Getting the lights installed wasn’t too difficult. The first method I tried was to remove the plug from the wire and feed the cables up through the ceiling but then realised that this wouldn’t work since the light fittings have switches on them which wouldn’t fit through the holes. In order to get around this, I filled the holes I had drilled in, made new pilot holes and screwed in some hooks to take the weight of the lampshades. I used zipties around the bend of the cable to make them stay at the correct height, and pins to guide the excess cabling to the extension cable, which is hung up in the top corner of the wall.
I used fake ivy garlands to decorate the area, since I wanted to replicate the sort of scenes that Tord Boontje takes photographs of his work in. Using a staple gun, I put all the garlands in place, and twined some of them around the dangling wires of the lampshades. I think that it’s very effective, and the colours and shadows projected onto the leaves are exactly what I wanted.
These are the ‘nopes’. The first one resembles a fruit, which I do like, but it doesn’t match the rest of the themes; a strawberry is pretty but its not a blossoming flower. The second one isn’t attractive on the outside since although I was planning to cover the outer sides with marbled paper which I was gifted I haven’t found the time to do so. The third, I don’t like the colour combination of; it’s a bit too jarring, and I think it would be better if the colours were the other way around. The last one is nice, but it just doesn’t make the cut when there are other ones which I think are better examples of my skills progression, and I have a similar one that is clear and works better.
I drew my lampshades out on paint tool SAI so that I could insert them into some photos. Using some IKEA catalogue images as a base, I placed my lampshades into a scenario that I think they would work well in.
The make your mark project was initially a way for me to experiment in using perspex and the laser cutter to create something beautiful. It started as a wall hanging, and developed into a floral themed lampshade, both decorated by, and resembling flowers.
Partially inspired by my constellation essay subject, the kimono, which utilises seasonal floral motifs, I looked to the british countryside for ideas, photographing plantlife and redrawing it in my own style. After scouring the Taff Trail for flowers that I liked, I found cows parsley, a tiny, five petalled flower. I used these drawings to design the pattern that can be found on my lampshades.
I continued to experiment with the colour and finish of the perspex, and the power and speed of the laser cutter. I tried using fluorescent and iridescent perspex for an interesting appearance, and adjusted the depth that the laser cutter cut into the perspex, so that the patterns catch the light just so. Using heat was a huge part of this project, and thermoforming the perspex was vital for the lampshades to come together. I wanted to create a variety of different designs, that reflect the idea of ‘blossoming’, so that each flower shade is at a different stage of bloom.
After sandblasting some attachment pieces, and fixing them into place, I was quite surprised just how much I liked the way they look, especially on the clear one. The matte finish gives another layer to the texture, and the partially cut flowers cast a shadow onto the semi opaque perspex, which I really like. I would like to create a separate light shade with this concept as the main focus, maybe using the imagery of the shadows of leaves on the ground.
I also find that this combination of shade and petal shape is attractive, as both of them are rounded, and both flick up.
I tried out the larger attachment pieces, but I found that it looks best with the spiky, smaller ones rather than the larger one, which overshadow the iridescent quality of the material, and I prefer it with an embellished attachment to having a plain one.
Some sketches of ideas of where my lampshades could be used. Top left is a dining room, with a blossoming flower lampshade acting as directed source of light, creating mood lighting for a romantic dinner. Below that, is a restaurant, with the open flower light shade casting a brighter light on each table, and creating a conversation starter. Top right is a living room, with the lampshades re-imagined as floor lamps; I would love to rework my lampshades into other forms of lighting, as they would all require their own unique types of attachment, since at the moment they are fixed by the top rather than the bottom. It would be an interesting challenge to take up. Bottom right is a series of changing rooms in a clothing boutique, creating a unique and fun atmosphere . I imagine that they would look good in somewhere like River Island, since they sometimes have quite adventurous interior designs.
I love the green version of the open blossoming flower as well; being able to see the bulb and the way it illuminates the material is really important to me. I think it might look more interesting if it had a pattern etched or sandblasted onto it, but the way it is now highlights the natural beauty of the material.