Behind the scenes at Fiona Bradshaw Designs

Welcome to my first newsletter from my lovely new website. I thought I’d tell you a bit about the process that goes on behind the scenes to produce one of my unique, sustainable lighting designs.

The journey starts with early Sunday morning searches for hidden treasure at boot fairs or garage sales. Never knowing what I might find is part of the thrill, and depending on what I do find, this determines what I make.

I am inspired by the Art Deco period, the celebratory nature of it. The elegance of the materials used, the colour and style, the geometric shapes and symmetrical forms. It has a wonderful sense of nostalgia, yet also quite contemporary. The traces of time that are peeled pack when restoring objects from this time is fascinating. Appreciating this and reimagining it a little is at the heart of what I do, and of course, rescuing and rejuvenating objects from the past that would otherwise disappear is vital for my sustainable business model.

One of the main practical challenges in the design process is feeding electrical cable through  unorthodox objects. Sometimes it feels a bit like trying to thread rope through the eye of a needle. But, I get there in the end, with perseverance and patience. I love the challenge and the outcomes are more often than not rewarding. Deciding on what cable, what type of switch, which bulb holder, whether to use a shade or a filament bulb are all important practical and aesthetic decisions that need to be got right. Making sure the lamp is safe is paramount. I am a qualified PAT tester, so I can test and approve my lamps and make sure they go off to their new homes safely.

The next step in the process is photographing the finished lamp. Producing light, focused and beautiful photos is vital, and a bit of styling too, to give a sense of scale and inspiration. When listing my products online, it’s important to describe the piece, give a little history, how it was made, what kind of ambience it creates and it’s functionality.

The thrill of a sale is the next stage. That never dwindles. It always makes me very happy to think my lamps are going off to new homes to be cherished. So delivery is a very important part of the journey. Where possible, I try to deliver the larger items myself. I love to meet the customer, see their homes and make sure their new purchase arrives safely. For smaller items, I pack them up safe and sound, using sustainable materials and send them with tracking and insurance. They are all unique, so I don’t want any mishaps, and keeping my customers well informed about the timeline of their delivery is very important to me.

One of the nicest parts of the process is when I receive feedback from my customers. It’s hugely satisfying to hear their reactions and to see their lamps in situ. It’s the start of a new chapter and a conclusion to the unique story that lies within each of my lamps. Why not make one part of yours ? Thanks for reading.