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Allison West is the artist-designer behind the chic Thumprints collection of lighting. Thumprints table lamps offer unique, artistic looks with mouth-blown glass, ceramic bases, and sumptuous fabrics.
We recently chatted with Allison about her collection, and her design philosophy.
Q: We love the free-flowing profiles and contemporary looks of the collection. What are some of your favorite design inspirations?
A: My underlining inspiration for each Thumprints lamp design is to achieve a distinct balance of select high end materials, creatively assembled to yield unique and artistic lighting that is functional art. I am also inspired by the medium with which I am working.
In Thumprints most recent collection, Precious Gemstones, the main medium is plated steel. The simple, symmetrical shaped steel bodies dictated a sleek, sophisticated design. I paired the steel forms with natural stone sub-bases and chose shade fabrics that would dress the lights up a bit to go with the marble and granite accents, while maintaining a clean, sleek style.
I have always been intrigued by the art of glass blowing. Thus, I use a lot of art glass in the line. This medium typically inspires more artistically-styled lamps, like Thumprints Pisa table lamp, which boasts a multicolored glass bodice topped with a triple stack black silk shade and glass finial.
Q: You're based in Little Rock. Does that sense of place work its way into your designs?
A: In a way, I am sure it does, because individuals are constantly learning new things from daily experiences and are inevitably inspired by their environment. It is funny, though, because people often look shocked when tell them that Thumprints is based in Little Rock. Its kind of like, "Something this contemporary came out of Arkansas?"
Q: Describe some of the unique craftsmanship that goes into a typical Thumprints lamp.
A: One of the beauties of Thumprints products is that they are all hand-made and no two are exactly alike. Thus, each one is as distinctive and personal as your "thumprint". The design and production process varies from one lamp to the next and can be quite complex. I work with artisans and manufacturers of glass, wood, pottery, porcelain, iron, metal and textiles around the world. Often, one lamp is assembled from works by three or four different artisans to achieve the best possible mixture of product and quality.
Q: What?s the hot design trend of the moment?
A: One trend that I really appreciate is the trend of lamps as functional art. The possibilities of useable mediums for lamps are endless, making them fun and exciting accessories. I incorporate a variety of hand-blown glass into my designs (such as the Thumprints Glitz table lamp), which is art itself. I also enjoy working with wood, because the material?s rich wood grain is beautiful in its natural state and can be highlighted and enhanced by stains, paint and various design techniques.
Lighting is continually steering away from the "norm" and becoming more creative and artistically-styled. Lamp shades are "upside down", asymmetrical, and sometimes larger than the entire body of the lamp.
Thumprints has a popular series of pendant lights that are basically upside down lamps (Hot Tamale, Sunny Side Up, Moondust, Jack, Obsidien-Pendant, Tiger's Eye Pendant and Citrine Pendant). Consumers are appreciating the trend of lamps as functional art more and more and are seeking unique lighting to be statement pieces and focal points of their rooms.
Another big trend is "going green". The lighting industry is seeking ways to produce products that are eco-friendly in design and more energy efficient in function. The move towards green has increased the number of products in the marketplace made from recycled materials and renewable or sustainable resources.
Some lighting manufacturers are even moving to the production of lamps with LED lights. The application of LEDs is limited and very expensive at this time, however. At Thumprints, we encourage customers to use energy efficient compact florescent lamps (CFLs) in all of our products. Today, CFLs can be found almost anywhere you can purchase a light bulb and they work with the majority of lamps made for incandescent bulbs. It is easy for consumers to acquire CFLs, though they are pricey. It will take time for everyone to realize the true benefits of energy efficient lighting, for both long term financial savings and, most importantly, to help save our environment.
Q: What's next for you and the Thumprints line?
A: I am constantly looking for and experimenting with new mediums and applications to incorporate into Thumprints designs. I have a few things in progress, but am not sure exactly what is next. It is important to me to make sure that I maintain my individuality and fresh perspective and continue introducing innovative and creative products.
Thanks, Allison! Make sure you browse the entire line of Thumprints Table Lamps.