A lampshade making business born from the 2020 lockdown, both of us found ourselves living under the same roof. Ironically the lockdown periods unlocked creativity and enterprise in both of us. Ifan is a graphic designer and Mari is an author and was previously Artistic Director of Galeri, Caernarfon.
We both shared ideas during this period and began a business called Gola, creating and manufacturing unique lampshades from our pink shed in the garden. Each of our shades are hand crafted with love and it’s a process we cherish.
Listening to our customers is vital and we aim to provide a unique product of the highest quality possible. We aim to create beautiful designs full of personality; quality craftmanship.
The name: Gola
Gola is the north Wales pronunciation of the Welsh word for light: Golau. As a mother and son collaboration, Mari remembers well that one of the first signs of communication and understanding between a mother and child was to ask the baby: “Where’s the light?” And gaining huge satisfaction from seeing her baby look up towards the light above! We both hope that our lights will also bring satisfaction and a smile to the faces of our customers!
All our designs start with the word, “What if …?”
Wales’ unique landscape, its culture, its language and its communities inspire us every day.
One of our designs was inspired by our daily walks during lockdown. These paths were familiar to us, but we’d never actually noticed and looked at our surroundings properly. We started to pay attention – especially to the striking slate fences along the paths and back roads of our village.
The slate fences seen in the North West Wales quarrying areas are called ‘Crawia’. In the dictionary, the Welsh word ‘craw’ is defined as ‘ a piece of waste slate.’ Some have described ‘crawia’ as scars. But scars or the imperfect can be beautiful and these ‘crawia’ inspired us to create a linen textile design for our lampshades.
Slates shape the landscape; they underline the importance of habitat; they speak to us of the past whilst reminding us today that we’re still here to share our story! This is Gola’s tribute to the craftsmen who created and installed them.
On our walks during the lockdown periods, we also noticed the recent obsession with painting everything grey. It was a relief to see some of the rainbow pictures injecting some colour in so many windows. This inspired Gola to encourage more colour in our homes. Who would have thought that the Crawia design in pink and orange would look so good?
Gola is also inspired by other local craftspeople. We are very proud to be collaborating with the wood turner from the Llŷn peninsula, Miriam Jones, who creates beautiful wood bases especially for Gola.
And our customers inspire us daily, sending us photos of Gola’s products in their homes!
The pink shed
Our pink shed has glorious views over the Menai Straits and is a lovely place in which to work. Customers enjoy visiting us not only to see the range of lampshades – but to admire our beautiful pink shed. The unexpected pink colour puts a smile on the face of many a customer!
Mari loves speaking to customers and when the shed is quiet, she finds manufacturing the shades to be quite therapeutic!
Mari never imagined that the shed where her three sons used to play Table Tennis as kids would eventually be a lampshade making factory!
Protecting our environment
We’re very conscious of our responsibility to respect our habitat and to create as little harm to our environment as possible and we take this into consideration with our products and packaging by trying to avoid wastage of any kind. Any left over fabric is used to pack and protect our lamps in transit.
We sell glass lamp bases in a choice of different colours and all of these are recycled glass.
Please see our Upcycyled series where we encourage our customers to re-use old fabric and transform it into a lampshade.
We always aim to create products that will last; product that will be passed down from one generation to the next. A good design never dates.
This joint creativity has brought immense joy to both of us and we’re very proud of our journey so far. Please join us on the next leg of our journey! It’ll be fun!