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Artistic Sign & Carving Co.

Gneal Widett of Artistic Sign & Carving Co. in the South End has been making hand-carved signs for more than 30 years, and has never advertised for business.

He doesn't need to; his calling cards are all over Boston. Widett's distinctive carved and gilded wooden signs are as much a part of the city as its Colonial architecture. Certain historic neighborhoods are loaded with them. On Charles Street in Beacon Hill , he's done the signage for the Hungry I, Blackstone's, The Sevens, Beacon Hill Chocolates, Charles Street Liquors , and so many others he can't remember them all.

His Harvard Square signs include Casablanca, Upstairs at the Pudding, and the new Globe Corner Bookstore on Mount Auburn Street. In the works is the elaborate 6 -foot Brattle Book Shop sign, shaped like an antique book and pierced by a giant pen quill. He's replicating the one he did for the shop 23 years ago, which was in sad disrepair. "This one hopefully will last till the end of mine and [owner] Ken Gloss's lifetime," says Widett, 60.

He's also working on a new sign for Trinity Church in Copley Square, to reflect its new rector. And no one is happier than Widett about the flurry of retail activity in the South End, where he already has a significant presence, including signs for the Garden of Eden cafe and Foodie's Urban Market.

Widett works with his wife, Janet Lomartire, who does the painting and gilding; he does the design and carving. He still gets a thrill out of seeing his work on a storefront or over a walkway, and he likes nothing better than the challenge of designing some ornamental features to convey the spirit of the company. "We're trying to improve the streetscape; that's our mission," he says. "I swell with pride when I see the signs."

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 05:16

Humphreys Street Studios | 11 Humphreys Street | Boston | MA 02125 T. 617.825.2455 E:

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