SHEFFIELD — Susan Schneider is throwin’ shade. Lampshade, that is.
For more than 25 years, the Manhattan native has been creating custom lampshades. The craft, however, was something she stumbled into.
In the 1990s, Schneider owned decorative arts and antiques store in Newburyport that had a large collection of vintage textiles. Oftentimes, she’d find decorative and unique lamp bases, but never a shade to complement it. Instead, she’d find what she refers to as “white boxes.”
“They were just ugly, ‘white boxes,’ with no style,” she said. “Lamps shouldn’t match a couch. They should be standalone art. White boxes doesn’t complete a look and lampshades should.”
Through the encouragement of a customer that created her own lampshades, Schneider let her creativity take the wheel and began crafting her own. Schneider’s innovation was further fueled when the customer decided to sell a barn full of lampshade-making equipment and take off for their winter home in the Caribbean.
Completely self-taught, she has experimented with various styles and treatments for lampshades, selling them through her business, Shandell’s. Early on, she created collages on lampshades from vintage wallpaper out of an 8-foot-by-10-foot bedroom. She’s also used grasscloth and linens for materials.
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