Saturday, November 5, 2011

All That Glitters

I have a very small company. My wife, Kristen, sits in the office all day and works the phone and paperwork so I can be at the bench. Without her doing that part of the business, I would not be half as productive, and have a lot more gray hair.

She also teaches the design and art part of the class when we have students in the American School of French Marquetry. She was a high school art teacher for many years and understands "negative space" which is why she can live with me.

I also have a business partner and friendly agitator, Patrice Lejeune, who shares the work. He graduated from ecole Boulle and worked in Paris restoring and creating furniture for several years before he contacted me and we successfully brought him here on a visa. His wife, Agnes Penot-Lejeune, is finishing her PhD thesis at the Sorbonne on the 19th century art market, and is working on that project on the web here in the shop.

Patrice has his own style, and has developed a type of marquetry which is unique. You can see his work by checking his link on this blog page (top right side). He also is able to do all the diverse projects which I refuse to do, since I am too old to learn anything new. For example, he does the parchment and sharkskin projects which have recently become part of the business as well as constantly experimenting with formulas for stains and finishes. I find bottles of stuff all over the shop, and always have to ask him "What is this?" before I either throw them out or put them away. (A small complaint: he refuses to label them all the time.)

Earlier this year, we sent Patrice to Oregon to study gold leafing with Nancy Thorn at Gold Leaf Design (see link). Naturally, I thought, since the price of gold is about 5 times more expensive then it should be, why not start a new business working with gold? Seems logical...

Anyway, Patrice is not one to start out small. After doing a dozen or so samples to work out the process, he started regilding an Italian Rococo mirror for one of our favorite clients. This mirror had fallen on hard times and there was a lot of gold overpaint, as well as missing gesso and broken elements.

As you can see in the photos, with the help of the shop cat, Gigi, Patrice is making great progress and the future is bright (with gold!).


Joshua Klein said...

Alright! Looking good. Patrice's portfolio looks spectacular. Could you pass along the compliment, Patrick? He deserves applause. I look forward to seeing more from him.

W. Patrick Edwards said...

Thank you! He appreciates the support.