Temple Worship: Bayne Peterson Honors Native Traditions

Young and talented sculptor Bayne Peterson, that resides in our own beloved state of Rhode Island, has released new series of deconstructed optical frames inspired by his study of the artwork of native peoples in North America and the arctic region.

It all began a year ago, when Peterson was awarded a trip to Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa to study the art of inuits, or natives of the arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Chukotka. He was so impressed by their ivory carving, that he later went to Baffin Island in Canada for further studies.  World interest in the art of arctic natives is growing every year and, as a result, Peterson made a presentation at the archaeological conference at the University of Illinois and produced a series of wooden sculptures to capture the essence of what he had learned from the inuits.

Earpiece size 23″, wood

 Peterson’s passion led him down an intriguing path.  Rather than create sculptures that reside in private homes where few can see them, he chose to create wearable art that brings this artistic tradition out into the everyday world, where all can experience and enjoy it.  Thus was born his sculpture-temples for eyeglass frames. Despite their impressive size, their style and proportions clearly reveal the source of their inspiration.

In the tradition of native peoples who cherish the gifts of nature, they are carved of wood. Some are covered with layers of painted matte epoxy to echo the vibrant colors of native art.  Others, honoring the tradition of caring for Mother Earth by reusing her gifts, include pieces of colored plastic reclaimed from cups, knives and forks from a local deli. To avoid the caustic process of melting and reshaping this plastic, the dinnerware is milled in a coffee grinder.

Nosepiece: wood, epoxy, bits of plastic

Though based on centuries of tradition, these sculpture-temples have a modern look.  Their painstaking craftsmaship and high quality definitely can take center stage in any optical salon.

We are proud to display them in our shop.

Elegant and sophisticated. New Dita Eyewear.

Model STATESMAN is availiable at Providence Optical

John Juniper and Jeff Solorio founded DITA in Los Angeles in 1996 with the mission to create innovative, finely crafted eyewear with a totally unique look and feel. They always shared the same passion for photography and design. Together they were inspired to capture their passions not just on film but in eyewear as well, thus creating the first collection of Dita frames.

Frames FOLSOM and VIDA

Edgy yet elegant with an East meets West aesthetic and design influences ranging from Hollywood’s glamorous Golden Age to the mechanized beauty of the Industrial Revolution, DITA’s ability to enhance and transform a wearer’s persona has earned the brand a cult-like following amongst the world’s most influential celebrities, stylists and trendsetters. Dita became a well-known company in Europe.

Dita is an independent and somewhat underground brand for edgy, unique people with style of their own. The frames are based on traditional shapes but morphed in the design and technology to be unique and original.  

 

While the design is made in Los Angeles, Dita Eyewear manufacture in Japan,  in some of the oldest and the most respected factories dedicated exclusively to producing eyewear which use laborious combination of traditional and modern production techniques and technologies to transform the world’s finest metals and acetates into luxurious eyewear. Dita eyewear is an innovative and unique juxtaposition of timeless elegance and mechanical chic dedicated to creating original artistic statements.

Come to experience the exquisite quality and beauty of Dita!

SINTRA in crystal cream color

 

Award winning eyewear is here!

Silmo Ceremony where Lucas de Staël won the Silmo d’Or for the Best Optical frame.

There’s something about a repeat winner.  Think Serena Williams, Tom Hanks, Peyton Manning, Lebron James, Meryl Streep.  You can rely on such people to give you an amazing performance again and again.  In the world of eyewear, Lucas de Staël has become a repeat winner, as he walks away once again with best ophthalmic frame design award from this year’s Silmo d’Or – the eyewear version of the Academy Awards. For a run-down of his previous Silmo award, see our blog posting of Oct. 17, 2012.

We’re proud to say that we’ve been working with De Staël for a long time. First, he brought us his innovative Undostill and Suprematic lines, which revolutionized the industry by creating frames from a single piece of steel with no hinges.  His next adventure was to craft frames of out of leather, including his Minotaure line, made of  cow skin, and separate collection made of goat-skin, which he dubbed “Monsieur Seguin”. The frames have hinged temples and high calibre stainless steel between layers of leather for durability. But don’t think boring leather shades like in shoe wear.  Think attention-getting mod colors.

Production of Minotaure cow-leather line at Lucas de Staël studio in Paris.

Fronts from Minotaure line.

His latest innovation is eyewear made of genuine stone like granite, slate and pearl schist. He has two lines using thin stone cuts, “Stratus” and “Petrus”. “Stratus” uses a combination of stone, steel and leather. “Pertus” frames have a stone front and stone temples. The the material is so thin that it actually bends.  Again, de Staël used a metal skeleton to provide support while minimizing weight.

Presentation of “Petrus” at Silmo 2014

Lucas de Staël and Onega Astaltsova at his studio in Paris

Fascinated by this unparalleled ingenuity, we visited de Staël’s studio-factory in Paris to see the manufacturing process for ourselves.  The site is as innovative as the eyewear it produces.  The two-story glass building nestled between two typical city buildings is light, spacious and well-organized.  Inside are machinery and tools created by de Staël and his team.  They have to create their own because no other technology can manipulate the natural frame materials in this unique way or produce such meticulous results.  For example, the layers of the frame have to line up with a minuscule 0.05 mm tolerance.

Production

Sheet of slate for “Petrus” line gives matté finish to the frame.

Fall Holiday 2014: Garrett Leight New Releases

Amélie Pichard for GLCO: Frame “Pamela” with sparkling acetate on the front and in the lenses.

California based frame maker Garrett Leight and French shoes and bags designer Amélie Pichard launch this fall a limited series of solar retro glamor eyewear.

The singular frame shape presented in different color versions to express three very different personalities of feminity: Grace Jones for her fierce and fearless nature, Juliette Lewis the tomboy and Pamela Anderson the lively bombshell. This timeless line is composed of all classic features of Amélie Pichard aesthetics like glitter, sparkles, and radiance. Sparkles are present on the frame, incorporated in the acetate or on the lenses.

Amélie is everything that she claims her brand to be: dreamy but realistic, masculine but terribly sophisticated. She makes shoes in her image: timeless, surreal, and glamorous, but fitted to everyday life.

                  

For this season, Garrett Leight California Optical is also releasing new models for his own collection. It is about a return to classics. You will see some familiar shapes in rich new acetate colors and larger sizes.

Stop by Providence Optical and check them out. We will offer a 10% discount on all GLCO frames for the Holidays!

 

Don’t be fooled by the name: “Conservatoire International de Lunettes”

Alfredo Salazar, Paris-based Mexico-born photographer  in model 404 by Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

As we introduce New Englanders to an amazing and diverse collection that we discovered on a trip to Europe last month, we thought it appropriate to explain a little about the name Conservatoire International de Lunettes, which playfully juxtaposes truth and a little bit of fantasy.

Further seems forever, by Carlotta Cattaneo, an Italian graphic designer. Interpretation of model 107 for Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

Truth:  It really does involve a conservatory  –  not just one creator, but a whole school of artists, philosophers (yes, philosophers!) and entrepreneurs with brilliant minds and incredible talent.  These frames express their varied cultural backgrounds and professional experiences of their creators. Artists from all over the world came with their diverse style and methods to illustrate their personal vision of Conservatoire glasses. They incorporated Conservatoire in  their art works.

 

To see or not to see by Luca Rossato, an Italian photographer. Model 107 for Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

Truth:  The Conservatoire International de Lunettes collection embraces the classics, like tortoiseshell acetate, and marries it to modern creativity, like transparent layered color inside the frame, or thin metal temples.  The result is classic reinterpreted in a sleek, sophisticated style.

   

 

Fiction:  The name Conservatoire International de Lunettes is French, but the company is Italian, based in Milan, fashion mecca and home of the finest optical acetate products in the world.

Visit us to experience the very best of Italian craftsmanship, design, technology and fashion.

Providence Optical Inspires Russian Eyecare Professionals… again!

As some of you might know, we were named as one of the Top 10 Independent Optical Retail of USA 2014 by INVISION, a magazine for eyecare professionals. Following the news, we were invited to share some essential advices and tips with optical professionals of Russia by ОПТИЧЕСКИЙ Magazine (OpticMagazine). The story appeared in September issue of 2014 publication. 

 

 

Spectacles fit for a Doge – Sunglasses in 18th century Venice

For the first time in eyeglass history, the exhibition “Spectacles Fit for a Doge”, which took place in Venice, gathered together spectacles from museums and private collections to trace a part of the history of eyeglasses and sunglasses.

Detail of the groove and silk thread on these sunglasses made of very light-colored horn and green mineral lenses.

Venetian opticians, 120 years before the rest of the world discovered  the danger of ultra-violet rays, produced emerald green color glass to create sunglasses that totally stopped these rays. During the 18th century in Venice, the nobility and Commanders da Mar (of the sea) wore sunglasses to protect their eyes from the glare of reflected light while navigating the waters of the lagoon or the open sea.

Considering the good number of seventeenth-century eyeglasses now held in museums and private collections, we can say that the manufacturing of colored glass for protective purposes was widely practiced from the second half of the seventeenth century on. Knowledge about the composition and diffusion of light was still in its infancy, and it was not till the end of the 17th century that Isaac Newton (1642-1727) demonstrated that white light was made up of all the other colors. A few years later, the discovery of ultraviolet light (UV) took place in 1801, still several decades before its dangerous properties were finally recognized in 1870.

Goldoni-type eyeglasses o Case with double temple pieces. 18th century.

Green was the most commonly used color, which was produced in various shades: yellow-green, meadow-green, sea green and emerald green. Made in furnaces on Murano, this unmistakable glass allows us today to distinguish between factory-made goods and those made by Venetian opticians in the past.

 

 

In the 20th century, green lenses were formulated to create G15, which were first used to reduce the amount of glare and increase comfort for pilots. G15 meant that there was only  15% of light transmission through the lens while it blocked UV reds and UVB rays. It wasn’t long before the popularity of this color spread from pilots to anyone with an outdoor lifestyle. We have taken into consideration the history of this color while designing our own line of eyewear.

Fran by Providence Optical in Crystal Gray.

 

 

A New Outlook

Our take on Chagall’s “The Love Story”

Chagall’s original, “Над городом”, 1914-18

We just can’t help ourselves.  We had so much fun with our Magritte-inspired window that we had to feature another artist in our newest window display.  This time we drew our inspiration from Belorussian-born French artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985).  His work is the very essence of fantasy.  He didn’t belong to any one artistic movement, but rather combined elements of cubism, symbolism, expressionism and surrealism into his own unique style.  His paintings contain conventional elements like people, flowers, landscapes and buildings, but instead of copying a real scene, he constructed fantasy tableaus by combining elements that have an emotional connection.  The people and objects in his works usually are placed in positions that defy the laws of nature and physics.

Guest artist Ieva Liepina with the background of our Chagall-inspired window

Such is the case with the couple floating above the landscape in Chagall’s painting “The Love Story” (or “Over the Town” is another name), which is the inspiration for our latest display.  We confess that we took some liberties to make it our own.  With help from artist friend Ieva Liepina, from Riga, Latvia, we created a cityscape of Providence to replace the rural landscape in Chagall’s original.  Our airborne lovers look a lot like his, but we gave them modern clothes, while keeping the flowing lines and romantic style of the original – after all, they are lovers.  Of course, there had to be eyeglasses involved, but we were very restrained.  We chose round American Optical sunglasses for our male lover because of their timeless, classic appeal.  Since we have the luxury of working in 3 dimensions, we echoed the clouds in the sky behind the lovers with fluffy puffs suspended over our lovers.

Providence Optical building subtly highlighted in the background cityscape

If you look closely, you’ll see in the background cityscape that we highlighted our building with brighter colors that make it look like the sun is shining on just that one spot, and we put a diminutive pair of eyeglasses above to identify it in a subtle way.  If you have a good eye (pardon the pun) for detail, you’ll also see that we set a birdhouse in the foreground as a playful echo of the buildings in the cityscape, and to give our masterpiece a more 3-dimensional feel.

It was a lot of work, but it was a labor of love.  We hope you’ll stroll by and take a look.  Better yet, poke your head in and tell us what you think of it.

Focus on: Providence Optical

We would like to share a blog, written by  on July 28, 2014 for InDowncity Providence website. Thank you, Erick.

Nestled between the bright pastel window displays of Craftland’s new location and the artfully ad-hoc presentation of RISD’s student-run gallery, it might be a bit of a challenge to spot Providence Optical—if it weren’t for the beautifully massive wire-rimmed glasses that hang above the shop’s Westminster Street entrance.

Stepping inside on a steamy summer morning, one might be surprised to find a quiet bustling throughout the air-conditioned store. Customers’ eyes slowly move from spectacle to spectacle, closely examining the hundreds of varieties in materials, accents, shapes, and colors. Other patrons sit patiently in the comfy lounge chairs, taking in the array of glass specimens.

Welcomed in, we were given a crash course on the summer and fall’s hottest trends: Augusto Valentini spectacles paired a matte finish with an elegant gold trim, while Providence Optical’s latest creations sparkled with stainless steel rivets.

Colors seemed to be en vogue, with every glass display boasting a number of bright neon greens, oranges, electric blues, or other captivating colors. Men’s pairs took to the colors with a dignified sort of diffidence, choosing to display the fluorescent colors along the tamer inside rims of the glasses rather than the outsides.

More and more pairs were brought out, carefully detailed to us, and ushered back onto their display cases while the grand finale neared in the form of vintage ’80′s eyewear. Absurdly large (in that perfectly quirky way) frames approached, showing off beautiful real enamel detailing flush with clean metal skeletons. The unworn finds—$75—were certainly a show-stopper.

And just like that, our exclusive crash course was over. The spectacles sat neatly on their display cases or safely in their shelves, and as we grabbed our bags to head out we couldn’t help but feel as if it would be impossible to choose just one pair from the many we saw that day.

From the cases upon cases of unique and downright beautiful spectacles, though, we knew that many would visit and find their perfect pair of glasses that day, and hoped many others would continue to find their glass-soulmates, right inside that little shop.

Safe and Stylish in the Sun!

As Jackie Samoraj from Home Shopping Network suggested, we would like to share our best tips for being safe and stylish under the sun. With these minimalistic outfit we covered major trends of the season: whites, floral, black&white, graphics and sport trends. Don’t forget your face and body sunscreen and if you are a contact lens wearer, Acuvue Oasys will be the best option because they are the only contacts offering UV protection and moister.

1. White and pink RI baseball cap by Coastalista. Find this company’s hat at your local airport with your city name on it.

2. Providence Optical sunglasses, $187 with mineral glass lenses in gray/green.

3. Floral Bag by Leadsports.

4. Nail polish. You can play with the 3 different colors to match your outfit or accessory.

5. Providence Optical dress.

6. Providence Optical microfiber lens cleaning cloth and cleaning spray.

7. White-Floral sneakers by Paul Smith.

8. Downcity Flair, collect until August 28th the buttons from all Downcity merchants to win a good prize.