Throughout the process there is a constant conversation happening between the hand of the designer and the material being formed. Each product is designed to engage our attention and draw us into a space to encounter sensory experiences.
This conversation leads to a deepening of ones-self, a more personal engagement with the material and its final design, allowing for a new approach to quality, innovative design and simplicity, but still holds an international appeal without losing its local relevance and sentiments.
Handcrafted Ndebele Jewellery is known for its beauty and quality. Inspired by these beautiful beads with which men and women adorn themselves, I scrutinized the actual structure of the African beaded necklaces which led to the design of the Woven Necklace Lampshade.
I was inspired to use structural elements to design this lampshade. As wood is my main material, I tried reinterpreting this layering of flowing Ndebele bead work into a more fixed structure but not lose its African feel. The design incorporates traditional African bead colours black and white which create a strong contrast and statement in the design as well as other common favourites blue and yellow. These colours can be replaced with other custom tones that complement different interior colour palettes.
An African necklace is made up of spiralling rings. The lamp embodies this shape through the use of wooden rings, a representation of wholeness and timelessness. Each layer of the lampshade is adjustable to any required angle and when all layers are aligned, it can be easily flat packed for storage and packaging purposes.
The cognitive process of the necklace lampshade involved observation, experimentation, and conversation with my materials. While perceiving the prototype necklace lampshade from different perspectives, I chose to focus on the section of the patterning and used it to enhance the design. Through experimentation I found myself fusing craft and machine in the creation of the lampshade. I chose to use wax thread to weave in between the wooden rings creating a web-like or geometric patterning. As African crafted jewelry is made by hand so are the woven lampshades. The design of the lampshades encourages viewers to engage and explore the light through sight and tactile experiences.
Each ring of the lampshade fits within each other. The reason for this important element in the design is for shipping purposes and to reduce plastic and other packing materials, which can land up on dump sights, if not recycled. The lampshades are coated with a water-based varnish which is eco-friendly and we reuse wax thread where we can in the weaving of the lampshade as well as in our packaging and labelling.
The Woven Necklace Lampshade has inspired a range of other products in the Modern Gesture range as well as finding new ways to use our off-cuts of wood to inspire new products. What I like about this design is that one is able to adjust the rings of the lampshade to any required angle. In that way the customer in their own way becomes the stylist of their own unique light piece.