Posts Tagged With: stuff I like

Stuff I like, part 1

The internet is a pretty wonderful thing when it comes to publishing information.  I remember when I was first trying to learn about metal shaping in the 1980’s.  I had a handful of books and magazine articles (and was glad to have them) but going beyond that wasn’t easy.  I met people, took some courses and learned what I could.  Then in the early 1990’s I attended a talk about “Mosaic” and the “World Wide Web”, when I got back to my office at work I figured out how to download Mosaic (which was, of course, the first web browser) and started trying to search the internet.  I found something called “ArtMetal.com” and was immediately networked with a bunch of people around the country who shared similar interests.  Sadly, it looks like the original ArtMetal site archives at Washington University are gone and the current site has loads of broken links.

Chris Ray

One of the first internet buddies I made was Chris Ray, a blacksmith and sculptor in Philadelphia.  I had a business trip to the east coast once where I managed to add in a side trip to visit Chris and stayed with him for a couple of days.  He had an interesting live/work space in a scary area, and we got to play in his shop raising abstract shapes from thick copper and forging iron.  I have two original Chris Ray pieces, one from his “Flotsam” series and another that is a house number that I commissioned, and the plant hanger I made at Chris’ shop around 1995 still hangs on my front porch.

"Nomad" by Chris Ray, wrought copper

“Nomad” by Chris Ray, wrought copper

Street number forged/fabricated by Chris Ray for my house

Street number forged/fabricated by Chris Ray for my house

Plant hanger forged by your truly under Chris' watchful eye.  I was trying to get a plowing, plastic shape like taffy melting.

Plant hanger forged by your truly under Chris’ watchful eye. I was trying to get a plowing, plastic shape like taffy melting.

But I digress.  I’m just pointing out the obvious; the internet makes access to information on art, craft and processes easily available where previously it was difficult to find information and artists had little chance of broad recognition outside of a lucky few individuals.

Theodore Ellison

I found Theodore Ellison’s web site through a posting on a G&G mail list about some beautiful wood doors that had these stunning stained glass panels in them.  I’ve spent hours browsing through the pictures on theodoreellison.com.  I really like his compositions, use of color and decorative soldering.  Do yourself a favor and take a look at his work.

Detail of a cabinet door designed to match nearby windows

Detail of a cabinet door designed to match nearby windows

Having done a few simple stained glass projects, I really appreciate the details in his work.  The decorative soldering is something that I want to pay particular attention to in the future.  Take a look at the details on the glass panels in this door from his blog, the solder seams become realistic branches in the tree.

wood and glass detail of Dunsmuir Door by Theodore Ellison Designs and the Craftsman Door Company

wood and glass detail of Dunsmuir Door by Theodore Ellison Designs and the Craftsman Door Company

Debey Zito

In the same way I discovered Ellison’s work through the Craftsman Door Company, I discovered Debey Zito through Ellison’s blog.  Both are members of Artistic License, a local San Francisco organization of craftspeople involved in historical architectural work.  Zito and Ellison collaborated with other local artisans, including coppersmith Audel Davis, to create this stunning room — an homage to the work of CF Voysey.

zito_07

Ravens (a popular motif) recall the lively birds in a fireplace grille by Voysey. The oak trees are all about California. Photo: Nathanael Bennett

There were pictures of several of Debey Zito’s pieces, but this is my favorite by far.  Interestingly, she has made several pieces of furniture for the owners of the Blacker House, including this one.  I like the lines of the cabinet, the decorative (inlay?) on the upper panels and the sculpted metal handles.  Really, really nice.

Aesthetic Cabinet. 70"H, 60"W, 23"D. Black walnut. We have made this piece several times. One is in the Greene and Greene Blacker House with water lilies carved on it. Photo: David Ramsey.

Aesthetic Cabinet. 70″H, 60″W, 23″D. Black walnut. We have made this piece several times. One is in the Greene and Greene Blacker House with water lilies carved on it. Photo: David Ramsey.

Voysey Desk and Chair. Desk: 53"H, 44"W, 17"D. Chair: 45"H, 23"W, 22"D. Black walnut. Photo: David Ramsey.

Voysey Desk and Chair by Debey Zito. Desk: 53″H, 44″W, 17″D. Chair: 45″H, 23″W, 22″D. Black walnut. Photo: David Ramsey.

Christopher Vickers

Since several of Debey Zito’s pieces are inspired by CFA Voysey, I decided look more into his work.  Which lead me to Vickers’ website.  He is a craftsman in the UK, and he produces both wood and metal items, but it’s his metal lighting fixtures that really are stunning in my opinion.  There is a lot to look at here, primarily English Arts & Crafts styled work.  Some, like the Voysey items, tend toward the abstract.  I haven’t looked at everything on his site yet, and need to stop if I have any hope of getting work done in my shop today, so I’ll leave you with this simple but elegant hanging light.  I think it’s just spectacular.

Birmingham Guild of Handicraft Pendant Light.

Birmingham Guild of Handicraft Pendant Light.

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