Sophie Miller - SKINFLINT
Your company name is quite unique and to some has a certain meaning. How and why did you come come up with your name 'Skinflint'?
A skinflint historically is a person so frugal they would save and use the skins of their flints. A fundamental ethos of our company is to reduce, reuse and recycle- the lighting we sell was manufactured in a time before the concept of planned obsolescence- the lights were built to last, some nearly a century ago, and after our restoration they will last for decades to come.
What inspires you most about your work?For me it's probably the stories behind the lights. Each one has its own long history, uncovering those lost narratives is a really fascinating process. Of course we also love working with beautiful well-made objects and our lights are just that. Finding them, restoring them, replacing their outdated electrics with modern environmentally friendly components, piecing together their history. Each part of the involved process give you a connection to the object and the people who made and used it.
What is your favourite piece that you have reconditioned?
I think probably the vintage heat lamps, they make beautiful desk lights and have such intriguing stories. (http://www.skinflintdesign.co.uk/blog/lighting/the-perihel-vintage-sunlamp-.php) Also a while ago we salvaged a pair of huge US army trunks complete with all the kit they needed to be dropped on the front line in WW2 to set up a temporary camp- light bulbs, cables, tape- it's a great story and the shades are lovely. (http://www.skinflintdesign.co.uk/store/ceiling_lights/us_paratrooper_pendants_v1.html)
Besides restoration work do you have any other interests?
I think we are interested in everything. In our line of work we meet many experts in a diverse range of fields and it's fascinating to hear their stories and to learn from them. We are of course interested in art, design architecture and interiors- we are currently re-designing and renovating our cottage in Cornwall, but it's good to keep a balance of inspiration from many sources.
What was the last book that you read?
The last book I read was HHhH by Laurent Binet which I enjoyed hugely and I'm currently
reading Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
Do you have a signature dish, when entertaining?
It would have to be crab linguine- simple, and delicious.
Which is your favourite colour?
I adore colour (that's probably evident in our lifestyle photography) but if I had to choose a favourite it would be green- interestingly it's the colour the human eye has evolved to perceive the most shades of.
Do you have any pets?
Currently 5 hens, a dog, a cat and 2 guineapigs. We live in the countryside at the top of The Lizard so it's a constantly evolving situation
What are you currently listening to?
I'm still enjoying Nick Cave's Deeply moving Skeleton Tree, interspersed with Philip Glass's Satyagraha
What's next for Skinflint?
We have lots of exciting plans for 2017, including a great Spring Summer collection released in a few weeks and exhibiting in London later this year.