By Mary Boyle
Over thirty years ago, Cedarburg resident Susie Morter started a business at her kitchen table making hand-made lampshades. Shady Lady Lighting became an industry leader, as well as a family business, when Susie's husband, Guy, added lamps and lighting to the product line. Their farmhouse workshop evolved to a much larger facility in Grafton, and the Morter's son, Andy, joined the business and brought in outdoor lighting. Then, in 2011, when Andy was lured away to Vermont to be a designer for Hubbardton Forge, one of the country's oldest and largest commercial forges and a leader in lighting design, the family decided that Shady Lady Lighting would close their doors. The lighting business may have stopped, but Susie's need to design did not and, once again, she set to work at her kitchen table — this time, with her sister, Sheere Pollitt — and that's when Shady Lady Floral was born.
The sisters tested out their unique, hand-made floral creations last holiday season, selling a variety of fresh wreaths from Susie's porch, and they knew they were on to something, but the window for fresh is limited, and they wanted to do something bigger. Using artificial greenery and unique items, such as vintage bike tires, tobacco baskets, whiskey barrel rings, and even outlandish footwear, the sisters make long-lasting creations that work for both home and commercial uses, such as restaurants and bridal events, and they can even do custom orders using family heirlooms that seem to have no practical purpose, such as a silver tea pot or great grandfather's bronze baby shoes.
"Thirty years later, and here I am, starting all over again at my kitchen table," Susie laughed. "We're having so much fun!"
Shady Lady Floral will kick off their opening with another Christmas on the Porch at Susie's Cedarburg home, happening the first and second weekends in December, as well as an event called Christmas at the Church, which is happening at Susie's daughter Molly's home, that was formerly a church, in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago on November 23rd and 24th. These events will feature fresh Christmas wreaths, as well as their other creations.
Learn more about Shady Lady Floral at their website, www.shadyladyfloral.com/, or visit their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shadyladyfloral/.