I know, I know, it’s that time of year when I’m supposed to be writing an inspiring piece about my 2017 self-improvement goals. But a) I’m already fabulous (hehe!) and b) everybody is doing that and I like to be contrary. So I’m going to do something slightly different instead. I want to introduce you to a brand that is high up on my lust-list for offering high-end chandeliers and lampshades produced by a community of women in South Africa. And you’re going to love it.
There’s a common misconception out there that global style = shabby chic or rustic. This is why lots of people shy away from it, for fear of turning their homes into something resembling student digs. That’s utter rubbish, obviously, and today’s company, Klaylife, is a perfect example of why.
I absolutely ADORE these clay beaded chandeliers and lampshades made by a community of women in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. Run by a South African family now living in Australia, Klaylife started out as a small company supporting a handful of women whose lives had been impacted by HIV. Over time, as the popularity of their products grew, and as more and more local women approached them for opportunities, the company has been able to expand and now employs over 65 women, providing them with an income and the chance to create unique pieces.
The lampshades are made with hand-rolled beads made with raw clay. Once rolled, the beads are dried in the sun, kiln-fired and dip dyed before being strung onto an iron frame. The fact that the beads are hand-rolled and produced in this way means that no two products will be the same. I really rather love this aspect of the product – and the fact that the materials used are so natural. No nasty plastics or chemicals, just plain old nature. There’s a wonderful video showing the process of making the lampshades on Klaylife’s site that is worth a watch. Go on – it’s like 2 minutes long and cannot fail to make you smile when you see the Klaylife ladies in action.
The range of styles on offer is pretty broad – from modern and traditional chandeliers for that high-end, luxe look, to barrel and sphere shaped shades. some of which are also available as table and floor lamps. There’s a great mix of colours and styles on offer which means you can get a bit creative with your design. I am particularly fond of the ombre-effect shades, like the one below. But there are some neutral options as well as funky brights, depending on the look you’re seeking.
And, get this. There is also the possibility to create a completely bespoke design in collaboration with Klaylife. That way you’re guaranteed a piece that no-one else has! They’ll do their best to match colours and create a design to your specification provided its not a copy of another artist’s design (and rightly so).
Unfortunately there are no UK stockists as yet (but there are in Australia, New Zealand (yay for me), USA, South Africa and Lebanon). But despair not, as Klaylife do offer international shipping! Phew.
Ah. The other thing I probably ought to let you know is that these lampshades do not come cheap. But you know what? I don’t think they should. Despite generally being a bit of a
cheapskate bargain hunter, I would genuinely be happy to pay an additional premium for these beautiful and high-end products. In fact, I’ve started saving up for one already as it will be a perfect fit in our new master bedroom. The only question remains which shape, style and colour I should go for….any suggestions to help me narrow it down will be gratefully received.
So there you have it folks, a cheeky little introduction to a cool brand with commendable ethics and high-end products. If you haven’t already clicked over to Klaylife.com, what are you waiting for!? Once I’ve got my grubby paws on one of these beauties, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, tell me if you could be tempted to introduce clay beaded style into your home….
Happy travels, and shopping