Sunday, 25 January 2009


Hannah Nunn

I make lamps and shades with delicate botanical motifs. I cut, engrave and layer paper by hand and by laser and the designs are brought to life by the silhouettes made when the light is switched on. I work from my studio within Radiance, my lighting and craft boutique in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

Money spent on fresh flowers is never wasted
I don’t think anything brightens a room more than a simple vase of flowers. It’s a small price to pay for a lot of pleasure. I also like that they don’t last forever. You have to enjoy them while they last!

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I’ve always wanted to run a craft based business as I’ve always made things since I was little and started selling them in my teenage years. I had my children young though and it was a bit of a struggle getting it off the ground.

When my little boy was at playschool and I only had 2 and a half hours in my workshop a day I made a small range of papercut cards. I was always holding up the silhouettes to the light. It was my friend who suggested making lamps. As soon as she said it I had a vision of the entire range flash through my head in an instant. It’s been my livelihood ever since. I have a lot to thank her for!

What place in the world has inspired you?
I love the Welsh Countryside. I used to live in Laugharne in West Wales. I love the old woodlands, hedgerows, overgrown footpaths and bluebell woods in quiet valleys. It was here that I started studying flowers. But the countryside is not quite enough for me. I love cities too. I particularly find Amsterdams’ Jordaan inspiring with lovely, characterful buildings and utterly beautiful shop fronts. I’m lucky. Hebden Bridge is a good mix of the two. It’s got gorgeous countryside as well as inspiring shops, unique architecture and cosy cafes! The perfect mix!

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased? What one product/item do you really covet?
I bought some Joanna Rutter 'Bird and Branch’ silver earrings. They are odd – one’s a bird and one’s a branch. I’ve never had odd earrings before. I love them!

I covet a collection of Cleo Mussi hands. I've never had such a strong emotional response as I did to her stand at Origin a couple of years ago. It actually made me teary. It was embarrassing! Can’t really tell you what it was about them. They just spoke to me! I bought one (I HAD to) and then I had another for Christmas but they look a little lonely. When I look at them I see them covering whole wall. I will collect more over time.

Last best read (book)?
‘One Big Damn Puzzler’ by John Harding. It was the Rob Ryan illustration on the cover that grabbed me first but it turned out to be great read from beginning to end aswell.

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
I do a little. Well I bend it to suit the product. Sometimes I want to do designs that are impractical to reproduce as they are too complicated and I couldn’t charge enough money for them...but I still want to make them. This is why I am developing my wall panels, so that each one can be an individual artwork, priced appropriately. It’s lovely for me to luxuriate in doing the designs I want and not worrying about the ‘product’. It’s a new thing for me.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I write, draw and mindmap. Mindmaps are crucial for me to tidy my racing head! First I write about the finished vision of my idea, perhaps with a few sketches and then I plan my many small steps to getting there.

What do you have on your pinboard?
Right now, a clip board of orders and things to do, some new acrylic Soop ring samples (so cute), a list of invoices that need paying, a reminder from my Mum to sweep my chimney, a postcard from a lamp designer by Celine Wright, some stamps, photos of poppies and a Blossom and Bill card.

Where and what is your studio?
My studio is a little room in the back of my shop. It’s a little too small for me. I seem to always be fighting back a sea of empty cardboard boxes but it is cosy and has a little wood burning stove and I like it. I get a very good view of the shop floor from my desk. I’m lucky to be able to work in my studio and run a shop at the same time. In the week the shop is never too busy to be able to get on with my work. I don’t open the shop until 11 so I have the first couple of hours in the day to get my head down if I need to. At the weekend I just sit in the shop chatting to my customers. It’s a nice balance. I like music sometimes, silence a lot and a good radio 4 play in the afternoon...but someone ALWAYS comes into the shop during the last 10 minutes!!!

What is your favourite website?
I’m addicted to Etsy at the moment. It’s such a fantastic and far reaching community and there is lovely work from all over the world. I just opened my Etsy shop a couple of weeks ago and it’s brought about a lot of interesting sales and connections.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
I’m not too bad. I am able to switch off and get back into family life when I get home and that’s nice. BUT when I’m working on website stuff I get obsessive and want to be on the computer until all hours. I’m working on the Radiance website right now and turning it into an online shop so I’m a bit like that now. I get excited about work and it gives me lots of energy and i go and go and then wear myself out! I’m constantly working on that one!

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really love your work it is beautiful. Very evoking! I am going onto your website and buying an allium. wow! just what i needed this monday morning. Thank You! You are an inspiration! Keep up the good work Hannah!