This past Memorial Day weekend I was contacted by Sextant Works to build a “stone thingy ma-bob” for one of their super secret events. All they could tell me was that there was a large pile of salvaged brick that needed to be brought onto a boat and I had four days to make it beautiful and useful. They gave me a price and I agreed! What was I getting myself into? I needed the challenge and accepted it gleefully.
They finally divulged the location after I signed the non-disclosure agreement. The address? The Minue: a decommissioned Governor’s Island ferry boat moored at a Staten Island junk/industrial kitchen sales yard. When I arrived there were many other artists and craftsfolks hard at work, welding anchor-chains, chopping apart a thousand pallets, nailgunning them back together. I was shown the junk pile of bricks in the scrapyard and with my helper, Khalil Evans we got to work.
I spent the first day, just designing, calculating and questioning. What do you want me to build? Oh not like that? Like this? Will we have enough brick? Enough stone? Here we go. As you can see, it all came together. I built a bar of brick, wood, stone, and metal.
Please build a stone and brick “thing a ma bob” here!
The foundation was made with these firebricks. I hope they didn’t have any asbestos in them!
These long stones are called “tie stones” because they tie the two faces of the wall together. You can see here that I started to add random rusted objects to the wall.
The tie stones and the wooden batter frames. The batter frames are used to guide the angle at which the wall tapers upwards. When not building on boats this is essential because the heave caused by frost will de-center the wall. Though on a boat the waves do this plenty!
Did we have enough brick and stone? Yes!
There were some amazing pieces of granite on site. When the tide went out tons of stone were revealed on the shoreline.
Playing with brick, wood and metal.
It’s important to keep a clean worksite otherwise you might trip on all the bricks at your feet. Khalil is see here laying a brick.
We’re almost done. I love the stone wall head and where it meets the brick.
This side of the wall also had the stone wall head.
This angle captures much of the rusted metal I found and placed into the wall.
Detail of the “bar.”
The entire finished bar.
The whole wall and yes, I was on a ferry boat.