While wandering through the iron yard of one of our favorite architectural salvage spots a disheveled black plastic crate resting on the back half of packed shelf—seemed to chirp—drawing attention to the contents. Climbing ensued. It was not unlike climbing a tree in order to reach a distant limb to obtain the full-view-vantage-point that was desired. While peering inside the curious crate a nest of sorts was discovered—for a flock of iron birds. Although the iron bird sculptures had been haphazardly piled into the crate and allowed to rust which resulted in some of the bases becoming detached—the beautiful and artistic design could not be obscured.
Reaching into the nest resulted in the discovery of two different designs; one bird looking intently forward and the other downward as if in search for a fallen berry or seed. The intricate details of the wing and tail feathers and of their lovely perch base was not diminished in the least by their current condition. Having no idea what the outcome would be—bringing them to The Cottage at Rooster Ridge seemed a natural fit—crate and all they came!
Behold the wonders of elbow grease, steel wool, copper paint and—love—of all things artistic! The copper paint which was used to paint the birds is an actual metal paint which contains copper. When the paint is left unsealed the exposure to the elements allows for a rich patina to evolve. Over time, there will be hints of the classic blue-green patina which develops in aged copper—or if one wishes, an aging solution can be added to speed up the process.
The birds in a crate have found many uses and nests—for one holiday they were incorporated into the table setting—as a line of birds paraded down the center of the table assisting in the creation of a festive mood! Additionally, the birds have been included in natural mantle displays encompassing leaves, twigs, pine cones and candles. Two of the birds currently enjoy being perched in one of the window sills of the cottage. It is rumored that one, due to its adoration by a guest was allowed to fly out-of-state and now acts as a paper weight and a sweet reminder of The Cottage at Rooster Ridge.
As we are fortunate to have many—a crate full—five now permanently flock on the front mahogany gate which is built into the rock wall which runs along the front property line of Rooster Ridge. Plans are in place for seven birds to be installed on the top of the upper balcony porch posts on The House at Rooster Ridge as the renovation develops.
At The Cottage at Rooster Ridge we have found that with the right eye, some effort and love of all things artistic—Art Lives!
Towards the end of the renovation of the 100 year old Cottage at Rooster Ridge the time came to begin the selection of door hardware. All of the interior doors had been strenuously sanded, puttied and carefully stained a rich mahogany. They were now ready to become doorways to enter and exit—they only lacked the “goods” to be able to return to their functionality and purpose. Leafing through catalogs, visiting stores and referring to magazines had informed us of many of the options and choices available to us for new hardware. On one of our ventures to Pennsylvania in the never-ending-excursion to locate a yet-to-be-discovered-treasure we came upon an antique vendor whose collection included glass cabinets filled with doorknobs. Each knob had a beautiful and unique design—within those designs, many depicted a wonderful tribute to the kind of doorway they had once opened.
After gazing in wonderment while simultaneously imagining all of the different hands that had once reached out to these different doorways we made our first purchases, in what would become one of our favorite collections. In the weeks that followed, in my continued search and study of antique doorknobs I was made aware of an entire world of doorknob collecting. Which, up to that point in time had been thoroughly overlooked by me—either through the circumstances of the era of my birth or my failure to notice these gems. I made a silent promise to myself to remain more alert of the incredible details that existed around me.
In my research I learned that in years-gone-by, the required time was honored, as well as the desire existed—to bring art to the aspect of ones work. The craftsman, was also an artisan and what followed was nothing short of magnificent. Miniature sculptures had been created—set in brass and bronze and therefore were able to withstand the rigors of time. Glass had been blown, cut or molded into gorgeous works of art. As the glass aged, and based upon the chemical make-up, new colors emerged—clear glass had transformed to lavender.
Once I began my quest, and my newly found desire to become (admittedly, minimally) educated I discovered an incredible verbal reference to the hardware, especially to the door knobs of yesteryear. These entryways, greetings and welcomes were referred to by collectors as the jewelry of the house.
I found this to a be a compelling description and it further opened my eyes to possibilities— as a new way of perceiving hardware. I was able to connect to it as well. (I am not above loving a classic strand of pearls or a contemporary piece of human art!) I knew from experience that the right piece of jewelry had the capacity to transform and to enlighten. Jewelry had the power to set a mood and announce it to whomever chose to glance your way. Whether you were male or female—the timepiece you chose to wear or not wear, the cufflinks or bracelet at your wrists, or the ring—and which finger it was upon…spoke.
My understanding and knowledge in the specifics—especially in the mechanics of the actual functioning of doorknobs needed some education. I found that between yesterday (maybe 75-years-worth of yesterdays) and today the spindles, set-screws, strike-plates and rosettes had evolved. Enter the solution—an amazingly wonderful find and an absolute pleasure to work with—Old Rose Hardware. Web Wilson assisted us by making the required adaptations to our doorknobs as well as providing us with spindles, rosettes and strike-plates. If you are interested in traveling on this incredibly fascinating and historical journey there are many resources available for antique doorknobs and Old Rose Hardware is your expert.
With my new found awareness in place and my just-enough-to-get -the-job-done education I set about the business of setting the stage—creating one of the many invitations to The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. A wonderful welcome to those who came to visit. A greeting to the jewels of my life; friends, family and visitors who brought with them the sparkle of reflective glass and the richness of everlasting metal. All of which came complete with their very own unique and cherished patina!