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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Branding Irons and Hyacinths

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Branding irons and hyacinths? 
What prompted this post? 
  1. Use what you have.
  2. Honor your heritage.
  3. Recognize beauty in design.
  4. Celebrate success.
  5. Promote worthy endeavors. 
The Clay Pigeon is a relatively new restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas.  When the new owner/executive chef leased the vintage building on White Settlement Road, the previous tenants left behind a collection of old, maybe antiques, but probably not, branding irons. 

The kitchen in the background is state-of-the-art where the staff creates delicious meals using fresh ingredients and mouth-watering combinations of flavors.  But the view that greets patrons as they enter is this stunning display of old branding irons that reflect the history of Cowtown, USA... Fort Worth, Texas is the beginning of the Wild West known for cattle drives and BIG ranches. 

What a great combination of textures!  White painted brick wall to showcase the irons, a partially wainscoated wall with molding to frame the irons above, an old weathered wooden table, a rustic basket, a trio of hyacinths...   Yet not cluttered... 

There is a lot to learn about design from this simple showcase of branding irons including...  
Symmetry in the placement of the irons and in the vases of hyacinths... 
Contrasting wall paint colors with white to highlight the branding irons... 
Overhead spotlight that creates a focal point on the branding irons... 
Filling the vertical space so the tall ceilings are grounded...  

How did I discover this restaurant with its eye-catching display of branding irons?  A former colleague organizes periodic lunch outings for 8-10 of us retirees who worked in administration over the years at a high school in nearby Arlington, Texas.  She discovered The Clay Pigeon and suggested one of our lunches be there.  When we learned that the Executive Chef/Owner graduated from the high school where we all worked, we all wanted to eat at The Clay Pigeon to help celebrate the success of a former student that most of us knew when he was still in high school. 

Marcus Paslay, Executive Chef/Owner, studied in well-known culinary schools and had been an assistant chef in very successful restaurants from New York City to Alaska, before deciding to open a restaurant in Fort Worth.  He returned to his roots in North Texas to raise (rear) his children near his extended family and to offer "the best from scratch dining in the Fort Worth metroplex".  

If ever you are in the Fort Worth area, I recommend eating at Marcus' restaurant. 

The Clay Pigeon
2731 White Settlement Road 
Fort Worth, Texas 

Visit The Clay Pigeon website for more information, 
including Marcus' personal journey to become a chef. 

Celebrating success and promoting a former student who recognizes his heritage... 

On a personal note...  
Thank you to all my readers who 
have written such comforting words at the loss of my mother. 
Your comments and emails have been such a blessing to me at this time.

As we work to settle Mother's affairs in Alabama, 
I will once again be without Internet access for an extended period. 
Thank you, dear readers, for understanding. 
I look forward to returning to blog writing late this summer. 

Please join me at these inspiring sites. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Judith, I'm so glad you were able to visit with friends and it is so nice to read one of your lovely posts and see your beautiful photos! I love the juxtaposition of flowers with the branding irons. A beautiful feature indeed! We will be back in Dallas for a couple of weeks in the fall. We will definitely have to make it to Ft. Worth! Please take care in your travels and know that you are in our prayers! (Sorry to delete and repost, but I had a typo) :-)

  3. What a lovely restaurant. I think I could live there, it's so pretty!! How nice of you to support a former student.

  4. Judith, this is a delightful post. I'm happy to know about this restaurant, and I'm smiling at the thought of how honored that chef must have felt to have your group lunch in his restaurant. Of course, the hyacinths are making me smile as well as the interesting display of branding irons.
    You are definitely in my thoughts. I know the sorry of your loss. Safe travels as you make your way back to Alabama.

  5. Good morning Judith! I love how you see beauty in the corners of everyday life. Indeed, that white painted brick wall provides not only that empty canvas for the textures of iron and delicate flowers, but it's own texture collides BEAUTIFULLY with the elegance in the restaurant. This is what I love: the unexpected marriage of different textures such as rough and delicate. SURPRISE! And what a joy to see a former student create such success! Lovely - just lovely. So if ever in Fort Worth, I shall pay a visit! XOXOXO Anita

  6. One more reason to love Fort Worth! I share your appreciation for the amalgam of textures! Each element in the photograph is enhanced by the other. The striking contrast of branding irons and hyacinths captures the eye so pleasingly!

    It's a tough economy in which successfully launch a new venture. I'm happy for this creative entrepreneur!

    Thanks for sharing Judith! Glad you're back...

  7. How wonderful to enjoy in the success of one of your former students. The decor is gorgeous, and the food... oh my! I can see how very much you enjoyed it all!

  8. Love it ... great decor ... beautiful presentation of food ... a former student!

  9. Would love to visit Texas, the branding irons on the brick white walls is amazing collection shown off perfectly, I have one bringing iron that was gifted me through family and to have a collection like this would make a much bigger statement!! The prevention of eating something sometimes is more inportant then the meal itself.... So beautiful placed.


  10. What fun to discover a new restaurant and find that both the food and the decor are wonderful! Sounds like a fun pace to visit again and again!

  11. That looks delicious! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  12. Judith, this is a wonderful blog post connecting all that is Texas. Over the years, I have been collecting old tools and things that have been painted white or soft green/blue colors. The simple display of the branding irons against the white wall is a great statement piece, I will have to keep this idea in mind for my little collection.

    Your salad is a statement piece in it self, I love the combination of everything Chef Marcus Paslay had put together on your salad plate.


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