Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Resinous Return for Polymer Photos

I met up with Richard after work on Friday after work prior to our exploration on Saturday and we decided to pay a visit to one of the plentiful and interesting little bars near his house. We walked in and had to suppress our laughter as we saw many of the regulars lined up in chairs playing fruit machines as though their lives depended on it, total concentration written on all their faces. In a bar!
We ordered drinks and not even 10 minutes later, the whole place abandoned us and went outside, leaving their beers on the bar top. For a cigarette break apparently, not because they didn't take to their new visitors. They were actually a great group and we were soon laughing and joking together, even discovering that one of the regulars was John David, a locally celebrated artist. Click here for info. After our evening's fun, we departed, promising our new friends that we'd be back and headed to cozy beds to ensure we'd be up bright eyed and bushy tailed for tomorrow's adventuring.
We were dedicated explorers on a mission and before 7:30am could chime, we were both up and sipping tea then gathering photo gear and leaping enthusiastically into the car, with no hangovers or regrets of over indulgence from the night before. We stopped in Cumberland as we saw steam plumes rising above rooftops. Our timing couldn't have been better, the gates to the rail yard were open and one of the old steam trains was being serviced. Within 5 minutes of our arrival, it blew its whistle and trundled out of the gate for a few yards, just passing us, then rumbled back in again. We managed to capture some photos although once I pulled my camera away from my face, I realized that I'd been sitting a little too close to the rails as the train rolled past. Once it was back in the yard again, it came to a standstill and didn't move. We waited a while but then made the decision to leave, thanking our lucky stars that we'd been fortunate enough to see the action.
So it was back into the car and on to our destination to revisit the plastics factory that I'd explored last weekend with Jeff. I had spare batteries this time so no worries about running out of power. I could do as many long exposures as I liked. Out of interest I had remembered the placement of a couple of objects on site and was curious to see if they had been moved, an indication of other visitors. When we arrived, they had both disappeared and further damage had been wrought. I was glad we were here again to document the place. I took many photos on this trip but many I can't show as they would reveal the name of the location.
The first reception office and entrance to the museum. They had all the products they made here on display and handed out small plastic tokens with biblical verses on them.
Plastic screens used as panels in the museum. This style screen was also used as window coverings on the outside of parts of the building.
Caps and cone holders, spindle adapters and cheese holders. God knows why they're all so many different colors but they looked interesting and almost alien sitting on the bowed shelves.
And then we came to the main reason why I had wanted to return to this place, this fantastic art piece of a door. The room is almost in complete darkness and it would have been so easy to walk past and not notice it, but when my flashlight cast an inadvertent beam across its front, vibrant colors flashed like jewels. Close inspection of this art piece revealed that someone had stuck hundreds of small colored glass chunks and pebbles to a large translucent textured pane of plastic, and this was done on both sides of the door. We also noticed that near the handle was a space for a battery or some source of power making us realize that this door actually lit up.
We then spent the next 30 minutes or so painstakingly setting up our cameras and taking shot after shot of long exposures while we both 'painted' the back of the door with our flashlights. You can just about see my white blaze to the right of the door. This artifact played on our minds, we were horrified to think that it could suffer the same fate as the rest of the factory and be smashed to pieces. I pondered over this for a couple of days and then wrote a letter to the Mayor with a photo, requesting he save this and a few other pieces.
A window covered with one of the panels from the museum.
I had no idea what this was but it was pretty scary, tucked away in a dark room. Richard later identified it as the Esso Oil Drop Man, saying he had an old key ring. A history of him is here.
I have a set of these at home, and it made me realize that I need to make my plant labels....
We entered the paint room area where there were many huge barrels of paint and stuff we couldn't identify. But I'd only snapped a couple of shots before Richard declared it a hazard zone because of fumes, and I willingly turned tail and fled.
Beautiful samples of plastic and lucite were still sitting on tables, alongside coffee mugs and pens laid next to papers; it was almost as though everyone had suddenly just upped and left.
I found this old photo of the owner which made me smile. He was a known eccentric who did things his way and was also pronounced a genius by friends and associates. He made a huge impact on those that knew him and the city he lived in. I really hope that some of this building and contents can be saved before it becomes just another mutilated shell with locals regretting that they'd not acted sooner...

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