The Artist

Kathleen.McCarthy-500Kathleen McCarthy

Reuse, recycle, renew, reinvent, restore, rekindle.

Having always loved old things and the magic of light, it stands to reason that I would collect old lighting!

After designing and making leather dulcimer cases and handbags in the 1960’s and stained glass in the 1970’s, I took time out to work a “real job” for many years. Happily, I came to my senses and opened an art gallery with a friend and my photographer husband.

By this time, I had begun to teach myself how to make lampshades to accommodate my collection of old lamps. New shades on old lamps just do not look right. I began to experiment with recovering existing wire lampshade frames. My first shades were crude, but I loved the process! That was over 20 years ago. It never gets old because there is always some new way to look at the art using old ways and new technology!

My gallery is now 20 years old and there is still art on the walls, but the rest is taken up by my “raw materials”. I have everything a person can think of in the way of textiles, trims, frames, lamps of all kinds, lamp parts and works in progress. I’ve made nearly every kind of shade I can think of. I have designed and made hundreds of shades for people over the years. Every single job taught me something new.

On this website, I offer shades that I designed for my own enjoyment. I always start with the lamp for inspiration. But even the lamp may not start out as a lamp! I may just look for some interesting vase or object and make it into a lamp. It’s really fun to start from almost nothing – there is so much out there to recycle. Which brings me to this philosophy in my work: Reuse, recycle, renew, reinvent, restore, rekindle. I hope you enjoy the tour!

The Process
The Store Front

I’ve been told Art Effects is hard to find!

Across from the Bay Theatre and near Sunshine Cafe, you will find a little “hole in the wall” gallery. It’s an old building, kind of on a slant and you could just pass it by unseen. But, we hope you’ll make the detour into the world of Art and Kathleen McCarthy’s custom lampshade studio and showroom. The address is 435 Morro Bay Blvd. in Old Town Morro Bay. The art gallery shows and sells paintings, photography, textile arts, and giclee prints. We encourage local artists to display their art or craft. Just beyond this little gallery is Kathleen’s studio where she designs custom shades and her own art. The raw materials hang from every wall and crevice. Works in progress are everywhere. Experimentation is rampant. Customers have a lot of fun figuring out what they want with Kathleen’s help. There are many vintage lamps for sale in the studio that have been and still are collected from estate sales and flea markets. Lots of mid century shades and replacement shades are available.

I have a network of people who seriously fix lamps, too. (I can do the easy stuff). Please give us a call at (805) 471-7099 to make an appointment to come and play (bring friends!). Open to the public, the studio’s hours vary, so call ahead! We look forward to your visit!