Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Weaving the Blackstone...


Last week, Greg, Olive, the pug, and I went down to Pawtucket, Rhode Island (USA), to take a look at an art installation called Weaving the Blackstone.  This project is the work of sculptor, Donald Gerola.  It consists of colorful polyester, nylon, and polypropylene cords that are stretched across the Blackstone River in the area where the old Slater Mill sits.  It is a tribute to the city of Pawtucket and pays homage to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and the textile industry that began there in 1790. 

I realize that art installations like this one aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.  But personally, I envy the person, in this case Mr. Gerola, who can look at a rushing river in the shadow of an old mill and imagine something like this.  And I admire even more the ability and stamina to carry it out.  The article from The Boston Globe states:  “It took two archers with high-powered bows - normally used to hunt bear - to get the cords from one side of the river to the other. Vandals cut them twice, forcing Gerola back to the drawing board. He says he spent countless hours with a machete and chain saw clearing brush and trees along the river to make the installation possible.”  Now, that’s dedication to public art, which is so important to our humanity. 

My photos don’t do it justice because I couldn’t get a good shot of the scope of the project.    So my suggestion is that if you find yourself in Pawtucket, RI, take a ride down to the Blackstone River and check it out.  I’m pretty sure you won’t be sorry.


The  cords are woven at three spots in the installation through over-sized heddles in order to emphasize the weaving theme.  Heddles are the part of the loom through which all threads pass.





Looking across the Blackstone River to the Slater Mill

14 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

an interesting project! using bows to get them across the span is neat.

Robert Geiss said...

Excellent work ! Makes one able to touch time. Yes, interesting. Thank you for sharing. Please have a good Thursday.

daily athens photo

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

Reminds me of that art project where they hang huge colorful fabric from bridges and buildings, etc... very interesting! :)

heyBJK said...

Beautiful colors! It never fails that someone has to ruin the hard work of others. I hope it remains vandal-free from here on.

Nicki said...

Interesting. I wonder what happens when a bird flies into it, and I would imagine that it would be difficult to prevent vandalism even now that it is up. I have to say, how entertaining to see those colors- very contemporary in a rather traditional setting. Fun!

Robert Nicolaescu said...

Very interesting!

karen said...

I love these art instillations...did you see ''the gates'' that were in Central Park NYC? They were just amazing...as I couldn't see them in the flesh I bought the book. No singing today either....

barbara l. hale said...

Thanks for the comments! I don't think this would be a problem for birds. The cords are further apart than they look in these pictures. I imagine they would like perching on them though. I didn't see The Gates, Karen, but I had a friend who did and said it was pretty cool. I would have liked to though.

Sall's Country Life said...

Very Cool! I have to send this post to our daughter-in-law who is a textile artist in NYC. We helped her install one of those huge projects (fabric over a city skywalk) Nancy mentioned in Kansas City a few years back. It blows me away what artists come up with and the levels in difficulty they'll go to. They truly deserve our praise and attention!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

This is fascinating and very creative. It trains the eye in a unique way. Great work. Thanks for sharing.

xoRobyn

magda said...

Very nice art-idea!!!
And your photos are wonderful!!!
Have a beautiful weekend my friend Barbara!
Many kisses

Labann said...

Gerola is fascinating in his own right, a renowned steel sculptor with installations up the East Coast from Washington to Maine, including the Cape Cod National Seashore and Hyannis, colleges, and museum such as ICA and Smithsonian.
http://donaldgerola.com/site_2010/installations.htm

I had the privilege of filming a documentary of his working process aired repeatedly on PBS, and since wrote this perspective piece published in art quarterly Interrobang?!
http://www.interrobangzine.com/essays/iron-man-alan-barta/

Definitely, best way to enjoy this enormous weaving of 40,000' of locally made cord is to visit. It looks best in late afternoon, but varies throughout day.

barbara l. hale said...

Thanks for the info. I will be checking those sites out.

Anonymous said...

just stopping by to say hi