About Us | Shades at Grays

About Us

I'm Sue Ingram and John Barr (JB - or him-in-the-shed) is my other half.

We set up a small business so we could devote more of our time to creating beautiful products that fill us with pride and joy.

We handcraft each item, putting time and effort into creating something that is distinctive and special.

I launched Shades at Grays in June 2019 focusing on making fabric lampshades.

The New Zealand based business was born out of the frustration of not being able to find the shades I wanted for my own home.  So, like many others, I bought a lampshade kit and made my first lampshade.

I enjoyed the process so much that I began to wonder whether I could provide others with fabric lampshades, of the type I wanted: shades in beautiful colours and patterns - at a reasonable price.

And so Shades at Grays was born. (Our address on Grays Road providing some of the inspiration for the name.)

In September 2019, with about 40 handcrafted shades to my name, I took the plunge and applied for a stall at my very first craft market - the Underground Market in Wellington.

This was my very first retail experience and despite first time nerves I loved it!

Just one market in and I knew I had created something others appreciated too!

The market stall also provided John with an outlet for his recycled timber and iron posts - Keep Me Posts, and most recently, Edison Lamps.

John loooves wood. He has stores of timber under the shed, under the house, in various parts of the garden - you get the picture.

He loves the smell of it, the feel of it and working with it.

A happy day for John is one spent in his workroom (aka) the shed, cutting and polishing, nurturing and cherishing, exploring and exposing the nature of each piece of timber.

In doing so he creates functional art with his Keep Me Posts and stunning table lamps. Keep Me Posts are: Functional - because the posts can be used as doorstops. Art because the aesthetic of pairing timber and iron is just stunning.

Keep Me Posts get their name from John's focus on keeping the intrinsic character of each piece of wood, with the hope his work will see these pieces continue their journey for many years to come. 

The Edison lamps - unique table lamps - are based on the same 100 year old timber, with their history in New Zealand's 20th Century industrial and agricultural sectors.

John has also expanded his craft to restoring old carpenter's wood planes, saving them from the dusty back reaches of sheds and garages. He lovingly uncovers the beautiful wood from years of sweat and toil and then adds an Edison lamp to create a stunning table lamp. Each wood plane has its own history - their manufacturer often dating back to the 18th and 19th Century. 

Each lamp and Keep Me Post is different and made with love - they provide something very special for your home.

Our business is small but we love it. We especially enjoy the time it gives us to spend crafting and then meeting with our lovely customers and talking about our craft.

Thank you for supporting a small NZ business. Thank you for supporting our business.

If you'd like to get in touch our email is shadesatgrays@gmail.com

Or ring Sue on 027 541 4696