I’m back to posting my Antarctic object collection, with a focus this week on fabric.
First up: A roof blanket cover (or part thereof) for Jamesway huts commonly used
in Antarctic science camps.
Jamesways are Korean War-era Quonset hut-shaped structures. Unlike their metal
cousins however, Jamesways use wooden arches covered by insulated cloth. The image
above (from January 14, for readers experiencing a sense of déjà vu) shows a typical
example of the structure.
Officially called Tent Frame Insulated Sectional M-1948, the Jamesway was created by
the James Manufacturing Company of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin for the Army Air Corps.
It was specifically designed for polar weather conditions which require rapid construc-
tion and adequate protection from wind and cold. The standard size is 16 feet square, further expandable lengthwise by four-foot segments. Most wonderful to me is that its
wooden packing crates were designed for reuse as the hut floor — recalling Shackle-
ton’s own repurposing of packing crates. Talk about déjà vu!
A Jamesway’s interior can be as simple as our post-survival training retreat shown
above. Or it can contain several sections: sleeping quarters, a washing area, a kitchen,
a lab; areas often separated by heavy curtains.
Is there anything these structures aren’t capable of? Well, yes. Jamesways are deemed inadequate for permanent Antarctic housing due to privacy, space, light, and energy efficiency limitations, and were phased out as McMurdo berthing altogether by 1990.
Still, they live on as useful structures in field camps and at South Pole Station, and tomorrow we’ll look at what keeps them warm… to a degree.
Learn more about the Long View Project in my post-Ice Q & A with The Antarctic Sun,
the official online news site for the United States Antarctic Program. The site provides
news articles and features about polar science and life in Antarctica, and is edited by
Peter Rejcek who conducted the interview.
This is my second Long View study outside the sketchbook. It takes Antarctica’s round-
the-clock summer daylight (and its disorienting effects) as its theme.
Like the first study, it was created in cut paper and graphite on paper mounted on a
5″ x 5″ x 1.5″ wood panel.
I’ll be returning to this ‘comic panels’ motif throughout the project. I’ve been wanting
to explore it further since creating my Comics Code piece last year, and the approach
seems suited to the Long View’s sequential nature.
12″ high x 12″ wide x 2″ deep is the size I’ve settled on for each of the Long View’s
100 base panels. Strung together end-to-end, and factoring in the ninety-nine gaps
created by connecting hinges, the combined artwork’s length will total 103 feet.
A long view for sure!
The depth of the completed artworks will vary depending on how much the base layers
get built out to support dimensional objects and elements. Expect to see more sketch-
book entries and maquettes here before they take final form.
In the top photos: I’m priming the final panels needing gesso, and have tracked down
the loose-pin hinges ideal for assembling and disassembling my panels for exhibition.
These hinges are the type used for attaching theater scenery flats.
In the bottom pictures, my basic art-making tools: Straight edge, #11 X-acto, pencil, kneaded eraser, bone folder, cut paper and pH neutral PVA adhesive.