Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Studio Hours

Century Studios will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 23. 

We will resume regular business hours on Friday November 24 through Saturday December 23.

We will be closed Sunday December 24 through Monday January 1.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Creating A Lamp Base, Part 2

In our previous post, we outlined how the waxes for reproduction Tiffany Studios lamp bases are made. Once the waxes have been created and cleaned, they are taken to our local bronze foundry.
At the foundry, the waxes are "gated". Wax rods are attached to the pieces to create a roadway for the bronze to enter the mold while the air in the mold has an escape route. Once the wax gateways have been added, the process of creating the mold begins by dipping the wax into a thin silica slurry that completely coats the surface. After the first layer of slurry has dried, the dipping process will be repeated about 13 times until the mold reaches the desired thickness. Successive dippings are done in a more viscous silica slurry and the mold is strengthened by the addition of a crystalline silica which  gives the finished mold the appearance of stucco. Once completely dry, the piece is set into a kiln and the wax is melted out, hardening the shell in the process.
While hot, the molds are stood up in a large sand box and the molten bronze is gently poured into each hot mold. The bronze is heated in a furnace to 2200 degrees and a crucible of molten bronze is moved over the top of each mold and tipped to pour the bronze. In the photo, Irwin Terry is carefully pouring the bronze into one of the molds. Irwin is on the left wearing the green hard hat, and is mostly blocked from view by the man in charge of the pour. This photo was taken at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2001 when Irwin took several classes in bronze casting so we would be able to have a first hand understanding of the process and be able to interact knowledgeably with our local foundry.

Here is a link to a video of a bronze pour which was taken at the foundry we use:

Once the bronze has cooled to room temperature, the investment mold is broken away and the raw bronze casting is revealed. The gating is still visible on this Mermaid base, and not all of the investment mold material has been removed. After the gates are removed, the process of chasing (hand cleaning) and finishing the raw bronze parts will begin.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lamp of the Week: Roman Shade

The 25" Roman shade has an unusual flaring dome shape which is generally referred to as "elephant ear". In addition to being an impressive table lamp, floor lamp, or chandelier fixture, this generously proportioned shade works exceptionally well as an inverted chandelier. This richly colored shade features fiery amber and red tones and is shown on the Tree Trunk base. This lamp was created in 2005 for a local client.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Creating a Lamp Base, Part 1

At Century Studios, we make many of the reproduction bronze lamp bases we offer. Since we opened in June 1986, we have worked with a number of Tiffany reproduction lamp base makers and in February 2000, we acquired all the molds from one of the foundries we had been using. Around 2005 we acquired molds from a second lamp base foundry. We have also been making molds from original Tiffany metalwork ourselves as we have had access to pieces.
The process of creating a lamp base takes many steps and multiple molds/patterns. To reproduce the Square Turtleback base shown above, we employ the talents of our bronze foundry, a metal spinner for the spun copper collar, and a glass maker to press the turtleback tiles needed to complete the base.

The process of creating the bronze castings for the Square Turtleback base begins with a quarter section rubber mold that was made from an original Tiffany lamp base. We cast four sections in foundry wax, a dark brown wax that is firm, yet pliable. The mold is filled, and when cool each wax is checked and cleaned by hand to elimate any imperfections such as air bubbles that might appear on the surface of the wax part.

For this base a second mold is used to create the light cluster stem in wax. Because the stem must be hollow, the wax is poured into the mold, swirled around and poured back out several times, building up thin layers of wax until the desired wall thickness for the part has been achieved. The hot wax must be at just the right temperature so it coats but does not melt the previous layer. Once all the waxes are cast, the parts are then taken to a local bronze foundry.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Lamp of the Week: 16" Pomegranate

The 16" Pomegranate shade is one variation of the many shade designs with a decorative band bookmarked between upper and lower rows of geometric tiles. The color of the geometric portions shift from a light green/amber mix downwards to a green/white glass. The orange/amber pomegranates in the band play off the colors of the background glass. This shade was commissioned in 2006 and is shown on the versatile Small Stick base.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Studio Hours

Century Studios will be closed Thursday November 2 through Monday November 6. We will resume regular business hours on Tuesday November 7.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Pair of Lily Lamps

We offer a wide range of Tiffany reproduction Lily style table lamps, chandeliers, wall sconces and floor lamps. We recently completed this matching pair of 18 Light Lily Table Lamps for a West Coast client.