We’ve always loved the Arts & Crafts movement, born as it was from a desire to return to the tradition of making things by hand. That’s why we were so excited when an old iron Arts & Crafts fixture with a gorgeous three-leaf canopy (complete with curves, grooves, and beveled edges) found its way for our new Arts & Crafts fixtures. Though we should have probably known better, we first tried using modern 3-D rendering software to create the form for the canopy mold. But, of course, we should have known the software wasn’t subtle enough to get the deep grooves, beveled edges, and natural curves we wanted. So we did it the old-fashioned way: by hand.
Our three new Arts & Crafts fixtures — the Wildwood, Broadleaf, and Blackstone — should help dispel the notion that Arts & Crafts is all about angles and straight lines. In truth, many Arts & Crafts pieces favored curves that showcased a craftsman’s skills.
To give you an idea of the labor of love involved, here’s a glimpse of how Pacific Northwest wood carver Steve Pancoast brought our beautiful trefoil canopy to life. I was lucky enough to get to go to his wood shop and watch him work a little bit on the carving. He was on hour 20-something, and had a good long way to go.
First of all, you should see his tools. They’re exquisitely simple. Makes sense — they were perfected over 500 years ago and are still made the same way today.
This image lets you compare the computer-made version (on the left) to the wooden mold Steve made. It’s kind of hard to tell here, but there were barely any distinct grooves on the computer-model. Ick.
The wooden mold is used to make a sand cast, from which the trefoil canopy is formed. If those grooves are going to actually show up on the final product, they have to be really pronounced on the mold.
“Wood carving is a very holistic experience,” says Steve. “There are qualities of sight and touch and sound when you’re carving — all your senses are engaged, so you can really get lost in what you’re doing for hours at a time.”
He does take breaks to feed his chickens and roosters, and to care for his numerous fuchsia plants, all of which thrive on his secluded Oregon property.
We couldn’t have been more pleased with the Wildwood, Broadleaf, and Blackstone turned out. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the skill of a Master Craftsman like Steve Pancoast.