Thursday, April 10, 2014

Silver chamberstick...

…a class with Jens Torp

Two weeks ago I took another silver class with Jens Torp.  This time we were going to make a 12th scale silver chamberstick.  The class would include two techniques which were new to me, turning on a metal lathe and soldering silver.   The photo above shows my finished chamberstick.

This photo shows some of the components of the chamberstick.   The bottom bowl has been cut from a sheet of silver, then shaped and drilled.  The top bowl has also been cut from  sheet of silver, shaped and drilled, and then soldered onto a silver tube which we had turned on a lathe beforehand.  

The soldering was nerve-racking, as in silver soldering the whole piece is heated and it could all melt into a big blob of silver in a split second.  Thankfully Jens was watching us and telling us what to do. 

A short impression of my first try on the lathe.  Jens is standing by with instructions.   I was turning the top part of the tube which the top bowl has to fit onto.  As you can see I have difficulty reading the measurement on the calipers…too many tiny lines too close together!

The tube with top disk attached were then mounted onto the lathe again where some decorative turning had to be done.  At first things were going fine for me, but when I had a few lines on there, I just could not see what I was doing anymore.  Help!  I think I need better light and better glasses.

After turning the decorations a hole had to be cut into the tube which would hold a device for raising or lowering the candle.  Then the bottom bowl was soldered on and the little handle riveted into place.  
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it.  Well I can tell you it isn't!

Well as usual there was a lot more sanding, buffing, polishing etc. to be done before it was finished, but here it is, all finished and looking lovely and shiny...

It resides in the bedroom now, but it could go anywhere really.

Isn't it lovely?  I enjoyed this class.  Learned some new techniques…I should really say I tried some new techniques as there's a lot more learning to do before I master them!

Jens sells these chambersticks, made by himself of course.  And then they're somewhat more delicate than mine…Now how can that be? ;-)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Art Nouveau...

Hellooo!   Hellooo!    Hellooo!

There's a bit of an echo here...after not posting for so long. ;-)  I did not have much inspiration or drive to work on miniatures or post anything lately.  Which doesn't mean I didn't do anything at all.

The past few weeks I tried to do a little inlay work.  I had done a bit of inlay before, about 8 years ago in a class by Barry Hipwell.  I must confess I couldn't quite remember how we did it.  At that time I didn't realize I had to write  everything down so I wouldn't forget how it was done.  

After a bit of trying I figured out how to do the inlay again, or something which worked for me anyway.  I used a tray by Émile Gallé for inspiration.  I did make a few mistakes and I'm not happy with the entire design (there were some odd design choices by the great Gallé in my opinion), but I decided to finish it anyway, just for the learning experience.  

It was a LOT of work and I spent a lot of time on hands and knees looking for yet another piece I had dropped (great fun looking for a piece of wood on a wooden floor),  but I did enjoy it.  I learned a lot from making this little tray and I have already found another piece I would like to try and make next.  Now I do need more veneer!

The sides of the tray are made with pear wood, into which I carved a centre line.  I finished the tray with shellac and wax.  It looks lovely and smooth!

Although I made the tray just as an inlay exercise and not with a specific room in mind, it looks quite at home in this Arts & Crafts room in my Canal House.   The curved edge of the tray is repeated in the curved back of the chairs.  

Also for this room I made a cute Arts & Crafts inspired light fixture.   I used an old metal brooch, a bit of brass tubing, a glass shade and a light bulb from Lighting Bug.  Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, but lighting conditions were bad lately.

Even though the lamp is a bit cobbled together, I really like it.  The lamp reminds me of the ones in Standen, an Arts & Crafts house with Morris &Co. interiors in West Sussex, UK.   As you may know by now, I love the Arts & Crafts movement!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Attic bedroom...

When I took these photos today, I was trying to think back to when I started work on this room and thought it was around one year ago.    I just looked up the other posts I did on this room and found that I started on this room over two years ago!

I did not have a lot of inspiration for the attic.  And that is probably why it is taking so long.   Starting to work on my second Canal House didn't help either.  
But the last few days I finally picked up where I left off and the attic rooms are starting to take shape.

View from the attic hallway towards the bedroom on the right of the house.  The partition walls all have painted planks (although they are actually made of strips of thick paper).  I have always liked this look and I think it is appropriate for an attic.  
On the right you can just about see the doorway to the bathroom.

I didn't push the partition walls against the slanted roof quite far enough, as light still peeps through there.   In reality that is hardly visible, but still,  I will fix that when everything is ready to be fixed in place permanently.
The hallway can only be seen through the open doors of the bedroom and bathroom.

The end wall of the attic bedroom also has painted planks, in a very lovely blue colour this time.  It is one of those colours which change when the light changes.  
The chair on the left is one I upholstered in a Nancy Summers class when I was a scholarship student at the Guild School in Castine in 2007.    It still needs a bit of finishing...

The 144th scale house was a laser kit which came as a gift a few years ago with a 2 year subscription to the Dolls House Nederland magazine.  I modified it a bit to look like the houses in the pretty Dutch village of Broek in Waterland.  

The bedside table is a gorgeous little casket which came from my grandparents.  The casket is around 100 years old.  It has a gilt exterior with some coloured enameling.  The interior has a silk and padded lining which makes me think it was probably a little jewelry box.  

I made the bed a little over two years ago.  It has a painted and aged wooden frame which I upholstered using white cotton.  

I used some pretty ribbon to decorate two simple lampshades.  A bit more frilly than I would normally have it, but it works well in this room.  

The partition wall has the William Morris wallpaper ' Daisy' on it (by Susan Bembridge Designs).  It's a very pretty design and the colours are perfect for this room.  
I have kept the room quite sparsely furnished, which makes a nice contrast to some of the other rooms in the house.

View towards the attic hallway, looking in through the bedroom window.  You either have to be very tall or stand on a small stepladder to catch this view.   I am quite tall but still stood on a stepladder to take this photo ;-)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Festive cheer...

       ...for Christmas and the New Year... 
     I wish you all much joy and happiness!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Solstice glow...

Around midwinter the days are very short and can be so gloomy…To bring a little cheer into these dark days there is no better colour than gold! 

In the Yellow Salon of my Canal House  I hung a mirror by Jim Coates which I gilded with 23 carat gold leaf.  The little pier table was made by David Iriarte and the silver-gilt inkstand was made by Jens Torp.

The soft glow of these golden colours warms me up instantly!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hear the wind...

                                        … through treetops blowing…

 ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

Hear the wind through treetops blowing 
drafting through the windowpanes.
Will the good Saint Nicholas be showing
through the storms and through the rains,
through the storms and through the rains? 

Yes he rides through nights unfailing
on his horse so strong and fast. 
If he knew how we awaite him
surely he would not ride past,
surely he would not ride past!

 ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dutch door...

…: a door that is divided into a top and bottom half that open and close separately

I didn't get much done last week, but I did build a back door for the kitchen.  A Dutch door of course.  
The door is quite large, larger than a typical kitchen door, but I wanted as much light as possible to come into the kitchen, so I made a big door.  I was afraid that glass might be too heavy for the door's hinges, so this time I used acrylic for the windowpane.  

The door still needs to be hinged, but -typically- I did not have enough hinges to hang the door.   It also needs door handles and a latch which I still have to make.   

As I was reorganizing my workspace last week, the kitchen became a room with an unusual view…
Normally the Yellow Salon can be found directly above the kitchen.  

Monday, November 18, 2013


At the last show in Arnhem I bought another painting from Elly Ypma.  It is an impression in oil after M.van Mierevelt's 'Portrait of an unknown Lady'.  The original painting was painted around 1600.

Last time I bought a painting from Elly I made a comment to her about the frames, which I didn't like.  I didn't know then that she makes all the frames for her paintings herself and decorates them with 23 carat gold leaf.  Obviously I never meant to hurt her feelings (sorry Elly!).

However, I still think the frames on the paintings I got are not right.  In the 17th century paintings had quite austere, dark frames made from ebony and such woods.

Yesterday I tried out various possibilities on my milling machine.   I still have a lot to learn, but I had fun trying to make a frame for my painting.  Now I did not have any ebony available to me  (I hope to find some in the future), so I used a very fine oak.   I think it already shows the painting so much better!

I do love the painting.  I love that lace cap and the fantastic lace millstone collar!

As I searched online for information on these frames, I came across Gregor's, a Dutch company which makes fantastic frames for old master paintings.  The video below is about the frames he made for the Hermitage in St. Peterburg, three of the frames were for Rembrandt's paintings.
Unfortunately the video is in Dutch, but I love the glimpse into a world we don't normally have access to.

Fun little fact Gregor mentions in the video:  He says the frame he will be making for the 40 million euro Rembrandt, will cost about 1250 euros.  The same type of frame would have cost about 2000 guilders back in the 17th century (that's about $ 1000!!).  For that amount of money you could buy an entire canal house on one of the Amsterdam canals back then!!  Wow!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

No greens in my kitchen...

When I looked at my photos from last week's post, I decided the green of the cabinets was too green.  It did not tie in with all of the blue of the wall tiles and the porcelain which will be in here.  So I mixed up the green paint with some beige and grey and came up with this colour which looks great with the blues of the wall tiles and also with the colour of the floor tiles.  

My next job was to make and paint marbled slabs for the wall by the sink and as a countertop.  For the marbling I used the same colours of paint I used in mixing the paint for the cabinets and as you can see, they're also the colours of the floor tiles.  

I still need to order the hinges for the last door, so I have not yet attached the cabinets to eachother and to the wall.  Another thing I still need is a tap for the pump, but I think I may have found one online.  The pump handle is one I made for a previous project and is too big.  I will make a smaller one soon. 

The tiles were hand made and painted by Idske.  I incorporated them into the wall above the countertop and I love how they look there!  I find it very special to incorporate handmade gifts into my miniature house!
The little jug on the window sill was also a gift, from Elisabeth Causeret.

All of the pottery on the countertop is by Elisabeth Causeret.   I bought the stoneware salt pot at the show two weeks ago, the other pots were purchases from previous years.

These salt pots were a very common feature in Dutch kitchens.   The salt glaze pots originated from Cologne (Köln, Germany) and were used  for preserving vegetables and meat in salt.   In the 20th century  it became more popular to preserve foods in glass jars and so the salt pots were left to just hold salt, butter, mustard or kitchen utensils.  
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