Bright and early Saturday morning, my brother and I drove out to Nahant to get pictures of sunrise on the beach. Of course, rather than waking up at 4:30 am to get there in time, we chose to just stay up and then go to sleep after we were done. We got lots of good pictures, and it brought me back to doing my senior project. The spot where we were taking pictures has had several military purposes over the years, from early American defense of Boston onwards. Most recently, the site – which is now a marine biology lab site for Northeastern University – was part of the Nike missile system surrounding Boston. During World War II, there were gun emplacements and several large concrete towers for spotting U-boats or other German naval vessels.
This picture is a 4 x 5 Polaroid instant color print taken with my homemade pinhole camera, a 10 minute exposure in the early-morning light. In it, you can see one of these towers (it is the rectangular thing in the center of the frame). It just so happens that this tower is owned by the family of my brother’s friend, whose house is just feet from the structure. So, after his friend woke up, we went over and visited him and got to go see it from the inside.
It is always interesting to see how former military sites are reused or adapted after they are no longer in service. Some of them get bulldozed. Often they are bought and used by towns, for schools, highway departments, or other public services. If they are abandonded in place, they often become covered in grafitti and strewn with the remnants of teenage partying. This submarine-watching tower is now home to a darkroom, a pinball machine, and a set of bunkbeds, which are on the very top floor.
I’ll put up more pictures after I hook my card up to my computer. Until then, you should go see my brother’s pictures here.
After making a bunch of the little Swedish footstools, I scaled the design up to a full-sized bench. This one looks awfully nice in my apartment. I’ll have to build another one, because this one and another one almost just like it are getting sold.
These are pictures from before they get painted or stained. One is now a bright cheddar orange and the other will have a cherry stain on the top and a red milk paint on the legs. I’ll have more pictures after they are all done and in their new homes.
In related news, I had my very first Etsy sale today! Happy Thanksgiving!
If you want to buy one of the little benches for yourself, visit my Etsy shop here.
Or, if you want something a little different, send me an email: stephen [at] stephenmaclellan.com
Lately, I have been doing part-time temp work at the Tufts Institute of the Environment. It has been fun and has given me a small but steady source of income while I wait to get hired somewhere full time. I’ve been able to do creative things, building them some furniture, designing and updating several websites, making signs for upcoming lectures and events, and doing general office work. Today, I was making some block print cards for renewable energy credits. They want to give these out as gifts for speakers, as an environmentally-conscious alternative. For me, it was just a great chance to pull out all of my printmaking equipment and go at it.
It has been a while since I have made any prints, and doing it tonight reminded me why. From start to finish, the process took seven hours: designing on the computer, transferring the design to the linoleum, cutting it out, setting up for printing, cutting the paper, inking up the block, and making the prints. All of my stuff has exploded over the living room, but I’ll put it all back tomorrow.
And it all turned out well in the end. The letters got a little ink-filled by the end, but I now have 22 nice prints.
It is nice to get paid to do this, even though I love doing it on its own. Tomorrow, they are giving one to Erin Brockovich, who is giving a talk at Tufts. I feel famous by association.