Wrought Iron Art
The beauty of one’s home is of course in the eye of the beholder however there are certain elements that are attractive to almost everyone no matter the taste. Wrought iron is a good example of this as it can be used in many places around the home to add elegance and style.
There is no lack of the types of pieces that are available as they range from gates, fences, stair railings, chandeliers, candle holders, wall art, dining table racks, fireplace screens, wine racks, mirror frames, curtain rods, wall clocks all the way to every type of furniture available in your home. The possibilities are endless, mainly due to the flexibility of the material.
Wrought iron is one of the purest form of cast iron available in the market after going through an industrial process that involves refining, puddling, shingling and rolling to achieve this amazing end product material where the iron has very small amount of carbon and varying amounts of slag. Slag is a key factor as it is directly proportional to the quality of the material as the more slag fibers are present, the cheaper the product.
The primary reason this metal is used the most for home decorative pieces is because of the attractive properties it possesses. Highly corrosive resistant, wrought iron is also very tough and pliable, making it a dream come true for blacksmiths since the first hammer ever hit this material. Craftsman immediately were drawn to create unique things with it and thus why anything that needs to be strong, but also requires a bit of style will include this metal.
Typically one will find floral or delicate leafy cuts as a typical design however this metal can be twisted and bent to make any intricate, elegant, eye-catching design. Classic European influences are clearly seen in many pieces however the prevalence of the material has introduced a much needed injection of modern elements to blend well with more current looks. All it takes is a bit of imagination and creative thinking to choose the most suitable pieces to complement your home.
Big pieces such as beds, headboards, patio furniture and more are the obvious choices when using this metal so let’s discuss a few smaller things that can accentuate the beauty of your home such as the simple light switch. A thing as subtle as this can tie together with the iron lamp and coat rack in the entrance corridor that also happen to be lined up with iron plant holders where you can clearly see the iron shelving in the adjacent room. One can own a pair of iron key holders to effectively complement all these decorative touches and further create a theme for your beautiful home.
As one can see, wrought iron can be molded into gorgeous things which requires very low maintenance compared to other types of material in the market so whether your house is traditional, contemporary or modern, it won’t be hard to find a suitable piece for your home.
@Copyright Ironews 2013
‘Matisse: In Search of True Painting’: Examines the artist’s quest
By Dan Bischoff
Art historian Kenneth Clark once said that the definition of a classical artist was someone who returned again and again to the same theme, seeking its perfect expression. An artist whose every work was original, inspired, unique, was by definition a romantic. And by that standard, the painter we see in “Matisse: In Search of True Painting,” a show of 49 pictures that just opened at the Metropolitan Museum, is as classic as Praxiteles.
Because what “In Search of True Painting” is really about is the way Henri Matisse (1869-1954) throughout his long, long career worked in series. There are at least a score or so included: The full scale charcoal and two painted versions of “Le Luxe” (1907-8, a miniseries that is the original core inspiration of this exhibition); two “Interiors” with a Fez vase, one in “Red and Blue” and the other in “Venetian Red” (1946); three “Large Cliff” paintings showing either “Two Rays,” “Eel” or “Fish” in the foreground (1920); three “Portraits of Laurette” (1916), the dark-eyed professional model from Italy who would smoke cigarettes nude at the window of Matisse’s studio in Paris, indifferent to the shocked gendarmes in the street — we could go on and on.
What we are encouraged to see on the walls of the Met is the way these series moved into Matisse’s life and reordered it, occupying his thoughts and skills for months, sometimes years. (They could have surprising effects — Matisse’s son, for example, fell deeply in love with Laurette, who came from the nest of Italian refugees waiting out World War I in Montmartre, penniless, more than a little desperate, and keeping body and soul together by offering to pose nude for the city’s artists. Of such situations are boys’ dreams made.)
Even when we only have one painting, like the “The Dream” (1940), the Met has surrounded it with some 15 photos commissioned by Matisse that show the various states of the picture as it developed, almost as if it were a print shown in stages of artist’s proof. Matisse himself had the painting shown this way, at the Galerie Maeght in Paris, in 1945.
The obvious analogy is to “Regarding Warhol,” effectively just around the corner from “Matisse,” with its many photo-based series, even including strips of mugshots taken in a photo booth (still up through the end of this month). Met Director Tom Campbell made a point of telling critics at his luncheon last week that, no matter how much they hated “Regarding Warhol,” the show was a phenomenal success, drawing 750,000 visitors so far, sometimes as many as 7,000 a day; linking “In Search of True Painting” to such a hit can’t be bad for a traditional painting show.
Organized by modern and contemporary curator Rebecca Rabinow, “In Search of True Painting” definitely emphasizes Matisse’s “search,” which we quickly understand to be more involved than the typical one on Google. It’s almost as if the artist were a translating device, moving his initial inspiration in color harmony, shape, and subject into inevitably more simplified and geometrical versions. And following his mind through these paintings definitely revives that original joy in viewing Matisse — the sudden luxury of his arabesques, the hard geometries that underlie every picture, and most of all the colors, exquisitely balanced between sweet and sour.
If you think Matisse is so famous you can no longer see his work, this is the show for you. Your mind will fall effortlessly into the Modernizing gaze; you’ll start to make Matisses out of everything you see around you once you leave. Which really is a pretty good way to tell whether an exhibition of paintings is ringing your chimes.
“In Search of True Painting” is organized chronologically, and stocked with famous masterpieces, but it never seems dutiful or scholarly. Everyone has their favorites, no doubt, but the conjunction of “Interior with Goldfish” (from the Pompidou Center) and “Goldfish and Palette” (from the Museum of Modern Art, both 1914) has to be a high point. And not just because of the wonderful ultramarines, gray-blues and sudden red-gold highlights. The way the colors and shapes, particularly the wrought iron rails outside the studio window, become patterns in a far more abstract picture is simply delightful. Matisse, as always, makes painting look so easy.
It isn’t, of course — though thinking it must be is a common effect of true classicism. Painting’s not like sitting in a photo booth. But these series of series almost make you think you painted them, because they let you see so many steps along the way. And that is very easy on the soul.
‘Philippine Style: Design and Architecture’ book now out
“Philippine Style: Design and Architecture,” a new book that delves into the roots of traditional Filipino buildings and describes the varied influences that have resulted in the ever-inventive Philippine Style. Written by Luca Tettoni and Elizabeth V. Reyes, the book features houses, interiors, and furniture; and also, explores main themes: ancestral houses, interiors and furniture that date from the period of Spanish colonization; and modern-day homes and designs that retained traditional designs.
For the first time, the unique architectural history of the Philippines is explored in full color and full detail: from the native nipa hut called the bahay kubo, through the Spanish colonial period of the bahay na bato or “house of stone,” to modern-day homes that take influences, motifs, and materials from these earlier prototypes.
Architect Dominic Galicia writes in the introduction, “This book aims to highlight the continuum of the Filipino design process: how, through history, the varied peoples of the archipelago have always strived to consult with Kahn’s Nature – and how a type of unique Filipino identity has thereby emerged.”
The traditional houses, in this book, shared the same responses to climatic conditions and shared expressions of cultural realities. Some of the traditional houses featured in the book are Villa Angela in Vigan, Pastor house in Batangas, and Casa Villavicencio in Taal Batangas.
Villa Angela, built in 1859 by Vigan’s gobernadorcillo Agapito Florendo y Bonifacio, boasts of its grand sala an elegant room with wood-and-cane furniture, Victorian wrought-iron hanging lamps. The Acosta-Pastor ancestral home, built in 1883 by gobernadorcillo Alejo Acosta, features a furnished traditional style wood-and-cane sala sets. Casa Villavicencio, meanwhile, contains an informal antesala at the top of its stairs; this is where the homeowner entertained tradesmen or casual visitors. The heavy molave trunk by the stairs holds up the main floor of the 1840s bahay na bato.
Contemporary houses explored in “The Philippine Style” show past architectural styles and modern influences from foreign countries. An example of a contemporary abode is the Filipinana Farmhouse of Elizalde, with “a ceramic tub, cradled in a rustic rattan basket, with Victorian-style taps.” Another example is the Riverine Hideaway by Cesar Gaupo of Shanghai Tang. In Gaupo’s primitive modern home, is a cement feature wall and matching raised table to add modernity.
Luca and Reyes wrote the architectural book “The Filipino Style” (1997), which was published by Periplus. Their new book “The Philippine Style: Design & Architecture” contains more information on Philippine Architecture. The book has detailed sections on antique furniture and organic materials, as well as chapters on the work of modern-day designers and architects. It also features assessments of homes, home interiors, the ever-versatile Filipinos continue to innovate, and create, both at home and abroad. This book is only available in National Book Store, Powerbooks, and Bestellers.
Menorahs range from simple to quirky
By Carly Cline
Menorahs aren’t just for Hanukkah; many families display their menorah collections year-round. Whether you’re looking to add to your collection or hoping to pick up a new one for your festivities this year, we’ve rounded up eight of the most unusual, beautiful menorahs we could find.
The only thing that can hold a candle to the stunning craftsmanship of this glass Ring of Lights menorah is, well, a candle. Use beautiful, colorful candles to create a matched set of sorts.
This Bird Family Menorah serves as inspiration to spend quality time with the family – a truly special reason for the season.
If your collection is missing a larger hannukiah, look no further than this striking piece from dh Collection in Fort Worth. The large wrought-iron menorah is perfect for display on a grand table.
This small but divinely detailed piece from Michael Aram features an adorable fruit motif. It comes in two pieces to arrange in whichever way you choose, making it great for tabletops both large and small.
Uncommon Angles carries menorahs in several styles, including this piece, called “Tree of Life.” We love the different colors found in the foliage and the natural tone of the metal.
If a menorah can be simultaneously serious and whimsical, this piece has both qualities down, with its simple chrome exterior and a spinning dreidel in the middle.
Patrick Maisey’s home is a true labour of love. He built it himself, using locally sourced materials, in a prime spot at the end of a peninsula in the Tasman district that has been in his family for generations.
Not surprisingly, the place means an enormous amount to Maisey, his partner Christine Boswijk and their family. The house has grown gradually over time as work commitments and the mood allowed.
Today it’s a substantial build, able to house the blended family of 14 when they are all together at Christmas.
Design features include wrought iron around the balcony and doors opening to verandas and pockets of garden.
“We will start by picking our own homegrown cherries with the grandchildren on Christmas Eve and always gather around the long table to eat on Christmas Day,” says Christine Boswijk.
There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a massive living dining space and huge farmhouse kitchen. An adjacent structure of similar proportions allows the artist pair to pursue their individual passions – Christine in ceramics and sculpture and Patrick in the restoration of old cars.
The house has been developed in three stages including a second level with master bedroom and en suite.
“It’s perfect for Patrick,” says Boswijk. “He can get out of bed, look through the telescope and check on his boat moored at Mapua and then go to his workshop and the classic cars.”
While the house design has been Maisey’s preserve (with help from a draughtsman friend and then Nelson architect John Palmer), Boswijk had input too. She is quick to point out her walk- in wardrobe and dressing area in the angle of the roof pitch.
There’s plenty of quirky and distinctive detail to the property. A daughter’s former partner crafted steel porthole window frames and old wharf supports, hand positioned by Patrick and helpers using a block and tackle, form the main structure of the build. The clay exterior wall in the living area, added seven years ago, has a huge open fire and French doors in the new addition have created indoor-outdoor flow to the pond, water feature and view over the estuary.
“We have two planes- the vertical of the mountains and the horizontal of the sea. We have unbelievable light and life in this environment,” Boswijk says.
The house is about functionality – everything has to have a purpose and a use, so it doesn’t become a relic of the past. The house and surrounds continue to develop, a canvas for two artists.