Kevin Cross Studio is an art and design studio located in Redding, Connecticut, that specializes in the art of decorative painting* and gilding** as applied to interior furnishings, and the restoration of antique furniture.
Our customers include architects, interior designers, antique dealers, and private clients.
The photos shown on this site are examples of our work, which represent the various aspects of our business as described below. Most of the art work presented can be replicated, either as shown, or modified to some degree to fill a specific custom order. (For more about the photos, see the entry “About The Photos On This Site” in the navigation bar at right).
Following is a brief outline of our products and services.
We can create the following:
- East Asian style lacquer art on panels that are incorporated into the architecture of the room.
- Murals painted in oil on canvas in the studio that, upon completion, are mounted on the walls in a process similar to wallpaper installation.
We can work on or create the following:
- Furniture that is provided by the client, perhaps an antique or vintage piece, or one that has been newly built to the client’s specifications, and sent to our studio for completion of the finish work, i.e. painting, gilding, and/or polishing.
- Furniture provided entirely by our studio, whereby an order is placed by a client for a specific piece according to their design, drawings, photographs, etc., with the request that we assume production from start to finish. In this case, we collaborate with our colleagues, e.g. woodworkers, cabinet makers, carvers and turners, upholsterers, who undertake the fabrication of the furniture; the piece is subsequently sent to our studio for completion of the finish work.
Restoration of Antique Furniture
We can restore the following:
- Painted furniture, including furniture painted simply in one color, furniture with various styles of decorative painting, furniture with gilded ornamentation, paint decorated satinwood furniture, and East Asian style lacquer furniture (also traditionally referred to as “Japanned” furniture in England and America).
- Gilded furniture and objects, most commonly mirror and picture frames, but also including gilded side tables and chairs.
- Polished wood furniture, i.e. furniture made of fine hardwoods, such as walnut, mahogany, rosewood, satinwood, etc. and coated with a clear finish.
Though most of our restoration work is done in our studio, we also offer on-site furniture restoration service as well, when the relatively minor nature of the restoration in question allows for this solution. For more information about this, see the entry “About Restoration” in the navigation bar at right.
*Decorative painting, as a type of “Decorative Art”, may be loosely defined as painting which is distinct in certain ways (e.g. intent and function) from that which is referred to as “Fine Art” painting (art created and experienced aesthetically). Briefly, decorative art is commonly thought of as being somewhat functional within itself, e.g. wallpaper; or an attribute of something functional, e.g. a painted chair. It may also be created intentionally for a specific location, e.g. a painted mural. On the contrary, fine art (which admittedly is more difficult to define) contains it’s meaning and value entirely within itself, i.e. it is not necessarily functional, and is usually not site specific.
Within the context of interior furnishings, examples of decorative art would include mural painting, classical designs such as the Arabesque and Grotesque, Chinoiserie, faux finishes such as simulated wood and marble, painted furniture, etc.
**Gilding generally refers to the process of applying a thin sheet of metal, called a leaf, to any surface capable of receiving it, e.g. wood, metal, glass, porcelain, paper, etc. Traditionally, precious metals such as gold and silver were used; with the tendency of silver to tarnish, it is now considered advisable to use a substitute such as palladium leaf or aluminum leaf instead of silver. The term gilding may also refer to the use of gold and silver in powder form.
Gilding in the decorative arts usually falls into two categories:
- “Solid gold” appearance
The leaf may be applied to an object over the entire surface, with the intention of presenting the object as if it were actually made of gold. Familiar examples of this would be gilded wood picture and mirror frames, or the gilded metal hardware and mounts of fine French furniture.
- Precious metals as art “pigments”
Gold and silver, in leaf or powder form, may be used as part of a painting process, where the design is painted on the surface with a specific adhesive, and the leaf or powder is then applied only to the painted area. We see this on furniture, lacquer work, illuminated manuscript, sign painting on wood and glass, etc. Alternatively, leaf can be applied to a surface to serve as a ground color under, or around, the painted art work. Gold leaf is used extensively in this manner on Momoyama-Edo period Japanese screens. This effect also appears in some Renaissance art, and later in some Arts and Crafts designs.