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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

At the Helm

I particularly like this vignette contrived totally of Skipjack inventory with the bronze sculpture titled "At the Helm" by William Barth Osmundsen, sculpturer, in the foreground and the antique ship's wheel centered on the rustic barn wood wall behind.

A pair of custom made nautical lamps made from 1970's vintage brass navigational lights flanks a scratch-built model of a Chesapeake Bay "Deadrise" by Edward R. Payne from Urbanna, Virginia. The lamps retain their original red and green removable lens and we've added ballast that turn the lamp on and controls the intensity of the interior lights and a three way switch that operates independently to control the room lighting. These lamps come with burlap covered lampshades and are mounted on to thick pine wooden bases. Standing 34 inches tall, they are perfect for a lot of applications where you need a matching pair of nautical lights.

The lamps sit upon a pedestal table with the top being a large ship's window with thick glass and heavy brass frame measuring 31 X 67 inches with curved corners and mounted onto painted wood pedestals.

The large mahogany and oak ship's wheel comes to us from the Raymond Squires Maritime Collection. The wheel is believed to be American and is from the second half of the 19th century. It features eight ring-turned spokes and the outer wheel appears to be made from ash. Measuring 46 inches in diameter, it retains a great old weathered finish and patina.

The bronze sculpture "At the Helm"stands in the center of a glass top replica ship's wheel coffee table. The first of the lost wax bronzes, was presented by HM King Olav V of Norway as the City of Oslo Award to the captain and crew of the full-rigged tall ship Christian Radich. This vigorous bronze by William Barth Osmundsen, has found a permanent and appropriate place in the aft saloon of this majestic Norwegian sailing vessel. It was on her decks during OpSail 76 that Osmundsen was inspired to undertake a series of "Bronzes from the Sea." There are nine subjects extant, all of which have been shown in New York, Houston and Oslo. "At the Helm". Bronze. Wheel diameter measures 15 inches. Mounted on Pakistanian marble. This bronze is signed by the artist and numbered 1/125.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dress Up Your Cabinets With a Monkey's Fist Knob

Not everything that we deal with here at Skipjack are vintage or antique in age. Our nautical living items for example are primarily composed of hand-made nautical decorative arts and accessories and we will include these items as part of our postings. We do try though to create items that are locally made by one of our artisans and are of the highest quality in construction and materials. The monkey's fist cabinet or drawer pulls that we've selected for this blog is a good example of this work. These are produced here in Olde Towne by Joe McNelis who also creates some of our line bell ringers and even some of the finest fancy knotwork covered picture frames and you will see some of these exceptional artworks in future blogs.

Our hand-tied rope monkey's fist drawer pull or knob is a perfect way to dress up your yacht or nautical home. Use them on kitchen cabinets and drawers, bathroom fixtures, as chest of drawer pulls or box knobs. We've also used them as towel hangers- anywhere that you can use a decorative knob. These pulls measures 1 3/8 inch in diameter and one 3/8 inch projection. They are also paintable so you can custom color them for your nautical interior.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

The Seed Was Sown and the Beginnings of Our Blog

Recently, a customer visited us in our Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia showroom shopping for light fixtures to use on the exterior of her new oceanfront home. She was searching for high quality and durable lights that could withstand the sometimes inclement Atlantic weather but also be fitting for her nautically themed fa├žade. I showed her a selection of authentic vintage cast brass fixtures once used onboard commercial and naval ships. These are by far, hands down, the finest (and most durable) cast brass fixtures ever produced with explosion proof glass covers surrounded by a thick brass cage. These fixtures are virtually non-destructible. Our customer was not accustomed to some of the ship lighting designs, so I showed her pictures demonstrating how other customers have used them in both the interior and exterior of their homes. She was delighted and selected the 90 degree passageway lights (see pictured). The heavy brass fixtures were exactly what she was looking for.

Before leaving she commented on how difficult it had been for her to find the appropriate lights and how helpful it was having the sample pictures demonstrating how others had used them on similar applications. Her final comments were “you should really publish a book about how to use all of these great ship parts in coastal homes.”
This was by no means the first time we have heard such a comment from customers, but this time the thought stuck. Why not create a book about transforming authentic antique and vintage nautical and marine furnishings and paraphernalia into suitable products for today’s nautical interiors? This is our business and we are the experts. We are the source for these exceptional products and our business is nautical interiors. So the seed was sown and we are now at the very beginning of designing this project. In the interim, we decided to launch our literary endeavor via the use of a blog!

The premise of Skipjack’s Nautical Living blog is to demonstrate how we revitalize and transform authentic nautical wares for today’s coastal interiors and eventually we will show these products in their new environment. We will also share our thoughts with you concerning the collecting and appraising of nautical antiques and any other maritime topics that you might find interesting or you may desire to share with us.

We may also recommend that you visit our web gallery often and preview our “NEW! JUST IN” section for our latest nautical acquisitions. And of course, please stop by and visit us in person at our riverfront showroom located in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia.

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