Saturday, 6 June 2015

Ladies in lampshades: Cressida Bell workshop

And here are the ones we made...

A month or so ago, I took myself off to a workshop on decorating lampshades. Yes, I did want to decorate a lampshade, but I confess my motive was somewhat more base - sheer curiosity.
The Bloomsbury credentials of the artist and designer Cressida Bell are impeccable: she is the daughter of Quentin Bell and as a child spent holidays at Charleston, the Sussex home of her grandparents, Vanessa and Clive Bell. Virginia Woolf was her great-aunt. Her own art is certainly influenced by her background - she has written that "if Bloomsbury pastiche is called for I would prefer it to be me who does it" - yet she also has her own, highly decorative and individual style.

If the Bloomsbury aesthetic has been an influence on my own interior decor (see previous blog) then so too has Cressida's. Her book The Decorative Painter (1996), now sadly out of print, has inspired me to paint doors, walls, ceilings and furniture. (Given enough time, not an inch of my house would remain undecorated.)

Cressida Bells 'studio, with her own lampshade designs
(see her online shop, link above)

Above and following pictures, Cressida's studio

So the opportunity to meet a scion of the Woolf/Bell family was too good to miss, and it was a delightful day. Cressida herself was warm, funny and generous and her Hackney studio was inspiring in itself. The delicious lunch came with bottles of wine. And if we found ourselves a bit rushed getting our work finished in time, then the Charleston style had given us carte blanche to be somewhat slapdash. It was great fun. Just the sort of day, in fact, for putting a lampshade on your head to have your photograph taken.    

1 comment:

  1. I did laugh at you all wearing your lampshades! And what a fun workshop to do.