Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Milestones at Mystic Seaport

Scaffolding around the Charles W. Morgan whaleship during restoration.
This upcoming Labor Day weekend of 2013 marks the end of a year-and-a-half-long gallery exhibit at the Museum of America and the Sea, Mystic Seaport, CT, for our Dalvero art group. "Restoring A Past, Charting A Future" opened in the spring of 2012, and it is a major milestone for us as an artist collective. We curated and produced our first museum exhibit, led by our beloved visionaries, artists, teachers and founders of Dalvero Academy, Margaret Hurst and Veronica Lawlor. They brought us to Mystic one freezing winter of 2009 to reportage an on-going restoration of the world's last surviving wooden whaleship, the Charles W. Morgan. And we have been returning to Mystic a few times a year ever since. The weekend of July 21st 2013, Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport, under the leadership of a great man and our big supporter, director Quentin Snediker, witnessed a milestone in the life of the ship. The Charles W. Morgan was lowered into the water, after spending 4+ years in restoration. It's the 172nd anniversary of the vessel’s initial launch!

Scaffolding around the Charles W. Morgan whaleship during restoration.
The Morgan has been covered by so many various arrangements of scaffolding over the course of the last 4 years, that I began to see much poetry in it. The scaffolding, I mean. And I drew it on various visits, attracted to its transient nature and beauty. It's a support system and a symbol of commitment to change and completion of what's set in motion. Its role is that of a bridge: to connect past with the future. And then it's gone... Fascinating to draw its complications and spaces.

The ship spent years being cocooned, looking like a whale in scaffolding.

Charles W. Morgan whaleship, cocooned in scaffolding during restoration.

Until she finally emerged, a new kind of symbol. And people rushed to greet and embrace the new beginning.

Emerging new symbol of restored whaleship, the last of it's kind in the world.

Right before the launch ceremony, cleaning and applying last touches to the ship. July 21 of 2013.
The lowering of the ship into the water attracted many spectators, there were notable speakers, and our art group received a special invitation to draw during this ceremony. A few of us had passes to be on board of Sabino, a boat parked right next to the Morgan. I had a breath-taking view of the Mystic river at it's busiest. I've never seen so many boats in it. People sailed in to watch, and had celebratory parties afloat. 

Here in the middle is Quentin Snediker, the director of restoration. This was a big day for him.
A very expensive and complicated dolly was created just for the Charles W. Morgan.
The Sheriff of the Mystic police department at the ceremony.
Sabino, the boat on which I was stationed during the ceremony.
View from the Sabino onto the Mystic river and thousands of floating spectators.
The ship is slowly being lowered into the water, as the men hold ropes.
The Charles W. Morgan, Ship Of Hope.
Getting ready for its 38th voyage in 2014. ‪‪
A historic event for America.
Another milestone. 


  1. Beautiful, Julia! I love the drawings of the scaffolding. When I went this weekend, they had the brackets/scaffolds that the Morgan sat on for years sitting empty where it used to be, and the ship floated nearby in the water. Very strange to see them empty.

  2. I dont know why I missed this post. It is so beautiful Julia and very personal. Thank you for post.xo