Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Branch Altar Table - A Labor of Love

Mesquite Altar and  Mesquite Lectern
Lou Quallenberg says goodbye to the Branch Altar Table
The Mesquite Branch Altar Table was a labor of love and a true stretch of the mesquite furniture and carving /sculpting skills that Lou Quallenberg has acquired over the years.  Working with wood, working with mesquite, and creating something from a vision in your head.

The Chapel at Noah's Dream in the Texas Hill Country
Created for a private Chapel in the Texas Hill Country the piece's unique, beautiful and serene final destination was designed to resemble an ark. 

The Chapel at Noah's Dream in the Texas Hill Country

 As most of Lou's pieces do this one started out as a sketch. Well make that three sketches....

Mesquite Furniture
Sketch by Lou Quallenberg
Fortunately Lou Quallenberg can put his ideas down, beautifully on paper and the amazing thing is most pieces come out looking very close to the original sketch.

Mesquite Furniture
Sketch by Lou Quallenberg
Originally conceived and designed as a hallway table, changes had to be made to adapt it into a larger piece with more presence. The thoughts of a limestone top came to an end as the issue of weight was raised and unresolved.

Mesquite Furniture
Sketch by Lou Quallenberg


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A maquette (French word for scale model, sometimes referred to by the Italian names plastico or modello) is a small scale model or rough draft of an unfinished sculpture. An equivalent term is bozzetto, from the Italian word that means "sketch".
It is used to visualize and test shapes and ideas without incurring the cost and effort of producing a full-scale product. It is the analogue of the painter's cartoon, modello, oil sketch or drawn sketch. For commissioned sculptures, especially monumental public sculptures, a maquette may be used to show the client how the finished work will fit in the proposed site.
Lou Quallenberg
Maquette in Mesquite - Branch Altar Table
Lou Quallenberg
Maquette in Mesquite - Branch Altar Table

Lou Quallenberg
Maquette in Mesquite - Branch Altar Table

Lou Quallenberg
Maquette in Mesquite - Branch Altar Table

Lou created a miniature version maquette first, to be sure he could  actually reproduce it on a larger scale and to aid in the logistics of creating  this large piece.

Lou Quallenberg
Lou Quallenberg
Mesquite Furniture
That is one hefty chunk of mesquite with Lou Quallenberg

This piece's tree base was sculpted and carved from a solid laminated block of mesquite pieces. The block weighed approximately 1,240 lbs at beginning and approximately 350 lbs at delivery.

Mesquite Furniture
Lou Quallenberg begins carving the  Mesquite Branch Altar Table

Check out this video to see the carving process unfold:

The carved roots form the base of the table which grows into a tree form sprouting a branch that pokes through a carved natural hole in the mesquite slab top. The branch ultimately blooms into a tabletop candelabra. He sculpted designs in the top, sides and underside of the table top designed to catch the light and give the viewer hidden surprises to discover.

Lou Quallenberg
Several views of the Mesquite Branch Altar Table by Lou Quallenberg
The dimensions on this incredible piece are: 60"L x 22"W x 36"H and while the photos are good they just do not do the piece justice. It is most certainly one that calls out to be touched and explored.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mesquite Hearts - Work is our love made visible

Work is our love made visible and the Mesquite Heart Series that Lou Quallenberg has created is a tribute to this beautiful quote by Kahlil Gibran.  
“Work is love made visible. And if you can't work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of the people who work with joy”― Kahlil Gibran
As Valentine's Day approaches I thought it only fitting to showcase these incredible mesquite sculptures and share some of their secrets and stories.

The hearts originally began as Valentine's Day gifts from Lou to me. You can read a bit more about that on an earlier blog post Mesquite with all my HEART. Small and large tokens of love, each and every one a unique declaration of love. A gentleman visiting the shop for the @LAST Llano Art Studio Tour saw one and asked Lou to make one for his wife. That  simple request sent Lou on this new path chasing his heart in a more sculptural direction.

Moresco Square Base Mesquite Heart
Moresco Square Base and Moresco Natural Base were the first two mesquite heart sculptures that Lou created for someone other than myself. He originally intended one for the client and one to send to Marta Stafford at Marta Stafford Fine Art his local Gallery Representative in Marble Falls. Both pieces were purchased by the client which sent him back to the wood pile to find more sculpture wood to create another piece. 
Moresco Natural Base Mesquite Heart

The ideas and hearts began to dance in his head and across his sketchpad. 

Glass smooth, stylized, removable hearts amid a flowing and textured, free-form base. Each Heart Sculpture has two hearts in it representing each partner in the couple. Often one heart is bigger than the other.....

Messer Mesquite Heart
The "Messer" Mesquite Heart was on the workbench being created as a spec piece for the gallery when a visitor stopped in and purchased it on the spot. It was finished and on display at the next Art Studio Tour and the lucky woman that was to receive it several months later for her birthday praised and admired it without knowing it would soon be hers. 

Franco/Lacy Mesquite Heart
The "Franco/Lacy" Mesquite Heart was next up and it was a special commission. The client had seen the Moresco Hearts and had said she wanted one. Lou still had a piece of mesquite from the tree that had come from her Father's yard in San Angelo and was used in the Dancing Trees and several of the other pieces he created for the Chapel. This special heart would be so very full of heart and would create another commission for Christmas, of small hearts for the grandchildren, using remaining bits of the Franco Tree.

Franco Mesquite Hearts

Mesquite Hearts A'Flame
Mesquite Hearts A'Flame began again as a spec piece for the Gallery and the ever patient Marta. Once again another visitor to the shop decided his wife needed to have it even before he saw it finished.  This piece debuted the taller style sculpted base. We also created a video of this piece so that it could be viewed from all sides.

Hidden Heart Mesquite Heart Sculpture
Hidden Heart Mesquite Heart Sculpture was on the work table and it was decided that it and Broken Heart would both be entered into the Western Trappings on The Llano Show.  Paid jobs and other projects came on board in a flood and nearly kept these two pieces from being finished on time. Had it not been for the patience and understanding of the Show Director (along with his confidence in Lou's ability to get it done) these pieces would not have been shown at all. As it was they were not even photographed until after the show concluded.  Hidden Heart has a small removable heart tucked in and hidden under the larger one.

Broken Heart Mesquite Heart Sculpture
Broken Heart Mesquite Heart Sculpture is a large sculpture. To date it is the largest of the series. Measuring 32 inches High by 12 inches Wide and 12 inches Long.  

It was carved from a solid piece which came from the Franco Tree that was used in the Chapel for Dancing Trees. As Lou began work on the piece a fine crack was found inside the Heart instead of abandoning the project he decided to go with it. 

The use of gold to repair the broken heart was inspired by the Japanese art/philosophy called Kintsugi  (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (Japanese: golden repair) Where by the broken thing is made better by its history and from having been broken. It reminds me of the Leonard Cohen song lyrics "There is a crack, a crack in everything that's how the light gets in." Without the crack or break there would be no light. I jut love that.... 
The base for this piece was created by laminating several chunks of mesquite together and then carving and sculpting into it.  Very similar to the way he created the Branch Altar Table that sits alongside the Dancing Trees. But that in and of itself is a whole blogpost.

a few more hearts.....

Mesquite Heart for Cheryl
Set Your Heart On Fire Mesquite Heart

Mesquite Heart Valentine's for Cheryl

Yin Yang Mesquite Hearts

Double Mesquite Heart

Single Mesquite Heart

Franco Mesquite Hearts

Upcoming Events we are involved in......

Llano Earth Art Fest LEAF and World Rock Stacking Championship
March 11-13, 2016
Grenwelge Park - Llano, Texas

@LAST Llano Art Studio Tour
Annually the LAST Saturday in March
Local Art Studios in Llano, Texas