Amanda Wells, Amanda Wells Lampshades
Amanda remembers her younger self flicking through pattern books at well-known Edinburgh furniture maker Whytock & Reid, of which her grandfather was an owner. “I loved going there, walking down the long corridors, looking at the furniture and fabrics. Those memories are ingrained”, she says. Though she wasn’t sewing back then - she remembers her mum trying to teach her how to use a sewing machine over the phone, when she was 22, here’s how you thread the bobbin, and so on. Hard to imagine today, in an era of YouTube. It was moving into a freezing old rectory with her husband that kickstarted it. “The house needed thick, quilted curtains to keep out the draught which we couldn’t afford so I decided to make them”, she says. Her love of fabrics reawakened, she had soon enrolled on a soft furnishings course and was working for a high-end furnishings company in Essex. When baby number one came along and she set up on her own making curtains, cushions and so on.
Then lockdown hit and with it came time for reflection. “I wanted to do something more creative, as with curtains, clients tended to buy their fabric online and know exactly which style they wanted.” So, she took herself off to Brighton to do a 5-day course in lampshade making. Since then, the family has moved up to East Lothian and Amanda is throwing herself full-throttle into the lampshades. She’s just done a six-week sustainability course which will help inform the decisions she makes around her work. As well as creating her own collection she loves restoring old shades to their former glory. A recent job saw her remaking a shade for a customer’s old Whytock & Reid lamp, which is surely life coming full circle.