Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
Hello. My name is Natalia Price-Cabrera and I am the founder of Mols & Tati-Lois, purveyor of hand-tailored lampshades and upstyled furniture (www.molsandtatilois.com). I have always been a 'maker' since an early age and studied Textiles & Fashion, followed by History of Art at university before pursuing a career in illustrated book publishing for going on 20 years now. Three years ago I discovered traditional lampshade making and have been hooked ever since. I create bold, contemporary soft-sided lampshades using a combination of vintage and modern fabrics, to create truly unique lighting statements for the home. All my lampshades are made using traditional techniques. 'Handmade Lampshades' is my second book. I am also author and curator of the hugely successful 'The Wallpaper Colouring Book', published by Octopus.
Tell us a bit about the book?
The book is a celebration of the humble lampshade! It is a sumptuous collection of 16 practical making tutorials of all different types of lampshade-making techniques. It covers simple drum shade; double-sided drum; coolie; double-panelled soft-sided shade; multi-panelled soft-sided shade; dip-dyed ombre effect shade; hand-stitched individual panelled shades; pleated shade; swathed shade; and there is a lamp base overhaul project too. The projects are all graded in terms of difficulty, so you can build up your skill base as you work through the book. Also covered are all the basic techniques generic to making lampshades such as binding the frame; hand stitching material to the frame; making a balloon lining; making gimbals. You will also learn about the anatomy of a lampshade so you are well versed in terminology used. And in chapter 3 I bring together the work of 12 leading lampshade designer-makers in a series of illustrated interviews to show you the scope of what can be achieved in the world of lampshade making. The book is bursting with inspirational text and images, and will no doubt become a go-to reference book for many years to come.
What was the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration is simple... My mission was to produce the book I was looking for when I started out making lampshades. Sadly, there was very little in the way of useful books when I began my lampshade-making journey. Books were from the 1950s, 1960s and 1980s and lacked visual interest, which struck me as strange as lampshades are a very visual thing. I wanted to show what an exciting area of making this is and how gloriously visual and colourful lampshades can be, while still imparting all the technical information you need to know to do it successfully.
Which is your favourite project?
It would have to be Flaming Juno, the orange taffeta swathed lampshade with turquoise feather trim! It's completely over the top and stunning. It really does look amazing in the flesh.
What is your craft space like?
I have a workroom upstairs, which is one of the guest rooms converted. I have about four sewing machines (mostly vintage Singers, which are so beautiful). A huge shelving system covers one wall. On this I store all my fabrics, folded and colour coordinated as much as possible so I can easily see how fabrics might work together. I also have hundreds of reference books and knick knacks as I am a complete magpie and loads of disparate things inspire my work. I keep trims in transparent bags, again colour coordinated so I can see what I have at a glance. And beads, buttons, and other embellishments are all stored in a mismatched collection of glass pots and jars. I tend to do most of my writing downstairs though in the office. My partner is the writer and photographer Chris Gatcum, so we have a large office with wall-to-wall desks and Macs. It is a gloriously light room and very conducive to tapping away for hours on the computer!
Have you always been creative?
Yes. From as early as I can remember I was always making. My parents once bought me a very expensive Swiss doll's house for Christmas and I spent most of the Christmas holiday making my own one out of the box it came in. I was definitely much more confident 'making' as a child than I was pursuing the more traditional academic subjects. I excelled at life drawing when I was at school and spent most of time in the art department! And at home I always customised my own personal space. I have always been very much into curating spaces in the home.
When did you first start crafting?
I vividly remember making a series of rooms for my Cindy dolls, together with a campervan, and cars out of shoe boxes. They were meticulously done and the detail was incredible considering how young I was. The interiors were furnished and decorated with soft furnishings too. I also made my Mum a ragdoll, which she still has today! It must be coming on 40!
Who are your crafty heroes?
Gosh there are so many... I am a huge fan of Kirstie Allsopp and all she champions. I absolutely love the work of Squint Limited and Mineheart (both featured in the book). I love Pearl Lowe's vintage craft book. Crochet queen Nicki Trench is an inspiration. I am fairly new to crochet and have done one workshop with Nicki and am doing a second in November. She is amazing. 'Design Bloggers at Home' by Ellie Tennant. Kevin McCloud is a bit of a genius. 'Decorating with Style' by Abigail Ahern. Ali and Paul of Timorous Beasties are beyond talented. Books by Deborah Needleman. Bright Bazaar/Will Taylor. Embroidery by Remnant Black. Designer Kerrie Brown. Laura Oakes. Tracy Porter is a hero. The Stuff of Life by Hilary Robertson. English Eccentric by Ros Byam Shaw. Zoe Darlington's lampshades are truly stunning.
Where do you find inspiration?
Vintage markets. The tip! Charity shops. Exhibitions. The Alexander McQueen exh at the V&A was extraordinary. Films. I am a complete film nerd. Costume design. Fashion design. Popular culture. Magazines. I keep scrapbooks with cuttings made into moodboards. Kaffe Fassett. Miss Aniela. Jo Hall of Bazaar Fairtrade. Hans Blomquist. Deborah Bowness. Peter Greenaway. Sibella Court. Travel. Dorothy Draper's work at the Greenbrier.
What's next for you?
I have lots of plans. There are several new writing projects in the pipeline so watch this space. I have also recently started a blog called The Maximalist (themaximalist.co) aimed at people who love an abundance of colour and stuff in their lives! I have great plans for this, but can't divulge at the moment as it's all very much in its nascent stages at the moment. And to finish renovating our home! It's only taken us three years!
This book is bursting with inspirational images, tips and ideas. Sixteen contemporary projects are covered in useful step-by-step tutorials. There is a detailed chapter dedicated solely to the different techniques you will need to know in order to make a fabric lampshade for yourself--techniques such as creating a soft-sided lampshade using just hand stitching, or hand stitching and glue, machine stitching, using laminated PVC to create a drum lampshade, pleating, and creating balloon linings. At the end of the book there is a hugely useful resources section and a visual feast for the eyes: several pages of nothing but beautiful lampshade. Read on, learn how, and let your imagination run wild.