Designing and carving commission project for Beacon Hill Books & Café
In association with Melissa Fetter owner of Beacon Hill Books & Café and Monika Pauli architect, we designed many beautiful sculptures for the new bookstore, located at 71 Charles Street in Beacon Hill, Boston MA.
One can appreciate the architecture when walking in Charles Street, others can enjoy shopping but what combines the two is an attractive bookstore. A sculpted hanging sign which portrays Paige the squirrel perched on top of a book stacks is clearly visible to the passers by, it already gives an impression of the magical atmosphere found in the bookstore. A quarter board sign with carved and gilded letters displays the name of the shop, it is made with simplicity and yet remains effective.
The interior of the bookstore retains all of the features designed in the 1800. It seemed to be important for the owner, to produce the decorative elements in a classical styles "en vogue" of the time, as seen in one of the rooms. The new carved frieze work is a fine typical example, interestingly the previous owner was Joslin Gilman, a famous globemaker. We designed a globe of the Americas now featuring in the frieze work.
Each room has its own fireplace mantle with its own bespoke carving . For example the children tea room fireplace mantlepiece was the most creative carving to produce, in its center are two squirrels holding books and a butterfly is standing on the top of the book cover. The Café restaurant fireplace features some interlaced flatware and tea cups carvings. Beautiful furniture and book shelves were made and to contribute to their esthetics, some acorns were designed for them as well.
List of carvings made in my studio now decorating the bookstore:
1, Hanging sign sculptures; 2, Acorns ; 3, Quarter board sign with carved V-cut gilded letters ; 4, Palladian inspired frieze work applique carvings; 5, Fireplace mantlepiece carvings; 6, Garden bird carving
Hanging sign sculptures in mahogany for Beacon Hill Books and Café
Three stages were necessary to produce the hanging sign: First a 1:10 clay model - 2 : Half-scale maquette or mock up - 3: Carving full-size - 4 : Painting
1/10 scale clay model based from Client's logo. 4" x 3" x 2"
Half-scale maquette or mock up. 12" x 10"1/2 x 6"
Carving full-size. 24" x 21" x 12"
Painting by Monika Pauli architect
Working progress video
Description about video content
This is a working progress video showing the various steps in producing a sculpted hanging sign in mahogany for the new bookstore in Beacon Hill Boston.
To begin with, a logo (inspired from an illustration) and belonging to Beacon Hill Books & Café was chosen as model to produce the signage. Next step was the making of a half-size clay model squirrel encased in a niche like frame, its purpose was to simulate the hanging sign and its sculptures in situ. This helped in adjusting certain proportions and building up the logo in three dimensions. Also the design was going to be carved on both sides and made visible when looking up from street level.
To achieve this, the books were carved in perspective and the squirrels in the round. A block of mahogany was assembled then delivered to my studio. I began the process of carving by drawing a contour line following a logo template. I could easily cut and discard the excess of wood using power tools. It is quiet obvious in the video how the carving was shaped up and finished using carving gouges. I left the squirrels tails and books edges until last, but in general I carve around the work piece.