Friday, December 31, 2010

A Productive and Successful Hanging

Thanks to four-and-a-half hours of continuous and skillful efforts by our intrepid climbers (Jerry McClanahan and Patrick O'Brien), all 18 panels were mounted onto the furnace frame. The weather cooperated (relatively warm, no wind), and there were no hasty trips to the emergency room, which is always a plus. The installation was covered by at least four different news organizations, and numerous Riverwalk visitors stopped in their tracks in what we like to interpret as flat-out shock and awe over what they were seeing. There were no major glitches: everything fit surprisingly well. A storm is predicted for Chattanooga tonight, and that will serve as our first practical test of The Fabric vs The Elements.

This is a visually stunning installation. See below.

All is in readiness.

Transporting the panels
Strapping up
How high are they?
High. Very, very high.
First panel goes up.
Interior view.
Making progress.
Bottom row.

The finished product, looking north from the  Riverwalk. Yes!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Almost Up

After some final color adjustments and clear-coating, all of the work is now completed and the panels are ready for transport. The studio is once more clean, bright, and bare. Hanging of the panels has been tentatively moved to Friday, December 31st while the postponed unveiling is still being decided. Zach and Frances are submitting a press release for the installation, and there is anticipated to be a media presence.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Design, Fabrication, Painting & Etc. Complete!

Thanks to a last minute push by Tanya, Meredith, and the Mark Making staff, the final panels are finished. Weather permitting, furnace riggers Jerry and  Patrick will climb the frame and hang all the panels midweek.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Final Approach

We are down to the last four panels that need painting, and they are all "short" - the end is in sight! Despite their acute fear of heights, Lindsay and Nick also climbed the dreaded scaffolding to clear-coat several finished panels.

Another task has been to collect some rusted iron flakes from the site's salamander so that Lindsay could crush it with a mortar and pestal. The resulting iron oxide dust will be mixed with the paint on the Mark Making logo (our final panel).

Since we're nearing completion of the fabrication phase, we thought it was time to photodocument the net results of our efforts. Zach and Meredith accomplished this in the studio parking lot from a third story height. This gives a sneek preview of the finished product; the Toyota Corolla provides a sense of scale.

Finally, we collectively worked up a press release as well as a script for a cell phone walking tour that will be available for the site's visitors next month; Public Art Chattanooga is sponsoring the latter.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Will Paint For Food

After Shea and Nick spent a day improving the viewscape at the site (cutting trees and pulling privet), work continued apace on panel prep/painting. Aided by recent UTC graduate Lindsey Cochran, Team BFRP (Tanya Dickenson, Lindsay Roden, Meredith Gilligan, and Frances, Nick, Zach, and Katherine) have  completed approximately half of the panels this week.
Tanya, Meredith, and Lindsay painting a section of the pictograph.
Lindsey and Nick do the same.

To enhance the artistic experience, and fuel the furnace, as it were, Nick labored many long hours in his kitchen baking two deep dish crew pizzas. They didn't last long...


A tentative hang date of December 29 is being proposed, followed by a New Year's Eve unveiling. Garnet Chapin of the Parks Foundation is coordinating this event with Mark Making, as it will also involve the Walnut Street Bridge Plaque Replacement Project kickoff event. This concatenation of Parks Foundation-sponsored projects should result in an impressive media-heavy unveiling.

Team BFRP has been considerably enhanced with the addition of some major climbing expertise in the form of Jerry McClanahan and Patrick O'Brien, pictured below. Both are veteran climbers, and both have volunteered as riggers when we hang the fabric. This is a good thing, as everyone else on the team (except possibly Zach) is terrified of climbing the frame.
Jerry McClanahan, Patrick O'Brian: Furnace Climbers.
Jerry was able to visit the site with us and inspect the frame. We also brought out a panel and suspended it from the bottom of the frame to get another reality check on the background color on-site.

Today we began working on our version of the 1856 furnace image as well as the main title panel. We finally are seeing an end to the fabrication phase, though much still needs to be done.

Zach and Katherine with the title panel.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Artistic Overdrive (In the Service of History)

Team BFRP is quickly approaching cruising altitude in the fabrication phase of our effort, and today we got into a definite Bluff Groove. But first we had to contend with a problem that (literally) surfaced on the substrate: we discovered that the black-paint block letters on the first two columns were not adhering properly after drying. This was addressed by rolling on a urethane coat over both the text and the background. And based on our visual reference trip to the site yesterday (see Dec. 6 blog) we also decided to add more more warmth to the background tint.

Once that was done we got down to brass tacks, painting the bottom half of the wordy timeline and part of a panel containing one of two silhouettes of Robert Cravens. The sequence of tasks is outlined below.

First, we darkened the background tint using sponges. Katherine and Nick apply the finishing touches.
Next, the 15 ft high panel is stapled to the studio wall.
Then we project text and images onto the fabric at the proper scale.
Finally, we paint. Tanya, Meredith, Frances, and Nick in action.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dry Run

 Today we had a visual check using some finished panels at the site, as Zach and Katherine unfurled them on the frame. We were looking at text legibility in the contrasting colors, as well as overall tone and scale.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Final Design, and Paint

Friday's work had a double purpose: to make progress on the "easy" panels (big letters) and to make final decisions on design elements, including a vastly improved locomotive image and some wording edits and scaling issues.

Meredith with a finished large-letter panel.
Tanya and Zach staple the fabric prior to painting a "busy" panel.
Two entire large-letter columns are completed ("Bluff Furnace"  "Chattanooga Industry"). Producing the time line is the next goal; after that, the images become much more complex. By starting with the easiest panels we've become acquainted and more comfortable with the brushes, paint characteristics, and our individual motor skill challenges, and these initial experiences will (theoretically) allow us to paint the remaining panels with clarity and grace.

Unfortunately, final exams begin this coming week at UTC, but Team BFRP remains undeterred! Work sessions are still being scheduled, including clearing on-site. The weather is another variable that we will have to contend with, as we normally dry newly-painted panels outdoors. Rain and high winds may prevent that luxury in the coming days.

Finally, as a great spin-off effort, Tanya and Lindsay have begun designing displays on this project that will be mounted in cases in the UTC Fine Arts Center at the end of January. Frances was able to arrange this coup with Ruth Grover, Director and Curator of the Cress Gallery, who is graciously  providing us with this opportunity.