Tips on enjoying making decorations with natural materials.
Deciding on a Christmas theme for the gallery is always a delicious dilemma. This year a local ramble with Moss across the fields provided the answer with bunches of giant dead cow parsley - perfect for a loose ethereal arrangement when sprayed with gold.
Have a go yourself if you like natural materials at Christmas
Pick the cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) on a dry day and strip off any leaves so that the stems are clean. Cow parsley is quite brittle so be careful handling it. Keep the plants dry.
Trim the stalks as required.
Choose a still, dry day for spraying the plant with metallic spray paint - its amazing how far the spray travels so its advisable to remove any objects you don't want covered, use protective sheeting on the ground and wear old clothes and shoes. Or for smaller pieces a cardboard box makes a great temporary spray booth. We recommend wearing a mask over your nose and mouth to prevent inhalation of any noxious fumes. We use an environmentally friendly spray, but it still smells awful.
TIP - It is better to spray several thin layers of paint, letting them become touch dry between each coat, as the paint will then be less likely to flake off.
Let the plant dry thoroughly before arranging.
We'd love to see a photo of your results so please post them on our FACEBOOK page.
If you want to see our efforts then call by our gallery.
A chandelier, other wise referred to as a girandole or candelabra lamp, is a suspended ornamental light with multiple branches. The wealthy have been enjoying chandeliers since medieval times when rustic wooden structures with candles on spikes were de rigueur. Although rudimentary, these statement lights made imposing interior features in fourteenth century rooms. A mechanism for the frequent replacing of the candles was necessary, so a hoist incorporating ropes or chains was installed on a nearby wall.
BELOW: We spotted this magnificent crystal chandelier at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk
Through the centuries the chandelier has gradually metamorphosized into grander and more embellished lights with the use of more exotic and expensive materials being incorporated including precious metals and jewels. Synonymous with the rich and powerful these ornate lights found a wider appeal with the development of lead crystal in 1674. Its arrival transformed chandeliers as the material supported cheaper manufacture, whilst retaining a beguiling refraction of the light.
Today, the grand crystal chandelier is still in vogue but it now has numerous cousins, many who hark back to the light’s origins. Here are Utopia we enjoy playing with old ideas and manipulating antiques into something different, something unexpected, so of course over the years we have reinterpreted chandeliers in many ways. Our latest design harnesses pairs of antique hames into various configurations.
We create these chandeliers from pairs of horse hames - in single or double pairs in a range of styles (brass - Raw 55 pictured, wood & iron and painted steel) depending on the original antiques. Prices from £500.
Raw 55 Antique Brass Horse Hames Giant Chandelier
A unique and stunning giant chandelier/pendant light with contemporary character transformed by Utopia from two pairs of antique/vintage solid brass hames. The antiques are in great condition - they form the branching structures of the chandelier. Please note that the pairs are not identical but very similar.
Hames form the integral part of a heavy horse collar, usually made of metal and/or wood, they are often padded and with a leather casing. The collar is used to distribute weight around the horse's neck and shoulders when pulling a plough.
This striking light has been created using brass fittings including a large ceiling rose with 8 cable grips and a central hook for the chains, edison/screw lamp (bulb) holders, 4 brass ceiling hooks for the outer chains, welded brass link chain and old gold retro-style twisted cable. There is great flexibility with the height of this light as the chains and cable can be easily adjusted.
This light looks great with the modern retro-style LED filament that provides a great light at low cost, without any heat build up.
In these unpredictable times, we add to the craziness with some exciting news - we've changed how we price our lampshades and can now offer clients many at lower prices. Savings of up to £20 can be made.
The Classical Plain & Textured Shades Collection is now in 2 price bands which means that many of our most popular lines have been reduced in price.
Utopia's unique Classical Collection includes nearly 90 materials available from our interiors gallery including: plain linens, shiny metallics, textured hessians, smooth cottons, cork, parchments and a variety of vellums. On our website there is a special selection of these, all designed to enhance your lamp or room perfectly.
Classic Silver Lampshade |Handmade in Britain
Contemporary silver shade with silver solaris edging ribbon - handmade in Britain. This fashionable statement shade adds shine and reflective qualities to any interior scheme plus it adds a modern twist to older lamps. Available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Prices from £20
Classic Ivory/Brown Linen Lampshade |Handmade in Britain
Luxurious natural linen in neutral ivory or mid brown to beautifully coordinate with most interiors - handmade in Britain. Prices from £25
Classic Copper Lampshade |Handmade in Britain
Contemporary copper shade with copper solaris edging ribbon - handmade in Britain. This fashionable statement shade adds colour and reflective qualities to any interior scheme plus it adds a modern twist to older lamps. Prices from £20
Classic Gold Vellum Lampshade |Handmade in Britain
Our luxurious textured gold vellum shades, with gold solaris edging ribbon, make a glamorous statement that easily coordinates with most interior design schemes - handmade in Britain. This shade is a great compliment to our antique metal lamps. Prices from £25
We also now stock a full range of coolie shades at the gallery - these are a great contemporary shape but are not available in printed designs.
If you need a giant size shade then these are available to order and collect from the gallery.
British professional manufacturers with over 25 years experience make all our shades.
Only 100 shades are created from each design regardless of shape.
Every design includes the designer’s signature.
All designs are available in lamp or pendant fitting.
Each shade carries a bulb wattage recommendation label as standard.
All lampshades comply with BS EN 60598-2-2:2012 - the British Standard for Luminaries. All shades have passed the glow-wire test and are made from fire-retardant materials.
Each shade is wrapped in protective, clear cellophane and includes a trademark Utopia wooden label.
Other shade configurations, to those listed, can be arranged through placing a special order.
We recommend using low-energy/LED filaments with all our shades and lights.
Also many of our Limited Edition (100) Collectionof printed designs are lower too.