Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ornamental metalwork, on the lighter side

Lifting a wrought iron fixture of this  size
by using only two fingers would have been
absolutely impossible.
What does one do if a room requires a three-tier, 10' chandelier, but the ceiling simply won't support the weight of a heavy wrought iron piece?

Ever considered aluminum?

"Of course not, Coca-Cola cans are made of aluminum, and I don't want a Cola can hanging off my ceiling"

Fair enough, but lets give aluminum a second look.  It's super light, relatively speaking, and we have the capability to make it look exactly like a  wrought iron.  Better?

"Really?  How?"

By the way we manipulate the metal and the finish, of course.  Aluminum is actually more expensive then steel, and a lot harder to work with, but it can be manipulated to look just like steel and the finish is the cherry on the top.

Below is a photo of two chandeliers; one is made of wrought iron and the other one is aluminum.  Can you tell which one is made of what material?  Here's a hint... the larger one... oh wait, that was a bit more then just a hint, wasn't it?  As you can see, the chandelier bares absolutely no resemblance to a Cola can.

By the way, aluminum is also an excellent choice for outdoor furniture.  We can create lightweight pieces which are easy to move around, and even better... they won't ever rust!  Why? Because aluminum does not rust.  We have even custom designed and made huge aluminum gates, especially for historical areas, where the columns can't be removed and rebuilt.

Still can't quite believe that the chandelier in question is made out of aluminum?
Here is a photo of it before we put the finish on the fixture.

Before I go, let me also show you how you can go form a very simple design to a more fancy one; the simple design being the lantern I'm holding in the first photo, and the fancier one being the last phto on this page.  A lot of times a home may need fancy fixtures in the front of the property, but the back can be simplified; this keeps the fixtures consistant, but at the same time saves you money.

Hope to see you soon...
Your personal ornamental metalwork and lighting designer
at Potter Art Metal Studios in Dallas, TX.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The simple Mediterranean look

When Susan Newell, a custom home builder who does it all, called us to match the existing railing on a lovely Mediterranean home by architect Frank Ryburn; we were thrilled.  Susan added to the home and needed some exterior balconies and stair railings.  We, of course, love a challenge, and matched the railings exactly!  Here's a photo of the railings which we matched to on Susan's Houzz page.

Beautiful exterior railing by the pool

I found this photo by Sutton Suzuki Architects on; they were working on a pool at the same San Francisco home we worked on as well and happened to get a great shot of our custom designed and forged wrought iron railing.

Traditional Pool by Mill Valley Architect Sutton Suzuki Architects. Metalwork by Potter Art Metal Studios in Dallas, TX.

written by Izabela Wojcik
Your personal ornamental metalwork and lighting designer at Potter Art Metal Studios in Dallas, TX.

Love finding our metalwork on

I love
Houzz happens to be one of my all time favorite places online.  I love it so much that I actually invited Liza Houzman over to our studio when she was in town.  (Didn't work out so well for me because I ended up sick in bed with the flu, but heyyy... at least everyone else at the studio got to say hello.)

In any case, I was surfing Houzz the other day and happened across this gorgeous photo by Harold Leidner, a Dallas landscape architect, which shows off his wonderful landscape architecture, and also happened to catch the drive gate and exterior lanterns I designed for the property and which we custom forged for our client.

I clicked on it, and all these other fabulous photos started popping up... so, I thought I'd share them with you.

Mediterranean Landscape by Dallas Landscape Architect Harold Leidner Landscape Architects.  Custom ornamental metalwork and lighting by Potter Art Metal Studios in Dallas.  The interior designer on the project was Kelli Otey.

Here is a photo which captured the copper and wrought iron gas lanterns I custom designed for the Mediterranean style estate.

We also designed and forged this exterior wrought iron chandelier.

And this shot shows a peak of the beautiful tail lanterns which we matched to the rest of the exterior lighting.

Of course we made a whole lot more for the home, but it sure was fun to see bits and pieces here and there on Harold's Houzz page.

written by Izabela Wojcik
Your personal ornamental metalwork and lighting designer at Potter Art Metal Studios in Dallas, TX.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hi-End Custom Metalwork on a Budget

If you have an appreciation for hi-end custom metalwork and lighting, but are on a budget, don't get discouraged... good things can happen to those who are willing to sit down and discuss things with their designer.  I have been designing custom metalwork and lighting for over seven years, which makes me kind of an expert on what to do in order to end up with a pretty piece of metalwork at a lower price.  In our business, it all comes down to the time it takes to custom forge a piece.  It doesn't really matter how large it is, or how small... sometimes the smallest and simplest looking piece takes far longer to make then something which is larger and more elaborate looking.  The key thing in designing on a budget is flexibility.  Just by changing a type of scroll end on a stair railing, or using a different material for a lantern body, or simply by doing a different finish, money can be saved.  So next time you've got the perfect piece in mind, which turns out to be out of your budget, have a talk with your designer, tell them what your budget actually is and give them the opportunity to figure out if your goal is attainable after all.

This wrought iron pendant is a perfect example of custom design on a budget.  You could have brought me an idea for a round fixture with side panels rised to arches and this fixture would have cost twice as much as it did.  Custom round glass is expensive to start with, and shaping it costs even more, not to mention that we would have to put even more work into rounding the metalwork which the glass would be set into.  This 28" tall and 15" wide pendant ended up costing $2150, and included solid brass leaves and finials and a lovely German Antique glass.  It's a fixture which will look great for generations to come, just like all of the fixtures we have been building for almost a 100 years; nice, heavy, well built pieces, designed and forged to your specifications.  There's a real difference in the way our pieces look and feel when compared with other metalwork on the market.  As Benjamin Franklin pointed out, "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten."  There are lots of nightmare stories we hear from time to time, so I'd like to also point out that we actually stand behind our products and won't drop the ball on you.

So lets get creative... Hope to see you soon!

Your personal custom ornamental metalwork and and lighting designer at Potter Art Metal Studios in Dallas, Tx.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another Visit from the El Centro Interior Design Students

Our now annual visit from the El Centro Interior Design Class was a blast as always.
We got lots of very intelligent questions from the students, they were amazed at the level of artistry at Potter Art Metal Studios, and the class left with smiles on their faces and comments such as: "This was our best field trip of the year, thank you!" ...and who can ask for more then that?  They especially enjoyed the huge tree gate we are currently working on.
A few days later the most adorable card came from the entire class, with a "Thanks a latte" Starbucks gift card... I just about died... isn't it sweet?  I love our precious students, and even worked with one on a project already!
A big thank you to Anita Watson of El Centro for organizing yet another fabulous trip!