Friday, February 27, 2009

No. 4, Wright Square

The Fourth in the series of Savannah map-drawings is so near completion. I've been drawing it in many parts since January and they've all finally come together today. Ideally, I would now spend a good while testing the image with a superfine detail printer, modifying the digital image to get it to print just right. Unfortunately, my hands are tied where the printer is concerned while I wait for an uberprofessional opinion on which printer in the world will best suit my needs for detail.
Here is the rough draft:

No photo can capture the simultaneous feeling of enclosure and expansiveness within a Savannah square. I'm recording these notions in drawing the "streetscape-in-the-round" of a square, similar to the facades by block drawings I am working on, as the architectural street wall that wraps the perimeter of the square. Within the square - a forest punctuated by monument(s) and crossed by brick walks that continue the sidewalk from the surrounding blocks. The Square forms the locus of a Ward, a neat unit of neighborhood measurement comprised of the blocks on all sides adjacent to the Square. A map from 1770 shows the first 6 Wards that set the pattern for the City's urban growth until the mid-1800s. I was pleased to find the measurements of the street rights-of-way recorded, in the expressive cursive script that pervade this map by

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Raw Material_10 BLOCK West Jones

The drawing is finished for the 10 Block West Jones Street, north side. I had to go to the block and zoom and crane my camera around the tall live oak branches quite a few times to figure out what was going on at the roofline. This will be an interesting streetscape. Here is the Raw Flawed Material, scanned in pieces. I am all photoshopped out today, but will have the streetscape all stictched up soon - because I am anxious to see it! (For instance, what's going to happen with that crazy tree? Why is there a tree invading the architectural street wall drawing, anyhow?)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Practicing Penmanship

I was in meetings for a solid 10 and a half hours today. Where I was CAUGHT... taking notes...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday's Lesson

Forgive my self-indulgence:
Well, let's be honest. It's been a tough year so far. 2009 stinks! Why was 2008 so great? All personal entanglements aside, one reason 2008 was great was the garden I planted. No, not my tiny late tomatoes and greenish eggplants...the garden of ideas. The creative ideas came in little spring avalanches and I sowed the seeds into my notebook, a timely birthday gift from Christine, thankyou. Then I nurtured them and feverishly brought them to fruition. I spent the fall harvesting, in production and selling mode. It is time to sow the seeds again, and, alas, they are coming!I am thinking about the soon-coming transition from winter to spring, looking forward to more energy and less shivering in my studio. I know, it's Savannah Georgia. There must be something wrong with me, but My fingers are blue. Perhaps I will be able to shed my ever-present knit hat, grey sweater, and navy vest. you know, the standard uniform.

I thought I was moving. But it turns out, I'm not. So here is what I'm working with. Not too bad but for the lack of sunlight. Good thing I work at night.
Today, in church, I learned about the divinity of creativity:

"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty. Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—"

"Remember that you are spirit[s] of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.
But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy. Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things."

"The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. [T]rust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday's Progress

In drawing this split baluster detail of the wrought iron railing on 20 West Jones, I noticed it was the same as documented on the HABS drawings for the William Remshart Row Houses. They were built about the same time, around 1850.
The last building is one of the beautiful edifices by Alfred Eichberg in red brick and granite. Unfortunately, I kind of butchered it at 1"=12'. Surgery will ultimately be required.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Drayton Hall

I "love" Drayton Hall because it is NOT RESTORED. It is PRESERVED - more or less how it was found when the National Trust for Historic Preservation acquired the property in 1974. The building is stabilized so further deterioration is prevented or limited.

Layers of paint, as many as seven generations, have weathered the air since the mid- to late 19th century. You can see the layers to bare wood. 300-some thousand hand-formed bricks, hand-carved wood mouldings and plaster ceilings speak of skilled 18-century artisans, some of whom were enslaved.

The house is open. It breathes the same air in and outside. It's like a ruin in this way. Neither plumbing nor air conditioning were ever introduced into the house. The house was looted during its less-lived-in periods and is missing some fireplace mantels. It withstood an earthquake and hurricanes. Mostly evacuated by its owners during the wars, Drayton Hall was trampled by hundreds of British troops during the Revolutionary War and miraculously survived the Civil War intact.
To walk through its weathered 270-year old rooms seems kind of miraculous.
"To walk out of Drayton Hall above Charleston, S.C., is not to leave it behind. It is the stuff of dreams, and a visitor returns to this plantation house again and again in the hours when imagination vanquishes daily reality." Betsy Wade, New York Times, 1984
Find photos of ongoing historic preservation at Drayton Hall here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Drayton Hall

Love is...
a tour through Drayton Hall, a mid-1700s (plantation) house on the Ashley River in Charleston, SC. I enjoyed my fourth tour last weekend.
A photocompilation of my favorite moments:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Beginning 10 BLOCK West Jones

(click to see larger)
This block is, essentially, three great buildings centered within the block, asphaldt lots on both corners.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Row Shifts

click to see larger
The street wall shifts at the lot lines on increments related to the basic lot size of 60'. Neat.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Old-Time Duo

Happy One-Year Anniversary to my favorite Old-Time Duo,
Samuel & Afton.

HABS drawings for Remshart Row

REMSHART ROW within the 100 Block West Jones Street

These documentary drawings were made by the federal project Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in the 1960s, as Preservation was getting a real foothold in Savannah. The full drawing set of the William Remshart Row, and many other Savannah buildings, can be found at:
Thank you, Mr. Chenoweth, for the reminder.

A few photos taken at the time of HABS documentation, 1962, reveal the state of decay which characterized much of Savannah's architectural fabric, mid-century. And, in 2009, the state of renovation and rehabitation.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I would like to take you to the Cemetery.

Colonial Park Cemetery was the second burial ground in the city, from 1750-1853. Legend holds that Union soldiers dug into the crypts and camped here in the cold winter of 1864-5 when General Sherman occupied the city. According to the Tour Guide Study Manual, "For amusement the soldiers carefully altered some of the tombstones to show that people died before they were born." Lots of famous early statesmen and noteable settlers are buried here. I am drawn to the back wall, where the stones that have fallen from their bases are mounted, held by old iron grips. The old empty jail cell vents open toward the cemetery from the opposite side of this wall.