Some people say I am a renaissance man, and perhaps it is true; I do have many interests, and there are many things I like doing and can do well, but I prefer to think of myself as a medieval man. I am rather old-fashioned in my ways and views and certainly like the past more than the present. I started this blog as a way of making a bridge between that past and the here-and-now, for myself and those who know, or would like to know me.
In my professional life, I own and operate Johann International, which is dedicated to the art of creating historically inspired furniture, with a goal of achieving an authentic and age defying look. I do not try to copy pieces exactly, nor do I try to fake antiques, but what I achieve is something that has a rather 'almost antique' look to it; appearing neither new, nor truly old. I achieve this look simply by making the pieces as they would have been in the time period they are made to represent. My passion is creating things with hand tools; forgoing the use of machinery. I feel that one cannot truly create furniture which is meant to represent historical pieces any other way.
This blog will feature projects, from time to time, in which I outline some of the steps to achieving my end product, but it is also about much more than simply my furniture. I am an artist, and will, sometimes, post things related to my painting and drawing. I work in metal, and like to make things such as tools and hardware; I will feature such projects from time to time, as well.
The biggest single reason for creating this blog, however, is to have a platform in which to share my discoveries and ideas related to furniture, furnishings, and art of the Middle Ages. I find that there is a lot of ignorance, and misinformation on the topic, and I have dedicated my life to trying to help dispel some of the myths and misconceptions which have percolated into our collective mentality over the past 300 years or so.
Most people, when asked, will use terms such as "crude", "coarse”, and "primitive" to define medieval furniture, whilst that may be true for some pieces, just as it is today, there were also skilled and exacting craftsmen, creating works of technical mastery and beauty, in every century of the medieval period. This blog will try to share such items, as well as presenting evidence to support the fact that many more fine pieces were created than what has survived.
I have recently hit upon a motto which goes well with this blog; Lack of existing evidence, is not evidence of a lack of existence. However, as you will discover, as this blog grows, there is a lot more evidence out there than what people generally know about; often that evidence is not readily noticeable, until someone points it out. That 'pointing out', is one of the primary goals of this blog. I see myself as a bit of a medieval detective, looking for clues to the type of vehicle used for the getaway by the tyre treads, so to speak. One example of this would be to consider that, although there is no carved wooden furniture from the 8th century, a look at the bronze 'Dagobert' chair will confirm that there were artists in that time period with impeccable carving skills, and we can therefore conclude that beautifully carved wooden pieces must have existed as well.