I've been listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin lately because my son Silas is fascinated with the song Dazed & Confused. Specifically, he's obsessed with watching the footage of Zeppelin performing that song from the concert film Song Remains the Same. We finally gave up and bought the DVD because we were afraid we were going to accidentally delete it from the DVR. I listen to 101.9 RXP at work and heard Matt Pinfield talking about John Paul Jones (a/k/a Silas' favorite bassist), Dave Grohl and Josh Homme forming a band called Them Crooked Vultures. I just caught a sample of one of their songs and I'm looking forward to the release of the album.
I'm pleased to announce that VOOS, a great new home furnishings store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, recently picked up several of my pieces. VOOS carries furniture and objects made by local New York City designers and I feel privileged to have my work featured alongside such amazingly talented artists.
We spent Memorial Day weekend up in the Catskills and stayed at a great Bed & Breakfast in Phoenicia. We're not usually the Bed & Breakfast types, but we really loved the Phoenicia Belle.
The house is a beautiful Victorian that has been lovingly and artfully restored by its owners, Tom and Dana Fraser, who are also the most gracious and kind hosts you could ever hope to meet. Tom and Dana are both very knowledgeable about the area and it was a real pleasure to make their acquaintance.
Silas loved Phoenicia as well. He had a great time playing in the Esopus Creek, which runs through the town, and loved watching all the fire trucks in the Memorial Day parade. He wasn't super fond of the caterpillars and other bugs in the great outdoors, but that's because he's a city kid and the only bugs he's seen are cockroaches.
Another big thanks to Matt Ianni and Leslie Fram from 101.9 RXP for having me on their show a few weeks ago. I just received the mp3 of my appearance and I'm posting it here. Michael Daniel Metal Design on 101.9 RXP
My neighbor, Laszlo Sallay, exhibited at ICFF this year and asked me to design a base for one of the table tops that he wanted to display in the show.
Laszlo is an amazingly talented woodworker who does a lot of great veneer finishes, restoration work and came up with this new design on wood called Shagreen. Shagreen is basically a faux sharkskin-type look and texture but is 100% wood.
Here's a photo of the table base that I made:
I also made some knobs for one of the cabinets, which can be seen in the photo below:
When I was at the show on Saturday, Laszlo was getting a great response and there were a lot of people in his booth. Check out more of Laszlo's great woodwork and finishes on his website.
I know a lot of people here in the States associate May 1st with flowers and maypoles, but for most of the world, May Day is celebrated as International Workers' Day. International Workers' Day, or Labor Day, actually started because of events that occurred in the US in the late 19th Century. The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions set May 1, 1886 as the date by which the eight-hour work day would become the recognized standard. When May 1, 1886 arrived, rallies and strikes were held by labor unions and workers in support of the eight-hour work day.
In the Czech Republic, May 1st is also National Love Day. In Prague, lovers visit the memorial of the Romantic poet Karel Hynek Macha (who wrote a lyrical epic poem called "May," which is considered to be one of the best works of Czech Romanticism) and kiss!
Happy May Day everyone!
I started teaching welding and metal sculpting again last week. I've got a great group of beginning students, who are all eager to learn. It's been a while since I've taught, but it's nice to see students get excited about learning skills that I now do without even thinking about it. It reminds me of how excited I was when I took my first welding class so many years ago at SVA. I knew after the first session that I wanted to do this the rest of my life.
Finally, after months and months and months, I was able to get around to making a removeble, decorative fireplace screen for the wonderful Chee-Zefi family. I needed to make a screen that was also childproof, so I designed this screen to lift up and out -- easy for an adult but too heavy for a child. This fireplace was constructed out of various sizes of recycled plumber's pipe, which I wire brushed. I then welded the pieces of pipe into a tubing frame that has a blackened finish.
I'm a bit behind on blog posts, I know. There was Silas' birthday, Christmas, New Year's and now it's February and I promise not to be so lacksidasical. I have some photos from a recent job that I did for my friend Igor. I had patinaed and waxed the stairs for his client a while ago, and went back to do a poly finish on the handrail. I know that doesn't sound terribly exciting, but it's the patina that I'm proud of as it's one of my own recipes. I was able to get a couple of photos on my last trip there. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so the photo here is one that I captured with my crappy Nokia cellphone.
The photo doesn't show the patina quite as well as I would like, but at least I was able to document the job for my patina archives.
I've been meaning to post pictures of the completed window guard and sign for Il Bambino, but have been caught up with finishing last minute orders for Christmas. I'm documenting the rusting of the steel, so I'll have more photos as the months go by.
Also, I'm working on votive candle holders for Il Bambino's tables so I'll be sure to post the work in progress after the holidays.
My friend Keith Gamache is selling framed inkjet prints of his popular connect-the-dots paintings on his website. His work is bold and colorful and looks especially great in kids' rooms, but hangs beautifully anywhere in your home. We are fortunate to have three of his paintings, all of which are hanging in Silas' room. If you're looking for a great original holiday gift, pick up one of his prints. Keith is offering free shipping on any item purchased between now and Christmas.
I was doing a bit of research the other day and found myself on the Apartment Therapy Re-Nest blog. There's a great post there about a group of Thai monks that built a beautiful temple out of a million or so recycled glass bottles. This reminded me to let everyone know about a great organization in my neighborhood called Build it Green! NYC. They have really good recycled wood, and when my friend Denny and I went there this summer, they had old doors from the Mohonk Mountain House.
I am working on a lighting project for a client and have been searching all over for retractable cords that I could use in the lighting fixture that I am designing. It seems that the cords have gone the way of the dodo bird. I'm basically looking for a cord that would be used in the same manner as the old retractable lights from the 50's and 60's. Does anyone out there know where I can find these cords?
Here's an example that I found on the great Retro Renovation blog:
I have to give a big shout out to my brother-in-law Spyros, because Roma just beat Lazio in the Rome Derby. He's on holiday in Vietnam right now, but I have a feeling that he arranged his itinerary so he'd be in a location with cable television today. I'm sure all the guests in the hotel where Spyros and Alyssa are staying were really happy to hear a crazy Italian screaming and jumping up and down at 4:00am.
I've been working with my friend Igor on a large-scale project over the past several weeks, which have required a lot of extra hours and weekend work in order to meet the deadline. Unfortunately, I missed the Halloween Harvest Festival at Socrates Sculpture Park this past Saturday. Sara and Silas went on without me and had a great time. In addition to the make-your-own costume table and the dog halloween costume contest, there was also live music. Sara and Silas weren't expecting the musical stylings of Peelander-Z. Silas was completely mesmerized by the band and talked non-stop about them for the next three days.
This is why Queens can be an awesome place to live. You just never know what you're going to get.
Darren came by the studio yesterday and took a look at the finished window gate and sign for Il Bambino. We decided to let it patina naturally in the elements instead of painting it. Darren was super psyched and was sorry that it was going to end up in back of the restaurant instead of the front.