Here’s our next entry for our exciting #meetthemaker month – Lush Designs and their fabulous lampshades. The designers, Marie Rodgers and Maria Livings, create incredibly detailed, fun and original work which is guaranteed to make you smile every time you see it. Their pieces have been a staple at iapetus for years and our customers absolutely love them!
Marie and Maria met when studying painting and printmaking at Maidstone Art College. They then evolved Lush Designs whilst working in the theatre and community arts after moving to South East London. Lush make many of their products at their in-house studio at Cockpit Arts in Deptford. Their range of quirky lampshades, cushions, mugs, prints and more have been a firm favourite of iapetus customers for many years and never fail to raise a smile.
What is the best thing about working with someone else when designing?
One of the best things is sharing the responsibility. If something doesn’t work or if times are tough it’s a joint problem. Equally we can share the good times, and make each other laugh. I’m somewhat of a fantasist, and Marie’s down to earth, practical approach is necessary to prevent financial follies. On the other hand, Marie is a very funny person; so she can make even the most difficult problems seem amusing. We share ideas and bounce them off each other. I’m more interested in the technical side of design and manufacture and Marie is better at the commercial side of the business.
Lush’s print designs are incredibly detailed, bold and come in a numerous range of products. How do you make your prints so transferable to multiple products but retain that unique, individual, hand-crafted quality?
It’s a combination of two things. We start off with drawing, and this is where our Fine Art and printmaking background comes in. Many of our products are screen printed, and it’s important to know the nuts and bolts of how printing works in order to play to its strengths. Every product is technically different. The lampshades, for instance, are printed in a way that means the colours can overlap and it’s possible to exploit the opacity or transparency of the ink and the colours created by in this way. We do all our own repeats and colour-separations and mix the colours with the printers whenever we can. Other kinds of printing have different properties and its important to understand exactly what these are so you can work together with your manufacturer and create exactly what you want.
A lot of your work features animals or outdoor scenes. This is a bit of a fun (silly) question but if you were an animal, what animal would you be?
If I were an animal I would definitely be a bird, a robin or a blackbird. I’d love to be able to fly, sit in the branches of a tree and sing. Marie would be a cat. She’s clever, knows her own mind and can get anyone to do what she wants them to.
You’re based in South East London, do you get inspired by the local community and culture?
We’re definitely inspired by our own locality. The Back Gardens design is based on the gardens of Charlton where Marie lives. Come to think of it we reference parks and gardens a lot in Lush Designs. Occasionally we hark back to our childhood homes as in our Landscape shade which echoes the hills of home. Greenwich Park, in South East London, the tall ships on the river in Deptford and other local scenes have found their way into our work. Sometimes we escape into a storybook world with fantastical jungles and imaginary creatures, but these stories often have a root in our own lives and I think they resonate in some familiar way with our customers too judging by their comments.
What are your personal favourite Lush Designs pieces?
One of our favourite Lush Designs pieces would be the Landscape shade. It works well on so many levels. It reminds people of all kinds of places, from Provence to Yorkshire. In fact Marie did the drawing to express nostalgia for the hills of the Irish countryside. The colours are particularly rich on this shade which we both enjoy because we’re mad about colour.One of the other pieces we’re quite pleased with is the Bee Grandad mug. It has a picture of my Dad on it. He never kept bees (although my Nana did) but I’m sure he would have loved to if he’d had a big enough garden. He was a bit of a hunter-gatherer manqué and it’s from him I inherited my love of nature and all things artisan. I think the detail on this design is rather pretty and it shows off the quality of the gold lustre which the Staffordshire pottery does so well.
We always have a fantastic range of Lush’s collection!
… let us know what you think of Lush Designs’ fabulous work by leaving a comment below, and stay tuned for future posts on more of our wonderful artists.