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My paper sculptures are best described as functional art. They were first inspired by doodling natural forms very reminiscent of the inside of a cabbage when I was on long phone conversations that went nowhere in particular, sometimes looping back on themselves, just like the lines. Gradually these acquired pointy bits and became leafy textures, especially once I decided to create paper foliage for a photographic set.

One night, years after first making paper foliage for a set design, I had insomnia and decided to cut a new set of blinds for the bedroom window resulting in a cascade of paper leaves coming into the room over the curtain rail. They brought me much joy till I sold the house a year or two later. Best of all, I didn’t tire of looking at them. It was like looking at a tree. The pattern wasn’t irritating, unlike the repetitive pattern on a curtain.

After developing sculpted blinds for my bedroom, I became inspired by other textures and patterns in nature, like bubbles in water or pebbles on riverbeds; water falling and foaming as waves break on the beach; lichen, bark; kelp, and so on.

Inspiration is everywhere, in the form of fractal design in nature: trees branching, galaxies whirling, mandalas radiating and shells spiralling; it’s almost overwhelming.

DappleShades can be used as wall-hangings, window treatments or room-dividers. You will probably come up with more uses if you are an events co-ordinator, a wedding planner or design exhibition stands.

Over to you!

Foliar, Hokusai, Lichen and Cascade

FOLIAR
Foliar was the first style I developed. 

There were a few false starts. Holes and gaps developed in the designs as the panels sagged with time, and so I had to solve that with a bit of engineering.

My first commission in the Lichen style

It was also a great experience to have a friend buy a set of custom-made ‘Lichen’ style panels for his wife’s birthday. I checked on them periodically. 

After four years, the top was looking a bit wavy, as you can see in the image above. So future gaps for hooks will be 5mm apart instead of 10cm as you see in this pic. The client was perfectly happy though and refused to let me fix them. They had come through four years of strong winds at the window and were otherwise holding up extremely well.

Another unexpected client was my future daughter-in-law, who requested 80 wedding invites. For these I used the ‘Cascade’ style to form a folder, into which they inserted with a folded piece of paper in burnt-orange, containing the happy news. 

Lampshades have thus far been made only in the Foliar style, but I look forward to developing this line further with the other styles.

About

Dappleshades are unique in that they bring the textures and patterns found in nature, to elegant paper sculptures. I’m Savyra Meyer-Lippold and I started trading as Dappleshades in 2010. I live near Cape Town in Fish Hoek with my husband Stephan and son Tony Scott who does all our tracings with his legendary patience.  

We relaunched Dappleshades as Shylight on the 16th May 2015, but this has turned out to be an ill-advised idea, so as of 21 November 2018, it’s back to the original name.

Paper sculpture has formed part of my work for years, sometimes as packaging concepts or an illustration style; a paper landscape for a Beacon shoot; ‘foliage’ for an exhibition stand… There was even a moth puppet for a stop-motion animation which was shown among others at the Design Indaba Expo in February 2011. I think that’s how I found this brilliant material I’m using, because that puppet needed to be resilient. I had only one! 

Part of the process of making the Tallulah puppet

I also owe profound thanks to Marina Kotze, who sent me in the direction of Tyvek in my search for a very resilient but beautiful paper-like material. After positive comments on paper-foliage blinds in my home, I launched DappleShades, beginning with the Foliar range.

This synthetic paper resembles rice-paper in its beautiful translucency and silky texture, is UV-resistant, very hard to tear, is fire-retardant and even washable – but gently, because creases take a bit of massaging to get out. 

Most of the panels are individual art works that are handmade and can therefore be custom fitted to any window. We are planning to produce them in greater numbers though, using water-jet cutting, a technology that’s perfect for this purpose, and will soon be able to offer them to a wider market and obviously for a lower cost.

They’ll range in price depending on the size and design. Prices for the machine-produced product will be announced soon.

The beauty of these designs in a practical sense is that there is no limit to the length or breadth of the space to be filled, since one buys more panels to fill a space width-ways, and if they are hand-cut, almost any length can be specified and the material ordered accordingly.

There are currently 5 panel designs available including the Foliar range, but many more are in the pipeline – Nature never ceases to inspire.

Blog

From Dappleshades to Shylight… to Dappleshades.

Making paper blinds in the form of falling leaves for my bedroom, marked the beginning of ‘Dappleshades’, which was a stop-start affair. The original inspiration and then encouragement came from my mentor; her husband had put himself through university and paid the bills during the early years of their marriage with paper sculptures. Orders from …

Contact

Feel free to contact me about anything to do with Dappleshades past, present and future.

Dappleshades in background.