Saturday, 21 September 2013

Learning in Stages

Yesterday, we continued to learn how to document buildings from expert Ed Chappell. This time, the group project was to measure and then draw an elevation of Barry Pittman's fish stage. Since an elevation is a representation of the complete view of one side of a building, creating one involved a great deal of exploring the stage in order to get the correct measurements and drawing on paper, from banding together to measure beams from a precarious floating dock to crawling underneath the stage to fill in all of the rocks that form part of the foundation that keeps the stage above water.

Barry Pittman's stage. Photo by Klara Nichter.

Ed Chappell, Wang Xuan, Christine Blythe, and Kayla Carroll work on measuring the stage. Photo by Klara Nichter.

The reason that we should still learn to draw an elevation of a building rather than just take a picture of the same view, we learned, is that measuring and drawing the building leads to a greater understanding of it. As I scooted slowly along the edge of the fish stage, shepherding the tape measure from pole to pole, I began to experience the difference myself. I had taken photographs of the stage, but it was not until I was on the stage to measure it that I really stopped to consider the distinctive nature of this structure. The striking combination of the poles at the front of the stage, fashioned from logs still rough with bark, and the smooth boards of the deck where I worked led me to reflect on the particular makeup of the fish stage, a new structure that mirrors past stages in Quidi Vidi due to its construction using the traditional design. Though there are many new buildings in the village, the old ways appear to be alive and well right alongside them in the form of stages such as the one we documented.

The front of Barry Pittman's stage. Photo by Klara Nichter.

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