Martin Pierce has gone to the birds with our new sculpture

We recently teased you a bit with an introduction to a project Martin is working on that involves the design of a blue jay.

early carving of the Jay's wing Martin Pierce Hardware

early carving of the Jay’s wing
Martin Pierce Hardware

To catch up you can view that introductory post here.

We are very happy to say that the jay wing carvings have now made it into wax, shown as the brown wing in the photo below. The wax wing was created by pouring wax into a rubber mold that we made around the grey pattern (carvings) that Martin sculpted. The pattern or carving in the photo above is beige in color, the natural color of basswood, but we then “paint” the pattern with a grey primer to fill in the grains and pores of the wood, giving us a smooth grey pattern and one without the distraction of wood grain. If we didn’t fill in the grain the end result would be a bronze casting with a visible and distracting wood grain.

As with all of our pieces, we will use  the lost wax method when creating the eventual bronze castings as this method allows us to capture the intricate details of the wings and bird.

body of bird wax mold

body of bird wax mold

grey pieced is wax mold

grey pieced is wax mold

This particular sculpture was not commissioned.  Rather, it is just a bird we see often and one that Martin really likes as they have a lot of character and are fun to watch.  We had originally thought of just having the wings as door pulls but decided to turn it into a complete sculpture that can be used as wall art, yet still offer the option of mounting it on the door as a pull.  We are also happy to announce that it will be available in a limited edition of 25 and we will keep you posted on the progress with future posts.

If you are interested in other architectural hardware pieces modeled after birds or would like to discuss a custom order for your next hospitality or residential project, please contact us or visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.

 

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A new home for our iguana pull

It is always a thrill for us to see our pieces in place in their new home.  Such was the case when we received this photo of both our Iguana and Hawaiian Bird pulls in use on a custom armoire.

When we were contacted by Debbie Zylstra of Zylstra Interiors (in Kona Hawaii at the time but has since relocated her business to South Carolina) the challenge was to design a custom pull that was reflective of the native culture and tropical surroundings.  We chose to create a pull in the likeness of the whimsical Laysan Finch for the lower section of the built-ins.

Our Iguana pulls would be used to open the double doors in the upper portion.  Below is a rendering of Martin’s showing how he envisioned the pulls in use

Representation of how iguana door pull will look on closed doors by Martin Pierce Hardware

Representation of how iguana door pull will look on closed doors by Martin Pierce Hardware

and here is an actual picture of the completed project.

Custom built-ins designed by Zylstra Interiors Martin Pierce Hardware

Custom built-ins designed by Zylstra Interiors
Martin Pierce Hardware

The Hawaiian bird pulls are used on the drawers and lower doors.  The polished bronze finish is the perfect compliment to the amazingly beautiful Koa wood that is accented with an ebony filet.

Bird pull from Hawaiian collection of architectural hardware from Martin Pierce

Bird pull from Hawaiian collection of architectural hardware from Martin Pierce

If you  have a residential or hospitality project that would be made more beautiful through the use of custom hardware or you would like to view our entire collection, please visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.

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Gardens and hardware and family…oh my!

It is often a good thing and we are very fortunate to work with family members, especially when they live in the picturesque village of Pembridge, Herefordshire  which is where Martin’s brother Bob and his wife Carrie live.

Bob is an extremely talented graphic designer and a website designer.  He is the talent behind all three of the websites that have evolved into our current site. Thankfully, he not only has a fantastic eye for stylish and clear web design but he is technically savvy as well. This makes it possible for him to keep pace with the constant changes and updates we make to the web site so that it reflects all of our current pieces.

Carrie and Bob also happen to have a beautiful home and, lucky for us, a guest house, in this picturesque village which is where we often spend our summer holidays. Theirs is the perfect English garden complete with wall enclosure and pond.  Therefore, not surprisingly we thought it only fitting that they chose something from our hardware line for their new oak garden gate.

Do you recognize this piece?

grapevine pull from Martin Pierce Hardware

grapevine pull from Martin Pierce Hardware

It is from our Grapevine collection of architectural hardware and blends in perfectly with this beautiful English garden.

Now sit back and enjoy these beautiful pictures of the garden and quintessential English village.

A pond reminiscent of a Money painting. Martin Pierce Hardware

A pond reminiscent of a Monet painting.
Martin Pierce Hardware

A chilly Christmas Eve in Pembridge.

Pembridge Martin Pierce Hardware

Pembridge,Herefordshire
Martin Pierce Hardware

This village is beautiful in all seasons as you can see from this photo with red geraniums in full bloom.

East St in Pembridge, Herefordshire Martin Pierce Hardware

East St in Pembridge, Herefordshire
Martin Pierce Hardware

Market Hall

Market Hall in Pembridge Martin Pierce Hardware

Market Hall in Pembridge
Martin Pierce Hardware

To view our entire collection of custom hardware, please visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.

 

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How Iris enjoys the dog days of summer

August is one of those interesting months in which summertime activities come to a screeching halt yet work activities have not picked up the pace.  I think people must be hesitant to let summer go so, even though school is back in session in many areas and lazy days are over, we just can’t seem to get in the mood to go back to work.

Iris, our pit bull, certainly agrees with the idea of enjoying one final month of summer.  Although, if truth be told her days are really the same all year round–eat, sleep, play, rinse and repeat.  Oh to be able to enjoy the dog days of summer for just a few more weeks!

Here is Iris barely able to keep her eyes open while she naps in the warm southern California sun.

Iris in August 2014 trying to stay awake Martin Pierce Hardware

Iris in August 2014 trying to stay awake
Martin Pierce Hardware

As you can see, her days never really change as here is Iris trying to stay awake in August of 2013!

Iris' summer of 2013 not much different than summer of 2014 Martin Pierce Hardware

Iris’ summer of 2013 not much different than summer of 2014
Martin Pierce Hardware

One of her favorite past times is to play with her boyfriend Hoyt the corgi.  She is looking longingly for  him from the front steps of the warehouse, their favorite spot to meet.

Martin Pierce Hardware

Martin Pierce Hardware

And, finally, Iris whiling away a sunny afternoon.

Martin Pierce Hardware

Martin Pierce Hardware

Martin is making progress on the bust of Iris that he has been working on.  He decided to carve it out of walnut and it should be beautiful.  I will share details as the work progresses.

In the meantime, if you would like to view our entire collection of custom hardware, please visit our website at http://www.martinpierce.com.

 

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Live La dolce vita with our new hardware finish

Life is too short not to step out of the comfort box occasionally.  So, while we like the colors that we can achieve with both simple oil rubbed bronze finishes and with colored hot patinas, occasionally a client will have a specific location or project that warrants a different finish.

The most common request I receive is for a client who wants some of our bronze pieces but would like them cast in steel. If the design is relatively smooth with few hollows and undercuts then we simply cast the piece in stainless steel. However if the piece is, for example, a bamboo or orchid pull then we cannot readily cast and finish this in steel.  Steel is a harder metal and one that is not easily polished so trying to polish inside hollow or recessed areas is all but impossible. By contrast bronze is a softer metal and one that we can polish very well, even inside grooves and dips.

The height of elegance, Martin Pierce's silver plated orchid stem pull.  Notice all the grooved areas. Martin Pierce Hardware

The height of elegance, Martin Pierce’s silver plated orchid stem pull. Notice all the grooved areas.
Martin Pierce Hardware

So, when faced with this request we turn to our friends at Boyles Snyder who have a wealth of experience in plating in both nickel and silver.  When I asked James at Boyles Snyder what exactly is plating or, more accurately electroplating, he put it this way “ It is the art of bonding metal, utilizing chemistry with electrical energy.”

As with steel so to with nickel.  Some clients prefer a very highly polished finish while others prefer a more muted brushed luster. The desired luster is achieved by preparing the bronze before it is plated.  For example, if you want a highly polished nickel frog pull as recently requested by a client you first polish the bronze and, likewise, if you want a brushed bamboo or orchid pull you brush the bronze before plating.

Frog pull in polished nickel Martin Pierce Hardware

Frog pull in polished nickel
Martin Pierce Hardware

This all brings me to Biagio Forino Interiors, a wonderful and inventive design group in Milan Italy.  They chose this interesting finish for their client’s home and will be receiving quite a few pieces in a shipment due to arrive this Friday including both the bamboo and orchid pull in the satiny brushed nickel finish.

Bamboo pull in brushed nickel finish from Martin Pierce Hardware

Bamboo pull in brushed nickel finish from
Martin Pierce Hardware

These door and cabinet hardware pieces represent true customization and show how any one of our pieces of architectural hardware can be customized to meet your client’s exact specifications.

Contact us to discuss your special project or view our entire collection of bespoke hardware at http://www.martinpierce.com.

 

 

 

 

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Gone to the dogs!

The past couple of weeks have found us taking a respite from the mountains of work and sharing with you photos and recaps of some of our “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer”. But, sadly, it is time to get back to work.  Before that we wanted to share with you another fun project: We recently celebrated a birthday (but I will not say which birthday as we do value our friendship) with our very dear friend Tracy.  As our gift to her Martin carved a sculpture of her dog Dale, who is a 3 legged wonder and her loving companion.  The gift  was a very pleasant surprise for her and one that I know she cherishes.

dog sculpture in rough form Martin Pierce Hardware

dog sculpture in rough form
Martin Pierce Hardware

If you knew Dale you would understand what a spunky and funny and loving dog he is.  And while he may be a tad challenged by having 3 legs he is an extremely agile canine and could give us two-legged humans a run for our money any day. Dale was started from one large block of wood although Martin did have to add a separate piece for the tail for, if it had it been from the same block the end grain would have made this section too fragile. The wood he chose was Alder as it is a reasonable wood to carve and it has little grain allowing Martin to paint on Dale’s coloring.

Completed sculpture out of alder wood Martin Pierce Hardware

Completed sculpture out of alder wood
Martin Pierce Hardware

As we mentioned in an earlier post, Martin is thinking about sculpting our dog Iris.  Iris’ sculpture will focus only on her head.  But just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with her body (unlike her human companions, Martin and I) as she has beautifully defined muscles and a generally athletic physique.  To begin the process Martin studies photographs that will become drawings that are then properly scaled so that they can be traced onto a block of wood.

Martin Pierce Hardware

A beautiful profile!  Martin Pierce Hardware

We were wondering if any of our readers have any suggestions for a suitable wood.  We are thinking of walnut, which carves beautifully but the dark brown color will fade to a golden color over time.  Or perhaps white oak that, despite its name, is light brown in tone. We hope you enjoy our sculptures.  As you may be aware, the process of creating a sculpture and a bespoke piece of architectural hardware is quite similar.  To view our entire collection of custom hardware please visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.

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Summer getaway recap–Part 3

We wanted to give you one last opportunity to take a look at all that Santa Barbara County and the Simpson House Inn have to offer so you can plan your own trip.

As we mentioned in Part I and 2 of our vacation recap, the Simpson House Inn is a great choice for a weekend getaway, especially when you live in nearby busy and noisy Hollywood as we do.  We enjoyed relaxing and enjoying the beautiful gardens but we were also able to get out and hike the many trails that are nearby and even enjoyed a solitary day on Carpinteria State Beach.

Carpinteria State Beach Martin Pierce Hardware

Carpinteria State Beach
Martin Pierce Hardware

We also found time to visit a spot we often come to when we are in Santa Barbara, the Botanic Gardens.  The historic man made dam which is the life spring of these gardens was created back in 1807 to supply the local mission with water.  It remains as part of the gardens, which were developed in the 1930’s.

We have visited these gardens twice before over the last 15 years but have never seen them as dry as we did on this visit due to the drought in California.  However, the one watering hole we did find was home to a turtle who obligingly posed for a portrait shot.

Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens Martin Pierce Hardware

Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens
Martin Pierce Hardware

Alas, as you can see in the photo below, water was not present in the creek and this poor tree was left suffering from soil erosion and exposed roots.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Martin Pierce Hardware

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Martin Pierce Hardware

However, there is still plenty of plant and wildlife to enjoy as this little sparrow proves; offering Martin plenty of enjoyment as well as design inspiration.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Martin Pierce hardware

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Martin Pierce hardware

We were also able to take a longish hike along the Cold Springs Trail that takes one high into the local Santa Ynez Mountains.  We had escaped the heat of LA and exchanged it for the cooler climate of Santa Barabara.  But even this terrain is showing the effects of the drought as we found boulders and exposed tree roots in areas where the creeks should be flowing.
Cold Springs Trail Martin Pierce Hardware

Cold Springs Trail
Martin Pierce Hardware

The trail was almost empty on the eastern ascent and we saw few hikers.  Predictably , after our 90 minute hike we returned to Simpson House Inn for their cold lemonade.  The perfect finish to a perfect day!
To view our entire collection of architectural hardware, many pieces inspired by trips like this, please visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.
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