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Sarah Walker

Using the traditional technique of reverse appliqué in a contemporary way, Sarah creates half-shades and drum shades from plant-fibre papers and reclaimed OS maps.  She layers a variety of papers, stitches her own designs into them with a sewing machine, then uses small embroidery scissors to cut away layers of paper between the stitched lines to bring the design to life.

Sarah Walker ArtShades was launched in 1999 specialising in half-shades, a shape that was very hard to find despite its immense practicality.  Inspired by the play of light and depth of colour in stained glass windows, Sarah used the technique of reverse appliqué to recreate the effect in colourful plant-fibre papers.

Since then Sarah has developed a complete range of lamps and lampshades, incorporating her signature half-shades for table lamps and wall lights, and full drum shades for table lamps, ceiling pendants and floor lamps.  Her work is greatly admired for the confident use of colour and the unusual surface textures created by the stitched and cut-away patterns.  Much of her work is custom-made to order in colours to suit a customer’s own room scheme and she enjoys developing new designs which inspire their choice.

In 2008 she added a new collection of lampshades created from vintage maps, which have proved very popular as personalised gifts.

Sarah makes all the shades herself from her home studio at the foot of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire.   The half shades are hand-stitched to a bespoke curvilinear frame, while the drum shades have hand-rolled edges.  She collaborates with fellow craftsmen to offer a selection of beautiful lampbases to complement her stylish lampshades.  In 2013 she also started pairing her shades with interesting vintage bases.

Many of her patterns are inspired by her surroundings, so stylized birds, leaves and flower forms taken from her woodland garden often feature in her work.

Sarah is a member of the Worcestershire Guild of Designer Craftsmen and exhibits with them at the RHS Spring Garden Show in Malvern every year and often at the Guild Christmas show.   She also has work in local galleries.

To see behind the scenes of her studio, including her current inspiration and ideas, visit Sarah’s blog, where you’ll also find information on her forthcoming shows and exhibitions.

She also has a comprehensive website with an online shop and a clear system for commissioning bespoke shades:

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After very many years of craft&design we've decided that we'd like to retire and so in 7 days we will close the craft&design website, including craft&design Online and the craft&design Selected Makers and Craft and Design Month websites. We've had a brilliant 35 years and would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, writers, contributors and website visitors for their support throughout that time. Our very best wishes to you all for the future - Angie and Paul.