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Friday, 24 January 2014

Landelijk Wonen Magazine | Interview with Woodcarver Patrick Damiaens | Belgian Interior Design & Lifestyle Magazine

Landelijk Wonen Magazine
(Country Living Magazine)

Interview with Belgian Woodcarver 
Patrick Damiaens

'Landelijk Wonen', Belgian Interior Design Magazine

It’s quite an honor: the editorial staff of the Belgian magazine on interior decorating called “Landelijk Wonen” (Country Living) has published quite an elaborate and captivating article regarding my daily activities as a ornamental wood carver.

The article appeared in the January edition of 2014.

Landelijk Wonen, Country Living Magazine

“Landelijk Wonen” (Country Living)

For all those who live outside the big city and wish to enjoy a pure and authentic lifestyle, “Country Living” is the magazine to refer to. Purity, simplicity and harmony: this magazine has a preference for the simple things in life. Giving special attention to craftsmanship, tradition and authenticism, the magazine mainly focuses on those who wish to live as close to nature as possible, enjoying the outdoors and the natural cadence of the seasons. 
This luxury lifestyle magazine is distributed via press shops and supermarkets.

Country Living” is an exceptionally beautiful magazine, which is published bimonthly in Flanders and the Netherlands. The Belgian photographer, Claude Smekens, has created an incredibly beautiful photoreport of about a dozen pages.

Price for the magazine: € 4,95.
Happy reading.

Claude Smekens  Site photographer


A Ribbon & Bow carved in wood | Wooden Picture Frame Custom-made | Carved ribbon & bow for a Wooden Picture Frame

Patrick Damiaens
Ornamental Woodcarver

A 'Ribbon and Bow' 
carved in wood

The 'Ribbon & Bow' as an ornament

Starting from the mid 18th century ornamental ribben and bows often appear in compositions or as a free standing ornament. Ribbon & bows were often used in the “Transition” and “Louis XVI” style periods, and this association therefore represents a clear reference to these particular periods. Ornamental ribbon & bows were commonly applied to painting and mirror frames.

Near the end of the 18th century an art movement emerged which incorporated many “classical elements”. This style period is known as Neoclassicism. Neoclassicism was symptomatic of a desire to return to the “purity” of the arts of ancient Greece and Rome; with a particular focus on Greco Roman architecture. 
During that time the interest in the use of the ornamental bow was rekindled. Consequently, bows carved in wood appear as independent, free standing ornaments or as part of mirror or painting frames; but also as crests on larger frames or simply as a detail in elaborate wood carving. 
The application of a ribbon and bow on furniture is almost always combined with other ornaments.

The ribbon and bow were commonly combined with several other objects, usually hanging vertically from the ribbon or bow. This particular composition is referred to as “trophy”. Combined these objects could represent a wide variety of themes and topics, such as war, hunting or music. Smaller compositions of fruit or vegetables combined with a bow are tasteful examples of adornments for all kinds of furniture and architectural woodwork. 

Carving a ribbon & bow in wood
Several weeks ago I was asked to carve a neoclassical ribbon & bow in basswood. The client was a small artisanal company located in the German Ruhr area, that was specialized in the traditional production of frames and in the gilding of art objects. One of their customers was in the possession of a slightly damaged ribbon & bow that used to be part of an oval shaped frame.

This renowned German company was asked to make a similar style frame as the oval one, but this time the frame had to be rectangular, adorned with an identical ribbon & bow. It was my task to carve a 40 cm long ribbon & bow in basswood.

To give an impression of the dimensions. I started out with a plank measuring 40 x 20 x 3.5 cm. The material had to be quite thick for visual reasons, as the bow had to “rest” on the top of the frame. It was also important to keep in mind that the profile of the frame had to run under the bow.
In a later stage the carved ribbon & bow was to be gilded using gold leaf.

Given below is an impression of the several stages involved in carving a wooden bow

The design is transferred on the wood

The ribbon & bow is sawed out

Modeling can begin

The original ribbon and bow serves as inspiration

Detaching the Ribbon & Bow

At the rear the excess wood is cut away

A carved ribbon & bow for  a frame

The final result of carver and gilder
(Gilding we discuss in a later blog entry.)


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

”JEANNE D'ARC LIVING” MAGAZINE | A Danish lifestyle magazine | Interview with Belgian Woodcarver Patrick Damiaens

Patrick Damiaens, Jeanne d'Arc Living Magazine
Patrick Damiaens
'Belgian Furniture Designer'

Feature in

The Danish Magazine “Jeanne d’Arc Living”

In the January 2014 edition, an editorial appeared, discussing our activities.
My activities were extensively covered in this January 2014 edition of the Danish Lifestyle Magazine “Jeanne d’Arc Living”.

Jeanne d’Arc Living” Magazine is a monthly lifestyle magazine, which has become incredibly popular over a short period of time. 

This popular Danish magazine appears in !eight different languages (Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Dutch, English and German) and since 2009, there’s also a English version of the magazine available.

The main reason why this magazine is so popular, is due to the exceptionally attractive and tasteful photography of Nordic-French country style.

“Jeanne d’Arc Living” came into existence in 2007 in the form of a collaboration between two Danish women. In 2009, “Jeanne d’Arc Living” Magazine first saw the light of day. From 2009 till 2011, the “Jeanne d’Arc Living” Magazine appeared 8 times a year. 
From 2012 on, this popular magazine about antiques and collectibles was available in stores on a monthly basis and was available for subscription as well. 

Jeanne d'Arc living Magazine

The retail price is € 9.95 and the magazine hardly contains any advertising. Apart from the magazine, the company also has books and products in “Real nostalgic country style” on offer. Nowadays, the “Jeanne d’Arc Living” Magazine also reserves many of its pages for exclusive products, recipes, flower arrangement and country lifestyle. The characteristic style of the magazine is applied consistently throughout every article. Each edition brings attractive, yet sober photographs (close-ups) and staged photography. 

The picture below is a short piece of text of this extensive coverage 
in the Finnish issue of Jeanne d'Arc Living. 
Funny to see, Finnish is a language that is entirely unfamiliar to me.

Jeanne d'Arc Living, Finnish Edition

Jeanne d’Arc Living Magazine

A beautiful and timeless magazine, bursting with interior decorating and styling tips: “Jeanne d'Arc Living” Magazine appears once a month and is available in stores and for subscription as well. 



Sunday, 5 January 2014

Neuschwanstein Castle | 19th-Century eclectic Romanesque Revival Style | Historicizing Interiors and Architectural Carving

Neuschwanstein Castle

 Neuschwanstein Castle

Last summer I visited Southern Germany and the Bavarian Alps; a beautiful region with fast flowing rivers that pass through the mountainous landscape. This area is home to several 19th century fairy tale castles, like for example the world famous Schloss Neuschwanstein
Therefore, a trip to this beautiful part of Germany would not be complete without a visit to this enchanting castle.

I still remember it as if it were yesterday. 

As a 10 year old I would often head of to the local library on Sunday mornings to go through picture books. On the second floor of this 17th century building, constructed in the typical Meuse area “Maaslandse” Renaissance style, located in the historic centre of Maaseik in Belgium, there were several hundreds of theme-oriented compilation books and encyclopedia. 
In those days there were no computers nor internet, so the library became my “secret world”; the only place where I could fantasize about far away countries, beautiful buildings, archeology and history. One of the pictures I will always remember is that of  Neuschwanstein Castle.

The town of Fussen, view from the roof terrace of our hotel


The fairy tale castle of Neuschwanstein is located in the vicinity of Füssen. The historic, picturesque town of Füssen is situated on the left bank of the river Lech. Füssen is surrounded by several large and smaller lakes. The surroundings are exceptionally beautiful and the mountainous terrain is ideal for hiking. Furthermore, the town of Füssen is the ending point of the Romantic Road (Romantische Strasse in German), a touristic “theme route” that starts in Würzburg and connects a number of scenic towns and castles. It is definitely worth a visit!

Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau.

In the immediate vicinity of Füssen there are two famous 19th century castles namely Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau.
 Both castles are widely known across the world. If you consider visiting one of these castles in summer, you will have to endure long queues and waiting times to get in. 

The waiting time at the ticket office is approximately one hour. It is therefore highly recommended to reserve a ticket in advance.
Needless to say this place is usually swarming with tourists. As a consequence both castles lost much of their original charm and character.  
Schloss Hohenschwangau

Schloss Neuschwanstein was built on a steep rock towering 200 meters over the valley below. 
There are many ways to reach Schloss Neuschwanstein; I opted for a short scenic 30 minute walk to the Marienbrücke (Mary Bridge). This bridge over the Pöllat gorge offers a magnificent panoramic view of this great landmark. It was truly a breathtaking sight, stirring up melancholic emotions as this was the exact same picture I remembered from my library visits in Maaseik (Belgium) almost 40 years ago. Schloss Neuschwanstein is undoubtedly one of the most photographed castles in Germany. 
I was definitely not alone on this bridge. ;)

Ludwig II

Schloss Neuschwanstein, a Romanesque revival palace, was built in the second half of the 19th century. It was commissioned by king Ludwig II of Bavaria, who was later on declared insane by his own cabinet. It is without any doubt the most famous building ever commissioned by Ludwig II, attracting well over 1.3 million visitors every year; making it Germany’s most popular touristic destination. 
Construction started in 1869 and the king envisioned a Romantic interpretation of a medieval knight’s castle. The palace was designed by theater architect and scenic designer Christian Jank. Eduard Riedel and Georg von Dollmann were responsible for the management of the civil works. Construction was seized immediately when king Ludwig died in 1886.

The castle was originally named Neue Burg Hohenschwangau. Its current name was not introduced until after Ludwig’s death in 1886. The first name referred to the castle of the lords of Schwangau. This medieval fortress was built on the exact same location as Schloss Neuschwanstein, and was called Schwanstein. Makes sense right?
Ironically, the castle - which was in fact meant for only one inhabitant - was opened for tourists only 6 weeks after Ludwig’s death. It has been a major touristic destination in Europe ever since. 

Tourists can walk up to the castle or they can be transported by a horse drawn carriage (just like the king). The fact that Schloss Neuschwanstein is often called a fairy tale castle is probably due to the fact that the castle of Sleeping Beauty in Disneyland California is based on the architectural design of Schloss Neuschwanstein. Walt Disney visited Neuschwanstein before he started construction on his first theme park.

A visit to Neuschwanstein Castle

Too bad it is not allowed to take photographs of the castle's interior. However, some pictures of the neo-Gothic-Romanesque interiors can be found on the internet without a problem.

Of the many beautiful rooms and chambers the Byzantine coronation hall with its exquisite mosaic floor is probably the most impressive. The living rooms of the king are all lavishly decorated with paintings and various other treasures. In the beginning of the 19th century there was a renewed interest in medieval architecture; especially Gothic but also Romanesque styles were reintroduced. 

19th century Germany was typified by a period of Castle Romanticism, of which Castle Hohenschwangau, Castle Lichtenstein, Castle Hohenzollern and countless other palaces and fortresses in the Rhine area are excellent examples. At first the influence of the Romanesque style could be noticed in the assimilation of Romanesque style features in Neoclassical buildings. The Romanesque style façade was especially popular. 

As both Gothic and Romanesque style features were never completely copied, but instead integrated in one building, this type of architecture is often labeled as eclectic. When construction of Schloss Neuschwanstein was finished, the building had more than 200 rooms of which only 15 were completed. 
The anterior structure includes the premises for guests and servants, while the king’s staterooms and lavish halls were situated in the upper stories. The total floor space of all rooms amounts to nearly 6000 square meters.


Translation : Koen verhees