‘We Have a Gallery’ Constructing The Dean Gallery Space

The Way of the Mammoth in The Dean Gallery

It’s been three years since that month we kept smiling at each other and saying, ‘We have a gallery!’ Although I must say, it’s still a bit of a thrill.

In 2010, a friend and I went to Haines to dismantle a 24′ redwood water tank. Three heavy trailer loads later, the lumber shed was packed with reclaimed redwood.

I used a bit for doors and the convertible barn awning/hay loading deck, but it wasn’t till we converted our 30′ yurt into a gallery that I used the sleepers that had supported the floor.

The yurt has 6′ walls, rather low for a gallery. So we decided to build three freestanding walls to provide an adequate display area.

I used my Timber Jig to cut mortise and tenon joints in the redwood timbers and one of my favorite woodworking tools, a sharp drawknife to chamfer the edges.

Back in 1984, I’d purchased a 3×12 walnut slab with a striking grain pattern. I’d re-sawn it into six 1/2″ boards with plans to make a sculpture from them.

These were to become well-traveled boards. Alaska to Tennessee, Tennessee to North Carolina, and then, back to Alaska.

I’d hoped to use all six together but found only four appropriate spots in the gallery. So I laminated them with local birch and carved them into the flame shapes I’d always imagined.

When you stand just inside the doorway, you can see all four simultaneously. You’ll get a glimpse of them in my new gallery video posted below.

2018 was the year we had a massive earthquake here in Alaska. Though Anchorage and the Matanuska Valley were most affected, we certainly felt it here in Homer. It just so happened that Ranja was perched atop an A-frame ladder painting the stars on the gallery ceiling when things started shaking.

She’d already conquered her fears of painting 13′ in the air, so as the still freestanding walls shook all around her, she calmly descended to wait it out.

When M’fanwy stepped into the gallery as the final rumbles ceased, she was already back at the top, paintbrush in hand.

I just finished this short video about The Dean Gallery to give you a quick tour. If you’re in the area, stop by for a visit.

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