animal cabinet pulls

Gold Cabinet Pulls or Polished Bronze?


When is gold truly gold and when is it polished bronze? This is a tongue in cheek question and the answer reflects (pun intended) the high luster and jewel like appearance of polished bronze.
While we do occasionally gold plate our door hardware and while this clearly adds value to the item, for many, the appearance of gold is what is needed to create an accent to cabinetry.
Bronze is an alloy containing copper and this is what makes it a golden color. Copper and Gold are both elements on the Periodic table Cu and Au respectively and while they are both malleable and were used by early man they differ considerably in terms of scarcity and hence cost. A visit to https://www.jlab.org/ revealed that the “name Copper comes from the Latin Cuprum meaning “from the Island of Cyprus” which is where the Romans obtained the majority of their copper ore. The name gold comes from the Sanskrit word Jval and the Anglo-Saxon word gold.” Gold and bronze are both very soft mediums and in the case of silicon bronze tin and silicon are adding to copper to create a harder more durable alloy.

To create a highly polished surface the casting goes through 3 stages of progressively finer buffing;
First, we buff it using a high strength non-woven nylon disk on a mechanized buffing wheel, as the disk is not woven it is pliable and can buff irregular shapes. The material of the disk contains aluminum oxide a mineral that makes sharp very fine cuts into the surface of the bronze which helps to create consistent brush marks over the entire surface. We use a medium grit disk made by Standard Abrasives.
The piece is then hand polished using a 400-grit fine wet/dry sandpaper.
Lastly, we buff the pull on a cloth buffing wheel. Buffing compound is applied to the edge of the rotating cloth disk and when sufficiently coated the pull is pressed against the edge of the disk to create a high luster.



The Design Process for Door Handles

Creating door hardware is a balancing act where artistic inspiration is balanced and refined to meet the practical demands of functionality.

Continuing from last weeks post I want to share some of the initial designs that were submitted to designer Debbie Zylstra for her client’s home in Kailua-Kona. Debbie was in the process of designing a home entertainment center in Koa wood and wanted to incorporate dramatic door pulls for sliding doors. The cabinet was grand in scale at a height of 9’ and the lizard heroic handles were considered as a possibility. These pieces are extremely realistic, and the client wanted something more stylized and original but in the reptile family so, pencil in hand, Martin sketched out the iguanas. Martin designed 2 interlocking iguanas which give the illusion of being 2 different pieces, but which use one iguana that is inverted to create a pair. To get a sense of proportion he then reduced the scale and inserted the design into a scaled drawing of the cabinet. The body and head of both iguanas project out from the cabinet door by 4” and the underside of each projects 1 ½” so that there is enough clearance for the hand to grab either the head or tail of each iguana to slide the pocket door open. The angle of the head, legs and tail were made so that the pair would interlock comfortably but leave sufficient space so that fingers would not be pinched.

Iguana Door Pulls situ.jpg
Iguanas copy.jpg

Below are the original sketches for the first large reptile sculptures that are the central pieces in the Lizard collection. Given their realistic design Martin felt he needed to create a left and right facing lizard so that he could more naturally capture the movement of a pair of lizards. The pair was designed so that the head of the right lizard protrudes beyond the slate back-plate allowing the thumb to then be extended to depress the butterfly thumb piece and thereby release the door latch.

Lizard sketch.jpg




Blue Birds Make A Clean Start in 2018

We celebrated 2018 in Paso Robles with close friends and our dog Iris. The hikes, chilly air and the bird life all helped to revitalize our moods and energy and so like these Blue birds we enter 2018 with a refreshed perspective.

We have incorporated bird designs in both our animal cabinet pulls and in our jay bronze sculpture and will be adding a raven to our collections in the months ahead. While the blue birds shown here are vivid colorful creatures they do not make easy subjects for bronze castings as their markings and multiple colors are difficult to create even with hot patinas. The scale of these small birds with their thin legs is also challenging making it necessary to add an artistic mount to support the heavy body weight. 

Blue Birds First Dip of 2018.jpg

Ravens  by comparison have a more uniform color range and stronger legs proportionate to their body size making them perfect as free standing sculptures. We live in the Hollywood Hills and have several families of ravens that we see on a daily basis and appreciate their flying skills, antics and obvious intelligence.

 Martin has just begun his initial design for this new piece and  has decided that the piece will be close to life size at 22” from beak to tail feathers and in a pre-flight position. He is currently hoping to find someone in the Los Angeles area who has a captive raven so that he can photograph the bird from other perspectives so if anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Halloween.jpg

While we do not presently offer zombie door handles or other flesh eating creatures we do have a few lizards to celebrate Halloween with and there is a definitely an audience out there that demonize these reptile.

If you are  searching for air born winged demons then look no further as we have a left and right facing bat to add a note of horror or whimsy to your cabinetry.

Bat-cabinet-knobs.jpg

Bats are left and right facing making them more ergonomic for the left handed amongst us. Their directional nature is also useful for the majority of kitchens where you have double doors or where you are looking to match the “handing” of your door. The challenges of door handing have been discussed in previous posts.

For those who associate toads with Halloween we can help you with our leaping tree frogs as cabinet pulls or with frog knobs for your interior or exterior doors.

In short we have a variety of Halloween offerings to choose from and hope the artistry of our designs as well as the medium of bronze will help your choice outlive the shortness of this macabre holiday. Enjoy.  

 

 

Moths and Butterflies- It is the Season for Insect Cabinet Knobs

We have this year enjoyed a refreshingly wet winter here in LA and as a result have an abundance of flowering trees and foliage so it should come as no surprise that we have a large insect population. While we may not enjoy the large mosquito population the moths and butterflies are a breathtaking delight. Attracted by white light, we usually glimpse hawk moths hanging on our patio wall but this year we are finding them in the house on closets, on shutters and in the bathroom.

We had a preview of what we could expect by insect life when the long legged ganglycrane flies started arriving. The sheer number of crane flies, which are often mistaken for gigantic mosquitoes, was so large that it has almost cured my phobia of this marginally attractive insect. However, when it comes to moths and butterflies their sheer beauty is undeniable and their shape and color have always been a source of inspiration for Martin

While bronze can be colored by applying ferrous nitrate to a heated area to make a yellow amber patina or by applying copper nitrate for blue tone these patinas cannot begin to replicate the complex patterns that moths display in nature. So when portraying moths and butterflies in bronze, Martin has focused on the elegant and dramatic shapes of their wings and bodies and the natural gripping points that occur where the wings join the thorax.

Happy Thanks-Giving

We have used some of our cabinet knobs to create a festive wreath to celebrate Thanksgiving, see if you can spot the pieces we used. We will be spending our Thanksgiving with friends and neighbors and celebrating the day pot luck style. To all our friends, neighbors and clients may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.      

Anne and Martin Pierce

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO BAT LOVERS

As many of you know Martin loves reptiles and insects but he also loves mammals and this extends to bats which are found in his collection of animal cabinet pulls.

For some reason I do not think of bats as mammals and see them as flying rodents and indeed if you look at many bats they do appear to be rats with leathery wings.

When Martin and I were in Belize several years ago we stayed at the luxurious Blancaneaux Lodge, a Coppola resort and took a guided excursion by canoe to Barton Creek Cave. The ancient Maya once used this cave as a burial site and the interior is filled with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites and a thriving bat colony.The ceiling of the cave was fairly low so with our head held flash lights we could see the fine details of the bat faces and their fury bodies as they hung from the cave ceiling in clusters. 

More recently, in Paso Robles, in the hot month of August with the doors open to cool the house a large bat with a 16" wing span flew into our bedroom. After much flapping the bat tired and so Martin was able to carefully hold the bat by its wings and emboldened by his action I stroked the incredible downy coat of its fur and touched the soft fine translucent leathery skin of its wings. Respecting the bats right to peace we turned all the house lights off and released him back to the night. For those bat lovers out there is a great YouTube page where you can see a bat rescue center in Australia with some adorable bat videos.