A long lost Lincoln mask rescued from obscurity by two art collectors

Bronze casting of Lincoln Mask on display at a new gallery in North Carolina

Almost two decades ago, art collector John Short discovered an obscure terra cotta casting of Abraham Lincoln by artist Robert Gage.  Through diligent research and dedication to the ideals expressed in the image of Lincoln, Short and fellow art collector John Hamm, hope to bring the Lincoln mask back into the mainstream.

The two men released a new bronze face of Abraham Lincoln, created from the original by renowned sculptor and Academy Award winner Robert Merrell Gage, earlier this year. Spurred by their dedication to preserving art and the history that shaped it, the two North Carolina art enthusiasts also founded the North Carolina Fine Art Gallery to further promote these values.

Bronze Abraham Lincoln Mask

The bronze Lincoln mask was cast from a terracotta mask created decades ago by renowned sculptor Robert Merrell Gage.

The artist and the academy

Gage was an incredible talent. He worked as an art instructor at Washburn College, assisted the sculptor of the visages that would become Mount Rushmore, and was commissioned for a statue of Abraham Lincoln that sits today on the grounds of the capitol building in Topeka, KS—Gage’s home state. Gage starred in a documentary film, where he sculpted the face of Lincoln while talking about his life. The masterful short film won the Academy Award for documentary short subject film in 1956.

Despite these successes, when Gage passed away in the 1980s, he was relatively unknown and his Lincoln mask fell into uncertainty and obscurity. John Short and his friend and business partner, John Clell Hamm, hope to change that.

The terra cotta Lincoln mask was purchased by Short at an art auction in the early 90s. He was struck by how perfectly it captured Lincoln’s asymmetrical face—the sharp lines of the politician and lawyer seeking after justice on the left side, and the softer features of a humanitarian intimately familiar with loss on the right. Short knew the mask was created to be a bronze, but could tell from its condition that it had never yet been cast.

Short kept the terra cotta mask in his private collection, safely in his bedroom where it could inspire him each day, as he waited for the right opportunity to create the bronze it was intended for.

More than 25 years later, Short has partnered with Hamm—a fellow art enthusiast and friend—as well as a North Carolina-based bronze foundry, to finally cast the Lincoln mask.

In the process, the two men discovered the documentary film, and felt the profound significance of its message in today’s divided world. They knew they needed to share it.

Out of this desire, the North Carolina Gallery of Fine Art was birthed. At the unveiling of the Face of Lincoln, the sculpture was displayed on an elegant white Pedestal Source pedestal with a rotating turntable, so viewers could take in both sides of Lincoln’s face regardless of their vantage point—a crucial feature for a sculpture with such distinctive angles. White was chosen to complement the interior of the display room.

To learn more about Gage, The Face of Lincoln or purchase one of the limited edition sculptures, visit ncgfa.com.

Why Acrylic Display Cases Are Better Than Glass

Why Acrylic Display Cases Are Better Than Glass

You’ve made the wise decision that using display cases to protect your valuable artwork is the best solution for your museum or art gallery. Next, you will need to determine the best type of material for showcasing your items. In most cases, this will entail choosing between glass or acrylic.

While you are undoubtedly familiar with glass, you might not have an understanding of what acrylic is — and why it is probably the better solution for keeping your pieces out of harm’s way.

What Is Acrylic?

Acrylics are transparent plastic materials that often serve as a substitute for glass. The two types of acrylic used in manufacturing applications are:

  • Injection-molded: a transparent thermoplastic used in the production of items such as sunglasses and bakery bins.
  • Hand-crafted acrylic: provides a crystal-clear appearance that makes it the ideal choice for upscale products such as artwork display cases.

Acrylic vs. Glass Display Cases: Which Is the Better Option for Artwork?

A brief comparison between acrylic and glass indicates that the former is the better choice for artwork display cases. The advantages of acrylic display cases include:

  • Clarity: If you have used glass cases in the past, you’ve probably noticed a greenish tint that detracts from the appearance of the piece. Acrylic is a tint-free material that ensures an undistorted visual presentation.
  • Strength: If you drop or knock over an acrylic display, you might experience some cracks or scratches, but nothing worse. Glass, on the other hand, breaks easily, which can cause irreparable damage to the case and possibly to the artwork.
  • Safety: Shatterproof acrylic also does not pose the safety concerns of glass — you won’t have to worry about shards of broken glass cutting staff members or visitors.
  • Moldability: You can mold acrylic into just about any shape you can imagine, providing unlimited options for creating custom display cases.
  • Lightweight: Acrylic is lighter than glass, which makes it easier to transport your display cases around your facility.

Contact Pedestal Source to learn more about the benefits of acrylic display cases. We can also provide a free quote for a beautiful custom acrylic case for your museum or gallery.

How to Keep Art Safe during Natural Disasters

Keep Art Safe During Natural Disasters

You’ve spent a lot of time — and probably a great deal of money — compiling that beautiful art collection you’re so proud to show off to your visitors. But here’s a sobering thought: A natural disaster such as an earthquake could destroy your pieces in a matter of seconds.  If you’re a museum curator or art gallery owner, this type of event is not only disastrous to your collection, it could lead to the end of your livelihood. With the likelihood of natural disasters increasing every year, the time to start preparing is now.

Keep art safe during earthquakes. Protect your valuable and important art collections from natural disasters
Fragile, expensive, and often sentimental; be sure to consider a plan for protecting your art against natural disasters.

What Are the Effects of Earthquakes on Art?

The impact an earthquake will have on artworks will depend on the severity. A significant seismic event that causes walls, ceilings and floors to collapse will probably destroy your collection as well — there’s little you can do to mitigate the effects of Mother Nature at her worst. However, you can certainly protect art from natural disasters that aren’t quite as severe.

Developing a Disaster Plan to Protect Your Artwork

Preparation is the key to keeping your artwork safe during a natural disaster.  

  • Conduct a comprehensive structural assessment of your building to determine areas of vulnerability.
  • If possible, relocate your pieces to areas that are more structurally sound.
  • Train your staff so they know what to do when an earthquake occurs.
  • Prioritize the pieces most important to you. Although many quakes last just a few seconds, there might still be enough time to grab a piece or two and move them to a safe storage area.
  • Never put yourself in harms way to protect your art. No matter how valuable the piece, it’s not worth risking your life.

Using Museum Putty to Secure Valuable Objects

ven some of the most well cared for works of art have been lost in earthquakes, including The Colossus of Rhodes—an enormous statute of the Greek Titan Helios—and more recently, French artist Jean L’ Homme’s painting The Forgiveness of Assisi (lost in an earthquake in Italy in 2016).

But there is a simple trick that can go a long way in keeping works of art stable in a quake.

Most professionals use museum putty—a blended rubber material—to provide some extra insurance against a quake. Also known as “earthquake putty,” museum putty can secure opaque items such as statues, pottery, antiques and collectibles without damaging their finish.

Earthquake putty is easy to use. Just roll a small amount of the material into beads and place them on the bottom of the object. Press down lightly on the item to ensure the putty adheres to the support structure or display stand.

Contact Pedestal Source for more tips on how to keep art safe during natural disasters.

What Is Modern Design?

The Use and Abuse of Modern Design

What it is, where it came from, and how to incorporate it into your space

 

As frequently as we use the word “modern” to describe art, decor and furniture, many of us don’t really know how to define it, and often confuse it with “contemporary” design. These styles are actually quite different: Modern design is characterized by the simplicity, functionality and openness of the 19th century modern movement, while contemporary is a term used to describe recent design trends that can encompass a variety of styles—it’s ever-evolving.

 

As commercial and retail display designers as well as art enthusiasts, we’ve created this quick intro to these often interchanged ideas to help you better apply the concepts to your own space, whether it be a residential or commercial space.

The Roots of Modern Design

Modern design history dates back to the 19th-century art deco movement, which was pervasive throughout the United States until the 1960s. The original Modernists were seeking to create new norms that were better-suited to a world shaped by the Industrial Revolution, a world rapidly evolving from agrarian to mechanized. Many intellectuals also cite the development of a post-modernism era that began in the late 1970s.

Features of Modern Design

Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of modern design is simplicity. It’s characterized by clean straight lines, rigid squares and rectangles (i.e. the pedestal), and perfect circles—a clear contrast to the ornate designs of the previous era.

Minimalism is another defining characteristic of most modern styles, which strive for an uncluttered appearance. Most modern interior design projects feature only the bare minimum number of furnishings required—often creating an open floor plan.

The utilization of colors can vary widely, though most associate neutrals with modern design.

Modern Design Today

It’s not hard to spot examples in our everyday lives.

example of contemporary design with modern design influences

You can easily find commercial and residential furniture that exhibit the characteristic simplicity and economy, as well as open floor plans (no walls separating first-floor rooms such as the kitchen, living room and dining room)—just take a stroll through Ikea and you’ll see what we mean. The 21st-century modern design concept frequently entails products made from chrome, stainless steel or plastic. Built-in or floating shelves are also typical, as they support the minimalist approach by helping to conserve floor space.

 

Looking to incorporate modern design into your home, office or retail decor? Contact us to set up a free design consultation with one of our experts. Contact Us

Two Simple Ways to Increase Your Store Foot Traffic

As a retailer, you know you offer a distinct service those big-box stores and the internet just can’t compete with: Your expert curation, product knowledge and unique brand all make the shopping experience totally worthwhile to your customers. Your existing expertise aside, you may already possess two simple ways to increase your store foot traffic.

But competition for the retail dollar is fierce these days, and you have to make it immediately clear to passersby that there is more to consider besides convenience and cost.

Here are a couple of solutions for generating the right kind of customer interest and increasing foot traffic. They may be traditional marketing methods, but when you apply your creativity and local expertise with the right setup, they’re incredibly effective.

Use Window Displays to Increase Walk-in Customers

A well-designed window display will attract the attention of passersby — especially if your store is in an area with heavy foot traffic. The best window displays pique the customers’ interest and desire to take a closer look. Use your imagination to create a captivating presentation that people can’t help but notice. For more ideas, check out our blog post How UGG’s Window Displays Tell a Story That Sells.

Variety is essential when using window displays as a marketing tool. Rotate your visuals at least once a month—this will let customers know when you have new product, and sends the signal that you have your finger on the pulse of industry trends.

Two simple ways to increase your store foot traffic

Pedestal Source is a partner that delivers. They work things out,  get it right and the attention to detail is there. Prices are competitive, quality is great, the work is done right the first time and on time.” –Trina Armitage Sr. Visual Merchandising Manager at Deckers Brands; UGG

Use Store Signage to Drive Foot Traffic

You don’t have to invest a fortune in a bold neon sign—actually, definitely don’t do that. A creative, two-sided sidewalk sign placed in front of your store enables you to attract customers from either direction. Use it to announce a sale, inform people of an exciting new product or feature, promote your brand and let your company “voice” be heard.

Placing signs in your parking lot or other prominent areas near your store, or even painting a permanent sign on the side of your building can increase your visibility and help your establishment stand out. Consider updating your signage regularly with new product information, sales and inviting quotes.

For more information on how to increase foot traffic and generate more sales with creative visual merchandising displays, contact Pedestal Source. We’ll help you design a window display that showcases your product and meets your budget needs. Call us today.

How to Display Your Artwork to Stand Out

That beautiful painting, sculpture, drawing or photograph won’t make much of an impression if you don’t present it properly. Whether you’re displaying artwork in a gallery, commercial building or private residence, you want to be sure your visitors can view it at its best. Displaying artwork effectively requires a combination of creativity and the knowledge of a few factors that impact the presentation of the piece. Here are a few tips on how to display your artwork to stand out.

how to display your artwork to stand out

Using Display Pedestal Stands

Display pedestals for art offer one solution for making a piece the focal point of a room. You can place pedestal stands just about anywhere in a room — including in a corner that would otherwise constitute wasted space.

Pedestal stands are perfect for displaying pieces such as sculptures or busts. And with the wide variety of style, material and feature options, you can customize the pedestal to suit your design tastes.

Lighting Techniques

The imaginative use of lighting allows you to highlight artwork and accent its most attractive features. Lighting can emphasize specific colors of a painting, create a shadow effect, accent the shape of the piece or add depth.

Examples of the numerous techniques when displaying artwork include altering the angle and direction to create the desired effect. You can also purchase pedestal stands with built-in lighting that enable you to spotlight the piece and make it more noticeable in a crowded room.

Choosing the Perfect Spot

Finding the ideal spot for displaying artwork depends on several factors. For example, if you have a lot of floor space and don’t have to worry about kids or pets knocking the item over, pedestals give you the maximum flexibility to place the art where it will attract the most attention. You will also be able to move the piece around to determine where the lighting will have the most favorable impact.

If the room contains furniture, you will need to coordinate the placement of the art with the location of chairs, tables, sofas, etc.

As a leading provider of pedestal stands, Pedestal Source can provide expert guidance regarding how to display art in a room. Contact us for more helpful art placement tips today.

How Lighting Can Affect Your Artwork

You’ve just finished hanging that beautiful, expensive painting in your home — only to discover that it seemed to look a little better in the gallery. It’s not that the piece suddenly degraded on the trip to your house — more likely, your lighting isn’t creating the desired effect.  Properly lighting your artwork can help your home display pop the way it did on that gallery wall.

Whether you’re displaying works in a gallery, office or residence, art lighting can dramatically change the look of the piece — for better or worse. For example, while a broad-based light source can bring out the best in an oil painting, it will likely have little impact on the quality of an acrylic painting’s presentation.

The type of lighting will also have a direct impact on the visual presentation of the piece. For instance, lighting your artwork with soft LED lights works best for showcasing high-value pieces, while incandescent lighting will highlight art that prominently features reds and yellows. Fluorescent lighting is typically the worst option for artwork, as it tends to distort the colors.

Art Exhibit Lighting Techniques

While you can’t always control the type of lighting that illuminates your artwork, there are several art lighting techniques you can employ to alter and improve its impact:

  • Use multi-directional lighting to highlight the piece’s texture and shape.
  • When illuminating smaller, low-profile objects, place the light source at a 30-degree angle.
  • Implement a combination of narrow-beam and ambient-diffuse lights to spotlight larger pieces.
  • Employ directional lighting if you wish to add shadowing and depth.
  • When displaying art in a room with recessed lighting, adjust the lighting angle if possible until you create the desired effect.

Lighting Your Artwork With Lighted Display Pedestals

Lighting your artwork with lighted display pedestals provides an effective lighting alternative for bringing out the best in smaller pieces of art, fine jewelry and other valuable items. The appropriate use of lighting combined with the pedestal will add an elegant touch that will enhance the appeal of the item.

Pedestal Source offers a wide assortment of stands made from materials such as wood, acrylic, laminate and metal. Choose a pedestal with a spotlight or ambient lighting option that will enable you to create the ideal effect for your piece. Contact us to learn more about the strategic use of art lighting.

Steps for Organizing an Art Exhibit

If you’re an aspiring art curator, the art exhibit is the most effective vehicle for showing — and selling — your works. However, it takes a little creativity and a lot of hard work to make art exhibits a success. Knowing how to host an art show is an acquired skill that requires time, patience and persistence. You should allocate a minimum of six months before the date of the event for planning. Here are a few helpful steps for organizing an art exhibit.

Steps for organizing an art exhibit

How to Set up an Art Exhibit

Use the following steps to help you organize an art show that will generate interest and run smoothly from start to finish:

1. Develop a Concept

The best art exhibits typically include a collection of works based on a central theme. One way to hone your concept is by developing a mission statement that indicates the purpose of the show and details the types of pieces you wish to display.

2. Select the Artists

Once you have established your exhibit’s theme, you will need to recruit artists who can contribute works that support your concept. Start by contacting artists you know — even if they cannot offer pieces based on your show’s theme, they may be able to direct you to other viable candidates.

You can also put out a call for submissions in your local community and use additional recruiting vehicles such as websites and social media. Continue your search until you have enough artists and pieces to stage an exhibit.

3. Contact Galleries

Pitch to the gallery (or galleries) where you wish to hold your show. Inform them of your specific art exhibit ideas and include at least a dozen images of the works you plan to display.

You’ll also want to send a written report containing essential details such as the desired size of the exhibit area, mounting requirements and information regarding supporting educational offerings.

4. Contact the Media and Send out Invitations

Generate interest in your event by sending out press releases to the media, being sure to mention any local angles. Invite art critics and other prominent members of the local and regional art community.

5. Install the Works and Prepare for the Opening

The final step is overseeing the installation of the pieces and ensuring everything is ready to go for the big event.

Contact Pedestal Source to learn more about how to set up an art exhibit that will help you establish yourself as a reputable art curator in your area.

Tips for Creating Eye-Catching Window Displays

Today’s smaller brick-and-mortar retailers face intense competition on many fronts. In addition to the big-box store down the street that is selling similar merchandise at lower prices, there is also the onslaught of online retailers that offer the benefit of convenient 24/7/365 shopping.

Now more than ever, designing a window display that attracts attention is essential for enticing customers to patronize your store.

Window Display Ideas

The following window display ideas can help you maximize your storefront’s merchandising potential and draw more customers inside:

  • Be creative: While there are many types of window displays, those that are the most appealing and memorable are the ones that capture the imagination. Create a captivating presentation based on a specific theme such as the holidays, the season or a local event, or one that tells a compelling story.
  • Use bold shapes and multiple colors: Distinct shapes will draw the attention of passersby, even from a distance. Use items such as cardboard or paper mache to create exaggerated versions of the merchandise you are looking to sell. Deploying only one color will not make your display stand out. Use at least three contrasting, yet compatible colors to enhance the presentation.
  • Incorporate lighting: The strategic use of lighting will highlight your merchandise and enhance its visual impact, especially at night. Avoid hanging lights directly over the products, though, as this will cause shadows that limit visibility. Instead, place lighting where it will spotlight the item’s most prominent features.
  • Avoid clutter: The most creative window display ideas are those that combine originality with simplicity.A window display that is too “busy” can overwhelm customers, causing them to lose interest quickly or not notice it all.
  • Update frequently: Even the most imaginative and eye-catching display will become “stale” and lose its appeal. Rotating your window displays at least once per month keeps things fresh and lets customers know that your store always has something new and exciting to offer.

Pedestal Source provides an assortment of attractive, durable display products that can help you maximize your merchandise’s visual appeal and generate more traffic. Contact us for additional window display ideas for retail stores.

Tips for Attending Your First Trade Show

Tips for Attending Your First Trade Show

Trade shows are full of opportunities. They bring so many potential clients, business partners and investors together in one space. They’re great for growing awareness of your brand, gaining insight from customers, promoting your products and services and getting leads. They pay off, too. U.S. companies earned $12.81 billion from trade shows in 2016.

And all you have to do is show up, set up a booth and let the money roll in, right?

The truth is, how you approach a trade show has a massive impact on how much you get out of it. With so much going at these events, though, getting it right can feel overwhelming — especially if it’s your first show.

With the right trade show tips to help you prepare, you can attend the event with confidence. Here’s what to do if you’re going to your first trade show.

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