Western Decorating With Rawhide Lamp Shades

Western Decorating With Rawhide Lamp Shades

Western Decorating With Rawhide Lamp ShadesRawhide lamp shades since the 1930’s have been synonymous with western décor. When you consider the elements that make up rustic decorating, western rawhide lamp shades are still at the forefront. Over the years, rawhide has played an integral part not only for rustic lampshades but numerous other accessories as well. Since the 1990’s rawhide lamp shades have been experiencing a resurgence in popularity as new designers and home owners alike discover their high quality handcrafted look. For any rustic den, family room, living room or bedroom as well as ranch, cabin or country style, rawhide is here to stay.

The use of rawhide shades with antler lamps and chandeliers continues to lead the way and set the standard for log homes and rustic style. Predominant in ranching, cowboy and Native American lifestyles rawhide has always been a most basic material. The difference between leather and rawhide is that leather is tanned which softens and preserves the hide. Rawhide however is not tanned but animal hide that has been scraped and dehaired. Remaining in its original state, “raw hide” is stiff and hard when dried but supple and pliable when wet. Lamp shades made of rawhide are functional because they take advantage if this natural characteristic. 

When rawhide is wet, it has the consistency of a pasta noodle that can be wrapped around a lamp shade frame. As the rawhide shade dries, the hide also tightens stretching the rawhide tight. Because rawhide lamp shades use untanned hide it is translucent allowing light to pass through. Very strong when dried, rawhide lamp shades can last for years. To protect and preserve your rawhide shade regular conditioning works with the rawhide’s natural character to help keep it supple and avoid cracking. In the area of southwest or southwestern décor, rawhide is also used for covering rustic lamps, picture frames and mirrors. Unique jewelry is even made by artists using rawhide. In the same way, rawhide lamp shades also express artistic craftsmanship. 

Matching or contrasting rawhide lace is used to hand stitch the rawhide to the lampshade frame for a truly unique handcrafted piece that will win compliments from all who view its special combination of natural and creative beauty. Goat skin rawhide shades can also be made using rich colors such as charcoal, brown, red and green as well as traditional cream to work with any room. Western rawhide lamp shades are mainly made using cow hide, sheep skin and goat skin. The thinnest being goat skin is the rawhide of choice that allows dark rustic western rawhide lamp shades to be created that still allow light to show through. For a classic western look, hand scrapped rawhide is much better than commercially processed rawhide.

The difference is that commercial rawhide is processed using chemicals and machines. Rawhide shades made using this processed hide are very clean and clear but lack character. It is the primitive hand scrapping and cleaning process that leaves behind a decorative layer that yields a rustic and decorative look unique to each individual shade. For western lighting rawhide lamp shades are a natural choice and combined with rustic home furnishings and western art make a winning ensemble. Along with genuine rawhide lamp shades, other great accompaniments to transform your room to classic western style are hand woven wool rugs, floor runners and table runners boasting rich red, black and grey as well as Indian rugs with bold dark blue, hunter green and earth tones. Place Native pottery, and wooden bowls or kiva ladders in strategic places and the warm and masculine western feel will be fabulous. The overall rustic or western look of your space and each of these ingredients is enriched and drawn together by the use of hand laced rawhide lamp shades.

See Other Rawhide Lampshades.

Aug 11th 2015 MIssion Del Rey

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