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."