Yukiko Morita, a 27-year-old corporate employee from Kyoto, has a unique hobby. She combines her love for bread and her love for art into a special product: Pampshades.“‘Pan (Japanese for bread)’ + ‘lamp shade’ = Pampshades,” Morita explains on her website. These lighting fixtures made from real bread and can light up a room, filling it with the warm tones of a fresh loaf.
“I think loaves are really cute,” says Morita. “I love their round curves. I wanted a bread display in my room so I could admire it all the time. That’s how I came up with this shape.” The idea for pampshades first came to Morita when she was a student at the Kyoto City University of Arts. She was working on a project in a studio one day, playing around with a French baguette. She pulled out and nibbled on the soft parts, leaving the hollow outer shell intact. When she held it up towards the sunlight and let it stream in, that was her ‘aha!’ moment.
Morita made 300 more prototypes before she came up with the perfect pampshade. Luckily for her, she worked part time at a bakery so she had a lot of leftover bread to practice with. She makes the pampshades by hollowing out a baguette made of flour, water and salt. Then, she dries out the shell thoroughly and applies a resin coating to prevent mildew. She places LED bulbs inside the completed shells, mainly to prevent the bread from getting scorched. And that’s it! A perfect pampshade is ready.
What started out as a hobby is slowly becoming Morita’s business. Several Kyoto shops have noticed her work at crafts fairs where she puts up displays. They’ve picked up her products and sell them at $35 to $50. “I hope to keep on doing this and keep on having fun,” Morita says. And she makes sure not to waste any of the bread filling – she eats it all!