Monday, November 24, 2008

Into the Void

Apologies for making a blog post almost solely about myself. But today, I went into The Void. At least part of me did. The archaeologists decided that they needed better pictures and better (non-Blair Witch style) video. I immediately volunteered. Unfortunately, the opening is somewhat awkward, so it was nearly impossible to angle myself well enough to take good shots, but the archaeologists were happy. As soon as I get copies of the pictures of the interior that I took, I'll post them. In the meantime, here's what we went through today.

Just to refresh your memory, this is what the entrance to The Void looks like. We did break away two more bricks, just to give me a little more wiggle room.

Me, getting ready to go into the cistern.

Testing the set up and making sure that both the camera and I will fit into the opening.

Me, halfway in the hole, with Peter Middleton sitting on my legs in lieu of a rope.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Front Doors Faux Graining

According to Betsy Greene of Betsy Greene Decorative Painting, the front doors of Lloyd Street Synagogue are probably pine. They would have been originally grained to resemble a more expensive wood like oak. Because of this, the doors are now receiving a makeover to return them to the faux graining they had in the 19th century. Since I've been at the JMM, they have been painted white, so it came as a bit of a shock to see them changed.

The doors first received a base coat of a pale yellow. (see top part of the door)

Next, the doors receive a layer of glaze that is combed to resemble the pore structure of oak. (see bottom part of the door).

The doors are then hand-painted to resemble figure graining. The paint is waterbased oil paint mixed with glazing liquid. The work is combed to break up the lines.

Next is the toning layer. Subtle nuances are given to each board to create variation.

Finally, the doors are clear coated with spar varnish, which protects them from the sun and elements. This is the same kind of varnish used on boats and other outside objects.

The Void is Drained!

Recently, archaeologists at the Lloyd Street Synagogue uncovered a mysterious cistern in the southeast corner of the building. We believe that this may have been the cistern used by the synagogue's mikvah. This video shows the water being drained from it.