Saturday, December 23, 2017

Studio Hours

Century Studios is closed for the Holidays
We will resume regular business hours
on Tuesday January 2


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Lamp of the Week: 20" Poppy

The 20" Poppy shade is one of the most popular Tiffany Studios shade designs. The shade can be created in any color scheme and filigree on both the leaves and flower centers give the shade a unique appearance. We created this shade as a showroom piece over 25 years ago using Lins glass. The shade is shown on the Twisted Vine base. This lamp is in a private collection.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

25" Mandarin Lotus

The 25" Mandarin Lotus is a symmetrically complex shade with an undulating accordion pleat surface. Tiffany Studios fashioned the shade to represent a large lotus leaf, with each lead line representing a vein in the leaf. Each of the 24 peaked ribs of the shade have a hand applied copper wire which accentuates the veining. The wires bisect seven times on their path from the top of the shade to the outer border. The rim of the shade is finished with a half round copper wire, providing additional strength to the shade.

In 2012 we visited the Huntington Library and Gardens in California and snapped this photo in the Lily Pond Garden. It is difficult to get a sense of scale from the photo, but many of the large Lotus leaves are two feet in diameter.
The Mandarin Lotus base (also called the Ribbed Lotus base) represents the slender stalks that support the large leaves, and was designed by Tiffany Studios specifically for this shade. We created both the shade and bronze base for this lamp. This lamp was commissioned by a West Coast client.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lamp of the Week: 24" Poppy

With it generous proportions and unusual filigreed irregular lower edge, the 24" Poppy with Filigree makes a bold decorating statement. For this shade, the flowers were made in many shades of red, orange, yellow and deep pink. The sparkling, lightly textured background glass is made from a glass that blends together the flower and leaf colors. The addition of pieced metal filigrees on the flower centers and leaves adds a layer of interest to the shade. We created this shade in 2013 as a showroom piece, and it is now in a private collection.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lamp of the Week: 28" Poinsettia

We are completing a large lamp at the studio, so here is a second "lamp of the week' presentation. The 28" Poinsettia is the a generously proportioned shade that can be used as a chandelier, as an oversized table lamp, or on a Jr. Floor base. This example, commissioned in 2009 by a client in Chicago, features vibrant reds and greens. The 28" Poinsettia shade has a non repeating pattern,  so the design looks different when viewed from every angle.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lamp of the Week: 18" Poinsettia

Commissioned in 2008 by a client in Chicago, this lush 18" Poinsettia has a deep blue fracture glass background peeking through the olive green trellis. The red poinsettias are a mix of textured and smooth red glasses. The shade is shown on the distinctive Osage Pottery base.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

18" Flowering Lotus

The 18" Flowering Lotus lamp is an astonishingly complex Tiffany lamp design. The integrated shade and base begins with a wide cluster of bronze lily pads which rests firmly on the table. Ten individual flower stems ascend from the pads, making their way up inside the shade, each ending in a light socket. The upward thrust of the bronze stems is picked up and transformed into glass on the shade.  Each glass stem splits and follows the path indicated by the base as they cascade downwards from the top of the shade. These delicate glass stems end in a glorious explosion of blossoms.

With almost 1800 individual pieces of glass within the confines of a relatively small shade, this piece must be meticulously hand crafted and assembled. For comparison, the 28" Magnolia shade has 1260 pieces of glass. The pattern for this shade will drive the glass artist to distraction if order and method is not employed throughout every stage of the layout and construction. The hand rolled art glass used to create the shade is approximately 1/8" thick, and many of the stem pieces towards the top of the shade end in slivers that are much narrower than the thickness of the glass.
The colors for this example were carefully blended beginning with sparkling rippled glass used for the water portions of the shade. The rippled glass has transparent tones of blue, yellow, and green mixed into a lightly colored base glass of red/purple/clear. The pink and white flowers are tinged with subtle shades of blue, yellow, purple, red, and green, adding depth to the color pallet of the shade. The stems reflect all the different tones of glass found within the shade. The result is a blended color scheme where each tone reflects and balances with one another.
Once the painstaking process of layout was completed, each piece was hand wrapped in copper foil. The foiled pieces are shown being transferred onto the form in preparation for soldering. The shade was extensively reinforced with copper wires soldered along the lead lines on the interior of the shade. A half round copper wire was also added to the irregular lower edge of the shade, providing additional strength for the shade.

Using molds taken from an original Tiffany example, we created the cast bronze Pond Lily base for this shade. Because of the depth of the shade, there are ten lights positioned at two levels. When illuminated, the upper and lower scattering of lights within the shade provide more sparkle than a single row of lights would achieve.

Tiffany designed this shade with air vents in the glass at the top. This is a necessary engineering feature that lets the heat generated by the light bulbs to flow out of the shade. Without this venting, the heat from the lights would build up and potentially weaken the leading at the top of the shade.

The Flowering Lotus is one of Tiffany Studios' masterpiece lamp designs. This spectacular lamp was commissioned by a California client.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lamp of the Week: Showroom Lamps

During the Holiday Season, we often get asked what lamps we have in the showroom. Due to our very busy commission schedule, we have a limited number of stained glass lamps available for immediate purchase. Our current selection includes:
7" Geometric on Antique Student Lamp (new patina on base) - Glass is ruby red mixed with yellow
14" Dragonfly - Light amber glass dotted with multi-colored jewels
16" Geometric w/Triangle Border - A modern color twist on a classic design
16" Daffodil - Light and sunny shade with translucent background that shifts from yellow to amber
16" Geometric Brickwork - Classic green mottled glass
22" Dragonfly - Amber rippled glass gives this shade lots of sparkle

Sunday, November 26, 2017

New Wally Birds

Three new Wally Birds just arrived from Bur Oak Pottery. Inspired by pieces created in the late 19th/early 20th Century by the Martin Brothers Pottery, Wally Birds are named for their creator Wallace Martin, the eldest of this eccentric family of potters.

Taking inspiration from the originals, each one of our exceptional bird jars is sculpted by hand using stoneware clay which is baked in a wood-fired kiln. Artist/creator Ed Klein then perches each bird on a painted, hand turned wooden base just like the originals. The heads lift off so you can stash trinkets and treasures within. Each bird is a one of a kind creation.

New Birds

 Crested Bluebird - 16" tall - That is not nest-head, his feathers always stand up that way at the back of his head.
 Snickering Bird - 15" tall - He never laughs outright, he just snickers and chuckles quietly off to the side.

Disbelieving Bird - 12.5" tall - "Come on, tell me another one...."

These new arrivals join our current flock:

 Sly Bird - 10.5" tall - The petite, quite birds find all the best bird seed.

Cunning Bird - 10.25" tall - This plump fellow knows where all the worms are, but he is keeping this knowledge to himself.
 Contented Bird - 10.5" tall - Happy and at ease with everyone, this sprightly fellow is ready for any adventure that comes his way.

 Eavesdropping Bird - 13" tall - This inquisitive fellow keeps an ear open and leans over to catch everyone's conversations.

 Confident Bird - 16" tall - Upright, loyal and true are the watchwords for this balding fellow.

 Leopold - 17" tall - This commanding fellow has a no nonsense attitude to life.

Large Owl - 20.5" tall - The grand daddy of them all. This owl is tall, stately, full of knowledge, and ready to share his wisdom with all.

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.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lamp of the Week: 22" Wisteria

Tiffany Studios created Wisteria lamps in several sizes and shapes. One of the most versatile of these is the 22" Wisteria which can be a table lamp, chandelier, or floor lamp. Commissioned in 2002 by a Chicago area client, the cascading flowers in this shade have a variety of blue, purple, lavender, and white tones. The irregular lower edge gives the shade a naturalist look.  The shade is shown on the telescoping Perforated base.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

20" Waterllily

Tiffany Studios often used water themes for lamps and windows, and one of their most popular shade patterns is the 20" Waterlily. Lily pads float on the surface of a tranquil summer pond while flowers and buds playfully interact across the shade. For this shade, the water glass is a brilliant shining blue tinged with deep purple. Set against this shimmering backdrop are white flowers blushed with pink and red. Lively green tones enliven the pads while an emerald green rippled glass border plays off the deeper color tones towards the bottom of the shade. The shade is shown on the intricately detailed Cattail base. This lamp was commissioned by a California client.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Lamp of the Week: 22" Maple Leaf

The 22" Maple Leaf is a Century Studios' original shade design created in 2012.. The pattern was inspired by a stunning Maple tree that graced our front yard, but sadly had to be removed two years ago. A lively mix of red, yellow, and orange glass were used to create this shade. Hints of an autumnal sky provide contrast to the warm leaf colors. Pictured on the Twisted Vine base, this shade is in a private collection in the Chicago area.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

25" Fish Scale

We are pleased to introduce a new pattern to our ever expanding list of Tiffany reproduction lamp designs. The 25" Fish Scale shade is a helmet shaped shade that can be used as a large table lamp, a floor lamp, or an impressive chandelier fixture. As a chandelier fixture, the shade would work equally well hanging from a single chain, or inverted. The shade is shown on the Twisted Vine base at the top of the post.

The color of the shade has a subtle transition from denser green glass at the top into a lighter green/amber mix for the lower two thirds of the lamp. Commissioned by a West Coast client, we created a monumental pottery base for this piece. The 32" tall base sits on a bronze pedestal and has a Grueby-style green curdled glaze. The resulting shade and base make a bold decorating statement. Tiffany Studios often used pottery by the Massachusetts based Grueby Fiaence Pottery for lamp bases.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lamp of the Week: 16" Black Eyed Susan

The 16" Black Eyed Susan is one of several Tiffany Studios shade designs that features clusters of flowers against a geometric background. Rather than being presented against a naturalistic setting, the flowers are presented in the style of a botanical drawing. The background glass shifts from white at the top down to a lively green, setting off the warm tones of the flowers. Created in 2006, the shade is shown on the Small Stick base. The simple lines of this base make it a perfect mate to most 16" and 18" shades.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

22" Dragonfly

It is always exciting to create a 22" Dragonfly shade. The endless variety of color combinations available for this design make each example fresh. The generously sized shade is studded with pressed glass jewels, which provides additional color accents and sparkle to the finished lamp. The deep blue and green background for this shade was created using Lins glass. The Lins Glass Foundry went out of business in the late 1990's and we recently acquired this glass as part of a small private stash of sheet glass. Commissioned by a California client, the shade is shown on the Perforated base. This base has six lights and can be telescoped to be taller.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Lamp of the Week: 16" Fern

Boldly symmetrical, yet surprisingly organic, the 16" Fern is a most unusual Tiffany Studios lamp pattern. The strong graphic sensibility of the design stays true to the plant it represents while calling to mind Tiffany's Moorish style lighting fixtures that rely on sculpted wire work. This glass chosen for this piece is a subtle variation of two greens. Shown on the Pond Lily - Blown Glass and Bronze base, this lamp was commissioned in 2007 by a Midwest client.