Here is a thing that crafters know about lampshades: We can craft on them.
Here is a thing that artists may not know about lampshades: We can make art on them. Take a look at this mixed media piece I started two or three years ago when Sarah was coming to my house for the first time.
Well, okay, first you might need this tiny bit of background. Whenever anyone from out of town comes to my house for the first time, I have to do something to make the house spiffy. I can’t plan ahead, though, so I do something to make the house spiffy AT THE ABSOLUTE LAST SECOND. We had guests last week, so naturally, I needed to hang three new ATCs. I was in the midst of putting the hammer away when they pulled into the drive.
Back when Sarah was coming to my house for the first time, I got obsessed with the lampshade in my bedroom, which was an inoffensive but boring off-white number with accordion-style folds that Sarah almost certainly would never have noticed. Instead of recognizing that, however, I behaved as though she were going to see the lampshade, throw her coffee in my face, and drive straight back to New York while posting on Facebook about assholes with bad lightbulb coverings. Seriously. That morning, I raced off to Target, spent 25 minutes pacing up and down the lampshade aisle, settled on a lampshade that I thought I could alter, and rushed home to get to work.
Back at home, I used black fabric paint to create a border:
Before she pulled up, I even managed to get down a coat of gel medium and some text pages, followed by three anatomical images.
Aaaaaaan . . . that’s as far as it got. Yes, it’s true: I made a totally incomplete mixed media piece because of some irrational compulsion I have to do Stupid Pet Tricks with my house. That lampshade stayed in that condition, by the way, from the day Sarah got here until Tuesday of this week, looking just as incomplete and weird as it did back then. (Thank you, Living with Art, for getting me moving again!)
I wish I could show you a bunch of awesome progress pics, but I was having so much fun that I forgot that part. Here’s one shot featuring a copy of an organ transportation label that I got from a Canadian nurse:
Since the lampshade sits by our bed, I decided to make this mixed media piece all about our relationship, which is (I confess) a very mushy, gushy affair. I turned the Eyes label into a sort of rainbow, and I plastered the piece with hearts. And I’m really not a heart person!
I used my new Colorbox sprays on this, and I love them!
At this point, I thought I was finished, so I trotted the lampshade into the bedroom so you could see what it looked like in use:
See how the paint looks splotchy on top? Yeah, that’s where I tried to cheat and use regular black paint instead of black fabric paint.
Looking at the lampshade in the comfort of its surroundings, however, I decided that the neutral background was not going to work. No, no.
Back to the table I went, where I mixed up a warm orangey-yellow:
The yellow looks great with the glow of the bulb underneath it, and the lampshade commands attention, even from far away.
Now I have a piece of my own original artwork in my bedroom, and I didn’t need an inch of wall space or even a canvas to do it! Hey Sarah, how do you like my lampshade?