Maker’s Dozen: Alice Palmer of Alice Palmer & Co
When you have something beautiful at home (or spot it out in the wild at a hotel or restaurant), it’s only natural to be a little curious about the story behind it and how it’s made. Sure, great design is great. But great designers, truly talented makers are even more interesting. After all, there’s no art without artists.
If you’ve spent any time on Instagram lately, we can bet you’ve spied one of Alice Palmer’s charming lampshades. It seems like everyone and their mother is scrambling to adorn every light and lampshade in their house with one of her sweet pleated shades.
Lighting has always played a big part in Alice’s life. Restauranteurs by trade, her parents instilled the importance of good lighting in Alice. She learned how mood lighting is key for creating ambience in a space and came to love the way low lighting made everyone look just a little bit better. When it came time to do up her own house, she simply had to have as many lamps and lampshades as possible.
As she worked through her renovation and decoration at home, Alice looked high and low for the perfect lampshade. Everything she came across was either too generic, mass-produced or felt like highway robbery. Always a fan of soft shade covers, Alice decided to take matters into her own hands (quite literally) to create the beautiful fabric shades she couldn’t find in the market. With friends popping by for a visit and inevitably falling in love with her handiwork, it was only a matter of time before she decided to really pursue Alice Palmer & Co.
I’ve always loved the softer light a loose lampshade cover brings to a room, so I gave it a go and started making them myself.
Uniqueness is essential for Alice. Though she initially sourced vintage and off-cut fabrics for her shades, she’s now designing her own fabrics. She loves to create pieces that are really special – block printing, screen printing and embroidering them in India – and dreams up fabrics that complement her designs. Anything and everything inspires her, from artwork to flora and fauna, so long as it catches the eye and leaves a lasting impression.
During the first year of production, Alice hand sewed every piece herself in her kitchen. Every nook and cranny at Alice’s home was sheltering a shade or two. These days, however, Alice works alongside a team of talented seamstresses, who create her signature box pleats by hand, top-notch ceramicists and fabric makers and a supportive intern. And that box pleat is actually far fiddlier than it looks, as it must sit perfectly on the lamp, so cobbling together a team of seamstresses who measure up was definitely a challenge.
Creating new playful shades is a true joy for Alice and her team. Seeing them take their rightful place in her clients’ spaces is what the team lives for. Their soft, slightly bohemian shades really make a room cosy. And, as far as Alice is concerned, you can never have too many – or too mismatched – shades.