Friday, April 5, 2013

A Mirror from Betis, Pampanga


I'm excited because I'm finally going to order my mirror from Betis Crafts, a local supplier in Pampanga. After scouring flea markets in Europe-- trying to figure out how to ship stuff home and then trying to control costs, it made sense to just look for something here.

This was my mirror post almost two years ago. Life took over and I wasn't able to focus on finding a mirror. But it's been too long, and my yearning for a mirror has not waned. Time to take action.

The province of Pampanga and its master woodcarvers deserve a whole separate post (actually they deserve a whole coffee table book, plus encyclopedia), but here is just a sampling of the mirrors they've been making for many years now.

My own great-grandfather was originally from Guagua, Pampanga,  and was a pioneer in furniture-making. The House of Puyat had a very good run and in its heyday, was supplying some of the most prestigious addresses and commercial establishments in the States, Europe and the Middle East.

My great-grandfather's sons and grandchildren pioneered other businesses with similar success, unfortunately the furniture business did not continue. That statement alone could sprout another coffee table book, plus encyclopedia, plus telenovela. But this is a blogpost about my mirror...

My childhood bedroom was filled French Provencal furniture, made of course by the House of Puyat. Our living room had upholstered Louis XVth armchairs with impeccable symmetry, and our dining table is still an original Puyat piece, but with wrought iron in its base, revealing its early-70s manufacture date.

My old bedroom furniture is dispersed in different homes and bedrooms now--because who wants a matched set, right?

When B and I were first married, he showed me the dining table in his grandmother's house--it was impressive, and it was by the House of Puyat. The long, beautifully-carved  Louis XVth dining table had 22 matching oval-back dining chairs with very fine proportions. This intrigued me because I was only familiar with Puyat furniture from the 70s onwards. This table was probably ordered in the 50s, or even earlier.

I turned the chairs around and on the back, I saw the curlicue-cursive House of Puyat Logo embossed on oval metal plates.  I had never seen the Puyat logo on metal plates because the furniture in my dad's house only had the updated modern logo on a sticker.

The next time I saw those chairs were a few years later after they tore down B's grandmother's house. The table went to an aunt, but the chairs appeared in my mother-in-law's house, newly upholstered and refinished. I admired the new upholstery, but mourned the loss of the patina.  But the real tragedy was when I turned over the chairs, and in the place where the oval plates once were was just a small indentation and two tiny nailholes. The metal logo plates were gone!

B doesn't even remember ever seeing the metal plates. There must be big business among unscrupulous refinishers and woodworkers of removing these original metal plates and transferring them to other furniture, passing them off as original Puyat furniture. What a shame.

But this is supposed to be a post about my mirror...

The woodworkers in Betis are supposed to be second to almost none. Just look at how how delicate they can carve Philippine hardwood. These are only their mirrors. Wait till you see their settees, armchairs and everything else.

Maybe I should go to Betis while they are carving my mirror. I would love to do a beginning, middle and "now-installed" post on it.

Some cousins are still very much connected to Pampanga--one of them an imcumbent congresswoman.  But her interests are in the field of politics and medicine (she's also a doctor), not in woodcarving and furniture. Ah, but her brother who does renovations told me he would introduce me to the woodworkers he knows. I should take him up on this.

From this variety of mirrors you can already see the range of carving Betis Crafts can do. They will even gilt-finish the mirror for me.

 I am actually breathless with excitement.

I wish I had more walls in my house to have these beautifully carved mirrors.  Channeling Versailles. Lol.
 Here below are pictures of mirrors I loved at the flea market in Paris...

And finally, this is the mirror I am having made for my living room. I think they'll be able to execute this with no problem. 

I can't wait.


Carla Aston said...

Lovely. Can't wait to see your mirror in your space.

Anonymous said...

Vk, your posts are always so interesting. I particularly like this one about the mirrors and would love to have one except I can't imagine where I would put it! Happily, when you have yours, I can visit you and enjoy the view.

Marivic said...

Carla, I can't wait for it too--I'm nervous and excited. I hope I won't be disappointed! Pinky, I know, I know--I also want more walls!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...