Regeneration – The Future of Classicism
Regeneration – the Future of Classicism is flourishing, This is the first in a series of blogs focusing on Classical Today. Providing resources and inspiration for Designing Today’s Classic interiors. We have technology and the rich history of classicism to inspire our creativity and create classic spaces with great beauty and practical comfort. Classical interiors are embellished with architectural mouldings, decorative ceilings, wall panels and ornamentation. How much embellishment reflects your classic beauty design statement. This very special blog post features the premier international source for plaster, mouldings and ornament, JP Weaver Co. Prepare to be amazed. Like visiting Versailles and its incredible works of art. JP Weaver is creating today’s works of art. Classical architecture and the art of composition ornament is here to stay.
The Legacy of J.P. Weaver
The company owes its origins and namesake to Joseph Pearce Weaver. Joseph was born in West Derby, Lancashire County, England on August 16, 1867. His father, George Weaver, was a master carver and gilder, from whom Joseph picked up the family trade and the secret recipe for composition ornament. J.P. emigrated to the US in 1886 and settled in Los Angeles. In 1914, Mr. Weaver established the J.P. Weaver Company, listing his trade as a “composition worker”. Composition ornament originated in the early Italian Renaissance, and is still used today on furniture, cabinetry, millwork, ceilings and walls.
Mr. Weaver employed the help of his neighbor, Robert E. McKenzie, who had just returned from fighting in the First World War. Together they incorporated the company in 1920, and did work for countless mansions, theaters, and movie sets within the Los Angeles area including actress Mae West. J.P. Weaver passed away at the age of 68 and for the next four decades, Mr. McKenzie ran the company. During that time, the company shifted towards solely producing small composition ornament used for furniture and the picture frames industry. They did the annual Pasadena Rose Parade Floats for 50 years.
Every business has a secret to its success. The JP Weaver Company, credits composition ornament as its star ingredient. In the late 1960’s, Lenna Tyler Kast, a very gifted designer who was fascinated with composition ornament, also known as “compo” began using ornaments from the J.P. Weaver Company with her son, Rob Tyler. She had the vision to revive the nearly lost art of producing ornate architectural moulding, reminiscent of the elegance of Versailles.
This book showcases the ornamental material J.P. Weaver was founded on.
Lenna Tyler Kast acquired the company in 1980 and against all odds, her company grew. Her major break came when she won a bid to do restoration work for the California State Capital Building.
California State Capital Building
At this point she enlisted the help of her son, Robert T. Tyler, who began to specialize in carving.
Later, Lenna attracted the talents of Designer Stephanie Croce, whom Lenna mentored in the art and nuances of interior design. Next, Adam Kast, Lenna’s step-son joined and overhauled the company’s plaster cornice crown moulding production.
Principal Designer, Stephanie Croce, and her team derive inspiration from 18th-century French interiors, but 100 percent of JP Weaver’s work emanates from its Glendale, California, studio. “We are wholly American designed and made,” she says.
This beautiful design by Stephanie Croce is panel perfection.
Because of Lenna’s efforts not only did she preserve this craft for future generations but now with the secret recipe for compo she created her signature “Petitsin Line,” named after her father, Gregory Alexsis Petitsin.
The Two-Volume Petitsin Design Journal Set of Books offers 500 pages (50 pages in color) of Secrets and Insights of ornamental interior design gleaned from their decades of experience and extensive research of historical Ornamental Design. These Journals will show you how, rooms from ballroom to bath, are detailed with ornamentation. A working textbook for Today’s designer, features 100’s of individual parts, both as individual elements and combined with other parts to create assemblies for ornamental ceilings and walls. I enjoy browsing and studying these Design Journals for inspiration.
The Petitsin collection of parts is fabricated from a modern flexible resin material in Weaver’s Los Angeles workshop. It is gently pliable and easy to install with basic carpentry equipment and tools. Each Binder is broken up into multiple categories of design which todays’ designers are searching for; Ceilings, Wall Elevations, Vertical Panels, Doors, Centerpieces (cartouches, shells, florals, bows), Linear Mouldings of all styles (egg & darts, lambs tongues, acanthus leaves, laurel leaves, beads, etc), Scrolls of all sizes, and much more…and the entire catalog of ornament is all displayed in stunning detail and to scale.
The Petitsin Line is widely revered for the amount of detail its pieces contain; surpassing the quality of the historical European ornament that inspired it. Its distinctive attention to detail and quality places it in a league of its own. This is why the resurgence in classical design is thriving. The improvements made by today’s visionaries combined in many cases with technology are creating resources to create the most magnificent classical designs.
J.P. Weaver Projects
Set designers look to JP Weaver’s mouldings. They are a well-known and well-used resource to create the backdrops for countless feature films and television shows, such as The Titanic. It was due to the movie industry that JP Weaver made it through the Great Depression. As pre-production for the international blockbuster film “Titanic” ramped up, the producers knew a key factor to the film’s success would lie in its authenticity. In sourcing the various materials and designs for the ships ornate interiors, the obvious choice became The J.P. Weaver Company.
Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Grand Ballroom is magnificent.
Study the composition of the beautiful ceiling installation.
Much more time consuming to do gold ornamentation on a white background. This must have taken a long time to create. Beautiful artistry and master craftsmanship.
Beaux-Arts Classic Products Decorative Grille in Louis XIV Style 4″ x 30″ $139. Shown in Antique Brass. Custom Finishes available.
Trump Park Avenue
This is a great example of Classical Today. The classical embellishments focus on a magnificent ceiling and crown.
“Changing styles in ornamental ceilings come as no surprise to companies in the decorative features industry for generations. With their perspective, they know how the pendulum of preference swings back and forth between modest and magnificent, and they’re ready to serve their clients no matter which way the winds of fashion blow.” From TraditionalBuilding.com on How Suppliers Design Traditional Ceilings
Stephanie Croce at J.P. Weaver Co., architectural ornament and design in Los Angeles, CA, agrees. “Tastes have changed over roughly the last 10 years, from very ornate, dripping-off-the-ceiling decoration to very refined, almost minimalist designs.”
Every zeitgeist comes and goes, she reminds us, “but what’s really big right now are strapwork-style ceilings, using very geometric forms with interlocking parts.” The trend she says is definitely away from complexity but she still sees plenty of ornamental interiors. “We’ve done quite a few Adam-style ceilings,” she notes, “and we try to create whatever the client is envisioning, whether it’s a Rococo-style ceiling from the 18th century or Baroque or Neoclassical.”
Stephanie provided me with wonderful images of a bespoke design project they are currently working on.
Dining Room Ceiling Design Mockup
The cover of Provencal Interiors with JP WEaver embellishments focus on wall panels.
Paris Opera House embellishments focus on the balconies.
JP Weaver Details
JP Weaver Wall Panel Details
This Pilaster is amazingly beautiful.
I would like to thank Stephanie Croce for providing most of the images for this compilation of the JP Weaver Company. Celebrating their 100 year contribution to the art of composition ornament.