Sunday, May 27, 2012

Parakeet and Fish Bowl Window

New to our showroom is the Parakeet and Fish Bowl Window. Adapted from an original Tiffany window design, this piece features colorful birds clustered around a large hanging fish bowl, amid blossoming tree branches. While this is a fairly unlikely situation to be found in nature, the juxtaposition of the brightly colored birds and luminous bowl make for a striking image. The original window was created by Tiffany Studios in 1893 for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In 1996, the original Tiffany window was sold at Christie's in New York for $1,047,500.00.

To create our version, Bill referenced photographs of the original Tiffany window, and hand drew the cartoon. Once the pattern was created, Bill began the layout process with the sky portions. The lower sky was cut from a piece of Chicago Art Glass which we have been saving for over ten years for this specific window project. CAG created wonderful glass and has been out of business for over 7 years.

The fish bowl is created using two layers of glass. The front layer is a single piece of heavily rippled transparent glass which gives the abstracted fish in the bowl a sense of movement. To complete the lifelike impression that the bowl is suspended in a tree, copper chain was affixed to the surface of the window - a detail borrowed from the original Tiffany Studios' window.

It is interesting to note that in the original window the rendering for the birds was taken from the 1829 John James Audubon print Carolina Parrot from his work The Birds of America (this image is frequently referred to as Carolina Parakeet). The artists at Tiffany Studios must have had access to a copy of this remarkable book, and it would have appealed to Louis C. Tiffany to use this work as a reference because the birds are represented life sized in the print. Whenever possible in windows or lamps, Mr. Tiffany wanted plants (and animals) to be drawn "true to life", so this reference work would have been far easier than finding birds to draw from life at the studio.

The Parakeet and Fish Bowl Window is currently on display in our showroom and available for purchase.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

10" Pony Wisteria

New to the showroom is a 10" Pony Wisteria Lamp. This Tiffany Studios design packs a large punch into a small package. This remarkable piece is currently available for purchase in our showroom.

Starting with a cast bronze openwork crown made specifically for this shade, the blossoms of the Pony Wisteria cascade down the sides of the shade, ending in a highly irregular lower edge. The lower edge is finished with a half round copper reinforcing wire which provides strength and a polished look to the bottom of the shade. Branch work continues into the body of the shade, giving the piece a naturalistic look.

With over 870 individual pieces of glass to be cut and fit, the shade has as many pieces as many of the large 22" shades! The flower glass for this shade was selected from a variety of mottled white, blue and purple mixes. The vibrant greens of the leaves perfectly compliments the flower tones, and the hammered background glass gives the shade just the right touch of sparkle.

The shade is pictured on the detailed Pony Tree Trunk base, which was designed by Tiffany Studios specifically for this shade. The base has three lights inside the shade, and a bronze turn knob to illuminate the lamp.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Trip to Chicago

This past weekend, Century Studios was closed while we went an a whirlwind trip, driving to Chicago and back. On Sunday we visited the Driehaus Museum in downtown Chicago. This 1880's Gilded Age home has been meticulously restored by Richard H. Driehaus to its original glory and is open for visitors and tours.

In addition to the impressive home itself, Mr. Driehaus has furnished many of the rooms with portions of his collections of furniture, fine art, stained glass windows, and works by Tiffany Studios. Several rooms on the first floor have impressive lamps and fixtures by Tiffany. The smoking room at the front of the house features one of two 24" Curtain Border floor lamps on display.

On the second floor, there are two exquisite Tiffany Studios chandelier fixtures, one with golden turtleback tiles and the other featuring light green tiles. Both fixtures have blown lily shades near the top of the fixtures.

The museum is open most days and guests can take guided tours with docents or enjoy the experience with a "self guided" tour.

We often are asked where we get our hand rolled art glass. Because our sheet glass is created by several glass foundries located across the United States, it can be difficult to visit each foundry individually.

We find it easier to travel to the Chicago area and hand select our library of glass from the largest wholesaler in the country. On Monday morning, we got down to the serious business of selecting glass. Irwin is seen selecting glass made in Pennsylvania, while across the isle we selected from glass made in West Virginia. We also chose glass from companies located in Indiana and Oregon. The glass is now being crated and will be shipped to our studio later this week.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Closed This Coming Weekend

Century Studios will be closed Saturday May 12 through Tuesday May 15. We will resume regular business hours on Wednesday May 16.