Let there be light

Let there be light

Let there be light

The soft, warm glow of a lamp creates a much cosier atmosphere than harsh overhead tube lights or spot lights.

 Which is why 30-year-old Noel Kumar chooses to spend his free time crafting artistic lampshades out of paper. “It started with an interest in origami — the Japanese art of paper-modelling,” explains Noel, who has been making lampshades for ten years

 The origami workshops often held in the City are mainly basic courses for beginners, feels Noel.   “Folded paper animals are mainly for kids,” he feels. “I was looking for something more challenging and creative.”

While surfing the internet, Noel came across the idea of making lamps out of paper.
   “Lampshade-making is a form of modular origami,” he says, referring to the art
of using more than one piece of paper to create complex structures.

Though Noel, does not design his own lampshades, he refers to pictures of models and tries to recreate them on his own.

 “I make imitations of models designed by origami professionals,” he explains.
“Though they don’t provide instructions, I enjoy seeing these models and trying to
figure out how to make them.”

One of the most complex designs Noel has tried his
hand at is the ‘Aperture’, an intricate lampshade originally designed by Claire Norcross,
a UK-based lampshade designer.

“It took me around four months to figure out how to make that,” he says, referring to the elaborate cuts and folds, which can be opened up to create different shapes and shadows.

“Now that I know the dimensions, I can probably make it in three days — make that four!” he laughs. Another design the craftsman had some trouble with was the ‘Magic Ball’. “It’s supposed to be a compressible lamp but I wasn’t very successful with inserting the bulb inside,” he chuckles.

Clearly, creating an extraordinary lampshade from scratch can prove to be quite a challenge.

   “It requires a lot of trial and error and good quality paper is expensive. So, I make several samples before the actual shade,” recounts Noel.

Noel explains the process of making his unique lamps. The handmade paper has to be treated with heat-resistant spray before a CFL bulb is inserted into a regular bulb-holder. “Ordinary bulbs heat up quite easily and affect the wiring.

Also, bulbs are difficult to change in the delicate paper lamps so it’s less cumbersome to use CFL bulbs, which have a long life,” he explains. One of the designs Noel is most familiar with is the ‘IQ Lamp’, which he can now successfully make within a couple of hours. “I make this one for my friends and people who appreciate art,” he says. Despite its apparent simplicity, the lamp is exceptionally convoluted with its twists and twirls of paper. “It’s easy if you’re good at geometry,” smiles the expert. “For example, this lamp here is inspired by the shape of a football – it has the same number of hexagons and pentagons as one,” he gestures to the ‘Aperture’.

Noel extends his dextrous fingers to other forms of paper art as well. He has fashioned an innovative Christmas tree by folding the pages of an old magazine and is also interested in paper sculpture, which is done by making etches on metallic paper to create an image. As skillful as Noel is, he chooses to maintain lampshade making as a hobby. “A lot of people ask me why I don’t sell my lamps,” he recalls.

“But for me, it’s how I unwind — a stress buster. I don’t want to ruin it with timelines,” he shrugs. “I just like making lamps which illuminate the place,” he smiles contentedly.

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