Moving on from photographs, we have started and completed the Wooden Artifacts aka Furniture block. This was another short whirlwind of a block, but our instructors made it both memorable and enjoyable.
Our first day included a number of highlights. In addition to our lectures, Greg Landrey recruited us to form a human mockup of tree cells. Much to the amusement of second floor passers by, we responded to changes in relative humidity by warping and even splitting (ouch!). After wiping the egg off our faces and fetching our coats, Greg and Stephanie Auffret took us for a stroll through the grounds. Here we enjoyed unseasonal warmth and looked at the trees while learning about the history of the Winterthur grounds. Needless to say it was quite a first day.
Almost every subsequent day involved small hands-on projects to help us understand this material better. We created Boulle marquetry pieces, learning that fret saws can have a mind of their own. We made joins, sharpened tools, planed, and carved, becoming amateur woodworkers in an afternoon. We found time to test adhesives and cleaning systems, learning the complexities of conserving wooden objects. We even made it to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, rounding off the block with a tour of the furniture lab and many of the galleries. While we still have much to learn in this arena, many of us will encounter wood in future treatments and are now better equipped to deal with it..
So it’s off to the Inorganic Materials block where all things stoney, metallic, and glassy await.