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.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Wood carving Custom Made | Wood carving on Barley Twist furniture legs | Classic BARLEY TWIST legs decorated with woodcarving and ornaments

The application of wood carving on Barley Twist furniture legs

Patrick Damiaens
Ornamental Woodcarver

Classic Barley Twist legs
decorated with Ornaments

Application of a flower and leaf motif on Barley Twist turned legs.

The twisted shape of table or chair legs are characteristic of the French Louis XIII style.
In this context the word “twisted” or “torsion” refers to the spiral shaped twists that are applied to wood, which make it seem as if the timber is distorted, slightly resembling a thick rope. It is possible to apply intricate wood carving on the larger examples of twisted furniture legs, usually in the hollow part of the twist.
The French Louis XIII style is a relatively unknown furniture trend, and one rarely runs into furniture from this era (1610-1650) at the local antique dealer. Instead these type of antiques are often found in French museums. In general, the Louis XIII type furniture may be considered as a transition style between the late Renaissance and Baroque.
Nevertheless, in a relatively short period of only 4 decades (1610-1650), this early 17th century furniture style underwent several significant changes.
The cabinet was introduced. At the time this type of furniture was specifically designed to flaunt the wealth and importance of its owners. The many drawers and secret storage spaces in the interior of the cabinet were meant to display, store or sometimes hide exotic objects from various remote parts of the world, entirely for the purpose of social positioning.

Precious woods, like for instance ebony, were sawn in thin slices of approximately 4 mm in thickness, and were subsequently glued to the massive wooden frame of the furniture piece. The plate material we know today was not developed until several centuries later. Interestingly, at the guild of master carpenters a new specialty was introduced, namely the “Menuisiers en ébéne”, or ebony carpenters, who later on were simply referred to as ébénistes. This is a name we use until this day (an ébénist is a joiner or cabinet-maker).

The most recognizable feature of the Louis XIII style is undoubtedly the twisted shape of the furniture legs. In this particular period the demand for qualified wood turners was high, as the use of twisted furniture legs was extremely fashionable; a “fad” which probably originated in Spain or Portugal.
This “twisted pattern” was also adopted in architecture, for instance on stone columns. Today it is still possible to admire the exquisite craftsmanship of these stone cutters.
Presented below are the various stages of carving a decorative ornament on twisted wood turning.

The application of wood carving on Barley Twist turned legs

Twisted furniture legs

The application of the drawing on the twisted legs

shaping the ornaments

a more detailed drawing is created

the proper cutting of the flower and leaf motive

Patrick Damiaens, Classic BARLEY TWIST legs decorated with woodcarving and ornaments

finishing the leaf and flower motif



Friday, 13 December 2013

MASTERS OF LUXURY 2013 | World's Leading Luxury event in Amsterdam | The Millionaire Fair

Masters of Luxury
World's Leading Luxury Event

A few months ago, I was contacted by the organizing committee of Masters of Luxury in Amsterdam (previously known as the Millionaire Fair). They inquired if I was interested in participating in this illustrious event. 

I told them that, while I do give demonstrations on a regular basis, when it comes to fairs and other events, I mostly participate as a member of “Pearls of Craftsmanship”.

I introduced them to “Pearls of Craftsmanship”, a “Quality Label” for craftsmanship of the highest standard and explained how this group of passionate craftsmen shared their trades and techniques in the form of demonstrations during cultural and commercial events.

 “Pearls of Craftsmanship” is best compared to the interesting articles in a glossy magazine; it’s namely these articles that make the magazine interesting.” Inadvertently, I had made an educational as well as an instructive remark. 

In the meantime, I paid a little visit to the website of Masters of LXRY and made it clear to them that, although I saw a lot of luxury, the term “Masters”, for me personally, didn’t really apply to what I saw. I explained to them that high standard craftsmen, the actual manufacturers of the “luxury”, are all too often left out of the limelight and undeservedly so.

The organizing committee of Masters of LXRY was open to the idea of having craftsmen present and approximately two months later, I was contacted again with the joyful news that they had decided to invite our “Quality Label” to their event. 7 of our members were selected to demonstrate their trade on “The Market” of Masters of LXRY. Unfortunately, in a later stage, we had to decline their generous offer, seeing as we just couldn’t agree with their plans and ideas.

The problem we were facing was comparable to that of a master chef of a 3 star restaurant who is allowed to show how he cuts the vegetables, but who isn’t allowed to show/have people taste the end result; a wonderful opportunity gone begging for our Quality Label and an unfortunate development for the visitors of Masters of Luxury as well. I’m certain that we would have been a great addition to this event.

…but the story doesn’t stop there.

A few weeks ago I had a chance encounter with a top company from Amsterdam. And believe it or not, this company turned out to be one of the participants of Masters of LXRY. The manager had visited my website a few times before in the past and he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of my work. He informed me of the fact that he was going to be present at the event and let me know that he would be delighted to show some of my work to the visitors of Masters of Luxury. This offer was impossible to refuse. It just goes to show, it is a small world indeed.
Below you can find a small impression of his stand.

This exclusive fair takes place in the RAI in Amsterdam 
between 12 and 16 December 2013.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

LIÈGE STYLE FURNITURE | Pictures and images of LIÈGE style furniture | A book about Belgian Furniture | 18e Century Style Furniture

The Don Bosco Institute, Liège

A few months ago I was invited to pay a visit to my alma mater, the Don Bosco Institute in Liège, where I received my training as an ornamental woodcarver (between 1986 and 1989). Last year, the Don Bosco Institute had namely shut down the woodcarving department and I was asked if I had any interest in taking over some of the educational material. This way, I was able to safeguard some remnants of this prestigious department. 

Among the remnants, I found a small batch of so called “recueils” (a book or bundle of material) with unique illustrations, compiled in 1991, by the printing department of this school. These unused recueils, hidden away in some closet since 1991, are the subject of the day.

Le Mobilier au Pays de Liège

Recueil,  Le mobilier au Pays de Liège

'The furniture in the land of Liège' 

This bundle or “recueil” talks about the Liège art of furniture design. A “receuil” is a thematic collection of illustrations, in this case, depictions of Liège furniture, and is printed on large single pages (40 x 29 cm) made of heavy quality paper.

The “recueil” was compiled by F. Drugmant, the woodcarving teacher of the Don Bosco Institute at that time. Professor Drugmant was not only a woodcarver, but also a connaisseur of Liège furniture, proven by this amazing recueil, which was used by all of the later teachers, who apparently never felt the need to update his work or publish their own work. 

It is safe to say that this book of reference with detailed illustrations of Liège furniture was nothing less than a bible and important guide for those who took woodcarving classes. Unfortunately, the book of reference was only available for purchase in the woodcarving department and was never sold in bookstores.

A book with pictures of Liège style furniture

Liège stylefurniture of the XVIIIth Century

I myself have been in possession of this handbook since 1986, ever since I was a woodcarving student, following this unique course at the Don Bosco Institute. This “recueil” was published in 1984, with a second edition in 1991, to which a small number of pages was added. The dimensions of this book are 40cm x 29cm, meaning that the book is exceptionally large. It counts 134 single pages. These are all black and white illustrations of the highest quality and depict all types of Liège furniture, including close-ups.

I don’t have my “recueil” in front of me on a daily basis, but several times a year it serves as a source of inspiration; sometimes to closely observe the construction of a closet and even more often to refresh my knowledge of certain Liège style periods, hence my “bold” statement that this is quite an exceptional book of reference.

Should you be interested in this little piece of Belgian history, I still have a number of copies available for true enthusiasts.

Closeup photos of Liege Style sculpture and ornaments

 More info :

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Gravestein Coat of Arms | Duplication of the Coat of Arms in wood | Miniature Family Crest carved in wood

Gravestein Coat of Arms, Original
Patrick Damiaens
Heraldic Woodcarver

Gravestein Coat of Arms 
(Dutch Family)

Family coat of arms carved in wood

One of my specialties is the carving of Heraldic family coat of arms in wood. To carve a family coat of arms in wood is a bit of a personal challenge for me. Heraldry is a most interesting subject and I always look forward to taking on new assignments involving heraldic arms.

You learn about interesting people that captivate the imagination, all of whom have their own fascinating life story or family history. And for me personally it’s always nice to hear that my craftsmanship and quality are greatly appreciated.

Every heraldic coat of arms is different. Most of the time, it starts with an example that serves as a source of inspiration in the form of a drawing, an old sketch or some photographic material delivered to me by the client.
In some cases it occurs that the design for the family coat of arms is not entirely suited as the blueprint for the carving of it in wood. 

Some of the older families are fortunate enough to bear their own coat of arms. There are certain families who are in possession of a depiction of said coat of arms in wood. The Gravestein family is such a family. 
First I will give you some interesting facts about the coat of arms, followed by some information about the family.
The Gravestein family is in possession of a miniature carving of their coat of arms, which was presumably manufactured in the 19th century. It is extremely well-carved by a woodcarver who really knew his trade.  
The miniature has a cross-section of 13 cm.
Seeing as how these depictions and creations of the family coat of arms in wood, stone or iron are always very special and popular, these tangeable artefacts manage to create an emotional bond amongst family members, which was the case here as well. Several members of this Dutch family have expressed their wish to possess this little trinket. So the idea was born to have a duplicate made of the original miniature and I was commissioned to carve this duplicate of the coat of arms in walnut.

The Gravestein Family
The family tree of the Gravestein family dates back to 1662 in Overschie (near Rotterdam, in the Netherlands), with the marriage of Ary Arientse Gravesteijn and Maertie Claes Euvergaeuw on 7 December 1662.
Via peregrinations through Vlissingen, Middelburg and Zutphen, the grandparents of the client ended up in The Hague.
When the original heraldic coat of arms came into the possession of this family isn’t entirely clear, but what is known for certain is that in 1887 the miniature coat of arms was already in the possession of the family.
The father of the client had research done by the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden as to the origins of the coat of arms.
The museum was able to discover that the coat of arms first belonged to a French aristocrate who had conceived an illigitimate child in Switzerland with a maid.
That would account for the diagonal beam on the coat of arms, as this indicates the lineage of a bastard child.
The heraldic colours are red, indicated by the vertical lines inside the two beams, and green, indicated by the hooked diagonal lines inside the beams. The bird on the shield and the helmet could refer to the recognition of a fourth son.
That concludes the short presentation of the Gravestein family.

 Here are some pictures
Gravestein Coat of Arms carved in wood

the modeling

Duplication of the Coat of Arms in wood

Finishing the helmet

Gravestein Coat of Arms

 Miniature Family Crest carved in wood

Family Coat of Arms Carved in Wood