A born artist with impressive product-development skills, Janna Ugone (pronounced u-GO-nee) was in search of a medium that would fill a niche and pay the bills. She found it in lighting, creating unusual and beautiful table, floor, and hanging lamps that are true works of art.
“I think there’s something about choosing a light. Turning on a light at night—it starts the next phase of evening.” Offering warmth as well as illumination, she continues, “a light becomes part of the family for years and years.”
Interestingly, her shades are made in two different media: clay and paper. The paper shades begin with Ugone’s botanical or cosmological drawings, done in watercolor.
The artwork is then scanned and printed on archival watercolor paper. Each museum-quality giclée shade is then finished with hand-painted borders. Shades are selectively pierced or studded with pewter charms, then mounted on bases composed of steel, copper, stone, wood, and cast pewter. Designed by Ugone, the bases are made by skilled artisans with whom she has worked for years.
Clay shades are hand-poured into ceramic molds with a ceramic slip recipe. One shade per day is made per mold. Once dry, the shades are pierced to allow pinpoints of light to shine through, then glazed and fired repeatedly to achieve just the right color palette and effects such as custom frescos and spot glazing.
Ugone’s trademark shade is undoubtedly the “Midnight Sky” design. It is literally pierced to create constellations—Cassiopeia, Orion, Big Dipper, Bootes, and Triangulum—so that light shines through the pinholes when the lamp is lit.
Ugone finds fresh inspiration in nature, particularly through native gardening. Some recent lampshades feature feathery branches, simply applied. The effect of such a lamp in a room is calming. “One customer recently told me that my lighting makes her feel like her home is a retreat.”
Janna Ugone & Co.