A Gilder and Framemaker living and working in Maine writes about projects in the studio and life around the farm
Our skills in designs and finishes have brought in contact with many facets of the decorative arts world. While many of our clients know us as frame makers, we are a bit more multi-dimensional. We have worked with interior designers, architects, and builders on commercial interior finishes for signage, showroom, and wall design, on designs and finishes for residential fireplace surrounds, canopies, and pelmets. We have gained over two decades of knowledge of fine and decorative art history by working with collectors, museums, and designers and by handling antiques and paintings in our gallery.
This diverse background has given us the knowledge and confidence to be flexible and creative for any project that comes through our doors.
When designer Joshua Bergey came to the showroom in August looking to collaborate on a site-specific design for a overmantle mirror, I was ready for the challenge!
When I hear overmantle mirror I usually visualize something like the two images below of mirrors from the early 18th century
These images were the basis for our design adventure. From this point of inspiration we then went to the site to further hone our ideas. The mirror was going above a painted mantle in a house designed by turn-of-the-century artist and architect John Calvin Stevens. For added inspiration, I took photographs of the interior, the mantle, the door surrounds, the stained glass window in the stairwell.
In renovating the home, the client added some contemporary elements including furnishings from Green Design in Portland, Maine. My task was to take all these elements–The original John Calvin Stevens designs with the owner’s taste for contemporary furnishings–and give a nod to the past then incorporate the design of the mirror frame with the design of the mantle while making it sympathetic to the interior design elements. I started first by coming up with three different design options. I provided Joshua with thumbnail sketches along with three corresponding Kraft paper templates cut to the exact dimensions the frame would be made. From this point Joshua presented the options to the client. He was able to tape the templates to the space above the mantle to show the client exactly how the frame would work in the setting. When we next met we took the template the client selected and worked on finalizing the design. I took the template back to the studio with the list of changes and came up with a final template cut from grid paper to the exact dimensions. After the final approval we set out to make the frame!
We enjoyed working on this project. We hand-picked the rough lumber from a local hardwood dealer then planed the cherry down to the desired thickness. David turned out about 8 rosettes on the lathe so that we could choose two which matched.
Below is the finished overmantle mirror in its home… a satisfying finish to a challenging project!