Shademakers design, construct and build large scale kinetic installations and present them world wide at numerous festivals.  The organisation was founded 1990 in Manchester and 1997 as registered charity in Germany. Under the artistic direction of the sculptor Paul Mc Laren, Shademakers is specialised on design, large scale installations, moving objects and carnival art. They parade and perform shows for stage and arena. The organisation offers artistic (mas) workshops and seminars, resulting in performance presentations, street festivals and Carnivals.   Shademakers present and produce carnival art from concept to completion. They encourage working partnerships on a local, regional, national and international level as artists and presenters, promoting intercultural forms of public celebration with a world vision. They continually seek new associations and collaborations with groups and individuals, making the unimaginable possible. Behind the scenes are a small core of dedicated workers, artists and helpers. Many young people from different cultural backgrounds find a common place to be with Shademakers, and are comfortable with the work and achievement they share as a part of the whole production. Since February 2008 Shademakers operate from the new “Kulturfabrik” Hangar 21 in Detmold and their permanent Artist House in Detmold-Berlebeck. Costume production and workshops take place in both locations. An opportunity to be involved in international co-production and artistic work. Until 2009 the main focus will be on the theme of “Myth”. “Shademakers is at the forefront of contemporary carnival design, regularly producing high-quality, technically innovative costumes and structures. The organisation is a key contributor to the development of the artform, particularly in new design technology and costume construction techniques. Our funding is towards core costs.”Arts Council England 1991, Shademakers have regularly participated in the Notting Hill Carnival London, and since 2002 at the Mayor’s Thames Festival. The group regularly performs at events in Bielefeld, Berlin, Hannover, the “Ruhrgebiet-Area”, Liverpool and Belfast. They have performed in the UK, China, Qatar, Denmark, Turkey, Austria, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago.

The group performed at the opening ceremony of the Millennium Dome in London, the Hannover Expo 2000 and The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Parade 2002 in Manchester and London. In the same year  Shademakers took part  in a workshop project with 120 children from four Berlin schools for the Berlin Philharmony production of Ravels  “L’Enfant et les Sortileges” under musical direction of Sir Simon Rattle. Shademakers organises and is involved in numerous education projects, for example “Klavierfestival Ruhr Discovery Projects” (since 2007). Since 1994 Designer Paul Mc Laren won numerous national and international design awards, including 12th King, and 17th Queen of the World, Individual Masquerader of the Year in San Fernando, Trinidad 1997/1998, King of Notting Hill Carnival 1998.  


Play Mas - Carnival der Kulturen in Trinidad, London und Berlin, written by Uschi Dresing and Paul McLaren, published by Kerber Verlag 1997. Bisweilen Bissig – 10 Jahre Bielefelder Carnival der Kulturen published by Shademakers, Regional Verlag Bielefeld, 2006.  


Casting Shadows – a decade of mas costume from Paul Mc Laren & Shademakers,  Historisches Museum der Stadt Bielefeld, 15.6.-6.8.2006. Mythen und Maskerade , Hangar 21 in Detmold, 11.11.2007-10.4.2008.


Paul Mc Laren … - English
Artistic Director
Paul Mc Laren is an Artist from Manchester. He studied Art and Design at Exeter College of Art.  

As a Sculptor, after graduation, with numerous exhibitions and performances in Manchester, London, Glasgow, New York, Prague, Canada, Norway and Russia, his work took a dramatic turn in 1990. He abandoned what he saw as the anticipated art form enjoyed by a small elite audience, and directed his attention to the street, where one could meet a broader and demandingly brutal public. With an appetite to readdress commonly accepted truths, was a consuming desire to seek the origins of hidden truths. A knowledge of historical facts, rites, myths, mysteries and propaganda, applied with the carnival tenet of ”turning the world upside down“, created the fertile ground for a fantastic reinvention of another truth, in an artistic form. The sculptural skills acquired during study, was also one facet of the desire to bring broken motors and machines back to life, but with a function to drive a human emotion in mechanical form. This gave way to the Mechanon, (mechanical nonsense) which personified the object and led the way towards the kinetic costume, which became his trade mark.

Coupled with his passion for the works of Artists such as Gustave Courbet, Jean Tinguely, Francis Picabia, Josef Beuys. Through Dadaism: Duchamp, Hausmann, Tzara. The work of Alfred Jarry and the contemporary work of Peter Greenaway, was the context of Paul Mc Laren’s world of making sense from the absurd, from the hidden, from the ignored and the forgotten.

As a result he leaves us with finely sculpted and precisely built mechanical, large kinetic costume constructions. Objects, whose function is to bring the machine to life, with the power of human energy. A performer who stands at the heart of the art, whose body brings about colour, rhythm, dance, art and performance of human passion, in a grand and spectacular celebration of life.