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Eileen's History

Originally from Manchester, I moved to Nottingham in 1985. I come from a long ancestral line of dancers, performers and artists.

Over the years I have been involved in directing, producing and performing in community arts festivals and shows, enjoying the challenge of using my artistic talent and imagination.

I have long been interested in forms of shelter, ancient, modern and universal, such as tipis, yurts, tents and wooden building frames. As children, my sisters and I used to make dens out of twigs, poles and woven grass for the walls, having been inspired by the "wattle and daub" method of wall construction.

I also worked as a housing professional for many years, in Nottingham and Manchester. This gave me the opportunity to visit many building sites, seeing houses under construction in their raw forms, with different types of timber framework.  

I have many childhood memories of holidays in remote cottages or tents, and returning to them at night to see them illuminated from afar. This experience was always breathtaking for me for some reason, something about being connected with the universal themes of being drawn towards the light, and moving from darkness into the light.  

Tapping into these early, deep memories, and a series of more recent life-changing experiences, I began making illuminated tipis in 1997.

 

About my work

I started making tipi lamps and lighting sculptures to decorate and illuminate various corners in my house, and it grew from there to making lamps for friends, then commissions and exhibiting.

I work in a way which is intuitive, spiritual and empirical. I scavenge, am given or buy from charity shops and car boot sales, using recycled materials as much as possible.

I collect anything which appeals to me because of the shape, colour, or its potential. I may keep something for years, then I have a sudden spark of inspiration when making a piece, and find I need just the thing I've got. I call this sudden spark the WOW-feeling, and if I wait for my inner spiritual guidance in this way, I know that whatever I make will be just right, as I have waited for the right timing.

Light has a special appeal to me, and my aim is to make lamps and lighting sculptures which create atmosphere and evoke wonder. I particularly like using materials which sparkle or glitter, such as metallic thread, curling ribbon, beads, mirrors......so that a lamp can also catch the natural light, and shine, even when it is switched off.

I have many skills which I   use, particularly dressmaking, kite-making and "wild ideas". I have built up a varied collection of wood and driftwood and a huge collection of beads, feathers, metallic thread, sequins, wire and ribbon. A love of textiles and fabric of many types means that I also have a fantastic collection   to dip into. My favourites are organza, netting and voile, and the vibrant range of Asian clothes with mirrorwork, beads, sequins and metallic thread.

Other inspirations include a love of nature and the elements, islands and the sea, dreams and meditation, and the part that synchronicity plays in my work.

Prices for table lamps and lighting sculptures start at £50. Floor lamps start at £300 Tipi lamps have been approved by the Lighting Association , and carry the CE mark. Each one is fitted with a brass lampholder and appropriate light bulb for the piece.

You can commission me to make a lamp or sculpture out of your favourite fabric. Previous commissions have been made using:

~ a wedding dress

~ a child's comfort pillow, which was almost threadbare

~Jameson whiskey labels, plus a few drops of whiskey in the stiffening solution!