Welcome to my Blog
This is a place where the visitors are confronted with their search for a personal touch and where they have an opportunity to get acquainted with a skilled expert, who has turned durability and tradition into a personal passion.
I hope this will become a valued and rich source of inspiration and knowledge. Please Leave comments and enjoy your visit.

Friday, 10 April 2015

The golden badge of honour 'Elites of Labour' | Royal Institute of the Elites | A recognition from the Belgian federal government

Patrick Damiaens | Ornamental Woodcarver

The golden badge of honour  "The Elites of Labour" 
A recognition from the Belgian federal government

Every year hundreds of Belgians from various industries are given the badge of honour for the "Eliten van de Arbeid" (Elites of Labour), to praise them for their professional efforts and merits. This nomination is awarded by royal decree and is published in the Belgian Bulletin of Acts, Orders and Decrees. 

On the one hand, a badge of honour is awarded during an official event, and on the other hand, a certificate is traditionally presented by the mayor of your municipality. 

The golden badge of honour 'Elites of Labour'

Quite an honour!

For 25 years now, my activities as a woodcarver have been a constant source of pleasure and satisfaction, and I even consider my work to be a personal quest, wherein my goal consists of bringing quality work to my environment, as an ambassador of sorts, who wishes to introduce the next generations to the complexity of my profession
This passion and attitude towards my profession has not gone by unnoticed by a number of technical committees, experts and jury members of the "Elites of Labour"(Eliten van de Arbeid) from the wood industry.
The Commissioner-General of the government to the Royal Institute of the "Elites of Labour" (Eliten van de Arbeid) has chosen to honour me because of my exceptional efforts, my professionalism and resolve, and has seen fit to reward me with the golden badge of honour for the "Elites of Labour".

The "Elites of Labour" 
The badge of honour for the "Elites of Labour" can be awarded in the form of a bronze, silver or golden badge of honour.
I received the golden badge of honour during an official award ceremony on March 2015 in Namur.

A recognition from the Belgian federal government

Historical outlining "Elites of Labour"  
( Eliten van de Arbeid)


The Royal Institute for the "Eliten van de Arbeid" has been awarding badges of honour for the last 60 years now. This relatively unknown organisation praises employers and employees who are a shining example for their profession.
In 1929, the engineer Paul Lacoste and the representative of the people Fernand Van Ackere suggested that Belgium should start with an initiative based on the French awards the "Meilleurs Ouvriers de France" and the "Expositions Nationales du Travail". King Albert I was completely taken in by this idea.

This badge of honour is awarded under the supervision of the Commissioner-General of the governement to the Royal Institute for the "Elites of Labour" (Eliten van de Arbeid). This badge is meant as an incentive for workers from every Belgian industry, and is awarded in recognition of their professional knowledge, quality-mindedness, as well as their drive for initiative and perfection. 

In 1930, following King Leopold I, who in 1835 and 1841 organised the first exhibitions regarding products of industry and craftsmanship, King Albert I organised the first National Labour exhibition under the supervision of the Commissioner-General of the government. 



Sunday, 8 March 2015

Coat of arms and crests CARVED IN WOOD | HERALDIC WOOD CARVER | Emblems and Heraldry carved in wood

Carved, painted and gilded limewood Arms
Patrick Damiaens

Family Crest Coat of Arms
Heraldry and Carved Shields

A selection of coats of arms carved, painted and gilded .
Examples of Crests and Coats of Arms recently carved in limewood by Heraldic sculptor Patrick Damiaens

Custom Carved coat of arms Wood Plaques


The Swiss Family Cornielje | Coat of arms carved in wood

Coat of arms carved in limewood for a Swiss Family

Emblems and Heraldry carved in wood

The coat of arms of the Dutch Family Rolandus-Hagedoorn carved in wood

Coat of Arms Wood Carvings or Custom Carved Wood Plaques

Personalize your coat of arms with a Custom Wood Carving. Carved wood plaques can be offered displaying your blazon of arms and family crest. 

WEBSITE Heraldic Wood Carver


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Benedictine Abbey of St. Michael’s in Farnborough | Stolen framed prayers | Crypt of Emperor NAPOLEON III

Stolen framed prayers for the Crypt of Emperor NAPOLEON III

 Benedictine Abbey of St. Michael’s in Farnborough
 Stolen framed prayers
Master wood-carver Patrick Damiaens from Maaseik (Belgium) has been chosen to make three unique wooden prayer frames for Farnborough Abbey in England.

By Denzil Walton for Flanders today  04-03-2015

A little over a year ago – between the 16th and 20th February, 2014 – the Benedictine Abbey of St. Michael’s in Farnborough, Hampshire, England received some visitors.

There was nothing unusual in this. Every year, thousands of people visit this magnificent 19th century abbey when it opens its doors to the public every Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately, these particular visitors didn’t queue up at the abbey shop and pay their £3 for the one-hour guided tour. They broke into the abbey under cover of darkness, entered the crypt and stole historic framed prayers in French and Latin from the tomb of Prince Louis, son of Napoleon III (nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte).

Benedictine Abbey of St. Michael’s in Farnborough

Prince Imperial

Prince Napoléon Eugène Louis Jean Joseph Bonaparte (16 March 1856 – 1 June 1879) was the only child of Emperor Napoleon III of France. He died aged 23 while fighting for the British Army under Lord Chelmsford in the Zulu War in South Africa. He met a horrendous death, suffering 18 assegai spear wounds and a mutilated face.

When his body was retrieved from the battlefield a number of handwritten prayers were found in his wallet. These were returned to his mother, the Empress Eugénie, who had them engraved and mounted on specially commissioned wooden prayer frames. These were placed in the family’s crypt in Farnborough Abbey. Until their theft, they were used regularly by monks during mass.

Replacements necessary 

Despite all the efforts of local police and an international appeal amongst antique dealers, the prayer frames were not retrieved, so thoughts turned to their replacement.

“The prayer frames had been carved by an unknown wood-carver in incredible detail. Finding someone to make exact replicas was always going to be a difficult task,” said Abbott David Cuthbert Brogan. “However, after making some initial enquiries we came upon the internet site of Patrick Damiaens from Belgium. After seeing pictures of what he is capable of carving, and in particular the highly-detailed and delicate floral designs of which Patrick is such a master, we knew we had found someone capable of equalling, or maybe even exceeding, the work of the original craftsman.”

One of the stolen framed Prayers, Crypt Napoleon III

A challenge to rise to

Following discussions over capabilities, timing and costs, the job was given to Damiaens. “It was a great honour to be asked to carve replicas of these beautiful prayer frames,” he remarks. “I was also very excited about the challenge involved, as the level of intricacy and detail in the originals is exceptional. For much of the time I will be carving under a powerful magnifying glass!”

It’s a challenge he is keen to meet, explaining that he is always looking for jobs that push his techniques to the limit and force him to develop new skills. He will spend some time in museums in Paris acquainting himself more fully with original carvings done in the very ornate Napoleon III style. This includes detailed acanthus leaves, small satyrs and the emblems of the emperor. 

Napoleon III

Made from French walnut

The original prayer frames were made of walnut, as will the replacements. “Walnut is ideal for this type of job, thanks to its very fine grain,” Damiaens explains. He has already started working with his preferred furniture maker and has selected some ideal cuts of French walnut. The furniture-maker will make the frames and pass them onto Damiaens to carve. The largest of the three frames measures sixty by eighty centimetres.

Damiaens will be working from photographs of the originals. From these he will make his own technical illustrations, which will form the basis of his carvings. When the prayer frames are completed, he hopes to travel to Farnborough for their official unveiling in 2016.


Monday, 26 January 2015

The BRAFA | Brussels Art and Antique Fair 2015 | Belgian Antiques Fair

The BRAFA 2015 in Brussels

Art and Antiques Fair in Brussels


BRAFA 2015

In this blog item we visit the BRAFA 2015 in Brussels (Belgium), over the years Brafa has come to be recognized as one of European leading art and antiques fairs.

It is for the ornamental Woodcarver of great importance to have a lot of documentation, drawings and pictures , this source of inspiration can be consulted later by a possible restoration or reconstruction of ornaments.
In the creation and drawing of new ornaments and compositions  a comprehensive library of books and pictures is really necessary, this information gives the ornamental Woodcarver a greater freedom in drawing and design A lot of  information (pictures) also contributes to the ornamental carver  a better understanding  of  the forms and characters that can be consult. And this together with a large amount of plaster casts and wooden examples you're already well on your way.

BRAFA BRussels Art and Antiques Fair 2015

At BRAFA, all art works on show are for sale and quality and authenticity are two of the key requirements exhibitors face. Brafa is an eclectic fair which encompasses a variety of specialities, from antiquity to the 21st century, including archaeology, Oceanic art, African art, Oriental art, silver, jewellery, numismatic, furniture and works of art from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, vintage collections, old master and modern paintings, contemporary art, sculpture, earthenware and porcelain, carpets, tapestry, drawings, old comic books, engravings, antique and modern books, photography and autographs.

BRAFA, or the Brussels Art Fair, is one of the longest running art and antiques fairs in the world and is organized every year by the nonprofit Belgian Antiques Fair Association. The first ever BRAFA was held in the Arlequin Hall of the Galerie Louiza in 1956. Charles Van Hove and Mamy Wouters, the long standing President and Vice-President of the Belgian Chamber of Antiques Dealers, were behind the initiative to set up the salon. This first Belgian Antiques Fair or ‘Foire des Antiquaires de Belgique’, as it was known then, followed in the footsteps of the fairs already held at Grosvenor House in London and at the Prinsenhof in Delft, but preceded those set up in Paris, Florence and Munich.

The growing success of the fair and the increasing number of participants meant that a location had to be found capable of keeping up with the event’s development. The range of art objects on display also continued to expand. From 1967 to 2003, the fair was held in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Up until 1994, only Belgian antiques dealers who were members of the Royal Chamber of Antique Dealers could take part in the fair which was, at the time, a purely national event. The number of participants fluctuated between forty and fifty.

The first major change occurred in 1995 when Christian de Bruyn opened the fair to foreign antique dealers for the first time. The Belgian antique dealers saw this as a revolutionary step and they were right; in no time the fair had outgrown the Palais des Beaux-Arts and a new, much bigger location had to be found. In 2004 the Belgian Antiques Fair therefore moved to Tour & Taxis, a gem of Belgian industrial architectural heritage situated in the north of Brussels, next to the Willebroek canal. Now that exhibition space was no longer restricted, the BRAFA actively sought to increase the number of participants. Having started with no more than twenty Belgian antique dealers it grew to incorporate about one hundred and thirty exhibitors from both Belgium and abroad in the space of a few years. The fair is now recognized worldwide as one of the leading international fairs in Europe.

The organizers of the fair have always worked hard to improve the quality of the participants each year, while striving to retain the event’s individual character and its reputation for eclecticism and friendliness. As well as becoming increasingly international, the fair has also embraced growing numbers of exhibitors of modern and contemporary art. In 2009, the name ‘Belgian Antiques Fair’ or ‘Foire des Antiquaires de Belgique’ was no longer felt to reflect the scale and range of the fair, which was renamed BRAFA: the Brussels Antiques & Fine Arts Fair. On 30 September 2009, the fair was placed under the High Protection of Her Majesty Queen Paola. Following a complete remodelling of the event in 2014, BRAFA is now synonymous with the title Brussels Art Fair.

The 130 participants represent different countries such as Belgium (40%), Canada, France, Germany, Great-Britain, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Portugal, Spain, USA and Switzerland. A balanced number which the organisation doesn’t want to increase in spite of the international reputation of the fair.
From Saturday 24 January to Sunday 1 February 2015, daily from 11 am to 7 pm
Late opening on Thursday 29 January 2015 until 10 pm


Entrance fee Individual: 20 €  Catalogue: 10 €

website:  http://www.brafa.be

Here following are some impressions, beautiful ornaments, works of art I've photographed at BRAFA 2015.
Maybe also for you a source of inspiration.

An impression of BRAFA 2015

The BRAFA 2015, 3 console tables, French, Louis XVI style
Carved in marble, French

An impression of BRAFA 2015, one of my favorite exhibitors

Console table, french 18th century

An impression of BRAFA 2015


Foire des Antiquaires de Belgique asbl
Tour & Taxis
Avenue du Port 86 C Box 2A / B-1000 Brussels
t. +32 (0)2 513 48 31 - f. +32 (0)2 502 06 86


Monday, 1 December 2014

MANUFACTUM | A book about Belgian high-end Craftsmanship in Belgium | Masters of Craftsmanship

Manufactum, High-end craftsmanship in Belgium
The Craft
Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I am incredibly passionate about traditional high-quality craftsmanship and that I’m always looking for ways to put my own craft in the limelight through demonstrations and group exhibitions. Another way of promoting craftsmanship is through an editorial contribution in the press, e.g. “Pearls of Craftsmanship”, a quality label for craftsmanship of the highest quality.
A book about craftsmanship in Belgium
An idea I’ve been juggling with for the past 5 years, is a book about renowned Belgian companies who still work according to traditional methods. I am certain that this book would bring an added value to any bookstore. I’m not talking about an expensive pictorial book with some nice page-sized pictures depicting close-ups of interiors, but rather a book about the craftsman behind the finished product, not unlike the one the Dutch publishing house “ Spectrum” published in the mid-80s. The book I’m talking about should give the reader a clear image of the workshop, philosophy and working methods of the craftsman.

Publishing a book
A few years ago I tried to bring the idea to life. I tried to gather as much information as possible from several publishing houses in order to start up this project. I also visited a number of illustrious photographers to check if they might be willing to come on board with the idea. It all turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. People weren’t easily persuaded or had their own vision on how to approach such a project. Most of the time people were of the opinion that a “nice” book with pictures of interiors would sell better. 
I own a number of these books myself, and I have to be honest, this type of book becomes rapidly outdated.
So called “tasteful” pictures of interiors become obsolete in no time and the book is no longer in the public’s eye or sold for that matter. It is much like revisiting 10 year old magazines on interior design and thinking to yourself “forget about retro, this just looks outdated and tasteless”. 
A book on companies that still work according to traditional methods, a book on métiers or a book that actually shows the creation of something done by hand, defies the imagination, inspires people and earns their respect…and most importantly never goes out of fashion.
The financial side of the story
Financially, it wasn’t in my capacity to publish such a unique book or reference work on my own. But for those who know me, it’s already clear that once I have something in mind, it’s impossible to deter me. 
Another line of reasoning was to get a number of renowned companies involved who had the financial means to support such a tasteful project and in the process attach the name of their company to the art of craftsmanship and the Belgian quality label.
I suggested they used this book as a promotional gift for their clients, for the holidays or just as a token of appreciation. 
This way, they could show people that the quality of the selected companies was equal to the quality of the company who sponsored the book. But alas, this idea wasn’t well-received either. Apparently they didn’t believe in their own trade enough.

Patrick Damiaens, ornamental woodcarver
“Manufactum”, the book
In the spring of 2014, I was contacted by publishing house “Snoeck”, who asked me if I had any interest collaborating on a book called “Manufactum”, a book about traditional high-quality craftsmanship in Belgium. Finally, I thought, a publisher with the guts to take on this challenge. I told the people at “Snoeck” about my previous attempts to have such a book published and eagerly pledged my allegiance to help select the “right crafts” to ensure the quality of the book. 
This was no easy feat, seeing as the publishing house had certain preferences regarding the selection, but nevertheless, we ended up creating a marvelous book; a book that tells 20 fascinating stories, with the highest esteem for the trade, I might add, about the workshops of 20 Belgian craftsmen, each with their own unique specialty. Manufactum draws you into the world of a group of craftsmen who’ve turned durability and tradition into their passion. 
You undoubtedly understand the joy I feel of having had the pleasure to contribute to the realization of such an amazing book.

 The book will be published in November 2014 and will cost 30 euros. Both a Dutch-French and an English-French edition will be available in stores. It’s a hard-back that consists of 160 pages.

Book Manufactum
This is a book about the “masters in handcraft”, people and companies who manufacture products with their own hands and for whom general knowledge, tradition, skill and the knowledge of materials are essential. The aforementioned products are quality-wise so demanding, unique and exclusive that they can only be created by handcraft, leaving them shrouded in a hint of exclusivity and tradition; in short, Mastership.

 Info Snoeck: http://www.snoeckpublishers.be

ISBN: 978-94-6161-195-6

These are the 20 professionals in the book

Atelier Menchior - Plaster models
established 1850

Manufactum | Atelier Menchior, plaster models and ornaments

Atelier KERAT, Restoration of ART
Atelier Kerat Restoration of art

 established 1938
MAENE Piano creation

Angel Barrero: master of the art of Scagliola

Manufactum |Angel Barrero, Scagliola

Manufacture De Wit, tapesteries
   established 1889
Manufacture De Wit, Restoration Tapesteries

Lutson, Gold Leather

LUTSON, Gold leather
Quireyns, Stonemason

Walter Quireyns, stonemason

FALK, Copper cookware
3 generations
FALK, professional-grade copper cookware

Foundry, De Clercq-Ginsberg
3 generations
Manufactum |Foundry, De Clercq-Ginsberg | bronze casting

Lefevre Interiors, Paneling
established 1890
Lefevre Interiors, Paneling and interiors

EMYSFEER, Upholstery
Manufactum |Fanny Jean, upholstery | Emysfeer

Diederik Willem Vanderheyden, trompe l'oeil
 Diederik Willem Vanderheyden, Interior illusions, trompe l'oeil

TONDAT, Intarsio and Venetian terrazzo
 3 generations

Manufactum| TONDAT, Venetian terrazzo, Intarsio

Ralph Baggaley, Leather Creations

Ralph Baggaley, Leather creations

Atelier Mestdagh,stained glass windows
established 1947

Manufactum |Atelier Mestdagh, stained glass windows

Pels-d'Hondt, Organs
established 1892
Pels-d'Hondt, Organs | manufacturer church organs

Dujardyn, artisanal forge

Manufactum |The artisanal forge Dujardyn artconcept

t'Gebinte, Mill constructor

Manufactum | t'Gebinte Mill constructor

Patrick Damiaens, Ornamental Woodcarver

Patrick Damiaens, Ornamental Woodcarver

Patrick Damiaens is Member of  Pearls of Craftsmanship


Manufactum the book