Vol 8. | Dec. 7, 2023
Welcome to Running with Chisels, or welcome back!
We had an incredible number of people through our studio mid November for the 29th annual Artisan Studio Tour, and last weekend at Free Union Artisans Open House. A big thank you to all the people who came to see us, learned about Marquetry, and supported our work.
A quick note – if you’re receiving this email after the Tour, and aren’t sure why because you did NOT know quite what you signed up for when you visited our shop – no hard feelings! You can unsubscribe through the button at the bottom of the email.
We have no new marquetry tips or Q&A this month, however our webmaster has been hard at work and we are happy to report that the Running with Chisels archives are now available if you missed an email!
At the studio tour, Dave & Jenn displayed their first marquetry collaboration piece. Dave demonstrated making individual flowers, and talked interested guests through the process of cutting, layering, and shading the piece full of intricate details.
The piece is based on a painting of a summer flower arrangement Jenn created earlier this year. Tweaked for marquetry and then converted to a line drawing, Dave and Jenn selected veneers and then Dave got to work cutting flowers.
Once Dave has forgotten his annoyance at the number of cuts involved in this piece, there will likely be a future collaboration! Stay tuned.
Now updated with dates at other locations, here is the complete up-to-date schedule:
New Class Location: The Fredericksburg Workshop
I am pleased to announce that I will be teaching both the Geometric Marquetry class and the Painting with Wood class in March and May of next year, at their facility. I hope to meet some new folks there and maybe some of you, if that location or class timing is more convenient. To sign up for those classes, you’ll need to email the workshop: email@example.com
I will also be returning to teach at the Wood and Shop in Earlysville next year. I will be running Veneering for Furnituremakers I on Friday and Saturday, Sept 13-14. Click here to signup.
The next installment of our Decorative Arts Collections worth a visit takes us to the South.
Excellent photographs can tell you a lot about a fine piece of furniture, sometimes enough to make it from. However, to really get the feel of a piece, see it in person. My wonderful and patient wife understands this, so when we travel, there is often a stop or six to look at particular pieces, or just absorb the vibes. Often, these places are Decorative Arts Museums, but not today.
Eighteenth century Charleston was very wealthy from rice, sugar and other products grown further inland by the large enslaved population. The finest furniture makers moved there from the old world to cater to these wealthy planters. Unusually, there were German as well as British makers, and the synergy from their different approaches created exquisite furniture. This is my favorite “American” furniture.
The finest furniture in Charleston is spread among several Historic Homes below Broad St, the original wealthy portion of town. The houses are small by museum standards, so the furniture is closer than in many American museums, and the pieces are displayed in era-appropriate rooms with smaller pieces that are often just as elegant and refined as the major pieces.
The Charleston Museum has information on the great houses of the area. Oddly, the site isn’t all about furniture, but there is no accounting for taste. Much of the glorious furniture is veneered, with beautiful inlays. I will highlight of couple of my favorite pieces and images. Charleston is off the beaten path, being at the end of a peninsula, but it’s well worth the time. The furniture is wonderful. There are more houses and photos here.
The must-visit house is the Heyward-Washington House, which has the magnificent bookcase below.
I must admit that I didn’t note which pieces of furniture were in which houses. I take these pictures as inspiration later, and I hope to make a Charleston-inspired piece eventually. All of the stately houses had some fine work, and the main museum in town also had some.
The standard reference book for this is “The Furniture of Charleston, 1680-1820 (The Frank L Horton Series)”, by Rauschenberg and Bivins, ISBN 10: 0945578059 . This three volume set from 2003 is available though used bookstores.