Furnishings! with Canolli Capalini

Jedburgh30 Dagger: Hello everyone! Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Serafina and I are pleased to welcome you to the November Aether Salon – Furnishings! An exploration of Victorian furniture and what goes into the creation of furniture and other things in Second Life. I would like to thank each and every one of you for joining us today.
Miss Viv is currently travelling abroad, and is unable to attend, but is with us in spirit. Sera has asked me to fill in as her co-host today.

As many of you know, the Aether Salon meets to discuss steam and Victorian topics on the third Sunday of each month, in Palisades and Academy, New Babbage. This is our 12th salon and I hope you are all as excited about being here today as I am.

Just a few matters of housekeeping before we get started. If you are standing in the back, please move forward onto the maze so that you can be assured of hearing the speaker. Please be courteous when asking questions and we will try to make sure your questions are answered in the order in which they were posed. As a courtesy to all, please turn off everything that feeds the lag: all HUDs, scripts, AOs and so on. Please no weapons, bombs, pointed sticks, or loose bunches of fruit. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Edited and unedited transcripts will be posted this week on aethersalon.blogspot.com so you can revisit today’s event, read transcripts of past salons, and for a laugh, peruse “overheard at the salon.” Please join the Aether Salon group and receive notifications of future salon events, click the lower right hand corner of the large brown sign by the entrance. We sincerely appreciate the support we receive from everyone in the community and we humbly thank you all.

Many fine people have contributed to today’s salon: We are grateful to Clockwinder Tenk, Miss Ceejay Writer, Miss Breezy Carver, Miss Ahnyanka Delphin, PJ Trenton for photographs, and Canolli Capalini of Capalini Fine Furnishings for the chairs and the craft. Mark your calendars for upcoming salons…December salon will be ‘on the road’ with a field trip to Steelhead Shanghai, so be sure to mark your calendar for that on December 20th.
Sera?

Serafina Puchkina: Thank you, Miss Jed. I would like to officially welcome Miss Jed as part of the Aether Salon staff.

She’s long been an invaluable help behind the scenes, and today marks her first official time as a member of our staff. Thank you, Jed. You are a good friend, and we appreciate your many, many talents.

I also want to acknowledge my co-host and good friend Miss Viv, whose vision created the Aether Salon and her talents made the salon what it is today. RL will always trump SL, but it was hard for Miss Viv to miss today’s salon. We miss you, Miss Viv.

It is my distinct honor to introduce today’s speaker, someone who is well known in New Babbage. After losing her family to cholera, she was sent to her Uncle Chadsworth Capalini, a carpenter who lived in Lexington, Kentucky.

He took her regularly to his woodshop and as Canolli grew, her attention to detail in the woodworking was attributed to the Uncle and his business became known for high quality furniture and chests. Not wishing to lose a valuable commodity, her Uncle kept any suitors away. Uncle Chadsworth disappeared under mysterious circumstances and suspicion was cast upon the young woman. The store was closed and Miss Capalini disappeared.
Seven years later, she appeared in New Babbage. At first, Canolli constructed a chair here and there, donating them to the New Babbage Geographical Society. Seeing the excellence of her work, commissions started rolling in. She was able to open her own store in a few months.

She disapproves of excesses and generally carries a bit of food on her person in case she meets an urchin. Friendly, with a soft southern drawl, but wary of crowds, she gets along well in New Babbage. Particularly because no one asks any questions. Certainly not about her past and not about the hammer she keeps upon her person at all times.
Without further ado, please help me in welcoming Miss Canolli Capalini.

Canolli Capalini nervously stammers.. “Thank you, Miss Serafina for this honor. Undoubtedly you may have wondered why I was asked to speak.” To be quite in agreement, so have I.

I was asked to give a sort of history of Victorian furnishings.. and to be honest, that encompasses such a great field, I didn’t know where to begin.

My lovely friend, Miss Breezy Carver, advised me to begin *glares at Bob* with what I know best. I was trained in Kentucky in my uncle’s workshop to execute a specific styling of furniture.. Namely the Biedermeier stylization.

So, I come before you today to discuss this very stylized and specific furniture era, for it is an era that affected the whole of Europe as a backlash to the more ornate stylings of the pre-French Revolution era.

It is a misconception that Biedermeier refers to a famous cabinet maker.

Canolli Capalini grins to herself at the little furniture maker joke.

But in reality, as the French Revolution wound down and the aftershocks were still reverberating through Europe, a series of political cartoons rose referring to a “aristocratic Biedermeier” family. Fictional, but wide spread and well known.

Jedburgh30 Dagger: so this was a reaction to styles like Chippendale?
Canolli Capalini: More Empiric, Miss Dagger.
Lelani Carver wonders if it was because Europe had previously been so excessively Rococco.
Saffia Widdershins: Louis Quinze …
Canolli Capalini: German aristocrats began to fear a similar style revolution that the French had. Furniture and decor began to reflect that. From the early 1800’s to the mid 1800’s you see a backlash against the ornamentation that had so previously dominated interior design. Furniture became more clean. . . simply made. Heavy, with very distinct lines. Dark woods began to be favored as opposed to lighter and gilded woods. In effect, the aristocracy was trying to make themselves seem humble, to seem more, what they considered “common.”

Aisling Sinclair: but that veneer work is anything but common
Canolli Capalini smiles. “Indeed.”
Lelani Carver observes that the wood grain is beautifully matched in the example

Canolli Capalini: The stylizations that arose were not found in common homes, but only the rich. Carpentry was an expensive trade, particularly with the fancy veneering and rare woods that were being used.

As the years progressed, you had a new upper middle class rise.. One that was not concerned with uprising peasantry (as they had been in that class merely 40 years before) but more concerned with showing off their new-found wealth.

Ghilayne Andrew: looted, pillaged and plundered new found wealth?
Lelani Carver: Beer barons and trade, most likely

Canolli Capalini: As the gothic revival period (more ornate) began to flow across Europe, this Nuevo-riche wanted to copy it’s older counterparts.. and you begin to see the simple clean lines of the biedermeier style merge with a more art deco feel.

Ornamentation began to creep into the edges.. the woods became more expensive and rare, with inlays providing sharp contrasts.

Aisling Sinclair: this was about 1840?
Canolli Capalini: a little after.. the biedermeier period actually ends with the Napoleonic period.. so about 1848.. You see the gothic revival approach shortly after that.. which is why you see such a heavy biedermeier influence in the early 1900’s. Indeed, the style even lends itself to Art Deco and the more Shaker stylizations that came with Frank Lloyd Wright. Craftsman has a lot to thank “Biedermeier” for.

I brought with me some pictures of prime examples of this unique and very adaptable style. This first example is a very simple cabinet, but as you can start to look closely at the veneer work, it is anything but simple.

Cross grains of veneer to provide lines on flat surfaces was one of the earmarks. It was all about the wood. Again, an example of using woodgrains to provide the ornamentation. I do believe.

vida Serrao: they spent as much time on the backs of things as the fronts, didn’t they Miss?
Canolli Capalini: and yes, they did.. The piece over all was meant to be a work of art as a stand alone.

Canolli Capalini: This set of chairs actually dates to 1837 and has been reupholstered in a vintage cloth. Sadly, I do not have these in my shop, but I am looking to making some similar. Note the curvation on the back with the slight ornamentation at the top. It curves outward even as it curves upward, providing that very clean line. AND! it should be noted.. the original upholstery would have been more of a solid tapestry.. less ornate than flowery stripes.

Fono Heninga: Is that a shell motif, or a fan?
Canolli Capalini: This is a fan motif. Note again, on the legs, the very marked difference in wood grains and colors.

Canolli Capalini clears her throat. “This stylization may seem familiar to you, if you have been through my shop.”

This was a set more towards the gothic revival.. note the extra spirals on the underarm. But the lines are still very simple and very functional. Ah, but fashion goes hand in hand with decor..

Serafina Puchkina: It’s interesting how art, music, fashion, literature, and now I find out, furniture echo each other through the years

Canolli Capalini: With the advent of the Biedermeier period, you started seeing a lessing of some skirts.. again, to show more of a connection to the peasantry.
Ghilayne Andrew: and architecture

Canolli Capalini: err.. skirt widths.. not the skirts themselves. This little hall table is a prime example of still biedermeier, but not part of the straight or curved legature you see normally. More toward the gothic revival, classical influences began to show up in columnesque ornamentation.
Fono Heninga: lovely character!

Canolli Capalini: All speaking of the marvelous adaptability of this wonderful style. Here we have a simple round table.. but check out the top.. and the bottom.. ! Note how the light to dark woodgrain is used effectively to create a pattern more aesthetically pleasing. This is an example of a mirror from the period. Ornate, but not flowery

And on to my personal favorite part of the stylization, the very divine Divan, which has an interesting sidenote to it, all on its own.

Canolli Capalini leans up excitedly…
With the push of the British empire into the middle east, you start seeing an arabesque influence into the same Biedermeier stylization. Indeed, it suited the romantic repression that crept through the Edwardian and Victorian age perfectly.

Elegia Underwood: And introduced the romance of the harem… the odalisque… neh?
Canolli Capalini: It should be noted at this time that Sir Richard Burton was scandalizing the Victorian literary world with his translation of 1001 Arabian Nights.
Ivniciix Wemyss: …and yet…the Turkish influence of Cpntinental syle happened a full 199 years earlier yes? 199 years that is…on the Continent…
Canolli Capalini: Yes! Absolutely..
Ivniciix Wemyss: …Mozart’s Abduction form the Seraglio being only one example….
Aisling Sinclair: has this been reupholstered as well?
Canolli Capalini: Here you see a very different stylization of sofa that is still encompassed in the biedermeier styling.

Yes.. This is a much blockier and heavier style, without the curving lines, but still has the clean functionality. Actually, I think this one is the original upholstery.

Ceejay Writer: Doesn’t look comfy, but very attractive.
Canolli Capalini: It wasn’t meant to be “comfortable”.. it was meant to look austere.. plain.
Ivniciix Wemyss: it does presage Craftsman style a bit doesn’t it?
Canolli Capalini: Exactly, my point. Wright and the Stickley Brothers owe a LOT to Mr. “Biedermeier”.
Elegia Underwood: It presages Shaker style, too. *chuckles*
Aisling Sinclair: except for the neoclassical fabric
Canolli Capalini: Here we have a hall table.. You have the generous curves and highly ornate veneer woodgrain. This piece is actually much smaller than a dining room sideboard. A small writing desk. Here is my own version of that very desk. I actually became a bit more ornate.. *chuckles softly* got carried away.
Elegia Underwood: Are the legs on each side from a single piece, Miss Capalini?
Canolli Capalini: On the picture it is.. on mine, I .. uhm.. well, I had an accident with the mahogany piece I’d obtained for it, but you still have the distinct contrast in wood grains. Now this is a very simple piece.. but I included it for the very reason of how well you can see the contrasting woodgrains.

Ivniciix Wemyss: looks similar to a fold out card table also
Canolli Capalini: Last but not least, I’ve included a larger desk.. so you can see the brass work that started appearing in the late 1800’s.
Fono Heninga: Secession, here we come! Nice.

Canolli Capalini: Which brings us to the last portion of my presentation.. a very short blurb on construction in SL.. Many times I’ve had people tell me that “Oh, look.. your woods don’t repeat”, things of that nature. I construct furniture in this world to be as close to keeping with the pieces I love so much.. so therefore, no.. on many pieces, you can tell it’s different woods, different grains, it looks like wood put together. That is deliberate.. a furniture maker doesn’t make a cabinet out of a single piece of wood.. and neither do I. 🙂
Are there . well, any questions?

Aisling Sinclair: how does Biedermeier relate to the American Empire style?
Darlingmonster Ember hand up
Canolli Capalini: American empire was basically the American take on the beidermeier. You had an immigration that came into the states that had viewed the more rich interiors of beidermeier and brought that ideal with them.
Aisling Sinclair: *nods*…so many similarities
Canolli Capalini: Very many similiarities.. however, you had a larger abundance of hard common woods. So, you don’t see quite so much veneer with the American Empire, and it tends to be heavier.

Dreddpiratebob Streeter: briefly, i would like you to tell me why on gods green earth anyone cares a damn fig for bloody furnitures?! Also, Where’s the elephant you promised?
Canolli Capalini: Because Master Streeter, Furniture symbolizes power..
Dreddpiratebob Streeter: it does?
Canolli Capalini: Why do you think the heads of organizations are called “Chairs”

Jedburgh30 Dagger: Did the continental furniture makers use tropical woods like mahogany?
Canolli Capalini: Yes Miss Dagger, they did; however, it was VERY expensive.

Darlingmonster Ember: Puts hand higher
Jedburgh30 Dagger: Miss Ember has a question
Canolli Capalini: You see a LOT of the veneers are made of rare woods, hence why you see the aristocracy with the stylization in their homes and not the butchers, bakers and candlestick makers.

Darlingmonster Ember: you mentioned beidermeier as antecedent to the Craftsman and Deco styles… since Steampunk styles recombine these things… are you aware of any trend to have furniture recombine in this fashion…besides your own work in SL?
Canolli Capalini: Excellent question! Are you speaking just in SL or furniture on a whole?
Darlingmonster Ember: both please
Canolli Capalini: Bidermeier attracts me specifically because of its versatility. In RL, there isn’t .. that I can think of.. a furniture stylization/era that encompasses SO many different earmarks of what makes it.
Ivniciix Wemyss: Might I add that it also depends on how one defines Steampunk…as materials or as motifs, such as the “gear” bottom to the round table that was shown
Canolli Capalini: You can have something be art deco, or gothic, or more craftsman.. and still be considered within the stylization.
Canolli Capalini: nods.. exactly Mr. Wemyss. In SL, well, everyone is recombining ideas and snatches of everything they see. As far as I know, I’m one of the few people that’s trying to provide furniture that looks more historically accurate, whether or not it actually is. There are so many wonderful furniture makers.. it’s hard to pinpoint different styles.

Fono Heninga: Ah! This is related to my question, if I may? I was wondering – you mentioned earlier that you strayed out of style – is staying true to a style important for you as a maker?
Canolli Capalini laughs.. “Yes, actually it is. I take a great deal of pride in how detailed and true to a stylization I try to be, so yes.. it is actually very important.”

And I’d like to add.. it’s the very versatility of this style that *I* think makes it work perfectly in a steampunk setting.. even though I don’t have gears in it.. or metallic pipes or such.. I think it’s an elegant footnote to our “might have been” period.
Fono Heninga: *nods* a range of style makes things more …real
Jasper Kiergarten: well dark woods look so wonderful beside brass

Jedburgh30 Dagger: If you look to my right, you will see a bookcase over in the corner. Miss Capalini has again very graciously given us another superb craft
Canolli Capalini smiles.. Please.. the bookcase is my gift to you, for being such a wonderful and forgiving audience.
Jedburgh30 Dagger: If there are no more questions for our speaker… Thank you all again for your support, and your attendance!
Serafina Puchkina: As always, the tip jar proceeds go directly to the speaker. Thank you all for your generosity

Canolli Capalini whispers loudly, “Can I get down now?”
Ceejay Writer: Canolli Capalini… come on down!
Jedburgh30 Dagger: You’re done darlin’
Serafina Puchkina: Thank you all for coming today
Ivniciix Wemyss: isn’t this one on the aethrtrop maple inside?
Canolli Capalini: It is maple..
Beq Janus: All do not forget that there is another sign on the way out that will allow you to donate to the Salon itself and recognise the efforts of those beyond the speakers who run this show [
Serafina Puchkina: Thanks, Beq. I forgot. Yes, that goes to tier for this place
Darlingmonster Ember: ciao for now gentles

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