I was contacted last year by a lady who was interested in having a lampshade made from images of record sleeves. I must admit I was a little confused about the concept at first but it all made sense after a bit of a chat. It was to be displayed at an exhibition in London on sound system culture (which I knew nothing about, hence the confusion!)
The Sound System Culture website says:
Sound System Culture is a compact, informative and carefully curated exhibition tucked away in a corner of west London arts venue The Tabernacle. Using photographs, archives and memorabilia, as well as highly detailed narratives, it traces the history and growth of sound system culture in London, from private parties in the 1950s to the modern day Notting Hill Carnival. The travelling exhibition began in Huddersfield, journeying to Bristol and Birmingham before hitting London this month.
Born out of a need for ‘community focus’, these systems acted as vehicles for the excluded Caribbean people to be heard in London. This was achieved through decades of dedication towards sound and communication – these systems were, and still are, the stars, taking precedence over the musicians that play on the decks. These gargantuan speaker set-ups provided the people with music from their homeland in the way that it was meant to be heard.
The exhibition is not just a two-dimensional experience; you can have a go at cueing up a record and feel the sound coming out of the speakers, which must be pretty impressive judging by this amazing photo from the Sound System Culture website:
Mandy from Sound System Culture wanted to display images of the original record sleeves in an interesting way and we agreed that a drum lampshade would look great.
It wasn’t just about making the lampshade for this one though – my first challenge was to fit all the scanned images into one long strip in Photoshop and then get it printed at my local printers. Next I made the long print-out into a drum lampshade and trimmed the top and bottom with white bias binding to neaten.
I really enjoyed making this lampshade for Sound System Culture and hope it looked great displayed on one of their sound systems in the exhibition. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@Stringupdisound).
This photo is from ‘The Cultural Expose’ website:
Here it is in my house, where it looked lovely even if it didn’t quite fit in with my decor: