Schitterend news

24-10-2014 Signmaker sounds alarm bells:

Schitterend fights for Dutch cultural heritage. Walk through any Dutch street and all facade advertising billboards looks the same: box letters, light boxes and plastic panels. In other words: advertising in modern times. What the majority of people do not know is that behind that modern advertisement often beauties of antique facade billboards are to be found. Hidden to the eye. If they are still there, because unfortunately many were killed during alterations and renovations. Or even worse, they are removed and replaced without looking back. "A disgrace, an eternal sin and a loss of our cultural heritage!" says Erik Winkler, sign maker and art historian from Diemen in the Netherlands.

Cultural heritage disappears.
Winkler is sign maker by profession and one of the last Dutch experts in traditional decorative crafts such as glass etching, gilding and antique silvering. "Around 1900 shopkeepers decorated, just as today, their shops with advertising billboards. Bach then the used materials were, of course, different. From simple wooden panels up to, if you really wanted to show off, etched glass with gilded or silvered texts." says Winkler. "More than 100 years later, those panels are often as gorgeous as the day(s) they were made. Nowadays we would call that 'sustainable'. But now it's time to sound the alarm bells. It is five to twelve regarding to the preservation of the remaining bits of beauty in our streets!" he continues. "The Netherlands are not handling this cultural heritage with care. Often due of ignorance. I see it as my mission to wake everyone up."

Handmade decorative techniques.
Many advertising panels were killed around WWII and not repaired. The reason was the rapid reconstruction. There was no time and money for the often labor-intensive decorative techniques. Slowly but surely this form of advertising disappeared from Dutch streets. "The artisans then took their knowledge, skills and recipes along to their graves. Nobody could make or restore it. Up till now. I have combined my art history background and my work as a sign maker to restore the advertising boards of the past. For that I traveled around the world for over the last 10 years and learned from a few surviving masters” says Winkler. "I am one of the few who can restore, but also reproduce in the old time style. This is also noticed by the Dutch Centre for Folk Culture and Intangible Heritage (VIE) which has included me in 2013 in their National Inventory." Call for preservation. Finally Winkler says that anyone with an antique glass panel on his shop facade, whether or not discovered during a renovation, should leave it there just the way it is. "Do not touch it, it's antique, it's cultural heritage. And, for example, does it say ‘Bread & Banquet' while you yourself sell books? That is not so bad isn’t it?! The value of your property only goes up with such a wonderful panel. If you really do not want to show the real, make sure that you carefully cover it so this way you preserve it for future generations. I can do that for you." Winkler emphasizes that there are alternative ways to advertise without removing the old panels. "Retailers regularly knock at the door of my studio (‘Schitterend’) in Diemen because they want me to apply advertising stickers or paint text by hand in a contemporary way, but with that artful, traditional look of yesteryear. That does my sign maker's heart virtue. But above all, I want to preserve the old ..." __________________________________________________________________________________ 
More information about Schittend Studio is to be found on the Schitterend website
Schitterend Studio address: Stammerkamp 14, 1112 VH Diemen in the Netherlands;
For an explanation you contact: SchrijfZinnig - communication, text & representation / Mobile: +31 6 12571814

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