Making it all line up: problem solving the corners of the Coves
Here in Sejny we are working on the lowest section of the Gwozdziec ceiling known as the Cove. Four pieces, each approximately 30 feet long and 2 feet wide, this highly decorated section forms a curved transition from the log walls to the main sections of the dome and upper cupola. In the summer of 2011, during the tail end of the timber-framing portion of this project, the boards for the Cove were cut and placed then taken down at lighting speed in order to finish on schedule. Now these boards, like all the rest, are separated from the roof frame and assembled into flat panels. This system works well for painting and, given the itinerant nature of our workshops, for transport as well. However, all of these flat sections will eventually have to be reassembled into a three-dimensional object. Because most sections of the painting are divided by liner border elements there should be no problem registering imagery back together in the final installation. The one exception to this rule is the curved corners where the four sections of cove meet.
A large palm like image is painted onto each corner, half on one section, half on the other. Because we are dealing with a different set of logistics than the original painters (i.e. the artists most likely painted this image in place) we were concerned about our palms coming together and looking right in the end. So in true Handshouse fashion we investigated the problem by doing and decided to make a full-scale model of the corner. The model is of one corner translated into cardboard from templates taken from our actual boards. Onto this model I was able to sketch the two halves of the palm until we agreed it was as close a match to the archival photographs as possible. This process was both challenging and, as a maker, satisfying. The tracings will become the new template for our disjointed image so that when the boards are reassembled in Warsaw four beautiful palms will appear. Fingers crossed!