – and can take several days to complete.

Where do you buy your fabrics and materials?
I’m constantly on the look out for fabrics and trims. It’s a real passion of mine and I often come back from holidays with many metres of fabrics from local markets. I also inherited my Grandmother’s fabric chests which contained the most beautiful vintage fabrics from the 60’s upwards. She was a dressmaker and put on fashion shows and I’m so lucky to have her archive.  I love using her fabrics as part of a beautiful piece that I know will be cherished and will live on through future generations in someone’s home.

Do you prefer sketching designs or actually constructing them?
I like to do a mixture of both. Sketching is great when you get an initial idea for a new shape and need to work out the angles and details, but I find there is nothing like physically piecing your ideas together. What works on paper doesn’t always work in real life.


How would you define your style?
A combination of tradition and wit beautifully constructed.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years, perhaps pursuing other projects?
I’m so happy with what I’m doing at the moment and what I’ve achieved over the past 8 months  (I only launched my company in November) that it’s difficult to think so far ahead! I’ve found that responding to what your clients want and what you enjoy doing has been a good recipe for success and I intend to continue growing in this organic way.


For all of Zoe’s pieces visit her website and give her a like on Facebook too to keep up-to-date on her work!

No comments:

Post a Comment