Saturday, October 30, 2010

Taking Shape

After a one week hiatus occasioned by UTC's fall break, Team BFRP was back on task. Friday's studio session began with an overview of what has been accomplished to date in terms of display themes, content, scaling, colors, permits, materials, finances, etc., and what needs to be done prior to fabrication. Several hours were devoted to tweaking dimensions of various images and text, determining the ultimate size of all the panels that will be attached to the frame, finalizing (well, almost) the timeline wording, and especially to working on the iron process pictograph, which will ultimately be a central part of the display. The latter was designated as NYRFTB (Not Yet Ready For The Blog), but that will change in the next couple of weeks. The timeline will be posted separately and we invite readers of this blog to make suggestions about our first draft.

A highlight of the afternoon was a one hour meeting with several members of Public Art Chattanooga. We summarized our ideas and presented some of the mock-ups that we have developed. That was followed by a Q and A session and a productive discussion with the PAC members. We then continued to work on the pictograph and timeline.

Our immediate task is twofold: (1) finalize the pictograph, and (2) load our final images and text into Photoshop. Not only will that simplify the organization and editing of the separate panels, it will also allow us to project the images and text against the studio wall at full scale. That will be tremendously important for adjusting proportions and simply getting a sense of what works (and doesn't!).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scaling In

Last week Team BFRP continued to work intensely on drawings of photographs, constructing the schematic of the iron-making process, and dealing with those pesky scaling issues. This week, under the direction of Frances and Zach, Tanya worked like a woman possessed in Photoshop, attempting  to scale out the visual elements that we've developed to date. Here is the result of her efforts:

Note that the oversize letters will be attached to the columns that face the Tennessee River. Note also that there will be additional text embedded in these images; this is still a work in progress. However, this scaled model represents a huge step in the development of the Furnace exhibit.

The incredibly detailed rendering of the 1886 Norris, Wellge and Company’s Bird's Eye View of Chattanooga was produced by Shea, while the intricate foundry representation was Meredith's contribution. Tanya drew the 1860 and 1864 photographs; we can't remember who drew the 1856 photo.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Measuring, Planning, and Vantage Points

Hello everybody! We're continuing to look at some pesky critical issues. The stack is huge; this fact alone creates problems re the practicality of different methods of painting and hanging the giant canvases, as well as the different points from which the stack itself will be viewed.

On October 8th, Zach, Francis, Tanya and Shea went to the furnace site to better establish how much of the stack can be seen from different vantage points and to determine how big the lettering on the finished product should be. 

Here's Zach on the stack's framework getting some feedback on letter sizes. This is higher than it seems and is crazy.

More of Zach climbing. There's nothing really vital in the shot, but it's a way cool picture. 

Tanya and Francis painting some sample canvas to see how the colours that we plan to use show up against the natural background of the site.

Here are Francis and Shea working on a scale mockup of what we're actually going to put on the furnace stack. See the blue lines? Those are those different viewscapes we referred to.

Friday, October 1, 2010

More Aesthetic/Historic/Interprative Decisions

The Bluff Furnace Posse spent an intense Friday afternoon at the Mark Making studio. The issues we wrestled with included viewscape depth-of-field parameters (angles and distances); text sizes; determining major color schemes at the site (low colors) and the complementary colors for the stack (high colors); placement of a time line in the exhibit; etc. We constructed our first scaled mock-up using acetate sketches of images.
The mock-up in all its (initial) glory.
Since the exhibit will be viewed from multiple locations, including the Hunter Museum overlook, the Walnut Street Bridge, the Pedestrian Bridge, the switchback portion of  the Riverwalk, the Tennessee River, and the Bluff Furnace interpretive "kiosk" directly adjacent to the stack, depth-of-field is a critically important (not to mention amazingly complex) factor in designing the exhibit. Before final fabrication, we plan on creating some full-scale panels to mount on the stack frame so that we have a sense of what does or does not work visually.

Zach points out one of the SIX potential viewscapes.
We also decided on an overall background color for the furnace substrate -- an appropriately archaeology-evoking earth tone (see below) -- and applied that color choice to the scale model. Then we taped on rough images and text. This allows us to evaluate how our messages/images fit in the context of the furnace stack.

Color possibilities.
The basal color sheet is applied.
Scaling out the lettering.
Acetate images are taped to the scale model.
We have now moved to a consensus about what will actually be on the Furnace, which is a huge step in this process. Check out this sneak preview:

Now it's a matter of refining some of the accompanying text and working up the smelting process schematic in more detail. Friday was a good day.