Lisbon’s visual feast inspiring new projects in 2024
Happy New year to all my blog readers!
I kicked off 2024 with a short trip to Lisbon with my awesome mum. We were looking for sunny skies and creative inspiration and this incredible city didn’t disappoint on either front.
As survivors of soggy Scotland we warmly welcomed the fabulous weather. And all that blue sky proved the perfect complement to the vivid patchworks of colour and pattern that Lisbon is famous for, as we took in architecture, street art, exhibitions, monasteries, castles and fairytale gardens.
A particular high point (excuse the pun) was a visit to the Peña Palace, perched right up in the Sintra hills. Originally a monastery, it was bought by King Ferdinand II, who must have invested a king’s ransom converting it to what we marvel at today. The size and scale of this palace is particularly awe inspiring, when you consider its remote location. Every single aspect showcases different design features, materials, textures, colours and artisanal craftsmanship. I left feeling humbled and with my mind whirling!
We also explored the Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, home to the most magical of gardens. A fairytale playground for kids and adults alike:‘The Hobbit meets Repunzel’ is how I’d describe it, with a visual surprise around every corner. I would have absolutely loved to share this experience with my kids – so now I guess I have the perfect excuse to return…
No city break is complete without a museum trip and I was excited to discover the works of Joana Vasconcelos being exhibited at the MAAT museum in Belem. It was a privilege to stand below the vast creation that is her Valkyrie Octopus and try to absorb every detail. Each section is crafted with such skill and intelligence, using a dazzling array of textiles, trimmings, sequins and fairy lights. I still can’t quite get my head around how much time, energy and attentiveness she has dedicated to bringing this fabulous creature to life. Joana’s artwork reaffirmed that anything is possible when you marry textiles with skill, imagination and creative courage. And she has inspired me to be more fearless with my own creations.
Lisbon was the perfect life pitstop. I could have stayed for longer despite being warned by Stephen, who ran the local cafe where we sipped our coffee each morning: “Don’t stay too long in Portugal, you’ll get fat!”. It’s a fair price to pay I reckon. It’s good to be home though, even if I now have to rein in the custard tart consumption – back with my family and straight into the workshop where exciting new projects and collaborations are being baked instead!
Amanda Wells x Ella Fletcher Designs collaboration coming soon!
Take a look at this fabulous lamp base I snapped up at one of Ella’s fairs. I took it home and immediately designed and made a shade to pair with it. Buying and making for myself feels like a luxury and you’ll find that most makers rarely create pieces for themselves, but I just couldn't let this one go. Ella and I are catching up this month to collaborate on a new collection together. Expect linens, trimmings and ceramics you won't be able to resist. Stay tuned. In the meantime, check out Ella’s ceramics, she’s one very talented lady!
Lampshades just dye-ing to fit in!
It was a pleasure to work with Katy of Imaginarium Interiors on this pair of dyed Rattan Scalloped Tiffany lampshades. They were made specifically for this guest room and designed to complement an interior where everywhere you look there is a beautifully chosen item of furniture, artwork or home furnishing from makers across the world. Katy loved my rattan lampshades but we decided that the lighter colour of the untreated rattan wasn’t quite right for the room. What we needed was a deeper colour. So we changed it! This is where the idea of dying the rattan was born enabling my designs to complement existing design schemes whilst creating shades that are both unique and fabulous. With around 40 colours available in the dye range the possibilities will feel endless. Should you wish to discuss a commission please do get in touch, I would love to work with you no matter how large or small the project.
Coming very soon to East Lothian: hand-painted lampshade making workshop with Amanda Wells X Hanem Interiors
I know I’ve mentioned this before but we are getting super close now to being able to announce bookings for this. We’ll share all info via social media so please do follow @amandawells_lighting and @haneminteriors on Instagram to ensure you don’t miss out. Alternatively, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest and I’ll make sure you are the first to know. We want the workshop to be a relaxed and happy opportunity to gather with friends and unleash your creativity, whilst at the same time making something beautiful and practical for your home! More on this very soon, I promise.
Until next time,
Love and warm wishes for the year ahead