The Shell Shade was originally conceived in the early 1970's by José Aman Produit in Carmel, California. José, of Martigny, Switzerland, did extensive custom stained glass for many years out of his Carmel art studio, Over The Rainbow.
He incorporated sliced stone, especially jade, abundant along the Big Sur coast, as well as beach glass and seashells picked up on Carmel beach. It added a fascinating element to the work he was exploring.
It was a natural step to create an all seashell lampshade and one that would lead José to enter into a short-lived partnership with John Perry Studios of Agoura, CA., to manufacture patterned lampshades in seashells for a wholesale market. These shades still pop up today in antique shops, retro shops and trendy boutiques like Shabby Chic in Santa Monica.
In 1975 Desirée Gillingham-Produit, José’s wife, began building lamps at the Carmel Valley studio José built for her. With that evolution in vision a leap forward was made in design and flexibility that has endured and remained both beautiful and exciting.
Today Shell Shades are just a part of the commissioned shell art, or COQUILLAGE, that comes out of Produit Studio on a hill overlooking Carmel Valley. Visitors are welcome, by appointment, to tour the Studio, home Gallery and gardens.
José died in January of 1997 in Switzerland. Beauty completely tickled him — can you imagine how pleased he would be with his Shell Shades today? I can! Thank you, José.