• Jo Jones

Turtles and Lampshades

The environment is rightly a hot topic, it's certainly one my children talk about a lot, every time they put plastic in a bin they say 'I helped save a turtle'! There's no escaping the damage the human race is currently doing to our planet with our endless desire for the latest material possessions and an apparent need to have everything instantly.


As a maker of a product I realise that I too am creating 'stuff', but I do so always with my carbon footprint in mind



Whilst customers often provide their own

fabric, all the fabrics that I actually stock are remnants sourced from a variety of fabric shops, interior designers and eBay. They include designer silks that retail at up to £100 per metre, all of them would otherwise end up in landfill. Consequently I don't mass produce any designs, which helps keep my creative life interesting, and means your lampshade is unlikely to be found anywhere else. It also means those expensive silks are bargains, so customers can have luxury end products at an affordable price.


You know those ribbon loops you get in new tops and jumpers, the ones that are really annoying when they sneak out? Well I snip them out and use them to tie the legally required maximum wattage tags on to the lampshades.


And then there's plastic, I can't escape the fact that rigid lampshade lining is made from PVC. I now only use pre-cut sheets, but when I first set up the business I did try cutting my own. As a consequence, for nearly 5 years, I've had rolls of lampshade lining offcuts in my spare room! I've now put it to good use making mini-lampshade fairy lights, so as little as possible is wasted. To cover the mini shades I've used the offcuts from the remnant fabrics I've used to make lampshades and, in some cases, dresses that my mother and I made back in the 1980s, in a world before Primark when it was the done thing to make your own clothes.


Lampshades are often large and always fragile, posting them can be a perilous business. Abundant packaging is a necessity, but I reuse good quality boxes, bubble wrap and paper. It does make it more likely your lampshade will arrive in a wine box than a plain brand new one, and sadly no that doesn't mean it comes with a bottle of wine. The bubble wrap and tissue paper might not be uniform in style, but it's come from a variety of sources, including the stuffing from shoe boxes, and the bubble wrap that a certain supermarket insists on wrapping its apples in. All this packaging comes from neighbours and friends, I'm often given rolls of bubble wrap at the school gate, but it stops it going in the wheelie bin and being sent to Malaysia to be recycled/dumped. It does mean that my parcels aren't as pretty as some but the lampshades arrive safely, the purpose is served.



You should get years of use from a lampshade, especially if you use low energy lightbulbs, so even when you switch on your light you are encouraged to do so environmentally.


I realise that I am a teeny weeny fish in a vast ocean of suppliers, but it shows that if we look around us there are ways we can all very easily play our part in what we do to our planet and do our little bit to help those turtles.



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© 2015 by Jo Jones Creative.  Original photography by Sam Stopford