a little bit more about the maker...
The Lampshade School in Wiltshire, England, offers a range of professional lampshade making skills workshops. It is founded by Joanna Heptinstall.
Joanna trained in upholstery twenty three years ago and worked as an upholsterer for several years before setting up the Traditional Upholstery School, which now teaches professional AMUSF upholstery courses.
Along the way, she fell in love with lampshades. “The journey began when I spotted a very lovely but tatty shade in a shop window in Bath. It was part of the window display but I finally managed to persuade the owner to let me have it.
"I took it home and tried recover it. Back then there were no books, and no-one was teaching the skills, so I figured it out. It was a lot of trial and error. My upholstery training and my degree in fine art were invaluable. Eventually I got the hang of it…”
Since then Joanna has dedicated her passion for lampshade restoration to sharing her skills, reviving an almost-lost craft along the way. A new generation of lampshade makers have learned their skills through Joanna’s first book Sewing Lampshades. She has personally taught hundreds of people from around the world. Many of have gone on to set up their own lampshade making businesses.
“When not busy teaching and organising classes, lampshade making is what I do just for fun. I can be curious about a technique, so will fiddle and trial new methods, or I have found some fabric or a lovely shape I can’t resist working with.”
The Lampshade School is based in spacious workrooms in the Wiltshire countryside. From here Joanna offers one day classes and longer courses, one-to-one bespoke training and it’s also the home of her original Lesson in a Box learn from home kits.