LAMPSHADES made of wool have had shoppers flocking to buy a little piece of Portland for their homes.

Jane Withers creates unique sculptural lampshades out of Portland wool - from the fleece of the rare breed Portland sheep.

Thanks to Jane's talents, the fleece of these sheep, which were originally bred on the isle of Portland and now reside all over the country, has been turned into trendy must-have items for the home.

It is being made into lamp shades hundreds of miles from its Dorset origins at Jane's studio in Nottinghamshire.

She makes her lampshades by hand, using tubular fabric that she knits from British wool. The geometric designs, which wouldn't look out of place in on trend Scandi-designed homes, are softened by the wool.

They are produced by Jane's company Janie Knitted Textiles, which she runs with her partner Michael Hanmer.

Jane started using Portland wool as a material after creating a lighting range out of British wool in 2014.

She said: "We have been aware of rare sheep breeds and British wool for a long time and creating the lighting range in 2014 gave us the opportunity to experiment with a wider range of qualities of wool.

"Wool has many natural qualities, it is strong enough for fine knitting into cord and ideal for weaving onto frames for lighting, it is also naturally fire retardant and we add a moth deterrent in the washing process too."

The Portland wool features in Janie Knitted Textiles' cone, nipped in and geometric designs.

The fibres of the sheep wool are combined with the breeds of Wensleydale and Loaghtan.

Portland wool was introduced to the mix when Yorkshire yarn company Knoll Yarns introduced an eco range of sheep breed blends to its range a few years ago.

Jane said: "Knoll Yarns has been a supplier of our merino and lambswool yarns for our interior and fashion accessories since we started our practice in 2003."

The range of lamp shades made from wool began with a dip dyed range using British Cheviot wool in 2015 at the London Design Fair.

Jane said the feedback was instantly positive: "We were overwhelmed by the response from visitors and have since worked on projects and installations with clients including bespoke commercial commissions for restaurant interiors. Since then we have added to our range with additional sheep breed yarns with the eco range.

"We consider that the combination of British wool knit and the geometric shapes we have created to be unique to us, although the technique of weaving onto a frame is not new, our lighting is a combination of influences of mid-century design, contemporary forms and our rural environment at our studio at Welbeck, Nottinghamshire."

Consumers seem to like these unusual lampshades because they bring an element of the natural world to their home, Janie said.

She added that the most popular lampshade in the eco Portland and Wensleydale range is a geometric lampshade.

"The extra small geometric lampshade in the eco Portland and Wensleydale together with the dip-dyed in indigo have been the most popular - it has a contemporary shape with a softer effect and diffused light.

"We have had a great response to our lighting from customers who want to add a natural aspect to their homes and interiors."

Many of the lampshades Jane makes are special commissions and her company also supplies Heal's, which stocks the dip dyed and eco range in their Tottenham Road London store.

You can also buy lampshades featuring Portland wool from the website and in-store and online at PANEL PORTLAND sheep were originally bred on the Isle of Portland and whilst the rest of the UK was experimenting with breed development the sheep of Portland remained isolated.

By the early 20th century the Portland was under pressure from other breeds and in 1920 the last Portland sheep left the island.

The sheep’s small size and distinctive look have earned the breed many devoted admirers.

A flock of Portland sheep at Fancy's Family Farm is the only flock of the rare breed that resides on the isle today.