Recycle + History = Art
This summer artists from the SouthCoast visited New Bedford State Pier to glean surplus material from the Ernestina-Morrissey storage area. Chuck Smiler and Gallery X‘s Chuck Hauck organized this opportunity for artists to “re-purpose” the material they gleaned with the cooperation of the Schooner Ernestina Commission and the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s project manager and pier manager. The Recycle+History=Art exhibit and sale were in conjunction with Gallery X’s Ship Shape: Boats and Boatbuilding exhibit. The sale of the works of art resulted in a donation of over $1,000 to Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association to benefit the ship’s rehabilitation.
Thank you to all the artists that participated. The beautiful work they produced is a wonderful way to connect the community with the Ernestina-Morrissey. Some of the pieces are still available. Contact Gallery X for information.
Why is there African Mahogany from a ship built in Essex, Massachusetts in 1894?
A knee is a structural element in the frame of a wooden ship. The Ernestina was renovated in Cape Verde in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Cape Verde has no history of wooden ship-building because the timber necessary to build ships does not grow there. But the islands have a long history of and much expertise in ship repair. Many Essex schooners were, at the end of their usefulness to U.S. owners were bought by Cape Verdeans like Captain Henrique Mendes and used as packets and whalers based in the Cape Verde Islands. Hardwoods were brought from mainland Africa to repair these vessels. That is how wood from Ernestina, originally built in Essex of American oak and pine, came to include tropical hardwoods.
The African mahogany found in some of the pieces in this exhibit came from scraps of wood that were removed from the ship during repairs done in the past.