By Sally Wilson
Saturday, May 1, 2010
In the course of a year, it seems that I spend many of my Saturdays doing something to further my craft. This past Saturday, while John was off enjoying his “Day in Italy,” I spent the afternoon discovering the capabilities of the Boston Ornament Company. They make plaster crown moldings, figures, brackets and more, all the things that can still make homes beautiful – and they make it the old-fashioned way.
I’m a member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America (ICA & CA), and with this group I was able to watch a new crown molding being made for a grand palace on Commonwealth Avenue, in Boston.
First, we can see the basic shape of the molding, against which they will pour liquid plaster (ground lime, etc.) and then run their custom-made “knife” across it to form the shape.
Step 4, after adding about eight layers, and then a wait of about five minutes for them to dry, they pop the molding loose from the backer – and voila!
Now, this molding is pretty plain – it provides the basic shape. With our friend Sheldon Kostelecky looking on, we see Boston Ornament Company owner Clayton Austin add five more embellishments – egg and dart, dentils, modillion blocks and lamb’s tongue to create a rich and complex crown molding.
It was so interesting to see how this process is done. It certainly gives me a greater appreciation for the incredible craftsmanship that these moldings represent.
The firm’s address is 20 Fordham Rd., in Allston, Mass. 02134. Phone: 617/787-4118. Web site: http://www.bostonornament.com.