Lampshade – An Experiment

At the beginning of April I decided to quit smoking…. now, lots of you probably didn’t know I smoked, because I kept it pretty darned secret.  Some of you may know that I used to smoke, because I did and then I quit for a LONG time and then the pandemic approached and the world fell apart and my desire to have a good solid crutch overcame my desire to feel good about my choices and there I was.  

April 12th I did an online Allen Carr seminar to quit smoking the easy way.  This sounds crazy town and I totally get the eyerolls that are going on and yet here I am.  It’s been three weeks and I’m not sure I would call it easy (the modification of ingrained behaviors that you do 20 or so times a day is never easy). but it was not as hard as the would wants us to believe.

During that time I just went quiet on all the socials, I wasn’t in the studio much (painting and smoking have a strong relationship for me … I don’t smoke inside but I do take painting breaks and photos where I mull my progress while I smoke outside) and I found myself with this lamp and some kind of curiosity about how I might decorate such a thing.

This is how it started.  Sharpie on fabric.  A good healthy doodling session.  Now, when I actually held it up to the light I ran into some pretty solid issues with the black simply disappearing… the medium was too translucent.  So I tried an acrylic marker … still no good.  I decided to add some color and just see what I thought after that point.

Enter the Dr. Phil’s India Inks!

The inks were watery and out of control and terrifyingly beautiful.  They did their own thing and I was, quite simply, a conduit for all of it.  But I did still have an issue with the transparency of the whole thing when actually lit from within.

My solution was a very sloppy application of acrylic paint on the INSIDE of the shade.  You’ll note, the inside is that strange lampshade paper as opposed to just the fabric – which is what made this work.  It’s OOGLY in there and I will likely do it a tiny bit more carefully on the next one but this seems a solid move for a first go.  I did all of the black areas but I also did the areas I’d left without color.  My goal was to have the light come through ONLY the areas colored with the india ink.

My only remaining complaint was that the black on the outside wasn’t as strong as I’d like, so I went over that with acrylic paint as well.

There’s areas I likely could have covered more thoroughly, but there’s also something very appealing about the organic nature of it all.

Lastly, I installed a colored LED bulb and have been having a gay old time deciding which color really makes it pop.  Today, it’s blue.

And that is the story of how I have reinforced my love of functional art … art you touch and live with and smile at on the regular .. and how I quit smoking.  A boon all around!

I’ve two larger fabric shades from Goodwill and three little wee chandelier shades (also from Goodwill) that I’m working on now.  This may be a thing for a bit, my exploring ways to bring art into homes without the pomp of display.  Art that just lives with you.

Sending you all my love and gratitude for your patience while I sort myself out.  Sometimes I do just disappear for a bit.  It’s my way and I am endlessly appreciative of the people in my life who give me the space to do such a thing.

Love you all!


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