Bell restorer in Northern Virginia
January 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm #11950mirandaParticipant
I have inheireted a set of sleigh bells and would very much like to have them restored. They are ferous (most likely cast bronze), have a petal pattern with a large opening at each end of the throat. They have been in the family for ages, but, unfortunately have not been taken care of. The bells could use a good polish, but I’m not sure the strap is salvagable. Is there anyone out there in the northern Virginia area who might be interested? Many thanks!
January 3, 2012 at 2:23 am #16740hjlong3Participant
If they have the petal pattern, they are cast bronze and not ferous (Steel). There are several narnes harness bell restorers online that you could mail the set to for restoration. I do not know of anyone in your area. If you have an Amish community in your area, you could ask a harness maker to restring the bells. They will generally not polish them, but will be willing to restring them.
Harry Long, MD
January 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm #16741
January 9, 2012 at 3:33 am #16742Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
There is an ABA and New England Chapter member who is a leather artisan and lives and works in New Hampshire. A few years ago, I asked if she could remount 15 antique sleigh bells that I had on a badly deteriorated leather strap. I must say, the piece Diane Louise Paul did for me was perfect. I keep it hanging in my entrance hall year round. It is all hand-sewn on quality leather and has a beautiful brass ring from which it hangs. I recommend her highly. Yes, the leather is new but the bells are old.
Diane has a website: dlpleather.com. Her contact information is on her website. Here are some pictures of the bells she restrung for me:
Diane will be presenting a program about sleigh bells and animal bells at the next NECABA meeting on April 24, 2012, in North Hampton, N. H. More information about the meeting will be posted soon.
January 20, 2012 at 6:24 am #16743Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
This press release has been forwarded to me by the editor of NECABA News, the newsletter of the New England Chapter, American Bell Association:
National Magazine Honors Area Craftsperson
June 2011—Diane Louise Paul of North Hampton, N. H. won the highest award as a traditional artisan in this year’s Directory of Traditional American Crafts, and her work is showcased in the latest [August 2011] issue of Early American Life magazine. She ranks top in her field, according to a panel of national experts convened by the magazine.
The experts, curators from such prestigious institutions as the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; George Washington’s Mount Vernon; Hancock Shaker Village; Kent State University; National Council on History Education; National Trust for Historic Preservation; Old Sturbridge Village; Southern Highland Craft Guild; Strawbery Banke Museum; and Winterthur Museum, as well as antiques dealers, independent scholars, and professional instructors, selected the top craftspeople working with traditional tools and techniques for the magazine’s 26th annual Directory of Traditional American Crafts. Paul’s handcrafted leather showed mastery of the art form, heritage techniques, and workmanship, according to the judges.
The Directory of Traditional American Crafts is a special listing that appears in the August 2011 issue of Early American Life, a national, magazine focusing on architecture, decorative arts, period style, and social history from colonial times through the mid-19th Century. The Directory has been used for the past two decades by curators at living history museums, owners of traditional homes, and motion picture producers for finding artisans to make period-appropriate furnishings and accessories for displays, collections, and use.
“The judges look for authentic design and workmanship, whether the piece is a faithful reproduction or the artisan’s interpretation of period style,” said Tess Rosch, publisher of Early American Life. “Scholarship, as well as use of period tools and techniques, is particularly valued in this competition.”
One goal of the Directory is to help preserve traditional handcrafts, part of our culture that is rapidly being lost in the digital age. Many of these skills were passed down from master to apprentice for hundreds of years, but now few new people choose to learn and master them. “If our traditional arts are lost, we have forgotten a part of who we are as Americans,” Rosch said.
Emphasis added by Carolyn Whitlock.
Congratulations are due to Diane Louise Paul for being honored by this panel of prestigious judges!
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