Restoring the Charles W. Morgan

I was up at Mystic Seaport,Connecticut, last Friday with a few of the artists of Dalvero Academy, the reportage school founded by myself and Margaret Hurst. We were working on our exhibit: Restoring a Past, Charting a Future, that opens there on April 28. While there, we were fortunate enough to witness the workers and volunteers put another new piece of planking on the outside of the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whale ship in the world. Our exhibit documents the restoration of that ship, and also documents the history, craftsmanship, and future environmental mission of the Morgan through Cinderella stamps. To read more about our exhibit, please visit the website HERE. We are very excited about it and honored to be a part of such an historic event.

Here are some more drawings from last Friday:

The workers pull the heated plank out of the steam box. It is pliable now, and can be molded to fit the shape of the outside of the ship.

Hammering the plank into place and applying clamps for pressure.

More hammering and clamp application. The way they did it was incredible – they felt their way down the plank, adding wooden shims where necessary, to be sure the shape would be exactly what they needed. The wood was warm to the touch, it really felt alive.

They will leave all of those clamps in place overnight, allow the wood to cool and harden into that position, and then nail it down. And then – the next piece! It’s a labor intensive process, but you can really see the love that goes into it. Quentin Snediker, the shipyard director, is so passionate about what he does that it’s an inspiration to us. Loving what you do – that’s what art is all about, and the people restoring the Morgan are definitely artists.

Please come up to Mystic to check out our exhibit – and the Morgan – if you can. The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

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