Welcome to my Blog
This is a place where the visitors are confronted with their search for a personal touch and where they have an opportunity to get acquainted with a skilled expert, who has turned durability and tradition into a personal passion.
I hope this will become a valued and rich source of inspiration and knowledge. Please Leave comments and enjoy your visit.

Monday, 26 November 2012


Patrick Damiaens
Ornamental woodcarver 

Rococo Style of Ornament

ROCOCO WOODCARVING ,Commissioned by the Museum aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht
A rococo style ornament for the core collection of the Museum aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht (NL).  
Patrick Damiaens has been a professional woodcarver for 25 years and is well versed in ornamentation and the carving of ornaments. He was exclusively commissioned by the new Museum aan het Vrijhof in Maastricht (NL). 

After careful consideration, the curator of the Museum aan het Vrijthof and several sponsors decided to purchase one of his artworks. This piece is to become a part of the core collection of the Museum, which surely is to be regarded as a great honour. The Museum aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht has recently been renovated and is now three times as large.
The Museum has devoted a section to the arts and crafts of the 18th century. Interestingly enough it’s not only about the artwork on display. Over the past few months, the entire history of the creation and development of this art piece was captured by a Dutch film crew. 

They will now edit the footage, providing the Museum with an educational film to accompany the artwork. This allows the visitors of the Museum to gain a better understanding of the complexity of Patrick’s profession. The opening of the Museum aan het Vrijthof will take place on 15 March 2012, on the eve of the TEFAF 'European Fine Art Fair', which is also the main sponsor of the Museum.

article in a Belgian newspaper

'The museum Aan het Vrijthof 'in Maastricht (Netherlands)

'Made in Maastricht'
The main focus of Museum aan het Vrijthof is ‘500 Years Made in Maastricht’; 500 years of creativity and enterprise. By means of authentic stories and tangible memories from five centuries of arts and crafts and manufacturing industry, the history of Maastricht’s cultural identity is presented and visualised. The witnesses’ views on the events and conditions of their time express the spirit of the age and allow the visitor to reflect upon history. 
The visitor starts his journey through 500 Years Made in Maastricht in the recent past. He is taken from room to room through time in a reversed chronology, all-in line with the buildings’ history. Each guest will be given an RFID chip (Radio Frequency Identification). This chip traces the exact position of the visitor and can be tuned to the language of preference. The building will respond to the visitor’s presence, without any action required by the visitor. This technique allows you to see and hear bygone times in a subtle and invisible way. 
Artistic craft during the ancien régime

Around the 1850s, Maastricht is much like it was three centuries earlier with regard to the social and economic viewpoint. The guilds, which were called trades in Maastricht, were flourishing. Knowledge and skills were passed on from teacher to pupil, and consequently maintained and supervised by means of a form of self-regulation. Next to that, the trades offered an interpersonal cohesion between their members. Guild members were sworn members, which implied that they were committed to each other by means of a mutual oath. ‘Sjariteit’, solidarity and cooperation were the key notions. The trades did not only pursue to regulate the professional lives of their members, but also their political, religious, social and private ambitions.

In these days, the Maastricht elite surrounded themselves with the finest furniture, silverware and timepieces in order to hold up their social status and embellish their daily lives. Eighteenth-century Maastricht was a city of artisans d’art, of decorative craftsmen, which we know by name now – except for the furniture makers – as they provided their objects with signs or signatures. Silversmiths, clockmakers and furniture makers, together with their colleagues in the Euregion, have translated the French Regency style in their own specific way and produced silver candleholders by order of the elite, and sometimes even as a series. 
With respect to decorative weaponry, Maastricht weapon makers have been renowned as early as the seventeenth century, a time in which exclusive ivory pistols were sent as gifts to European courts. The eighteenth century has mainly seen oak pistols equipped with subtle and elegant carving, which were worn as a showpiece. 
Text Museum aan het Vrijthof.

From a block of oak, Patrick created a rococo appliqué with the head of an angel. The design of the ornament – provided on paper by the curator –  was made up in German rococo style. Patrick has endeavoured to create something of great beauty. Height: 33cm. Width: 25cm. Thickness: 5cm. Made of oak. 

The following pictures show a few of the stages of the development process. 

The actual basis, this is our example

There will be a sketch made


Sawing with the jigsaw

Shaping the asymmetric palmette

The modeling of the flowers

The modeling of the Putti's head

The Rococo Applique is done

Rococo carving for the Museum at the Vrijthof


Member of Pearls of Craftsmanship


Dastra Woodcarvingtools
Patrick Damiaens
Ornamental Woodcarver

Dastra Woodcarving Tools



An annual tradition is our visit to Dastra, a manufacturer of traditional sculpting chisels and tools. In the village of Ronsdorf near Wuppertal in the German Ruhr, which is only an hour and a half from where we live, carving tools en woodcarving tools are made for sculptors and wood carvers alike. The people at Dastra are extremely kind and they’re always in for a chat…and they always have a nice warm cup of coffee at the ready. 

It’s as if time stood still here. Woodcarving tools are still made the old-fashioned way, with a mind for tradition and a heart full of passion

 Dastra Carvingtools

 Dastra Carvingtools

Our company David Strasmann & Co. was founded in an old timber-framed house in the heart of Wuppertal-Ronsdorf in 1835. In the meanwhile sixth generation our family business creates the finest handmade tools to cover the requirements of wood carvers and sculptors. 

Paring chisels, flat irons, as well as straight, curved and cranked gouges and all of these in various sizes. Our company catalogue lists a total of more than 1.700 available articles.

Just imagine that every item travels through 32 stages to reach its completion. From the forging of the blanks-made of a special durable steel which holds the sharpness especially long- the shaping in the stamp shop and the exact grinding to shape and size, it goes on with the straightening, marking, hardening, polishing and scarfing to the mounting of the wooden handle and attaching the label.

Our tools, handmade by the employees of our company, are almost small works of art in themselves. Our customers are professional artists and place high value on quality. 

Manufacturer of carving tools

Our tools are renowed in wood carver circles and are sold worldwide. Even your grandchildren will still be able to work with the handmade tools of our company.

Dastra woodcarving tools

We manufacture high-quality sculptor iron of the mark DASTRA woodscrew. Furthermore our product range covers Tiroler iron, Swiss iron, carving measurer, carving chisels, linol cutting tools, tools for leather plastics, sculptor files and rasp rifflers, figure screws, ice chisel and putty for modelling work.  




Monday, 19 November 2012

The GROESBEECK-de CROIX MUSEUM IN NAMUR | Historical Interiors | 18th Century Period Furniture

Groesbeeck-de Croix Museum (Garden view)
Patrick Damiaens
Ornamental woodcarver
The Groesbeeck-de Croix Museum in Namur 

In this blog item we visit,  
The Groesbeeck-de Croix Museum in Namur (Belgium)

A museum of the decorative arts, it bears the name of the former owners of this XVIII century hôtel de maître. The atmosphere is one of an aristocratic residence of the Age of Enlightenment. 
The interior decoration blends in with the architecture. The collections here highlight the artistic works of sculptors, cabinet makers, goldsmiths, watchmakers, glassmakers, etc. of the Namur region. A “French” garden adds a note of greenery to the overall harmony. 

On the first flour of  GROESBEECK-de CROIX Namur

The Groesbeeck-de Croix Museum satisfies a two-fold interest. Firstly there is the external and internal architecture spanning the 17th and 18th centuries and the great variety of collections providing evidence of the prevailing styles and tastes from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Secondly, and more importantly, thanks to the synergy between the works of art and the building, there is an authentic apmosphere of a patrician home of the Age of Enlightenment, which has been preserved and developed year after year.



Between 1751 to 1753 the Belgian Jean-Baptiste Chermane (1704-1770) built it for Count Alexandre Francois de Groesbeeck. The building is divided into three wings in a H-shape and the central body contains some relics from the 17th century refuge of the abbey at Villers.
The 1751 reconstruction work is remarkably in line with the three fundamental rules of the 18th century architecture: a respect for intimacy, a search for a new functionality as well as an interest in the outside world. In a nutshell: a pleasure in life and a wish for pleasure.

Namur style Furniture

Namur-style wood carvings

A search for funtionality, that is to say, for anything whitch might make life easier, softer, and more pleasant is a response to the wish fot permanent dining room in the 18th century, prevented the table from having to be set properly for great occasions only and as a result, it was easier to put together smaller, more intimatr groups. The appearance of toilets, as well as the use of multiple layers and underwear, were also innovations introduced by J.B. Chermane.

We must also point out his admirable use of light, thanks to a system of indoor courtyards and also the diffusion of zenith light under the dome into the corridors, across the picture windows opening onto the vestibules of each floor and onto the staircase.

18th century Period style interiors

Finally numerous large windows are the most obvious feature giving an opening to the outside world. However, the very layout of the building had the same effect. The ground floor vestibule stretches across the entire house and creates a link between the lively and active world and the sealed-in world of the gardens.

The collections which belong to the Friends of the Hôtel de Croix, the Namur Archaeological Society and the town, can be divided into two groups: products of Namur on the one hand, and foreign products on the other.
The first group can be further divided  into furniture and ornaments and tools. Namur furniture is both architectural and majestic and was inspired both by French trends and the prevailing religios traditions.
Its decorations bear evidence of the development of styles from the Baroque through to the Louis XVI period. Let also not forget the precious French furniture (Cabinets, consoles, tables, armchairs...) which is kept on the ground floor.

Namur style furniture

The Interior décor
The town of Namur bought the Croix house in 1935; it features the entire span of different styles of decorating prevailing during the 18th Century. The wainscoting on the walls is decorated with simple geometric moulds and sometimes colour is used to highlight it. These panels might frame tapestries depicting rural landscapes  and woodlands, small romantic pictures , linen fabric with flower embroideries, pictures of wallpaper with floral and rock-work designs, hanging embossed panels of golden leather and even an example of vintage wallpaper.

The walls above the doors and fireplaces are decorated with paintings of elegant scenes, in the style of Jean-Antoine Watteau, scenes from mythology or even bunches of flowers. We owe most of the marble fireplaces sculpted in shell and rock shapes to Vandenbase.

18th century Namur-style wardrobe

There are also some works by other famous artistes from outside Namur City: Terracotta and marble works by the sculptor Laurent Delvaux, who was in the service of the Austrian governor, Charles de Lorraine, a bust of Vauban made by Coysevox, the official sculptor of Louis XIV, as well as a sketch by the Italian ornament painter, Tiepolo, pictures of flowers by Pierre-Joseph Redoute who was Marie-Antoinette's drawing teacher, and a portrait of the Sun King which has been attributed to H. Rigault furher adds to the charm and richness of the collections.

The Garden

If nature is present everywhere as inspiration for works of art indoors in the 18th century, it is nonetheless at its most poetic out in the garden. Four flowerbeds surround a pond giving it a symmetrical aspect, which further reinforces the view  of the elevated wing at the far end of the park. This is reminiscent of the rules of French gardening, which were dear to Le Notre. at the centre of this regularity however, there is a touch of English romanticism, in the form of a hundred-year-old tulip tree .

Useful Information

Rue Joseph Saintraint 3,  5000 Namur ( Belgium)
Closed mondays and between Christmas and  New Year
Opening hours
From 10:00 to 12:00 am and 13:30 to 17:00 pm

Entrance fee 3 Euro
Time needed for tour is 1 Hour

Texte provided by the Museum