The Story of the Benevento Lampshade Co.

A note from Lynne Russell

A little Italian silk... some wine, a lot of family, a little mystery....



   Hello friends! Thank you for being part of my exciting new adventure! After 18 years of anchoring evening CNN Headline News, it's time to give in to family tradition. I am proud to be only the second generation of my family's Evangelista and Renza women to be born in America. The family hails from the mountainous, southern Italian province of Benevento, near Naples. It is famous as the site of a notable Roman victory in 275 BCE, and today as the birthplace of "Strega" (which means sorceress, are you listening?)... a warm, golden liquore said to unite forever true lovers who sip it in the moonlight. If you look carefully, you'll find it in our pictures here. The family, which traces its history back to 1250, made its way to Milan, which some believe is the fashion capitol of the world. There, they developed a certain sense of style that I like to think now manifests itself in my work.


   It's in this spirit of tradition and love of life that the Benevento Lampshade Co. has been created, in honor of my grandmother, Concetta, and my mother, Carmela, from whom I learned as a little girl the thrill and reward of patiently and lovingly taking needle and thread to silk and lace to create beautiful things... like lampshades.


   Lampshades play with light, soothe you and excite you, and can alter your mood and your entire room. A really good shade that nobody else has, a work of art that almost mystically determines its own identity during the process of its creation... this is most difficult of all to find. In an age when everyone is in a hurry and Old Country, handcrafted detail is almost a lost art, the Benevento Lampshade Co. is a  tribute to the good life, the way it was meant to be.


   Every lampshade  is handstitched by me and each frame bears a unique, Old World lead seal with my initials stamped into it, the mark of its authenticity.












  These shades take a good, long time to sew, and they are worth it. You will notice that each  has a name. They never reveal their names until the work is nearly done, except for the Boudoir shade "Valeria", which was inspired by my lifelong friend, Valerie, who adores yellow silk. And the Venetian shade "Tomasso", named for my dear "other half", Thomas, whom I tease as being fascinating but a little twisted. (Personal note to Lynne: if this upsets him, get out the Strega.)


   You will find other Benevento hints on the Home Page and "Email us" pictures. There's a small, Roman bowl of walnuts to my right, a  sepia-toned picture of grandmother Concetta, grandfatherAngelo, and six of their seven kids. And the small red book on the table to my left - a special collection of thoughts and recipes from my grandmother. And of course, the bottle of that golden liquore. And a small bowl of walnuts. In Benevento, they have a magical meaning. Look it up sometime!


   Thank you for making the Benevento Lampshade Co. a success. Let's share a toast... a la famiglia!





Copyright 2008  Lynne Russell -  All Rights Reserved.