One of Ken's most beautiful shades. The colors are seamlessly melded in a unison that makes the eye dance in its light.

Wanted/Needed: Shade on First Friday in WRJ

Submitted 4 months ago
Created by
Dave Celone

Or maybe, "Shades" to be crystal clear!

It's hot out there, and for First Friday night, July 6th in White River Junction, VT, you can find cool music and cool times -- and even cool art shades to get you feeling in the mood. Lampshades, that is, or, in the case of Ken Blaisdell of Lampscapes at 77 Gates Street in WRJ (just across from Northern Stage), fine art shades to illuminate your life!

My most mean attempt at sewing the top part of an origami (folded/creased) art shade to its ring. Ken had warned me about buying inferior quality materials. I bought raffia, palm frond thread, from the wrong supplier and it kept shredding on me as I pulled the needle and thread...Lesson learned for next time..

I've been trying my hand a making lampshades this summer thanks to Ken's patient and guiding hand. He's a great teacher, and an even greater artist. I settled into my chair at Lampscapes this past Tuesday morning trying to sew a shade to its metal top and bottom rings. In the time I made it half way, Ken made three complete shades. He's a master art shade maker and fine artist as well. His art is not just painted on his shades, but also on his walls, hanging like colorful candy drops that pull at the eye. All of Ken's shades do that to me, even as I watch visitors mesmerized by his sky-high walls filled with colors spanning the known spectrum.

Another of Ken's most beautiful shades. This one evokes the softened light of a Japanese scene with bird above tree fronds. Beautifully imaginative and plenty bright.

Ken's eye for color (he mixes his own to achieve perfection in ochres and shades of green and yellow that dazzle) and color palettes that work seamlessly together is nearly beyond my comprehension. And he does is in such a laid back way it's almost impossible to catch him doing it. As a fine-art shade student, I need to watch Ken more closely. Success for me would be to learn just 10% of what he knows about colors and art shade making.

Another of Ken's fine art shades. This one sold to a couple from Connecticut, very near my home town of New Haven, while I sat there laboring over sewing shade to ring with shredding raffia. We had a nice visit, something that always seems to happen when a person walks through the Lampscapes door.

For First Friday night, Lampscapes will be open with, get this, ping pong! It's almost as if the skin of his shades works effortlessly with the smooth skin of the ping pong ball. So, if you're a player, and want to get your game on, come on by between 5 and 8 pm on Friday, June 6th. I guarantee it'll be the most colorful and illuminating game of table tennis you'll ever play. Bring your own cool beverage to drink and share. I'll be there, too. Hope to see you then.

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Dave Celone is a writer, poet, summer student art shade maker, and occasional table tennis player who loves colorful art lampshades and other illuminating things. He lives alternately in NH and VT. Check back often to see how he’s progressing with his summer-long weekly fine-art shade-making classes with Ken Blaisdell of Lampscapes in White River Junction, VT.  Click Here to follow Dave each time he posts, or visit this link to sign up to follow him on the and get his posts (for free!): 


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