Last weekend JSInteriors headed off to High Force Hotel near Barnard Castle in Upper Teesdale. My drive from York took me past Raby Castle and through breath-taking countryside, forests and open moorland. The hotel is part of the Raby Estate, owned by Lord and Lady Barnard. High Force Hotel is a traditional Inn known for its connection to the High Force Waterfall. The waterfall is just a short walk away from the hotel. With such a stunning landmark attraction on the doorstep, it’s really not a surprise that this hotel is a walker’s paradise. And by association, also a haven for furry four legged friends. However this weekend I didn’t have my walking shoes or Dezzy dog with me. My car was packed full of fabrics, trimmings, sewing sundries and lampshades. JSInteriorsUK was @ High Force Hotel to lead and facilitate a Gathered & Pleated Lampshades weekend workshop retreat.
creating the space @ high force hotel
Although I now feel quite the veteran when it comes to teaching lampshade making skills, this workshop was the first weekend retreat. So exciting! I arrived late in the afternoon on Friday. I was enthusiastically met by the hotel managers Andrew and George. Together we unloaded my car. Then, we transformed the function room into a fabulous soft furnishing workroom space. The function room at High Force Hotel is light, airy and overlooks the gardens. Workshop heaven!
After setting up I was shown to one of the hotels guest rooms. My room was lovely. Each bedroom at High Force Hotel is individually designed. I believe that Lady Barnard takes a special interest in the hotel. She definitely has an eye for interiors and soft furnishings. As does George.
High Force Hotel has a friendly, laid back ambiance. The reception rooms, restaurant, and bar become one cosy space flowing into the next. There is also an inviting abundance of open fires. This is the kind of place where you can easily start chatting and make new friends with fellow walkers and dog owners. Or, find a quiet romantic nook and relax by the fire. Once everything was in place for the workshop I settled down with my laptop in the Settle, snug and cosy by one of the fires. Time for a couple of hours work before dinner.
day 1 – how to bind the frame & gather the face fabric?
Day 1 for me started with a fabulous breakfast. Full English … well it would have been rude not to! The food at High Force Hotel was fabulous. Apparently Sunday lunch is noted as the best in the area. I now know why! The Raby Estate longhorn beef was exceptional. All food at the hotel is locally sourced. Not only were all our meals yummy and generously portioned but we were kept amply supplied with tea, coffee and cake throughout the 2 day workshop. I can totally recommend the chocolate and carrot cake.
There is a lot to cover in a handmade lampshade workshop. Consequently, after a short discussion about lampshade style, design and fabric choices the girls immediately got started with binding frames. Sue chose to work with a light weight cotton which had a gorgeous delicate pattern reminiscent of a pretty liberty tana lawn print. For ideas on fabric suitability watch my video on Choosing Fabric for Gathered Lampshades.
Tanya chose to work with an amazing piece of teal satin. Satin isn’t the easiest of fabrics to work. It is stretchy on the straight as well as the bias, slippy and has an uncooperative attitude. I was very impressed with how Tanya coped with all of this as she arranged and pinned her pleats.
We had 2 goals for day 1. Firstly to complete pleating and gathering the face fabric and secondly to attach the fabric to the frame using lampshade stitch. If you aren’t familiar with Streetly stitch more commonly known as lampshade stitch, have a look at my video about Making Lampshades using Lampshade Stitch.
day 2 – how to gather lining & make bias trim?
Day 2 flew by all too quickly. We spent the morning lining our lampshades with cotton tana lawn. Then, we had that fabulous High Force Hotel Sunday lunch that comes highly recommended. We all chose the longhorn beef! Finally, the afternoon on our second day was all about the dynamics of handmade bias trim.
I believe that a lampshade should look amazing and contribute to the beauty of a room even when the light if off. However, having said that, there is a kind of magic that happens with handmade lampshades when you first switch on the light and these shades were no exception.
Would you like to make lampshades for business or pleasure? Jacqueline’s Crafty Critter workshops will give you all the skills you need. For more information about upcoming workshops and retreats click here.