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Friday, November 27, 2009

Lampshades by Gwen Thomas of Tempe Arizona

I'm not the only one who thinks making lampshades is fun. Look at all these wonderfully artful shades Gwen has done. I found this article in the Arizona Republic...
http://www.azcentral.com/ent/arts/articles/1130lamps30.html and copied it here too.

Lampshades spawn bright idea for hobby
Geri KoeppelThe Arizona RepublicNov. 30, 2005 12:00 AM
Talk about a bright idea.

Gwen Thomas of Tempe turned a shabby shade into a hip hobby, transforming plain-Jane lampshades into works of art. She displays her wares at Occam's Edge gallery at First Fridays art walks in Phoenix.

It started with an old shade with the outer paper peeling off. Thomas stripped it down to the plastic and tried to paint it, but the paint wouldn't stick.

Recalling a time in Girl Scouts when she applied decoupage to an old wooden bowl, the light bulb went off - so to speak.

"After I layered it and flicked the light on, I was like, 'Whoa, what's going on?' " she said, "and it's made me crazy ever since."

Thomas uses clip art, old photos, vintage magazines and postcards, sequins, lace, beads, feathers and googly eyes to decorate shades and night light covers. Clients can even give her their own art or photos for custom orders, and she proves it by showcasing a shade with an old studio portrait of her own family.

"My niece asked if that was really her mom," Thomas said, laughing. "She asked, 'What was wrong with her hair?' I said, 'It was 1977.' "

Thomas, who also works as a hair stylist at Salon Bossa Nova in Tempe, is a snip off the old block, you might say. The gallery where she exhibits is her dad's barbershop. He's an artist, too, and he won't let just anyone have a show in his space.

"You could see it had a lot of design in it," Ron Thomas said of the lampshades. "The colors worked - warm against cool, light against dark, the shapes."

He said Gwen took art classes in the past and helped him decorate windows for the holidays when she was in high school, but "never found her thing" until the shades.
Nancy Grimm of Tempe is one of Gwen Thomas' hair clients and also bought a lamp from her.
"They're just very whimsical and clever," she said. "She's obviously not copying anyone else's ideas.

"If you've ever been to those craft shows that crop up every year, you can just walk and walk and walk until your feet are ready to fall off and you see the same thing over and over again. I've never seen anything like Gwen's."

If you are in Arizona, check out her shades!

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