Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Up! (and better than ever)

Thanks to six straight hours of climbing, Jerry McClanahan and Zach Atchley successfully restored the Bluff Furnace Art of History display. They were assisted by volunteers Monika Groppe and "Seun" Oluwaseun Erinie, and by Nick Honerkamp, who also engaged in some selective chainsaw beautification to the site's landscape in order to improve sight lines from the Tennessee River.

Monika and Seun rig a panel to be hauled up the frame.

Zach (top) and Jerry (below) get high.
This time, instead of using cable ties to secure the panels to the frame, it was decided to use bungee cord that was looped through the panel grommets and then around the frame sections.

We assumed that this would securely attach the fabric while simultaneously allowing a desirable amount of give during high wind-shear episodes. Mark Making had quickly repaired and re-stained the tornado-damaged grommets and fabric, but we had to wait two weeks for delivery of the 600 ft of bungee cord before we could proceed; more than half was used during the installation, and the rest will be kept at the ready for any future repairs or replacements. This new attachment protocol is aesthetically superior to the cable ties, as it makes for a more seamless panel against the frame; see below. We also believe that it will be more resistant to ultraviolet damage than the plastic ties. Only time will tell.

Tuesday's effort was photodocumented by Chattanooga Times-New Free Press photographer Angela Lewis, shown here. One of her photos appears in  the March 30 metro section of the newspaper.

A very focused Angela Lewis, Chattanooga Times-News Free Press Photographer
Having survived a tornado, the Art of History installation should have a relatively stabile future. And happily coinciding with our second successful hanging is the publication of a lead article on Bluff Furnace in the Society for Industrial Archaeology Newsletter, Volume 40, No 1, Winter 2011. Authored by Nick and entitled "Cupola Art Teaches Iron History at Bluff Furnace," this SIA publication now brings an international audience to the site, its art, and its history.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Down But Not Out

The "high intensity windstorm" (aka "tornado") on February 28 caused extensive damage to Chattanooga. As seen below, Bluff Furnace was not immune to nature's random fury. Luckily, we recovered all the downed panels. The Mark Making staff removed the damaged goods and returned to the studio.

We will regroup, repair, and rehang the damaged panels.