childrens door knobs

A Swarm of Bees Inspires a Collage of Bee Knobs

This has been the most remarkable spring but the arrival of a swarm of bees was as unexpected as it was spectacular. On Sunday we heard loud buzzing from our front garden and spent the next hour watching the process of hundreds of bees settling in our Brazilian Pepper Tree. What began as a few bees over the next hour became a mass all huddling together to protect the queen. By evening the swarm had settled in and become calm as the temperature cooled and their rest time commenced.

While we knew that the Queen was at the center of this colony, we did not fully understand why this event had occurred so turned to the internet. The queen increases the size of the colony by laying eggs that become worker bees and so the colony grows until it eventually it out-grows the hive at which point the queen lays a few queen eggs. The queen then leaves the hive before the new queen bee hatches and takes with her about half of the worker bees to journey onwards to begin a new hive. We were lucky spectators at the point where the queen and her followers had set out in search of a suitable location for their new home and had decided to rest over-night in our tree. At no point did the swarm pose any threat to us as we passively looked on from a safe distance remaining still save for the photos we took.

Colony of bees in the pepper tree .jpg

The following morning the queen and her entourage waited to be warmed by the sun before continuing on their quest.

I was inspired by the sight of these live bees to create a playful collage using our polished bee door knob with a back-drop of dark honeycomb roses which is the most well-known handle set from our Netsuke collection of animal door handles.

BEE FOR BLOG.jpg

Bunny, Bee and Frog Door Knobs - animal door knobs

Whimsical pairings for a magician - this may sound like the title to a children’s novel but in the context of door hardware perfectly describes an order we have just completed for James Shafer’s magical solutions store opening soon in Columbus, Ohio. A full description of this enchanting enterprise can be found at;

https://www.hierophanyandhedge.com/

As befits a magician, James strayed from the path of “sameness” and instead conjured up a fun set of door handles using the animal knobs from our netsuke collection and the swirling leaf escutcheon plates from our willow collection. The results were beautiful and whimsical and could well have been illustrations for a children’s book.

 

The sets were cast in solid bronze and finished with a dark antique oil-rubbed patina. Each piece was burnished by hand to highlight the bronze tones of the raised sections making the leaf veins and wing and ear details more pronounced and creating a sense of depth through the contrasting light and dark areas.

Burnishing the wing veins to accentuate the golden bronze beneath

Burnishing the wing veins to accentuate the golden bronze beneath

 

We have mixed  and matched  our door styles for other clients and readers will recall the willow knob being used as an entry set with a medium bark back-plate in a very creative residential remodel by Los Angeles Designer Bonnie Mcintyre.

Christmas Gift Ideas and the Need to Plan Ahead

At this time of year we often receive calls from parents trying to find the perfect gift for their child’s bedroom and so we wanted to share with you some of the choices people have made.

We are currently making a rabbit passageway set for a Santa delivery in New Hampshire. Thankfully Santa enlisted some advice from a local door and lock installer who helped with tricky issues like dealing with a very old and thin door. The installer understood that a narrow 1 1/4” thick door may be a problem for the latch mechanism as the tongue of the latch in this case was 1” but being a skilled professional he felt that with Santa’s good cheer he would be able make a hole in the door with a 1/8” to spare on either side of the latch. Phew, Santa was wise to plan ahead!

Of course there is nothing wrong in a little self-gifting but the adage always plan ahead is equally true. In this instance, as Santa was not involved, the home owner asked for our help in deciding what to order to replace her old very dilapidated kitchen and dining room door knobs. The doors did not have latches but were held shut by a roller catch or closet door ball catch at the top of the door.  The customer did not want to change the catch so we steered her towards dummy knobs that could be attached on each side of the door by screwing through the knob plate into the door, a low tech but good way of adding beautiful knobs to her kitchen and dining room doors.

 

 

Bees - The Perfect Door Knob for Your Children's Bedroom

Following on with our nature theme I wanted to share a photo I took of a small swarm of bee door knobs. The bumble bee door knob is one of 4 members of the netsuke series, a collection that takes its name from the toggles that were used thorough out the centuries as compact buttons or fastener both in clothing and in luggage.

The frogs, lizards, rabbits and bees that make up this collection are often ordered as individual sets for children’s bedrooms but occasionally multiples are ordered to add a whimsical element to a commercial setting, as was the case with this swarm.

The bee that served as a model for this piece is the black bee or carpenter bee that we see here in southern California and that we first came across when travelling in Greece. We were captivated by its intense black shiny wing casings and abdomen and by its passive bumbling behavior. The honey comb back plate is a case for artistic license as this is not a honey creating bee of the social hive variety but a solitary nectar feeding bee that loves the nectar of honey suckle, wisteria, morning glory and other flowering plants. While the bee is able to use its proboscis to suck nectar from flowers with suitable trumpet shapes, if the fit is less than perfect it will cut the flower to access the nectar, or as we have seen in our garden, take full advantage of existing tares made by the voracious feeding activity of humming birds and their deep reaching beaks.

Carpenter bee finds wisteria a good source for nectar

Carpenter bee finds wisteria a good source for nectar

Cast in solid bronze, these pieces are wonderfulto hold and their smooth substantial weight fits nicely in one’s palm.