Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Century Studios is closed through Tuesday, January 5th. We will resume regular business hours on Wdnesday, January 6th.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

16" Banded Daffodil

As we have mentioned in the past, Louis Comfort Tiffany's favorite flower was the daffodil. It is not surprising then that there are many different daffodil shade patterns in a wide variety of sizes which were created by Tiffany Studios. The 16" Banded Daffodil shade is a lovely reminder of the flowers that bloom in springtime.

Contained by, yet spilling over a pair of horizontal border rows, the multitude of daffodils on this shade are in full bloom. Recently commissioned by an Ohio couple, we have completed this 16" Banded Daffodil shade in tones of yellow, amber, spring greens and peach, giving the shade a rich, blended coloration. The heavily mottled flowers contrast with the streaky background glass in the shade. The tones of the shade are perfectly complimented by the 7 Handled Pottery Base that we created (with Ephraim Faience Pottery) for the lamp.

Upon receiving the shade, the clients emailed, "The lamp arrived yesterday in good order and we are very pleased/thrilled with every aspect of your superior workmanship... the lamp looks so great setting on a Gustav Stickley table in our modest Arts & Crafts bungalow....I wish you could see it! You have been very knowledgeable and helpful to work with. Naturally, we will recommend your products to friends and associates, Thank you very much."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Almost Christmas

Here are our Holiday Hours for the next week:

Fri Dec 18 10 - 6
Sat Dec 19 10 - 4
Sun Dec 20 12 - 4
Mon Dec 21 CLOSED
Tues Dec 22 10 - 6
Wed Dec 23 10 - 6
Thurs Dec 24 through Tues Jan 5 CLOSED
Wed Jan 6 Regular Business Hours Resume

Monday, December 14, 2009

Still Need a Gift for Someone?

In addition to our reproduction Tiffany lamps and hand made pottery, we still have several holiday themed stained glass panels available in a variety of price ranges. These make perfect hostess or holiday gifts, whether you are looking for a home accent for yourself or for someone on your gift list. Our selection includes hand made stained glass Santa and angel panels, as well as smaller "moon face" stars and hearts, and bevel snowflakes.

Our showroom also has a nice selection of Christmas ornaments and small holiday decorations. Stop in before Christmas - we will be closed from December 24th through January 5th!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

28" Poinsettia Completed

We have completed the 28" Poinsettia shade (see our posting from November 30, 2009).

After the soldering of the shade was finished, several vertical reinforcing wires were soldered along the lead lines on the interior of the piece. When in place these wires provide the structural stability that will keep the shade stable well into the 22nd century. Because the reinforcement follows the contours of the lead lines, the wires are not seen when the shade is lit. In the photo to the right, Irwin is seen attaching the bottom rim onto the shade. After the rim was completely held in place, bead chain was added to the lower edge of the shade.

28" cone shades were traditionally created by Tiffany Studios for use as chandelier fixtures. They were also mated with Jr. Floor bases and on large table bases. This shade is currently being used on the impressive Eiffel Tower base, a beautifully intricate casting that has a lightness despite its large size.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Favrile Ornaments

If you are looking for an affordable, unique blown glass ornament for your Christmas tree or to give as a gift, stop by our studio and check out our Favrile Ball Ornaments. Each American-made ornament is individually mouth blown by our master glass blower and finished with a lustre surface. Our ornaments come smooth or ribbed and feature a gold and blue lustre surface. We also have multi-colored blown glass ornaments created by our same craftsman.

Monday, November 30, 2009

28" Poinsettia

Recently, we have been busy laying out a 28" Poinsettia shade. This unusual Tiffany Studios design has an allover pattern of poinsettia plants in full bloom. For more information on the other styles of Tiffany reproduction Poinsettia shade patterns we offer, see our postings from December 8 & 19, 2008.

Considered a holiday plant today, poinsettias are flowering perennial shrubs native to Mexico, where they can grow to ten feet tall in natural settings. According to the University of Illinois "Poinsettia Pages", the plant is named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first ambassador to Mexico in the 1820's. Mr. Poinsett found the distinctive plant growing along a roadside and took cuttings back to his South Carolina greenhouse, where he cultivated the plant.

The 28" cone shape provides a generous surface for the plants to blossom across. A portion of the lamp is pictured (above right) showing how we check colors on our light table. A glass easel is used to support the individual pieces of glass that have been cut and fit to the pattern.

Once we are satisfied with our color selections, the individual pieces of glass are wrapped by hand in copper foil. To hold the pieces in place for soldering, the fiberglass form is waxed with a "tacky wax" which we mix at our studio. Irwin is brushing the hot tacky wax onto the form in the photo to the left.

The tacky wax allows us to position the individual pieces of glass in position on the form so the pieces can be soldered together. Below is a photo of Irwin transferring the foiled pieces from the glass easel onto the waxed form. We will show the completed lamp in a future posting.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Hours

Century Studios will be closed on Thanksgiving Day - Thursday, November 26th.

Century Studios Holiday Hours
Now through December 23rd:

Tuesday through Friday 10 - 6
Saturday 10 - 4
Sunday Noon - 4
Closed Mondays

Visit our studio/showroom for hand made holiday gifts. We have Christmas ornaments & stained glass window decorations, new pottery and blown glass, lamps and much more!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

18" Moorish Geometric

It is always exciting for us when we add a new piece to our repertoire of reproduction Tiffany lamp offerings. This week we completed a new geometric shade - the 18" Moorish Geometric. Adding this shade took quite a while since we had to have a new lamp form created. The process of creating a form begins by having the shape spun in plaster and then turned into a fiberglass mold on which we can build the shade. This process can take several months to organize and complete.

This Tiffany Studios shade design has a unique look that hearkens back to Louis Comfort Tiffany's earliest styles of interior decoration. Taking inspiration from the onion domes used in the architecture of the Middle East, the 18" Moorish Geometric lampshade makes a distinctive lamp. This shade can be used as a table lamp, or it can be inverted and hung as a pendant chandelier fixture. In the photo above, it is shown on the Doric Column base.

The shade was commissioned by a Midwestern client, and mated with a table base which perfectly accentuates the exotic style of the shade. The client provided a shiny brass perforated lamp base, which was reworked and patinated. The resulting combination of shade and base are a perfect match.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In Print and In The Classroom

Pick up a copy of the December 2009 issue of Old-Home Interiors Magazine, and you will find a few Century Studios' lamps pictured! We are included in an article about reproduction lighting in this issue of the magazine. We have three lamps pictured and an overview of our work included with several other contemporary lamp and lighting professionals.

As a result of an article about us in a local newspaper, we were asked to give a short presentation to two preschool art classes this past week. To tie in with the theme of many pieces creating a single work of art, we took a small window hanging and showed the children how we start with a drawing, cut glass to fit a shape and explained how we join the pieces together to form the glass picture. The classes then worked with transparent colored papers and made their own "stained glass" windows.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Two Lamp Projects

Last week, each of us worked on separate lamp projects. While Irwin was creating a geometric turban shade for a client in the Chicago area, Bill laid out a new floral shade for our showroom.

The design of the 18" Geometric Moorish Turban harkens back to Louis Comfort Tiffany's earliest inspirations for lighting design. The onion dome shape makes a distinctive table lamp or inverted hanging shade. In the above photograph, Irwin is about half done laying out and fitting the geometric pieces on the form. In the photo to the right, the top row is being put in place.

While Irwin was creating the geometric shade, Bill worked on a 16" Tulip shade for our showroom. We will show the completed shades in a future posting.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bell Pepper Lamp Base

Century Studios is pleased to introduce a new lamp base to our offerings of Tiffany reproduction bronzes. The Bell Pepper is a beautifully detailed base and is created at our St. Paul, Minnesota studio. This lamp features a heavily ribbed body and an arm-set with five supports. The Bell Pepper can be created to work with 14" or 16" shades. The example shown below holds the 16" Fish shade which we featured in the September 22, 2009 installment of this blog.

Monday, October 19, 2009

15" Spider Lamp

We sometimes get unusual color requests for our lamps and enjoy the challenges these requests present. Geometric style lamps are generally created in the white, amber or green tones. For this piece, we were commissioned to create a 15" Spider shade which shaded from deep blue to lavender.

Using three separate pieces of glass, the color selection of the pieces was carefully composed so the transition would be smooth. The completed shade and base are now in the collection of a California client who is very pleased with the results.

For more information on Spider lamps, see our blog posting from August 21, 2008.

Monday, October 12, 2009

20" Daffodil Shade

One of Tiffany Studio's more popular floral shade designs is the 20" Daffodil. This is one of the only shade patterns where the flowers are inverted, rather than "growing" from the bottom of the shade. Because the flowers are clustered at the lower edge of the shade, the 20" Daffodil makes a wonderful chandelier fixture when hung over a dining table.

We recently completed the 20" Daffodil shade pictured in the photo shown above. The coloration of the shade is light and airy. This shade is currently available in our showroom and is shown on the Pottery Base - Kendrick Design. The pottery is inspired by a Grueby Pottery original and was created by Jemerick Art Pottery to our specifications. We created the reproduction metalwork and light cluster which illuminates the shade.

There is an original Tiffany Studios' black and white photograph in the collection of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum which shows a bunch of Daffodils which have been gathered at their base and draped over a lamp form. This photo was presumably used for reference by Clara Driscoll during the design process of this shade.

We created the 20" Daffodil pictured to the right in 2002. This lamp is in a private Minnesota collection. In this rendition, the colors are deeper than the shade shown above.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lady of Shalot

Using John William Waterhouse's painting of the Lady of Shalot as inspiration, we were commissioned by a client in Wyoming to create a stained glass window. The subject of the painting/window is taken from a poem by Tennyson, which tells of the Lady of Shalot who lives in a tower, weaving the scenes she sees reflected in a large mirror. When Sir Lancelot happens to ride past, she cannot resist looking out the window but must then leave her tower and float down the river in a boat to Camelot, dying along the way.

We've created a horizontal window from this image once before for a client in South Dakota, but this time the window presents a cropped version of the painting because the stained glass panel is vertical.

Bill is seen working on the layout of the window in the photo to the right, with the partially completed window shown above.

The face, hands and title on the boat have been hand painted, then kiln fired onto glass. The rest of the color and detail was created by choosing glass to flesh out the image. At the client's request, the completed window has a decidedly Autumnal coloration with strong garnet reds and emerald greens in the foliage. The completed window is seen to the left.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Arts & Crafts Show Weekend

The 10th Annual Arts & Crafts Show weekend is now behind us. We set everything up on Friday in preparation to greet visitors to the show on Saturday and Sunday. Once again, our booth featured the "Lamp Cave", a 10' x 10' darkened room created in the booth to show off our lamps. Attendance was up for the show, and we had a great time greeting old friends and introducing our work to new people.

The show ended on Sunday at 4pm, and we packed up what was remaining in our booth, dismantled the Lamp Cave, and brought it all back to the studio. Monday was spent cleaning and restoring the showroom. It all felt a bit too familiar, having moved in and opened our new showroom in May!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

16" Fish Shade

In preparation for our upcoming show this weekend, we have been working to make up a few new shades and bases. One of the shades we completed is a 16" Fish pattern, pictured to the left on a Century Studios' Pond Lily - Blown Glass & Bronze Base.

The Fish shade is one of the more unusual and rare Tiffany shade designs (only a few original examples are known to exist). The viewer of this lamp is treated to a tranquil pond scene where 5 fish peacefully co-mingle amongst floating vegetation. This underwater scene gives the viewer the impression that they are gazing down into a Koi pond.

Filigree plays an important design element in this shade. Fins and tails on the fish are accentuated by the filigree, giving the shade a distinctly Oriental feel. Filigree is used in a handful of Tiffany lamp designs including the Fish, Dragonfly and Poppy shades. Tiffany Studios also used filigrees extensively in desk sets.

This is our first piece to use a new glass called "Circa 1900", which was created by the Youghiogheny Opalescent Glass Company from Pennsylvania. This unique glass has been developed to replicate one of Tiffany Studios' finest types of art glass. The transparent ring mottle and surface hazing make this glass an indispensable addition to our library of reproduction art glass.

The Fish shade will be on display and available for purchase at our booth this coming weekend at the 10th Annual Arts and Crafts Show which is being held at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Madame Charpentier Window

We have recently completed a large window commission that takes its inspiration from a painting by the French-Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The original 1878 painting of Madame Charpentier and her Children is currently in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Our stained glass window now resides blocks away from the museum in a private residence. At our client's request, we have made changes to the facial features and some of the details of the sitters. The window has been framed in a light box.

Impressionist images always pose a unique challenge to translate into stained glass windows. When artists create this type of painting, the paint is liberally applied to the canvas to convey color and light, not detail. Because of this, Bill must look at the painting and make up the hard lines which will outline the details. The challenge is to convey the same feeling as the painting in a image that is defined by solid black lines throughout.

As with many of the other stained glass windows of this type which we have created in the past, we use the technique called plating to give the piece richness and depth. In this technique, more than one layer of glass is put onto the window creating colors and textures that do not exist in a single layer of glass.

George and Marguerite Charpentier were enthusiastic patrons of Mssr. Renoir and included his work in exhibitions they organized. Renoir painted the family several times, and this image pictures Marguerite and her children in the Japanese drawing room of their mansion.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009 Arts and Crafts Show

The 10th Annual Arts and Crafts show will be held Saturday, September 26th & Sunday, September 27th at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. Held annually in the Progress Center Building, this exciting show features antique and reproduction arts and crafts era items for sale from more than 50 national dealers.

Saturday, September 26th, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday, September 27th, 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Admission is $7.00.
Free street and lot parking within the Fairgrounds

Century Studios will be participating and will be located in our usual booth space just to the right of the main entrance. We are working to create new lamps and will also have a nice selection of pottery and blown glass items on display. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Winged Moon Window

We've had a busy week finishing several projects at the studio. Among other things, we completed the Winged Moon window which now hangs above our studio front door. This piece features a jeweled moon and star border surrounding a beautiful woman in repose floating in a purple evening sky.

As we mentioned in an earlier blog entry, our inspiration for this image came from an old black and white photo of a tapestry designed by Dora Wheeler called The Winged Moon. Dora Wheeler was the daughter of Candace Wheeler, who founded the Associated Artists with Louis Tiffany. Candace Wheeler was instrumental in reviving and creating an American style of textile work, and her daughter designed many tapestries for the company.

We have a letter from Candace Wheeler on display at the studio dating from 1881. It's written on Louis C. Tiffany & Co. Associated Artists letterhead, and is a response to an inquiry concerning writing an article on needlework. An excerpt reads:

"...I am so interested & happy in the successful experiments we are making & in the fresh & delicate character of American design, that I delight in showing our work to any one who appreciates this form of art."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mermaid Lamp & Pottery Opening

We recently completed a Mermaid/Nautilus lamp for a local client. This sculptural lamp features a bronze double-tailed mermaid riding the crest of a wave and holding a lit nautilus shell in her arms. Tiffany Studios used the nautilus shade on a few different bases, but this has always been the most coveted shade/base combination. Our client requested that we apply a polychromatic finish to the bronze base, toning the body of the mermaid without any green. This coloration makes for a striking lamp.

Using molds taken from an original Tiffany Studios example, the finely detailed cast bronze base is made at Century Studios. This is the only Tiffany base design which bears the signature of the artist who sculpted it.

In the photo to the right, Irwin is shown soldering the stained glass shell together. Because this piece curves into itself (like a real shell), the shade must be made in several pieces and soldered together in sections. The wooden shell form used to create the shade can be seen in the photo.

Turner & Scratch Pottery Opening

This past Friday we showcased 75 pieces of pottery by local artist Nick McArdell (pictured below) of Turner & Scratch Pottery with a special evening opening and artist reception. The studio was crowded with people eager to see the newest works by this talented local artist.

Century Studios has long featured works by Turner & Scratch in our showroom. Even though the opening night crowd took full advantage of having first access to Nick's newest works, there are still many exciting pieces on display in our showroom, with more new works to come soon. Stop by and see the pieces in person!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Juggling Cats


The Kabuki Cat series of stoneware plates and platters by Turner & Scratch Pottery is inspired by the ukiyo-e (wood cut blockprints) of the famous Japanese artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797 - 1861). This new series will be introduced this week Friday (Aug 21) from 6pm to 9pm in our showroom. Everyone is welcome to stop by, meet artist Nick McArdell, see the new pieces and enjoy light refreshments.

Authorities of 19th Century Japan banned many of the most popular pleasures of the growing middle class. Included in the ban were ukiyo-e which depicted Kabuki actors and geisha, who both had long had been the darlings of ukiyo-e printmakers. It was during these years that Kuniyoshi produced a print series inspired by scenes from hit kabuki plays - though with a slight twist. Instead of depicting actors, which was banned, the scenes were performed by cats. Kuniyoshi himself loved cats and had many. In some of his more risque works, he adapted the pseudonym Gobyoke, or “Master of Five Cats”.