Cut and Pierced Lampshades evolved over the centuries as candles and oil lamps were covered to soften their brilliance or to protect them from wind. Tin and copper were most often used as they were easy to pierce and to clip so that light could shine through. Metal shades were popular for a long time. Paul Revere's lamp had such a shade, I'm told, as he galloped through the night. In the home, metal shades were refined and beautified, and other materials were experimented with. Paper shades became popular and imparted gracefulness and loveliness to the glare of the oil lamps. This continued, of course, when electricity became the norm. Today, cut and pierced lampshades are found mostly in shops and homes in New England, along the East Coast and in the Midwest.

You can see Charlotte's work at Avenue West Gallery in Spokane, Wa


About Charlotte

   Lamps and lampshades have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Philadelphia where my mother, along with other neighbors, was recruited by a local woman entrepreneur who owned a lampshade business. She taught them all the intricacies of creating unique and beautiful lampshades, and then paid them piecemeal for their work. Fifty years ago my mother created a small business in her home. I always knew the extra bedroom in our home as the lampshade room.  When I came home from school I knew where to find my mother.  She would be cutting out a design or gluing seams, and I would sit nearby and tell her about my school day hardly paying any attention at all.  Little did I realize that I was absorbing it all in and learning as I watched.  Once in a while my mother would enlist me to cut out the size patterns, admonishing me all the while to keep to the lines and not let the paper slip. Often she would have me do some simple punchwork (which we called "pin-pricking"), filling in entire areas of some design (an eagle comes to mind) and the punches could not be too close together and absolutely never touch.

  The years went by and my mother became an artist in her craft, selling her beautiful work to antique shops up and down the Atlantic coast. I went on to college and became a high school teacher, married soon after, and then along came the kids. I was at home with our children and loved being there but soon felt I could contribute more. So, I tried making a lampshade, and it all came back to me. I made more and more and with my mother's guidance began to create some quality shades, adding my own ideas to her repertoire. My mother is now gone, the business is mine, and it gives me immense pleasure to continue such a unique artistic craft through another generation.