Humans in hej hej - Juliet Black
We have had the pleasure of getting to know Juliet Black when she helped kit out our new Wellington store with her incredible lighting. We couldn't help but brag about our lights and chat more to this creative Wellingtonian, self-procailmed paper fanaitc and lighting expert introducing: Juliet Black of Blacklight.
Introduce yourself in one sentence:
A maker, plant lover, paper fanatic, compost enthusiast, mother of three, cloud gazer, playlist curator, font snob, biking advocate, strong believer in the power of hugs.
We LOVE the Blacklight shades at our new Wellington store. Shameless plug. Tell us about these hand-crafted stunners?
I love creating objects. There is something deeply satisfying making things from scratch and by hand. Blacklight shades were created out of a need for good lighting in my home and a curiosity of what can be made with paper. Each shade is cut, scored and folded by hand. Creating something from a flat sheet of paper into a 3D object feels like magic. I love the way light and shadow plays over the folds of the shades throughout the day. The shades are a wonderful exchange between practical object and art piece.
hej hej Wellington store photo credit: Sophie Wright
Lighting really helps to set the mood, no. What are your top tips for lighting when hosting, say a small swaray or din dins at home?
A well-lit party is a key ingredient to a great hosting. I’ve been known to enter parties and immediately turn off/rearrange the lighting to help create ease in the room. Always use diffused dim light, bounce lights off walls rather than direct, have lighting in corners, lights at different heights. Warm light is your friend. Get rid of every cool white bulb! Also, sorry Edison bulbs, you need to be diff’d. You can just feel a room relax when the light is working. Lighting is number one, music is number two. I’ve even taken baking paper and laundry clips on a tramp just in case, and ended up using it to diffuse some terrible bach lighting! I could talk about lighting for hours.
What’s your process of design, from #inspo through to the final shade? Give us the deats.
I love to start by looking at spaces. What is the brief, what is required? This helps inform the shapes and sizes of the shade. I draw inspiration from 50s pleated shades and my love of origami and paper. I’ve designed my shades around two shapes, the circle and square, the Seed and Vfold. These come in a range of sizes from XS up to XL. The paper for the shade is cut, scored and then finally folded. One piece of paper per shade, no glue, no tape. Paper can sometimes have a mind of its own! I’ve had to learn to be patient and take my time. I sometimes gently talk to the paper in encouraging ways. It’s a practice that is meditative and thoroughly satisfying.
What’s your favourite shade? Yes, we’re asking you to choose from your babies.
Ha, this is a hard decision, but if I was to choose one it would be the Small Seed. It often reminds me of a cloud. I love the slight roundness and fine folds, it has a playful quality to it.
Where else can one find Blacklight Shades lighting up the room? Namedrop to your heart’s content.
A few Blacklight highlights: Trade Me head office, Wellington Regional Council offices in Cuba St Wellington, Orbit Remit head office, Yoyo Design Store, Rita’s in Aro, Great Room Offices in Singapore, @bramabuild_ a gorgeous build in the bush of NSW Australia. And Hej Hej of course! I’ve had the pleasure of working with wonderful clients, interior designers and architects. I love seeing where my shades reside.
hej hej Wellington store photo credit: Sophie Wright
We hear you’re a bit of a minimalist. How does top-to-toe orange lobster embroidery on blush linen make you feel?
I love the lobster print. While I am a bit of a minimalist I adore colour and a well-designed print. The playfulness and pairing of colours are wonderful! Pattern is such a delight to see.
We’re all about quality materials. Usually more of the linen, cashmere and silk variety, but tell us - what are you shades made of?
I use two paper options. One a high quality Itailian artist paper, that has a slight texture to it. I love unrolling this beautiful paper, it always gives me a thrill. The other is a synthetic paper which is good cleanable option. I source my paper in large rolls, that allows me to design with as little waste as possible. My future goals are to source paper that’s closer to Aotearoa, as well as sourcing 100% recycled paper rolls.
I wish I could make a shade out of linen, one of my favourite fabrics.
Juliet wearing Hero Pant in Cobalt
What does a swaray look like in the home of Blacklight? Aka your house.
I’d describe my house as being relaxed, natural and playful. I love mixing old and new. I’ll always favour finding unique pieces that are well designed and last. Some of my best items are second hand finds. I love natural materials, how things feel when touched like, wool, linen, wood, ceramics. Bring nature indoors is important to me, for example my stone and feather collection. And plants, always plants. I have plants in every room of the house, including both bathrooms. I enjoy playing with objects, rearranging to see how they interact in spaces. Over the years I’ve created my own art or sculptures to add warmth. Plenty of lamps and of course Blacklight pendants. I like to be surrounded by objects that bring make me happy.
Juliet wears our Hero Pants in Cobalt