Photo: Sarah Storch
We met Inga from Wera Jane Design on Instagram, where she stuck her hand up and said ‘I’m one of those busting my bum to make beautiful lamps. Get me on board’ and it took about 0.2370127 seconds for us to reply ABSOLUTELY! Ever since we first trawled her Instagram we have been fascinated by her gorgeous shades and so we thought what better way to get to know her than by asking her a couple of questions.
What’s ahead: How growing up in Leipzig, Germany shaped Inga’s aesthetics, how she started her business and what’s next on the horizon for Wera Jane Design.
How did you get into making lampshades from cut-off yarns? Have you always had an interest in upcycling?
I grew up in a neighbourhood surrounded by vintage furniture shops. Spending days in these shops and getting to know the owners, who told me about the history of some pieces, but also showed me shapes/designs I´ve never seen before. I started to think about how I would sketch my own designs and use different material instead. I found some old lampshades from the 70s, they used really poor material such as plastic so instead, I tried it with yarn and that’s how Wera Jane Design really started.
Tell us a bit about your background. What shaped your design aesthetics?
My mother, who studied art history and graphic design, made me work on being cultured; teaching me to have a thirst for “knowledge”, which is what I attribute my level of creativity to today. I’ve been working in a creative environment since I was a kid. I grew up between my father’s studio and my mother’s artistic literary world. I owe my open-mindedness to them. They’re the ones who shaped my artistic eye.
I studied archaeology, but then took a break and travelled through Eastern Europe. Soon after I decided to take the time to focus on what I really want to do. That actually includes photography projects, drawing, singing and of course my lampshades.
How did you go about sourcing your materials? Did you directly contact fabric producers for leftover stock or was it a lucky encounter that shaped the path for Wera Jane Design onwards?
In the fashion industry today, things change very fast; each season brings new colour palettes and the old threads are stored or thrown away. It's a nice gesture to recycle things, that’s why I asked companies around my city if they would be interested to cooperate. Luckily, I found a small company who were interested.
Where do you draw the colour inspiration for your shades from? Do you dye the yarn that you receive – or do you create colour pairings from the stock that is sent to you?
I receive them in all these colours from a small family business here in town, I don’t dye them. I always improvise with choosing the colours and never make sketches, I like all the colours and mix them freely because I like how they change each other.
You live and create in Leipzig, Germany. In what way would you say your environment influences your design aesthetic?
The influence I have from this city is very mixed. I’ve been living here for 11 years now, so I know every angle of the streets, but it still impresses me that they are always new artists coming here and creating a new place for inspirations. Also, I love the green side of this town. With over 5 big parks, 2 forests and 3 big lakes, it gives enough space to get out of the hectic and fall into the silence of nature.
It can take up to 20 hours to create a lampshade. What kind of music do you listen to while you work, and what’s your go-to snack?
The last weeks I´ve been listening to Cotton Jones, Allah- las and Brian Jonestown massacre a lot. My go to snack is always chocolate :)
What would be the coolest thing to happen for Wera Jane Design in 2018? And where do you see the brand growing overall? Are you going to stick to lampshades, or are you venturing into other objects too?
Still, my personal goal would be to see some of my lamps hanging in a restaurant or bar. At the moment, I’m experiencing with the Scagliola technique, which is a way to produce a marble look in the thread. I’m playing around with plaster, concrete and pigment – let’s see how it will turn out! I’m also open to trying/sculpting some objects. I visited the IMM Cologne this year and got so many new ideas, that I will definitely design chairs in the near future.
Watch Inga live in action:
Shop Wera Jane here