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The entrepreneur in Brook Perdigon wants to spend her days answering emails and getting shipments out the door of her Los Angeles studio-slash-warehouse. But there are times when her inner artist takes the reins, begging her to make something completely unrelated to her business, Brook Perdigon Textiles. “There’s so much structure involved in putting a collection on the market. Sometimes I just want to create for the sake of creating,” says Perdigon. Where does she channel that energy? Most recently, it went into reimagining Hay’s beloved $69 rice paper shade

Before Perdigon began designing bolts of fabric plus wallpaper and pillows, she painted (in fact, she graduated from college with a B.F.A. in painting). So Perdigon always keeps a set of brushes and watercolors within reach at her desk for moments like these. “For the longest time, I let the pendant sit; I didn’t know what to paint on it,” she recalls. Eventually, she decided that she just had to start somewhere—plan or no plan. “I was like, I just want to go home and have made something. The ideas don’t have to be perfect,” she explains. In just 40 minutes, Perdigon had a totally transformed light fixture on her hands. 

The Supplies

Courtesy of Brook Perdigon
  • Hay’s rice paper shade 
  • Variety of different-size paintbrushes
  • Gouache or acrylic paint
  • Paper towels
  • A glass of water 
  • Good music or your favorite podcast 
white lantern
Hay Rice Paper Shade, DWR ($69)

Step 1: Paint Vertical Stripes

Courtesy of Brook Perdigon

Perdigon started by simply painting blue vertical lines all the way around the sphere. At first, she used her skinniest brush, but dipping the brush in her palette so often got old fast. To pick up the pace, she switched to a larger brush that could hold more paint. Forget drawing perfectly straight lines on a ball—”it’s impossible,” she says. And expect the color to bleed a bit because the paper is so thin. Call it perfectly imperfect.

Step 2: Change Directions

Courtesy of Brook Perdigon
Courtesy of Brook Perdigon

To make the wonky vertical lines look a little more purposeful, Perdigon added horizontal ones. This didn’t stop the color from bleeding, though. “I was trying to hide the mistakes as I was creating them, but then that got really fun,” she says. Some lines were going to be thick and dark and others were going to be light and thin, depending on how much paint was on the brush. Perdigon didn’t overthink it, and neither should you.

Step 3: Get Things Squared Away

Then Perdigon began to fill in some of the squares at random. In her eyes, irregularity is what ultimately makes a textile pattern interesting: When your brain can’t spot a noticeable repeat, it wants to keep looking. Why wouldn’t the same be true of a painted paper lantern?

Step 4: Let Go

The best part about Perdigon’s impromptu paint project is that it doesn’t live in a drawer atop a pile of papers now—it hangs proudly over her desk. “The exercise of moving forward creatively without a plan or goal or anything was so liberating,” she says. It’s a reminder that even when her expectations and the results don’t align, it can still result in something beautiful.