At IDS: Tansy and Co.

Photographer, set decorator, designer, and stylist, Sandy Middleton started Tansy and Co. in 2006. Using her own photographs, Middleton produces handcrafted lamp shades, pillows, clocks, coasters, cards, and jewelry. For the IDS show, Middleton plans to print some of her new images on aluminum, which should be particularly intriguing, given the gothic feel of the black and white photos of trees and forest-atmospheric landscapes in hoary fog.

Black Branch Barrel Shade. Designed by Sandy Middleton of Tansy and Co.

Until this unveiling-and, according to her blog, she’s still working on her IDS booth-you can admire Middleton’s lampshades, great and small. The Black Branch Barrel Shade works particularly well in marrying art and object. Middleton’s photograph wraps around a handmade silk satin shade, the tree’s limbs extending like ghostly sprigs. By circling the shade, the image becomes something else entirely: not only boughs but also eerie fingers, wisps of hair stricken by the wind, or bundles of nerves firing under X-ray. At 11 inches tall and 18 inches across, the Black Branch Barrel Shade (pictured above) comes either hardwired or as a plug in lamp with a maximum bulb capacity of 100 watts, making it a great piece under which to sip Oolong and read Jane Eyre.

At IDS: Tansy and Co.

Photographic Pendant light Bird on a Wire. Designed by Sandy Middlton of Tansy and Co.

Middleton also knows how to make small lamps rather engaging. The Photographic Pendant Light Bird on a Wire is a mere 12 inches tall and 6 inches across, but its impact is more dramatic. The single black bird on a wire is a conversation piece, especially because the thick wire becomes a graphic line that circumvents the shade. This piece takes a 60-watt lightbulb, lending it an even moodier feel-the dim glow almost Hitchcockian. It makes one wonder what the black bird is waiting for, when it will alight and flutter about one’s living room.

Middleton knows how to choose a photograph that will translate well into design pieces. While the images are all beautiful on their own, they become both what they picture and something more. Grass turns into a chevron pattern and orchids turn into amorphous bodies. The photograph is recognizable and yet it always creates something visually striking-something metaphorical that supercedes, supresses, or dissects the original.

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