Meet the Artists Behind Luceria North Fork

Taking lamps from basic to bespoke.
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Lucy Maitland and Gloria Baume of Luceria North Fork make custom hand-painted fabric and rice-paper lampshades out of their New Suffolk workshop. Photography by Doug Young

If necessity is the mother of invention, as Plato first posited millennia ago, surely even lampshades should fit the bill. Lucy Maitland and Gloria Baume started Luceria North Fork, a custom lampshade company based in the hamlet of New Suffolk, “because we felt that there were no lampshades available, at least ones that were interesting, well made and had some style,” Baume says. “We wanted to create something artisanal.” The pair were both “coming out of the fabric industry from different ends,” adds Maitland, “and we were looking to do something with color because that’s what we grew up with—colored lampshades. Most lampshades in America are usually cream or white.”

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Maitland paints a future shade on a piece of rice paper, adding textural lines with a comb-like tool. Photography by Doug Young

Baume, a native of Rome who was most recently a fashion editor at Teen Vogue, and Maitland, a Brit who previously designed textiles for Robert Allen, met through their children and now call New Suffolk home. Looking for a creative outlet, they embarked on their custom lampshade journey by ordering a DIY kit online from the U.K.-based company Dannells. “If we could have found someone to teach us, we would have,” Baume says. “We completely screwed up the first one we made!” The women “have learned the hard way,” Maitland concurs, “but we’ve become better by making mistakes.” Friends started to give them commissions, and eventually Lori Guyer, the owner of White Flower Farmhouse in Southold, collaborated with them on an array of shades decked out in vintage linens and French ticking. They sold out in three weeks, and a business was born.

In addition to making shades with swaths of fabric, Maitland often hand-paints sheets of rice paper that are “strong and very easy to wrap around a lampshade frame.” She leans toward bold blues inspired by her North Fork surroundings, adding stripes and graphic lines with a comb-like tool. “Having a pop of color on your lampshade creates a glow and brings life to a neutral room,” Maitland says. “It’s like jewelry.” The importance of lamps in a home cannot be underestimated, adds Baume. “They’re great for lighting corners and creating ambiance.”

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Maitland and Baume carefully roll it onto a spider ring that has been wrapped in adhesive tape. Photography by Doug Young

At their workshop, the women start a piece by choosing a length of fabric, cutting it to form either a cylindrical drum or flared empire-style shape, and applying it to a self-adhesive styrene lampshade liner. The top frame of the shade, called a spider, and the bottom ring are then covered in strong adhesive tape. Next, they slowly start rolling the styrene-lined fabric onto the rings, adding another strip of tape to close off the piece, tucking in the fabric with a bone folder, and gluing it where needed. The shades are then ready to be attached to a variety of vintage lamp bases—either collected by Baume or provided by clients—that have been fitted with new harps.

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Finished lamps. Photography by Doug Young

As for now, Luceria North Fork plans on keeping things bespoke, working closely with interior designers, retailers such as Nellie’s of Amagansett, and individual clients. “It’s difficult to buy a shade off the shelf without your
lamp near you,” says Maitland, “so clients who come to the workshop can try different sizes and shapes, and then we can tailor the shade to your lamp.” The end goal, Baume adds, “is bringing a personal approach to beautiful lighting. It really goes back to a desire for giving an old lamp new life.”

The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Shady Business.