“What I love about making shades is it allows me to express a mood,” reflects Jil Smith, owner of Insatiable Studios. “It’s all about joy and play.” While creating a project, she muses about what will wake up a room or fulfill a desire—she sometimes pretends she’s the client, envisioning what will suit her imagined lifestyle. For inspiration, Smith keeps a file of captivating images, collected on travels about town and throughout the world.
Every shade is meticulously handmade using refined papier-mâché process. Smith wraps bands of white kinwashi, Japanese rice paper, around a metal frame made to her specifications, drying each translucent strip before placing the next. After carefully applying four layers, she finishes with papers gathered from around the globe in a myriad of colors, hand cut into intriguing shapes. The resulting one-of-a-kind piece appears ethereal, yet is surprisingly durable.
After graduating from Pratt Institute, N.Y.C., Smith became a scenic designer but found it physically toxic. She arrived at lampshades through her fascination with color, pattern, and proportion, and a desire for thoughtful, sustainable work. In Seattle, her art is on view in the Dahlia Lounge, PCC, Fleurish, The Canlis Restaurant and Callison Architecture’s lobby. Nationally, her works are in Chicago, Denver, Miami and Silicon Valley. Her favorite project was creating a 16-foot lamp in the likeness of a tribal canoe, internally lit and suspended in a Spokane casino.