Architectural detail

Occasionally I commute between where I live and Zaandam. That means a ride with the option to take the short and straight, but exposed and boring route along the provincial road. Or I can opt for the longer but more sheltered and scenic version. 

Usually I take the longer one because the beautiful old houses alongside the winding road make for a far more enjoyable ride. And sometimes I pick out an architectural detail, and focus on that during the ride, just to have a bit of fun while my legs peddle away the miles. 

The other day was just such a day. I picked out the sky light (the windows above front doors) and because time was on my side I decided to photograph them for you. It's amazing to see how many variations there are.

First; back in the old days (1600's) these lights had a clear function and that was to shed light into the dark hallway behind the front door. Because they weren't able to make large sheets of glass at that time, these windows were made up by connecting small pieces of glass with the aid of lead strips. Similar to this early example; 

As time progressed and fashions changed, these upper windows or fanlights (is that the proper English word?) changed accordingly. 

Along the route you can see windows from the opulent Renaissance to the more common trees of life from the 19th Century. 

The more you look, the more variations you can spot; from elaborate pictorial carvings to windows with stark graphical rabbets. 

I also noticed returning symbols, among were arrows and wondered if they represent a meaning. A search on the net soon made me stumble across this page;

Wow! So much information on such a dedicated subject. Although in Dutch I soon realized this site should be up here, for all who are interested in more background info then I can ever offer. 
(If you enter the address in Google translate you can read the site in any language desired)

So let me just finish with a few more pictures of these special windows above the front door. I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do when I pass them along my route.

a choice of design

Hi dear miniature friends,

Here's a little update on the design for the head boards of these 4 poster beds. It's not a huge progress as carving is very time consuming and time hasn't really been on my side lately. Still, it's fun to show you where it's at and because I would like to hear your thoughts on a few things at this stage.

Before building even commenced we'd designed a classical theme of acanthus leaves decorating a simple yet elegant 4 poster bed. 2 Versions of the head crest are already chosen and are in process of being carved right now.

One is a bow ribbon tied to a bundle of flowers. Not finished yet, but these pictures will give you an indication.

Another one will receive a round centre piece. Very different in appearance and overall feel, as you can see from the mock up below.

Pretty too in its own right, with the decorative theme of the leaves continued. Yet, the overall feel is a little more rigorous than the top version with its frivolous flowers and ribbon.  

Here's my question; If you could pick one, which one would that be? Would you go for the romantic look, or perhaps the bit more masculine one? 

The reason I'm asking is because I'll be finishing 5 beds in total. The one with the ribbon is already taken. The other 4 are up for sale too. One with the round crest which leaves the remaining three having a headboard that is still open for suggestions or variations of the 2 above. In other words; here's the chance to get your own 4 poster bed with a custom designed head board crest. 

I'd love to hear which one you prefer! And if you're interested or have any questions about the beds, feel free to contact me anytime. 

E-Mail bug

Argh! Apologies to anyone who's tried to contact me through the mail button on this blog! It turned out it hasn't been functioning for a while, thanks to a friend who pointed it out to me! So many thanks to you, Louie!!!  I don't know for how long that has been the case, and I'm so sorry for the inconvenience it might have caused.

I'm confident the issue is resolved now. So, if any one has tried to contact me lately, please do try again! That way I can get back to you as soon as possible.

With sincere apologies,

ps. I wasn't totally sure, but a test mail revealed it's working :))) Thank you Elga!

The 'Michelangelo' of wood carving

If you're interested in wood carving you might want to watch this video. It's an episode of a wonderful documentary series called 'Carved with Love, that was a part of 'Handmade in Britain'.  It was aired in 2013, by BBC 4 (British Broadcasting Company). This episode features the genius Grinling Gibbons. It's almost an hour, so beware. But if you do, sit back and enjoy. You won't be disappointed. His work is mind-blowing!

Carved.With.Love.The.Genius.of.British.Woodwork.s01e02.Glorious.Grinling.Gibbons.PDTV.x264.ATHENA wso from Mastergen on Vimeo.

If you enjoyed you might want to search the net for more of this series. How about 'The divine art of carpentry' or one dedicated to Chippendale?

Have a wonderful weekend!

sneak peek

Over the weekend I found a little time slot in which I finished the railings and made a start on staining the lovely pear wood to a mahogany color. Not there yet, color wise but I wanted to see what it looks like after the first wash. And I did a dry fit;

Still all loose panels and the head board will be decorated with a hand carved top, so there's still loads to do. Just thought I'd share a sneak peek :)

Have a wonderful start of the week!

closing the ends

Finally I have some time to get back to the four poster beds I was working on. These trimmings will become the top rails on the head and foot boards. But I wanted the ends to be molded too. So here's how I did it;

I've cut some wood to fit (real tight) and try to match the grain as well.

Then cutting away the excess, and creating the hollow shape first. 

Giving it a little step, before cutting the round part that follows.

And then the molding goes all the way round as I designed it.

The Droste Effect, or how to get confused

Some time ago I'd run into miniatures where I'd least expected it. It was at The Zuiderzee Museum, an open air museum here in Holland, showing how people used to life and work around the Zuiderzee between 1880 and 1930, the period which preceded the completion of the Ijselmeer dam in 1932. It's a tranquil little fisherman's village, inhabited by actors that keep playing their role so fierce, they invite you to join them for them a cup of coffee in their small and old fashion kitchen, claiming it's 'time for a break from mending fishing nets'.

As we were strolling around we came to this large barn. Not knowing what to expect we entered this robust building and that's where the Droste Effect set in.

In case you're unfamiliar with this term';  In short it's known as miss en abyme in art. It's the effect of a picture appearing within itself, in a place where a similar picture would realistically be expected to appear. The appearance is recursive; the smaller version contains an even smaller version of the picture, and so on. The effect is named after the design on the storage tins and cardboard boxes of Droste Cacoa powder, one of a main Dutch brands. It shows a nurse carrying a serving tray with a cup of hot chocolate and a box with the same image  ----->

Now back to the barn. Walking into it was surreal…  It was a high empty space, and the inside was all painted white. The barn was divided on the right hand side by a large glass wall, separating 2/3 of the space from the entrance area. Behind the glass wall was raised platform, a bit like a stage. On top of it was, what seemed to be, a living room setting. 

That was surreal on its own, not something I'd expected. The entrance area was completely empty, except from a pedestal with a maquette. A closer look made me realize it was a model from the barn. The roof was transparent so you could look inside the model.

And there you could see the 'living room' behind the glass wall. And in the entrance area was also the same model as I was actually looking at. And that's when things started to twist and turn…. I got sucked in.

Because it was like looking like at a 1:144 dolls house inside a 1:12 dolls house while you're actually inside the dolls house itself. And in this case it was a representation of itself. 

And if you looked even closer you could see a micro model inside the miniature model, inside the model. 

A confusing experience, which left me feeling like the nurse on a Droste storage tin. Fortunately it was a magically beautiful day and walking back home the wind in my hair cleared my head in the sky. How wonderful miniatures can be :)

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