Hannah Nunn is a laser cut light specialist who works from her studio and shop Radiance in Hebden Bridge.
She originally studied Crafts at Carmarthen College in Wales and this move to the countryside inspired her main ideas. All her lamps depict stylised flowers and plants which she sketches from the environment outside her door - the beautiful Calder Valley.
Hannah originally started making paper cut greetings cards which found their way into Libery and Harrods, and then from continuously holding these upto the window or a light saw how turning these into lighting designs could be a great development.
In 2003 at The Great British Craft Fair the first range of lamps showed their popularity and allowed Hannah to buy a shop in 2005 where she can showcase other inspiring designs by fellow artists working with light along with being able to have her studio at the back of the shop.
Hannah’s designs are basically built up in 3 layers. The lightest is cut out completely, then there is a middle layer which is the all over colour of the parchment paper, and a darker layer which has been added on to the base paper to create a shadow. Seeing her work close up and being able to talk to her about it has given me lots and lots of new ideas about how to get the best out of laser cutting and I want to try and create some stylised designs of my own.
Hannah designed her own light fitting for her lamps as she wanted a ‘shadowless’ fitting. Most conventional lampshades will have a line of shadow at the top and bottom and Hannah wanted to avoid this to only have the shadows she has chosen to be there showing once the lamp has been illuminated.
Winter is Hannah’s busiest time of year where visits to her own website and Radiance her shop increase dramatically as the long dark nights draw in and people become more away of the lighting in their own homes and that dark corner that needs lifting or an old shade which could do with an update. In contrast to this is the summer months where the sun is shining until late at night and people don’t seem to notice their indoor lighting pitfalls as much. The valley which Hannah lives in is also a big player in this Winter rise as due to the high hills and the sun being lower in the sky during the winter months it doesn’t even reach the valley bottom. Being blocked out by tall buildings and even taller trees. Studies show that Seasonal Affective Disorder is triggered by lack of light in winter and light therapy (where patients are exposed to daylight or specific wavelengths of light for specific amounts of time) can help to relieve symptoms its no surprise that people are draw to Hannah’s light emitting shop Radiance, which welcomes you in with its cosy bright glow.
Her blog makes for a great read, find it at http://www.hannahnunn.blogspot.co.uk/ as an incite into her working life, inspirations and designs. I especially like the post named ‘Day one and Two’ which shows the earliest Hannah Nunn lamps and how they came to be, using lining paper and shiny laminate Hannah held these early prototypes over a ‘milk bottle with a lit bulb’ to see how they looked when lit. The designs have changed a lot since these early days but Hannah could see the early potential of these lamps and her business was born.
There are lots that go into running a small business and I think working in the back of a shop showcasing many works is an ideal situation. The balance between sourcing works by others and creating works herself seem to help Hannah to continue to broaden her product range and create more and more trademark designs which now range from candle holders up to hanging lampshades.
Reading her blog you also realise that other than creating work, sourcing things for her shop, packaging and sending out deliveries, there is also exhibiting work to gain a wider customer base and raise further awareness of her designs, a book launch this November which will be her latest venture and then the photo shoots for postcards and websites which all go into running this small business its amazing how far she has come.
Had a great time at Hannah Nunns shop Radience for her Illuminate book lauch. Lots of amazing lighting in there and peoples stories of how they came to be working with light. I cant wait to get my hands on one and do a proper review.
You can order the book here and see Hannahs blogpost
about the event here