P A T I N A
In October. at the 35 Year Celebration of our very own Dutch Master, one very special guest who has been a customer for almost as long was in attendance. So special in fact, an engraving style has been named after her!
If you're reading this far, you probably have more than a passing interest in beauty, art, and the finer things in life, and hand engraving is definitely one of those things that makes the objects we live with better, more personal and more imbued with family history.
Once an item is purchased at LJ Lewis Silver Company for hand engraving, the selection of an engraving style from John Franciscus' style book is the next step. One particularly beautiful script is named "Sabrina" after our long time customer.
Sabrina finds the ambiguity of a monogram intriguing and this was accomplished by adding ribbons and flourishes and with the very Southern directive to "fancy it up." John Franciscus did not disappoint. And the JF 6 was born. Or what is better known to a growing and appreciative audience as the “Sabrina” engraving style.
Her wide silver cuffs take her from the office to after five events. Some are flat, contemporary and simply tailored, others are more voluminous. All of them are worn regularly. She's grown accustomed to even their distinctive sound as they hit her desk. Each piece has the patina to show that they are loved and lived in and have the "character marks" to prove it.
Hand engraving is the opposite of ephemera—the opposite of instant gratification and fast fashion—which is part of the appeal. At it’s core, it’s an unchanged art form in a fast changing world, and because of this,
Sabrina was quick to tell me it requires patience and that every piece has been worth the wait.
“The engraving represents a long wonderful journey.”
Choosing a favorite piece would be akin to choosing a favorite child. . . impossible! But the piece that is probably the biggest conversation starter is an Elsa Peretti "Saddle Clutch" by Tiffany & Co. that her husband, a fabulously talented gift giver, gave her to celebrate a special occasion. At this point, Sabrina has trained her eye to see expanses of silver as blank palettes and this one was worthy of a very special monogram. To make it even more special, she and her husband met with John and Lana together to discuss the creative process and at one point, her husband secretly whispered a private message that he wanted engraved on it. John and Lana happily obliged making an extraordinary and iconic design deeply personal.
Two familiar faces are in this month's issue of Simply Buckhead magazine: John and Joey.
A cat not only makes a house feel like a home, it makes a store feel cozy too.
He's not here every day, but he loves John as much as we do so we hope your path crosses with his soon!
And of course, he has hand engraved silver tags on his collar! Your pet doesn't???!!?
We can help you out with that.
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You can also leave a comment here in the comment section or contact us directly.
Tin + Copper + Antimony
A question that comes up again and again: What exactly is pewter?
Ingots of tin, strips of copper and bars of antimony may be the physical components of pewter, but add some less tangible elements and then you have a MATCH masterpiece. So consider if you will. . .
Heritage + Craftsmanship + Love
There’s a quiet, understated beauty to MATCH pewter. The warmth of the cooper, the silvery whiteness of the antimony, and the soft gray of the tin are alloyed in such a way that this elegant metal resists tarnishing and provides the perfect buttery palette for hand engraving under the masterful hand of John Franciscus.
MATCH and LJ Lewis Silver Company have much in common, so much so that MATCH's founder and chief designer, David Reiss spent an entire day in Atlanta with John and Lana learning about John's hand engraving technique and enjoying good old fashioned Southern hospitality! David has commissioned John on several hand engraved projects through the years. To this day, when David needs for the engraving to be extra special he does not hesitate to call LJ Lewis.
Reiss was the first to bring Italian pewter to an appreciative American audience in 1995. Born with an unerring eye that was trained at Rhode Island School of Design, the production of beautiful vessels and frames, trays and cutlery, was a natural culmination of Reiss's design skills as he combined contemporary functionality with Italian heritage based upon designs of the 14th through the 19th centuries. Gone were any fusty associations with a “ye olde pewter” tradition. In it’s place were timeless pieces that evoked another place and time, a place and time that customers wanted to inhabit.
Hours of exacting labor go into each piece by multiple craftsmen, each with a specific skill set. Skills and tools that have changed very little over the centuries. Refined and honed, each piece of MATCH pewter undergoes a rigorous process of casting, soldering and polishing. It embodies an authenticity that feels quite at home in both formal and casual settings.
It is also lead free, FDA approved, and food safe.
Many process videos seek to de-mystify. This one only inspires.
Lana’s curatorial eye and love for MATCH pewter makes her Atlanta’s official Little MATCH Girl. She loves sharing MATCH with her customers and then guiding them through the hand engraving process to make each piece a personalized heirloom.
Shown is one of our most popular MATCH gifts. A porringer just waiting for the baby's initials and perhaps even a birthdate. This will certainly be the gift that will be treasured for years to come.
I fondly remember my first piece of MATCH (the first of I hope many more pieces to come!) was the footed compote. It was love at first sight and Lana knew that, pretty much boxing it up with one of her signature double colored satin ribbons. Teal and brown as I recall. It now graces our dining room table. The elegant curves of the traditional Italian design elevate fruit, sometimes a bouquet of salad, even a very lucky black cat at times!
Like LJ Lewis Silver Company, MATCH prides itself on adhering to the highest levels of quality, attention to detail, and outstanding personal customer service. We’re proud to bring MATCH to our customers in Atlanta and throughout the United States. We’d love to see how you’ve woven MATCH pewter into your table settings and your lives. Please post on Instagram and tag @ljlewissilver for a chance to win a pair of beautiful MATCH napkin rings.
We’ll award this covetable gift in store at the end of December so you can ring in the new year with MATCH pewter for your collection!
Our parting shot. Isn't it lovely?
(Hint-hint Santa: Gravy boat. . . Must. Have.)
The original party animal, Joey the Cat, was resplendent in orange as we celebrated Atlanta's Dutch Master, John Franciscus.
We loved seeing such a wonderful turnout and are thankful for the notes and cards from those of you who couldn't make it.
If you have some photos from the event, please send them on to firstname.lastname@example.org
It's past my bedtime. Please go home.
Man's best friend. In this case a woman's. . . Elfina was the dog of a lifetime.
Enormous in spirit and soul. One to be honored. And indeed she was.
Lainey captured the dingo as a remarkable gift for longtime collector Lucinda Bunnen.
Elfina's inquisitiveness, muscularity, sure footedness and intelligence are all felt. The anatomical correctness of the tail, ears and skull are communicated through the stones. One can even gets a sense of her fur. Lainey is a master of interpretation. This brooch can be worn on a chain as a necklace as well. And tells Elfina's story whereever it is worn.
Although a custom piece, Lainey's storytelling comes through in every piece she makes. And we wanted to tell just a few more of those stories.
A favorite term being currently bandied about in the jewelry industry is "alternative bridal." The concept has been part of Lainey's design lexicon from the beginning. These rings represent the start of long relationships: Between husband and wife and between the couple and Lainey. Unique and complimentary, the ribbons of gold wrap around the fingers and show how their lives are intertwined. In subsequent years Lainey has had the opportunity to work with Heidi and Bud Griffin on many different occasions. She creates unique pieces that are created, given and received with love. In total. . . they are a history of memories.
Lainey's sensitivity to the natural environment is clear in these poetic mokumé pendants rendered in silver and gold. Mokumé is a Japanese technique dating back to the 17th century. Layers of different colored metal are fused together, folded into metal "sandwiches" and the layering appears as part of the design.
These tiny colorful palettes presented the perfect opportunity to collaborate once again with John Franciscus. John not only saw mountains and rivers, the metals also presented a wild prancing horse and trees. And in the skies, the aurora flare that occurred at totality this past September hovers. These pendants are truly one of a kind.
Lainey will be in the store this Thursday through Saturday and we hope you'll take this opportunity to meet her and immerse yourself in her work. Perhaps you too will find some pieces that will become landmarks on your life journey. ~ lwM
Rumor has it that Lainey's work will be held over for a few days. So if you cannot make it this week, next Tuesday and Wednesday will give you the final opportunity to see her work at the LJ Lewis Silver Company. Until we meet again. . .
As we celebrate John Franciscus's 35 Years as a master hand engraver in Atlanta, we reached out to some of his long time creative collaborators. One such person is Lainey Papageorge, an amazing artist whose medium is jewelry.
John and Lainey met at the esteemed Gemological Institute of America in 1979 as both were expanding their knowledge of diamonds and fine gemstone setting. Though one would work strictly with metal and the other with colored gemstones, they were immediate kindred spirits. Both brought to the table an "articulated focus” and compatible creative visions. So much so, that they can still finish one another's sentences and my conversations with Lainey and John blur into one another with similar phrases and themes. One such recurring theme: "Anything worthwhile takes time and energy."
So where do we begin her story of time and energy well spent?
Before Lainey was a jeweler, before she became bewitched by gemstones, before all that she had begun her creative life as a dancer and choreographer. Little did she know that her study of the human form and her observations of the movement of dancers would dovetail perfectly into her future profession as a jewelry designer. This fluidity would be key to her creations. . . Jewelry that felt as good as it looked.
But before that, Lainey was a child with learning differences in a world that hadn't even coined the term "learning differences" yet. Today she would most likely receive a diagnosis of Dyslexia and ADHD, but then she only knew that traditional school was extremely difficult and overstimulation would leave her exhausted. These circumstances put her on a path that would lead to her greatest gift.
During this time, she learned valuable lessons by being left alone to explore nature. . . to observe patterns and light, shapes and shadows, and the action of water on the creek banks. Unhindered by left and right, experiencing the acceleration and deceleration of time depending upon her activity, and the gift of unstructured time set the stage for learning the most valuable skill of all: How to manage solitude. It is from this quiet place that she returns to again and again to tap into her creative root system.
Lainey Papageorge / photo by Steve Pelosi
In order for Lainey to create she must become still. Her process is not a moment, but rather a synthesis of dreams and life events over decades. And she can only get to that place through that quiet place. . . a place that she meets with the gemstones, listens and gets to know them. There is a meditative quality to her work and the human touch is inescapable. Jewelry created in this way is qualitatively different because so much time and energy has been invested in it. Both women and men enjoy her jewelry because it is easy to wear; subtle, not flashy and comfortable. It’s jewelry that is worn every day and leaves you feeling incomplete when you’re not wearing it. Essentially it “feels good”. . . both physically and emotionally.
We are thrilled to bring Lainey Papageorge to LJLewis Silver Company for a very limited engagement. For three days the showcases will be brimming with her creations Thursday October 19 through Saturday October 21.
So whether you're a long time collector or completely new to her creative universe, do stop by the shop.
And as a special reward for those who have read to the very end, you should know we will be fêting John and Lainey on Thursday from 4:30 - 7:30. This an event you won’t want to miss so mark your calendars now.
Because old friends are indeed the very best kind! ~ lwM
Well there's Vermeer and his Girl with A Pearl Earring. . . and Rembrandt.
Van Gogh and his starry night, Holbein and Brughel, and the Zonneveld engravings.
And many others because the Dutch know their art!
Zonneveld. You may even be lucky enough to have some of his work in your home.
Of course, you may know him as John Franciscus, the master hand engraver who works his special magic here
in Buckhead at LJ Lewis Silver Company.
He's called Atlanta home now for over 35 years and we think that's cause for celebration!
First up is a new website. You'll notice a tulip or two in his honor!
The website is designed to host the best imagery of his work and the amazing collections
of jewelry and gift items that LJ Lewis Silver Companyis known for.
You'll also be able to keep up with the blog and check the calendar of events.
With a wink and a nod, to Vermeer there will be a special collection of pearl earrings so you can channel your inner Girl with A Pearl Earring. (We're fairly certain she would have liked an engraved locket to go with those earrings.) And one very special event in October. More on that later!
Image by Steve Pelosi at www.pelosiphoto.com
John Franciscus is thoroughly Atlantan.
Playing soccer at least once a week, enjoying coffee with friends on a daily basis, and wining and dining during the week as can be done so well in this city that he's proud to call home.
Atlanta 1982: Andrew Young became mayor. SnowJam crippled the city. E.T. was in the theatre and Magnum P.I. was on the set. You were listening to Lionel Richie, Olivia Newton John and the Steve Miller Band. Most likely on a cassette player.* And John Franciscus decided to move here and share his talent with an appreciative city. He arrived here via Vancouver where he was honing his skills.
Professionally, his journey began in the Netherlands at The Royal Silverworks with his apprenticeship
at the age of 15. He learned the basics and he practiced. And practiced some more.
But it's not "practice makes perfect." It's "perfect practice makes perfect!"
John is naturally gifted as an artist. But giftedness alone is not enough without the lifetime investment of time
to master his art and craft.
And anyone who owns a piece engraved by John knows that the technique is invisible.
Though classical in style, the fluidity of his work just gets richer with time.
Technique is so ingrained as to be automatic. There is a directness of his vision to his hands.
But this is something beyond hand-eye coordination. It is hand-eye-heart coordination.
It is this quality that makes each piece a virtuosic performance. Quite literally a performance piece.
We will fête John and long time creative collaborator Lainey Papageorge Thursday October 19th from 4:30-7:30.
This is an event you won't want to miss!
So mark your calendars and please join us in raising a glass to 35 Years in Atlanta and to creative collaborations!
Photo by Vera Mackyntoich
8/7/2017 1 Comment
Recently I was in LJ Lewis Silver when Lana said to me you must meet Debbie. When Lana insists, there's usually good reason and that interaction quite literally set the tone for the entire weekend!
I could not escape the feeling that I had been in the right place at the right time and that my life would be richer for it.
Debbie Phillips exudes an energy beyond enthusiasm that ebbs and flows.
She had what I would characterize as joie de vivre.
Again, quite literally "joy of life."
You could sense she was an intentional person with an unerring compass.
We talked of business and life, friends and art, and of course, jewelry and hand engraving.
And then decided we needed to talk more later. Here's just part of that conversation. Enjoy.
You just never know who you'll meet on a Saturday morning at LJ Lewis Silver!
lwM: When our paths happily crossed at LJ Lewis Silver I was completely drawn to your energy!
What do you for fun, for work, and for everything in between?
DP: People talk about work/life balance, but I refer to it as work/life blend. I believe my life’s work is “growing talent.”
I help people figure out what their gifts are… I call it their “genius zone.”
When I’m not meeting other people, I’m antiquing, traveling and reading!
lwM: How did you first meet John and Lana? Seems to me like it's been a very happy partnership!
DP: Someone referred me to them over 20 years ago! Friendships that last that long are built on trust, respect, fun
lwM: Agreed! Most people know John is a world class hand engraver, but he's also an accomplished painter.
Tell me about the painting you have of his and what drew you to that?
DP: It’s soothing. I grew up on a farm, but I’m naturally drawn to color. Like all of John’s work, it spoke to my heart.
lwM: Your "Fruit of the Spirit" bracelet is beautiful on so many different levels. Tell me about it.
Is this a piece that evolved over time or did you know exactly what you wanted right out of the gate?
DP: Lana had a bracelet similar to it that she used to show people a special font. It was a unique shape and I instantly thought of adding scripture on it with some design. Two of my favorite scriptures are about the Vine and branches and the Fruit of the Spirit. So I knew I wanted those two combined.
It’s a statement piece in more ways than one! It gives me the opportunity to share my faith, my friends and my “fuel.” The most important things in life that resonate with me. Everyone has a story and if you take time to listen (not just hear), but to really listen, it is amazing what can evolve.
lwM: I'm thrilled to give hand engraved items as well as receive it because it is so emotionally substantial.
You made a comment that Lana hears time and time again. . . "When I want something really special, I always come here."
What are some of the most memorable gifts that you purchased at LJ Lewis Silver and for what occasions?
DP: There have been so many…. There's the sterling silver ruler because I tell people if you aren't measuring it you aren't managing it! Cuffs, baby gifts, the graduation gifts… I call it “memory making.”
lwM: Hand engraving adds so much character to an item and takes personalization to a whole new level. What are your favorite items (other than the aforementioned bracelets) in your collections that are hand engraved?
DP: The silver disc that is an enhancer on my pearls! It’s my signature “go to” piece. Each time I wear it, I get so many compliments.
lwM: Give us a parting shot! When it comes to living life and loving well, what would you like to share?
DP: Success is defined differently for many people. When I see happy people, I see people with a happy heart.
Another favorite scripture of mine is Proverbs 4:23. The NLT says “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” We have all driven a car that has been out of alignment. I use many analogies when I speak and our lives can get out of alignment if we aren’t focused on our core values and living those values in a way that brings meaning to life. Just like a car, we get pulled in many directions and our days can seem ‘ajar’ but when we step back and consider what our values are and where we are able to make a contribution, life flows with a natural rhythm. It’s a special type of harmony when we value the difference in others and not try to fit a certain mold.
I’m a Type A personality that has to resist running the world on any given day, but I’m finding so much joy in helping others find their gifts, their treasures and celebrating people for who they are and not who I think they should be! When someone reads this and they think about their gifts, I hope they will give thanks for their uniqueness, give thanks for the people that brought them to this page and more importantly, thankful for the life that they been given.
I have a screen saver that says, “what you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” So let today mean something. Be intentional in your thinking and let goodness come from it!
lwM: Thank you, Debbie. And I hope our paths cross again very soon!
Photographer: Steve Pelosi / www.pelosiphoto.com