There are so many amazing Designers who have influenced the current state of design and from whom we learn new things all the time.
Another one of our influences here at Keith Fritz is a renowned interior decorator and furniture designer whose designs were significant to interiors of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Though he isn’t perhaps as well-known as names like Eames or Saarinen because he came along a little later, Karl Springer’s work is still inspirational.
There are some designers whose style is so diverse it’s hard to isolate a telling feature that is consistent across their work. For others, their work is so similar and thematic that you can identify them immediately. Karl Springer’s work is unique because it is both! Springer created a huge body of work with a multitude of unusual and remarkable styles, shapes, patterns and colors, but within that huge body of work, many characteristics can be recognized. Much like Springer, Keith Fritz Fine Furniture is also influenced by a multitude of unusual but recognizable styles.
Keith is passionate about the style and design of his pieces. He is fluent in describing their classic or modern origins and inspiration, and he has the highest of standards for the types of domestic and exotic materials he uses to construct the furniture.
Likewise, Springer was known for his exotic and uncommon use of materials that he would partner with classic and contemporary shapes. He used wood, metal, lacquer and Lucite, but his most exotic pieces made out of leather, parchment, shagreen (shark’s skin!), horn or reptile skins. He was also known for experimenting with several notable cultural and design styles, such as Art Deco, Asian and African motifs.
Looking at beautiful works of art such as our furniture pieces, one could be driven to wonder what influences the designer to create. In the modern world, it is hard to deny the presence of design. Maybe one school of thought is that it has all been done before… but each time it is done again by a true artist, it takes on a new light and the ball gets rolling again.
One of Keith’s historic personalities from which he derives influence is William Morris. A famous English textile designer in the 1800’s, but was also known to be an artist and a writer. His genius as a pattern-designer is unequalled. This, if anything, he himself regarded as his specific profession; it was under the designation of “designer” that he enrolled himself in the socialist ranks and claimed a position as one of the working class. Morris’s great effect was to stimulate the artistic sense and initiate movements.
Receiving his education at Oxford, he enrolled with the intention of taking holy orders, but then decided his energies were best spent on other areas … Morris decided to study architect. This drive to connect the divine with the environment that surrounds us was a path that Keith understood all too well as this was similar to the path he took.
Morris’s influences were theology, ecclesiastical history, and poetry. He often visited churches and cathedrals while on vacation. He adopted a philosophy of rejecting the tawdry industrial manufacture of decorative arts and architecture in favor of a return to hand-craftsmanship, raising artisans to the status of artists, creating art that should be affordable and hand-made, with no hierarchy of artistic mediums. This too is a similar philosophy in which Keith Fritz Fine Furniture operates. We also believe, as Morris did, in the idea of preservationism and the need to protect the natural world from the ravages of industrialism in order to capture and share the beauty to be found in nature and natural materials. Morris was thought to be a forerunner to modern environmentalism and the green movement.
on tapestry weaving, Morris said:
“As in all wall-decoration, the first thing to be considered in the designing of Tapestry is the force, purity, and elegance of the silhouette of the objects represented, and nothing vague or indeterminate is admissible. But special excellences can be expected from it. Depth of tone, richness of colour, and exquisite gradation of tints are easily to be obtained in Tapestry; and it also demands that crispness and abundance of beautiful detail which was the especial characteristic of fully developed Medieval Art.” – Of the Revival of Design and Handicraft
We all know a great song can take you away to any place in time your imagination can conceive… just close your eyes and let the journey begin. Music isn’t the only medium that has this ability. Any masterpiece can be a stepping stone for a strong emotion that can transplant your soul into warmth and comfort. This experience is, of course, different for every individual. Art appreciation varies for everyone, but a masterpiece should transcend the subject matter.
We can only venture to create masterpieces with our dedication and philosophies; it is left to our customers to decide if we have managed to evoke emotion strong enough to move them to such conclusions. A Master is a visionary capable of materializing his own vision while currently expanding that of others, the embodiment of art where nothing could be added nor anything done to improve it. You know when you’ve encountered a masterpiece because it stays with you for the rest of your life. When we create our furniture we endeavor to inspire with beauty, astound with technical skill and awe with harmonious balance.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but certain things most people will recognize as beautiful. We believe a great work of art is hard to quantify why it is a masterpiece, it is simply obvious that it is.
“Pride is a personal commitment. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity.”
Smoothly polished surfaces, restrained decoration, the use of materials with characteristic patterns and great durability, Beidermeier is not just furniture, It is art. Some of our fans might remember a mention about Beidermeier in previous posts. This style has a significant influence on our furniture design.
This furniture style should not be imagined as an individual movement, but rather as a series of ideas encompassing most of the 19th century German speaking lands. Even though Biedermeier is not a traditional Anglo-Saxon style, it often appeals to people in creative professions such as advertising and the music and film industries. Biedermeier designs were simplified forms of the French Empire and Directoire styles and of some 18th-century English styles, and were often elegant in their utilitarian simplicity. Nowadays Biedermeier has become very popular due to its timeless design and therefore collectors enjoy this style of furniture with lasting appreciation. Its high functionality and simple forms suits today’s modern sense of living but with a traditional form of craftsmanship.
In Biedermeier furniture, the choice of wood was of primary importance. Smooth, flat surfaces with little or no carving were typical, so that the grain of the wood became the most important element of decoration. After the wood choice, there is a strong influence of Classicism in the lines being obviously derived from Greek or Roman architecture. It is a rebellion against the overly ornate, a clean departure from fussy design with sweeping classical lines, strong scale and balanced proportions. This style is sleek and allows the artwork to have a voice that speaks for itself.
“In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Having passion for what we do is so rewarding when our customers find joy in our work. A recent customer testimonial sparked inspiration for this week’s post and for December’s newsletter. Customer appreciation strikes a deep chord for an artist who puts more than time, labor and materials into a project. A true artist must be inspired to create, possessed by a divine spirit and be able to evoke the essence of beauty from the design.
“I just wanted to let you know that Keith Fritz delivered to our home, on time, our dining room table. There is only one way to describe this table – it is a masterpiece! A true work of great art! It exceeded our already high expectations for it, and was exactly what we wanted. We will enjoy it for our lifetime, and will be a legacy to our children.
It was such a pleasure to work with Keith Fritz …” – Natalie in Chevy Chase, Maryland
“No person has ever been honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge. We are honored to have such a wonderful fan base that understands and values what we do. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and thank you for supporting our tradition of craftsmanship and artistic passion.
Keith is home for the holiday, however, he is just recently returned from a rigorous 4 day trip of constant deliveries. Last week on Tuesday, after a full day of carefully packing the truck, Keith and Alex took off from Ferdinand Indiana to the east coast. Wednesday evening they delivered a walnut Chatham dining table and server to Connecticut. Thursday morning they stopped by the Wood & Hogan Showroom in New York to deliver another table before going on to DC to make another 4 deliveries that evening. Friday morning they made the final delivery to the Michael Cleary showroom at the Washington Design Center before returning home. This may seem like a lot of travel to get orders in the hands of customers, but Keith would have it no other way. Personal deliveries allow him to make sure the works get there in great condition and in the shortest time possible for the highest client satisfaction. Many times this practice permits Keith to meet the client in person and get the greatest reward from creating his pieces, the client’s personal satisfaction. “It’s a rigorous schedule, but I am always enthusiastic about being able to deliver in person” – Keith Fritz.
Wood furniture is among some of the easiest to repair, care for and preserve. You don’t have to do much more than enjoy and use our tables to maintain the furniture, however, there are things that can damage it.
Extreme Heat will damage the finishes. Warm temperature are acceptable, however, a hot casserole dish or excessive heat from a beverage mug may deteriorate the finish and leave a ring.
Harsh chemicals are not necessary to clean our high quality satin finish and may leave a mark, a lint free cloth is great for everyday maintenance, and a mild wood furniture cleaner will do well when needed.
Water, if wiped up within 15 minutes should not hurt the finish. If you mix moisture with heat it will leave a mark and if there is prolonged water exposure and/ or a table is flooded with long-term immersion it may cause permanent damage to the piece.
Solvents, like nail polish remover, can counteract the protective top coat and may harm the table’s finish.
Abrasion, such as sliding rough stoneware across our table or allowing pets to climb on the surface will cause scratches to appear.
The good news is because of the finish process we use, if a table is damaged, a professional can fix most anything and help extend the life of your furniture. Keith is happy to touch things up when he is in town for clients if it is an easy fix that can be done in the home as he has done this on many occasion.
November is a perfect month for celebrating good cheer at Keith Fritz Fine Furniture.
Today is Veteran’s Day, it is also a unique day in the calendar of which we haven’t seen the like for the last 100 years… 11-11-11. We would like to thank our Veteran’s for all they have done and wish everyone a great start to this holiday season.
Everyone at Keith Fritz Fine Furniture is focused on dining tables this time of the year. Keith and his cadre of artisans are working long hours to complete several important dining table orders so that their families can celebrate the holidays at a new table made especially for them!
We have many exciting events lined up in the coming weeks. Keith and Alex will be back on the road next week making deliveries of the new tables to DC and NY. Thanksgiving week marks the 10 year anniversary of Keith making and delivering a Yew wood dining table for the Clintons’s first thanksgiving outside of the white house, we will have a story about that in our special November news letter. The week after thanksgiving Keith is headed to Dallas to make deliveries there.
Remember to gather around the table and have good cheer. And if you are questioning just how much cheer your current table has left, please go to our website and check out some of Keith’s products, dining tables are our passion.
Chatoyance [shuh-toi-uhn s] – French term defined as having changeable luster; twinkling
Imagine a tigers eye stone, known to be chatoyant with a silky luster. It is generally cut using a specific technique, en cabochon, which allows for the stone to show off unique features. At Keith Fritz, we also take care in selecting and arranging our woods so that they too exhibit a replication of that moveable, gleaming chatoyance.
Some woods offer different looks when struck by light or seen at varying angles. A high quality finishing process can also create this effect in the wood. As you walk around one of our tables the colors will dance and shift with you as you travel. This quality speaks to our dedication to giving our clients the very best that can come from a wood product. “Harnessing the beauty of nature is not a luxury, it is a necessity for the human spirit.”