Millinery Details in Lampshades

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Sometimes it can be challenging to find an application for the hat-making materials I have been collecting for years. Lets face it we are more concerned with the dress than what goes on the head these days. There once was a time when a woman would have 10 hats for every dress, back when the little black dress was discovered. That simple silhouette was just the thing to show off any new hat. While we are still fascinated with the idea of hats, how sad is it that few of us are daring enough to actually wear one on a regular basis.

So why not use the details in vintage millinery in our everyday lives, albeit not on our heads?  The delicate flowers, silk netting and ribbons are too fragile to put just anywhere without getting damaged. I have worn perfect dangling cherries dripping from a millinery flower, only to notice at the end of the day that just their stems survived on my pin. Pillows are a consideration, but only for looks. It is exhausting to constantly keep sitters at bay trying to protect the embellishments on the cushions. So hmmmmm, I thought why not lampshades?  They are not meant to be brushed up against or sat on, lampshades exists to filter light and to be gazed at. How perfect!  


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This is one of a pair that I made by first covering the plain shade with green silk. Then trimming with green straw braid, green silk netting and the same shiny millinery berries just like the lovely green berries that were destroyed on my pin.


Just last week we hung the large suspended petticoat shade, adorned with millinery flowers in the window in front of a paper curtain.

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The shades have been so much fun that some classes were even taught in the shop about embellishing lampshades.

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(Shhhhhhh....  Don't tell anyone but we are building a brand new classroom studio, opening this fall! Yipeeee!)

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Sometimes I get commissioned to create custom shades. This pair was brought to me to create something straight out of a "Mid-Summer Nights Dream". So while watching Michelle Pfeiffer and Kevin Kline, these happened.

I even use vintage millinery flowers on shades in my own home. Usually as an accent on pulled back drapes but they can be found simply attached around the perimeter of this large linen shade.

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By adding millinery trimmings to lampshades, we can still enjoy the "idea" of hats while embellishing our homes, and keeping the trims safe from harm.  Maybe someday we will have the confidence to wear them on our heads again. Hats, that is, not lampshades, that's a subject for another post...

Michelle Jorgensen
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