Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What You Need to Know About Murano Glass

As you may know, Murano glass is made on the Venetian island of Murano, a special place that’s near and dear to our hearts. For centuries, talented glassmakers in Murano have used tried and true techniques to carefully craft glass for function and aesthetics. From wine stoppers and vases to unbelievable chandeliers, Murano glass is created and sold to enthusiasts across the globe.

Murano Multicolored Glass Mazzega Style Chandelier 448
Murano Multicolored Glass Mazzega Style Chandelier

Let’s take a deep dive into the beautiful world of Murano glass…

It is believed that Murano glass making began in Rome as early as the 8th century, and by the 14th century, glassmakers has risen through the ranks to become elite citizens. Not surprisingly, the majority of Murano’s inhabitants became involved with the glassmaking industry in some way throughout the years.


Fast Facts:

  • Giuseppe Briati was the most famous producer of 18th-century chandeliers. Up until that point, chandeliers had been made of iron, brass and wood.
  • Glass production exploded in the 1950s and1960s as glass products were made in excess for export and to sell to tourists.
  • The Venice Biennale has been and continues to be the home to exquisite Murano glass exhibits.

Glass is a seemingly magic material. How is it made?

Raw materials meet with sodium oxide to slowly solidify the glass. This is an important step in the process because the glassblower needs to have time to control the shape of the piece. The basic materials in Murano glass are colorless, so color is achieved by adding minerals and oxides to the glass powder. The actual powder used is a well-kept secret among the glass manufacturing community.

What are the most common brands sold?

The most common brands of Murano glass you’ll find today include, De Biasi, Gabbiani, Salviati, Venini, Barovier, Alessandro Mandruzzato, Simone Cenedese, Seguso. Beware of imitations; many producers will use a trademark of origin in order to confirm authenticity.

murano glass trademark

Who should I purchase Murano glass from?

Browse their reviews and selection of Murano glass products. You should get a good idea of their reputation from your research.

535-Murano-clear-glass-long-wall-sconces-b 15E82-Brass-Candle-Stick-Sconces-Italian-Vintage-b

It’s easy to see how Murano glass has endured the test of time, changing styles and forms. What are your favorite looks?

Love what you see? View Jean-Marc Fray’s extensive collection of Murano glass: chandeliers, table lamps, sconces, vases, mirrors and more.


Posted by cynthia at 11:55:54 PM
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Inside Our Austin Gallery: New Artist Spotlight

At Jean Marc Fray, we’re always looking for new artists that we admire and whose aesthetic compliments our vintage furniture and antiques. Luckily for us, talented artists abound in Austin and the surrounding area, each with their own unique flair. We’d like to take you on a journey inside our Austin gallery to explore the work and background of our newest talented partners.

Ashley Mayel

For the past 48 years, Mayel has called Texas home. After graduating from University of Houston’s Art & Design Program, she became an accomplished artist and designer, establishing a presence on a global scale. She and her husband moved abroad for 10 years where she was exposed to and influenced by numerous cultures, namely, European and Asian. Today, Mayel resides in Austin, where she’s heavily involved in the community as a member of the Design Trade Associates, the Creative Art Society, and the Visual Art League for the Gallery at Dell JCC.


“Eagle Landing” Original Painting by Ashley Mayel AM12 [su_quote]…Each time I create, simple shapes free my imagination to travel depths previously unknown to me…simple shapes that are esthetically satisfying yet leave many questions unanswered. I like the loose motions, the flowing together and joining of different colors, the lost boundaries; all fascinate me. – Ashley Mayel[/su_quote]

"Intertwine" by Ashley Mayel AM8


For more information, visit Mayel’s gallery website.


Jo Hyman

Houston native, Jo Hyman, grew up in a creative and musical family, so it comes as no surprise that she, too, took up singing and art. Hyman studied at University of Texas in Austin, but credits nature and history as the driving forces behind her style. When she’s not singing, she’s creating masterpieces from Venetian plaster for residential and commercial spaces.

[su_quote]…Every day I looked forward to inventing unique finishes that were richly layered and compelling. As I gradually troweled on layer upon layer of velvety texture, I wondered how I could transform this spontaneous evolution into an unconventional art medium. – Jo Hyman [/su_quote]

A bird’s eye view of Jow Hyman’s work:

Jo Hyman Art | Love from Kind Motion on Vimeo.

"Birds of a Feather I" by Jo Hyman JH2

"Circles of Life" Original Painting by Jo Hyman JH1


For more information on Hyman, visit her website.


Alan Serota

For more than 33 years, Alan Serota and his wife Barbara have lived and worked in their Spicewood home and studio. There, they create functional and sculptural vessels and paintings, and choose to live a simple lifestyle. They’ve given back to their community by teaching ceramics classes at the Dougherty Cultural Art Center in Austin, and clay workshops to school children within the Eanes School District and the Austin Independent School District.

On September 4, 2011, wildfires demolished the Serota’s Spicewood home, studios and beloved land. In the following video, Alan Serota discusses how the impulse to create sustained him during a recovery from a wildfire that destroyed his home and studio.

[su_quote]…My work revolves around an understanding of spatial recognition, color, and movement. It is propelled onto canvas with intuitive guidance and a constant flow of energy from beginning to end. I attempt to capture themes as they evolve using palette knife, brushwork, and other creative techniques. The end result brings forth a joyous sense of placement and color dancing across the canvas. -Alan Serota[/su_quote]

"Nebula" Original Mixed-Media Painting by Alan Serota AS3

16A13 Italian pair of armchairs h
"My Friend with Blue Hair II" by Alan Serota

"Heart Chakra" Original Framed Painting by Alan Serota AS4

Looking for more? Be sure to view all the artwork we have in the gallery.









Posted by cynthia at 12:04:12 AM
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

7 (Design) Books For Your Summer Reading List

Summer days were meant to be spent poolside, sipping lemonade (or something stronger), whilst leisurely perusing the pages of a captivating book. Since you’re reading our blog, we know you have exquisite taste, and you’ll trust our judgement on good reading material. Ready to get your creative juices flowing? The books on this list come highly recommended by designers, graphic artists, professors… and just about everyone who gets their hands on them.

Here are our top picks––7 design books for your summer reading list:

summer reading list - book on design

1. The Design of Everyday Things

Author: Donald A. Norman is co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group

Pages: 347

About: Norman, a co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, specializes in helping companies produce human-centered products and services. His unique perspective will make you evaluate the usability of everything.  That’s all we can say without spoiling it.



2. Vision In Motion

Author: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Pages: 371 pages

About: A German Bauhaus educator,  Laszlo Moholy-Nagy concentrates on the work of the Institute of Design, Chicago and “…presents a broader, more general view of the interrelatedness of art and life.” It’s a classic in visual theory and inspiration.

3. Geometry of Design

Author: Kimberly Elam

Pages: 144

About: At its core, this book reveals a mathematical explanation of how art works. Elam discusses the design process by exploring the visual relationships that have foundations in math and the basic qualities of life. Elam is a chairperson on the Graphic and Interactive Communication Department at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Florida.

4. Thinkertoys

Author: Michael Michalko

Pages: 416

About: Simply put, this book is “designed to change the way you think,” but it also provides problem solving solutions, strategies, techniques and puzzles to help you along the way. Michalko was an officer in the U.S. Army; he organized a team of NATO intelligence specialists to categorize all known inventive-thinking methods.

5. Desire: The Shape of Things to Come

Author: Gestalten Verlag

Pages: 280

About: Don’t let it fool you by it’s awkward cover; the pages within are filled with beautiful photography. Gestalten Press discusses past movements, the major players from each era and introduces useful categories for new, recent design movements.

summer reading list - book on interiors

6. Toward a New Interior

Author: Lois Weinthal

Pages: 624

About: Weinthal, Associate Professor of Interior Design at the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, discusses how interior design has historically been seen as an extension of other fine arts, such as architecture and display. That said, she curates a collection of forty-eight essays that form the foundation of interior design theory (which has previously not existed) and shape the future of interiors.

7. Monograph: James Irvine

Author: Deyan Sudjic

Pages: 224

About: Dive into a comprehensive book about design, written through the lens of the creative James Irvine. London-born, Irvine synthesized his classical British design techniques with that of the Italians, creating new methodologies in design. Pages contain previously unpublished sketches, models, images and drawings, as well as personal anecdotes from other designers who worked by Irvine’s side.

All images are courtesy of Amazon.com


Posted by cynthia at 09:20:05 PM
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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Best Housewarming Gifts For Summer Soirees

Yearning to be a new homeowner, complete with a golden retriever and a fence for privacy, is not unique to Americans. Homeowners across the globe feel a great sense of satisfaction in having a place to call their own, and it certainly deserves to be celebrated! When the time comes, what better way to show your enthusiasm and friendship than to give your friends a housewarming gift that they actually want? Most of us are short on time and ideas, so we’ve gathered the best housewarming gifts for summer soirees.

In case you’re curious… in France, the homeowners invite people over and call their housewarming party a “pendre la crémaillère,” which literally translates “to hang the trammel.” In the Middle Ages, the trammel was the last thing fixed in the house, so when it was hung, the homeowners would cook a meal to thank everyone who helped build the house. Guests usually chip in on a present together, or bring individual gifts. There’s no right or wrong way, if you ask us.

Housewarming party - meal











For the Foodies

  • Serving tray – With so many vintage and modern trays to choose from, you’re only issue will be choosing just one.
  • Herb oil infuser – Flavor any olive oil to elevate your dish.
  • Cloth napkins – Not only are they more durable, they’re also ecofriendly!

house warming gift


For Your Fancy Friends

  • Beautiful Bookends – Look for classic styles that pair well with any decor, and are made of durable materials, such as brass.
  • Marble cheeseboard – marble is back and hotter than ever; faux marble may look just as neat, but won’t last as long as the real deal.
  • Luxurious coasters – Coasters are super handy and functional, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be aesthetically pleasing, too.


house warming gifts - vase

For the Traditional Types

  • A lovely vase
  • Vino – Sure, this is a n0-brainer, but it’s a crowd pleasure, and there’s no reason to change a good thing. Check out this list of the top 50 go-to wines and choose one that suits their taste. Might we suggest a nice champagne or chardonnay to cool your friends off on a summer’s eve?
  • Candles – Not only do they make your home smell amazing, they create a warm, welcoming environment. Historically, giving a candle said, “may there always be light, even in the darkest of times.”
  • House plants – Plants liven up any room in an instant. If friend doesn’t have a green thumb, opt for a lot maintenance option, like bamboo and cacti.


For The Beverage Connoisseur


No matter what you choose to go with, you’ll be ready with an excellent housewarming gift this summer!

Posted by cynthia at 11:00:10 PM
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