Stone and Dove Art Deco
Art Deco was a striking and unmistakable art, architecture, and design movement of the 20s and 30s. It is recognized as first appearing in France at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, although many pieces predate that and it is more broadly seen as appearing between the two world wars.
Art Deco characteristics include a fascination with geometry, fragmented forms, and simple repeating patterns. Conceptually, it reflects a newfound optimism after the first World War, orientation towards the future, and a celebration of modern ideas of progress.
Like all art movements, it was heavily influenced by those that preceded it or those happening concurrently. Some have called it “Cubism tamed” because it borrowed elements from those works, but perhaps in a more controlled manner.
The visual language is also very similar to Constructivism, Suprematism, and Futurism and the separation is tenuous. It was a time when the love of technology and modern machinery was palpable, as in these excerpts from Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto:
We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new Beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned. with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath … a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory Of Samothrace.
… factories suspended from the clouds by the thread of their smoke; bridges with the leap of gymnasts flung across the diabolic cutlery of sunny rivers: adventurous steamers sniffing the horizon; great-breasted locomotives, puffing on the rails like enormous steel horses with long tubes for bridle, and the gliding flight of airplanes whose propeller sounds like the flapping of a flag and the applause of enthusiastic crowds.
One of the wonderful things about Art Deco is how pervasive the visual language became. The aesthetic is present in everything from vacuum cleaners to works on paper to textiles and skyscrapers. In fact, it is often recognized as the first global decorative style and, like spoken language, it has its own “regional dialects.”
Perhaps one of the best ways to appreciate Art Deco is to contrast it to its forerunner, Art Nouveau. While both were strongly influenced by the fine art tradition, Art Nouveau was primarily focused on the natural environment and harmonizing with the graceful, organic elements found. Art Deco was inspired by industrialization and technical progress.
Although it had lost its popularity after World War II, it had its moments of revitalization and is currently finding recent interest and appreciation. Dan Trachtman is one designer inspired by this seminal movement whose work could be considered a natural evolution of Art Deco or perhaps a tangent in natural materials.
After receiving an MFA in Design from California College of the Arts, Dan continued a career in web and graphic design, eventually teaching at the college level and doing work for clients such as NPR, The National Gallery of Art, and the Library of Congress.
It was not until he built a woodshop in his basement that he discovered a new passion. Design in the third dimension revealed new opportunities, yet inherited many of the same design principles as two-dimensional design.
Dan began with furniture design but became intrigued by the unique qualities of illuminated works. He had always loved art and design from the first part of the 20th century and was surprised to find nothing created today that captured the spirit of the Art déco movement in the wood. His head was filled with ideas and he knew that this should be the new direction for his career.
Because his pieces were made of wood, he was naturally drawn to another important art movement, Arts and Crafts. The ethos of the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century was a reaction against the industrialized society that had boomed during the industrial revolution. It preached a return to the handmade craftsmanship and in woodworking that meant a certain aesthetic and solid joinery that would stand the test of time.
Dan knew that to bring his visions to life would require the skills of the most experienced master woodworkers. After a lot of searching, he found the talented folks who could make his ideas “flesh.”
Stone and Dove Hardwood Lighting
He named his company “Stone and Dove Hardwood Lighting.” Stone & Dove’s name comes from the Hebrew translations of Dan’s kids’ names – “Evan” meaning stone and “Jonah” meaning dove. The words also spoke of the durability of traditional craftsmanship and the timelessness, beauty, and harmony of the natural materials.
The next element that makes his pieces unique is the integration of hand-blown or artisan sheet glass. When Dan met Tim McFadden, Tim was already an accomplished artist in his own right. Tim helped Dan understand all the possibilities of hand-blown glass and the beauty this art form could lend to the Stone and Dove woodwork. A one-piece that really shows off Tim’s artistry is “Rising Bubble.” The beautiful swirling forms in this piece are almost invisible until it is illuminated.
Rising Bubble is also an example of the pieces that are more sculptural and can be considered accent lighting as they transform a space as an illuminated piece of art. Some of his pieces can be considered task lighting, such as Whitman Desk Lamp, as they are not only the focal point of a room but also can serve as a reading lamp or a desk lamp.
“Deco Cathedral” is a fine example of the merging of Art Deco design with Arts and Crafts craftsmanship. Inspired by the beautiful Art Deco radios of the 1920s and 30s, the Deco Cathedral lamp’s towering appearance uses layers of maple and cherry to amplify the feeling of depth, while tapered walnut columns create an edifice with presence. An 11” Edison bulb illuminates hand-mixed Kokomo art glass. As with most of his works, it comes in over one palette.
“Wishbone” features a warm canary dome encased in cherry wood arms sitting atop a graceful base. The glass and wood capsule shape appear to float as a unit in a cherry and walnut shell. The solid yellow shade provides an essential glow that is intrinsic to the aesthetic, and as with all hand-blown glass, contains subtle color variation when lit.
Stone and Dove’s new directions will probably be into ceiling fixtures. Dan envisions grand statement pieces in his unique wood and glass style that are the centerpieces of a room or hang over a table. Stone and Dove are definitely worth a look to view their other pieces.
Images are copyright of Stone and Dove