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”.

Monday, August 17, 2009

14" Dragonfly Shade

Because of their popularity, Tiffany Studios created dragonfly shades in many different sizes and styles. The smallest dragonfly shade is the 14", a design which features smaller filigreed dragonflies than those which appear on any of the other dragonfly shade designs. The background of the shade also is studded with a smattering of half-round pressed glass jewels.

We recently completed the 14" dragonfly lamp pictured at the right. Blending from a light blue/white at the top of the shade to deep watery blues, the background glass is enhanced by the cobalt blue jewels. The dragonflies have powder blue filigreed wings and green bodies. This lamp is currently available for purchase in our showroom.

In the photo at the top of the posting, Irwin is shown soldering the inside of the shade before attaching the lower rim to finish the shade. Once completed, the etched metal filigrees are soldered into position over the glass bodies and wings of the dragonflies.

The 14" Dragonfly shade remains as popular today as when Tiffany Studios first offered it. To the left and below we are showing a few of the many examples of this design that we have created over the years. As you can see from the photos, this shade looks good in any color scheme. This shade works well on a number of lamp bases. The blue dragonfly is shown on the Mushroom base. The other examples pictured here are shown on the Dragonfly Stemmed Mosaic Base, which Tiffany Studios designed to go with this shade.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Secret Pots

On Friday, August 21st, Century Studios will be hosting a reception with artist Nick McArdell of Turner & Scratch Pottery. On this evening Nick will be introducing his new series of "functional" pottery called "Secret Pots". We will introduce this new line of pottery with 15 one-of-a-kind pieces.

What is a Secret Pot? Here is how they are described by Turner & Scratch:

Turner & Scratch, known for fine hand-crafted art pottery, is pleased to introduce its first line of functional ceramics, which we have christened “Secret Pots”. With this collection we hope to fill a need that the ceramic community has long ignored. No longer will you exclaim “I shall burst if I don’t tell someone.” Simply install the stopper and speak into the ears of your Secret Pot. The secret is stored and safe. The container is also totally reusable. If the secret becomes common knowledge, simply remove the stopper, release the secret and the pot is ready for use again. Each vessel hears the quietest whisper and understands any and all languages. Larger capacity vessels are available by special order to contain your confidential and extremely juicy particulars.

Secret Pots are quite small - less than 3.5" tall, and each comes with a ceramic stopper. They make perfect gifts. Each pot is a one of a kind creation, and some of the "hard of hearing" pots have three ears to make sure the secret is caught and kept safe!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Winged Moon

While working on our various commissioned projects, we have also been working on a new window for above the front door of our studio. 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.

In the above photo, part of the window can be seen on the light table as we work on cutting and fitting. To the right, Bill is seen foiling the window. We should be finishing it soon!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Turner & Scratch Pottery Show and Sale

Century Studios will be open on Friday August 21, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for an artist's reception featuring over 45 pieces of hand made pottery by St. Paul potter Nick McArdell of Turner & Scratch Pottery. The show, titled Secret Pots & Jugging Cats will feature many new works by this talented artist. The decorated stoneware pieces for this show will include wall hanging platters, plates, vases and oil lamps, all created in the distinctive Turner & Scratch style! What are Secret Pots? We will explain more in a later posting!

Mark your calendars to come by our studio, enjoy refreshments and meet the artist.

Monday, August 3, 2009

18" Peony Shade

Last week, we completed an 18" Peony shade for our showroom. We always try and meld showroom pieces in with our commission work. This gives visitors to our studio showroom something new to see each time they visit. While Bill fine tuned the layout for the Madame Charpentier window, Irwin worked on this shade. The completed shade is pictured to the left on the Doric Column base.

The 18" Peony is one of Tiffany Studios' most popular shade designs and has always been a fun piece to create due to its overall floral design. This shade has a lush feel which translates well into many different color schemes. At the bottom of the posting we are showing another example which we created in 2006 on a Pottery 7-Handled base.

Since we were creating this piece for our showroom, we looked to our glass for color inspiration - usually, a client will have a general color scheme in mind when ordering a lamp. After searching through our glass library, we decided to create a piece with an Impressionistic, blended look. To this end, the flower colors bleed into background and leaf colors, and vise-versa. In the photo below, you can see how we lay the pieces out on our light table to check the balance of colors before assembling the shade.

To add richness to the lamp, muted greens that had whites and pinks blended in were employed throughout the background and leaf selections. The pink/white, and white/pink/green flowers were cut from Lins glass (a fantastic glass maker that has been out of business for many years). Glass colors come from minerals and mineral oxides. To achieve the subtle pink tones in this special glass, gold was used.

The 18" Peony shade design is a versatile sized lamp. This shade can be used with many different table bases, and this shade makes a perfect chandelier fixture.