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Manuel Marino Music Composer

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Manuel is a passionate, driven, and techsavvy AV technician, artist and music composer with over ten years of experience, specializing in the captivating world of music and entertainment.

Manuel is an expert in creating soundtracks for short filmsfeature films and video games.

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amish furnitureKnown in the US since the 1920s, Amish Furniture is highly sought after for its architectural quality and aesthetics. With the 1920s came the concept of “American Folk Art,” and subsequently, Amish-made furniture became coveted by dealers and historians who appreciated the pieces for their sheer beauty and overall quality.

Several styles, often referred to as “schools,” emerged from this, with the differences stemming from the regions of Pennsylvania they originated. One such example is the Jonestown School. Established in the late 1700s in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, by a man named Christian Seltzer, this style was primarily known for crafting blanket chests, all of which were hand-painted, often with flowers on three panels of the chest. Original examples of this beautiful style are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institute.

The Soap Hollow School is another distinct style of Amish-made furniture. Founded around the same time as the Jonestown School in the late 1700s in Soap Hollow, Pennsylvania, this style was primarily developed by Lancaster County furniture maker Henry Lapp. His innovations and designs define what people today consider Amish-made. Unlike the Germanic influence used by other schools, such as the Jonestown School, which involved painting and design, Lapp’s style was based more on the Welsh tradition of plain, undecorated furniture. On display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is Lapp’s order book, containing watercolors of the various pieces he offered to his customers. Being completely deaf and mute, it is believed that this was Lapp’s only way of communicating to his clients what he could do.

Perhaps the most renowned, in terms of value and history, is the work of Johannes Spitler. Hailing from a village in Shenandoah County, Virginia, settled by Swiss and German pioneers from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Spitler’s work primarily consisted of softwood blanket chests and tall case clocks. His style of clock, painted red, white, and black with a blue base, is what Spitler truly became known for. Additionally, he incorporated geometric patterns and simple compass work alongside his use of birds, flowers, and other such themes. One such clock crafted by him in 1800 is now owned by the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, located in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Another one of Spitler’s clocks, originally made in 1801 for Jacob Strickler, Spitler’s neighbor and furniture maker of the same style, sold at Sotheby’s NYC in 1986 for $203,500. To this day, it still holds the record price for American folk-painted furniture.

Contemporary styles of Amish furniture include the “Mission” and “Shaker” styles. While they are both similar, Mission is known for its exposed joints and straight lines, considered modern, while Shaker is defined by its plain yet elegant appearance, emphasizing functionality, simplicity, and durability. The last of the significant styles, the Queen Anne style, differs from the Shaker and Mission styles considerably. It is known for being entirely traditional, incorporating hand-carving, ornate moldings, and unique, detailed legs.

Due to the beliefs of the Amish people, the use of electricity is avoided, and many of the tools used by today’s Amish woodworkers are powered by pneumatic and hydraulic systems, which are in turn operated by diesel-powered generators. As it is a trade that supports numerous Amish communities and families, some exceptions are made that allow certain technology to be used. Unlike today’s mass-produced faux wood furniture, great attention is paid to each piece of wood, depending on the piece being crafted. Matching wood grains when gluing pieces together contributes to creating a beautiful end product. Amish woodworkers and clients alike regard these creations as both artistic masterpieces and enduring furnishings, designed for practical use and enjoyment across generations.

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