Saturday, March 31, 2012

Most Perfect Container in History

Cooper, stemming from the Latin "cuparius", has the same root as the word "cup". Cooper makes barrels: individual staves of wood held by metal hoops.

 "The oak for a wine maker is like the sauce for a great chef". 

Egyptian painting depicts first known barrel. Then, Greek and Roman art reveals that barrel design remained the same throughout history. It's a perfect container: it can be as big as you make it,  it can be dis-assembled and re-assembled, it can hold as much weight as you put inside, and it can be moved by a 5-year-old, by rolling it on it's side.

Tobacco is held in white oak barrels. So is wine and Tabasco sauce. Bourbon is aged in new barrels, while Tequila is aged in old barrels. And during the Age of Sail, barrels stored and were a measurement of whale oil.

Mystic Seaport's 19th century village is a time-capsule with historic buildings that are home to many old trades. Here are my drawings and notes after visiting the cooper's neighbor, a blacksmith >>  

You can also visit a sail loft, a rope-making shop, a print shop, an old drugstore, a rigging loft, sailor's reading room and other 19th century New England historic buildings along the Mystic River at the Museum of America and the Sea.>

And while you're there, stop by the Stillman building, where I'm exhibiting along with 23 fellow artists in a group show we ourselves curated for the Museum of America and The Sea.  Visit "Restoring a past. Charting a future". >


  1. I'm a huge fan of drawing. What a pleasure to have discovered you! Really nice work.