Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ship Shape

 Model of RMS Titanic, 2012

I suppose it could be seen as something of a cheap shot to talk about cruise ships so soon after the tragic deaths of so many people on the Costa Concordia.  So don’t take what I’m about to say as being disrespectful.
I mentioned yesterday that I’d stopped in to the Bean There coffee house in the course of being out and taking some pictures the other day. It’s a nice place, convenient in the middle of downtown, congenial staff and a good place to meet friends or clients for a chat.
The owners of Bean There are supportive of local artists, writers and crafts people. So there’s interesting stuff on display. On Saturday afternoon a local poet was signing copies of her new book. You get the picture.
While stopping in at Bean There earlier in the week, I’d notice a bunch of ship models on display. I’m a big admirer of ship models. The Mariners Museum, located nearby in Newport News, Virginia, has an exquisite collection of ship models,  including a cool group of models of transatlantic ocean liners. The model of the Queen Mary, for example, is thirty-three feet long and nine feet high. You can get a sense of the scale of some of these models from the photo below of an owner’s model of the old US Lines’ America. (The actual ship, by the way, lies in pieces scattered along the shore of one of the Canary Islands. The model, however, sails as proudly as the day she was launched at the Newport News Shipbuilding Corporation.)
USS America (model), 2003

But there was something different about these models at Bean There, including the one shown at the top of this post and several other replicas of US Navy ships. Their scale was exact and they were meticulously constructed. But it didn’t take an eagle eye to notice that there wasn’t a straight edge in any of them.
Ships have lots of curves in them. This wasn’t the problem. The thing that is out of the ordinary about these models is that they are made of duct tape stretched over corrugated cardboard.
I don’t know anything about the person who created these models. There are no other clues to his or her artistic intentions. It could have been a young person or an adult. Maybe a sailor stuck on a year-long deployment. These are complex models, after all. They weren’t built overnight, even if the keels do look broken on all of them. The matching of the exterior colors to the original colors of these ships is spot on. There’s even a penciled note on what the artist purports to be the Titanic’s “poop deck.”
Maybe the salvors working on the Costa Concordia ought to bring in some duct tape to patch up those ugly gashes along her hull.

1 comment:

  1. Duct tape! Wow. Now, that is impressive. Is there anything that stuff doesn't do?