Junk Box to Jewel Box

This historic jewel box has been the storage facility for the Duncan family since Glenn Dale Duncan started ranching. Our first step in getting the Payne Gap project off the ground was to empty the schoolhouse. Sam and I cleaned out the unrecylclable and unusable items first. We recycled over sixty tires in the summer of 2019! We organized all the junk into categories. Some of the historic items were placed with the Mills County

Let There Be Light!

With ten windows, each six feet high, the schoolhouse’s defining feature is light. On August 18, 2021, we installed our first electric light fixture. And what a better place to install it than the front porch! After an extensive hunt, we decided on Schoolhouse’s Alabax surface mounted fixture in navy blue. We felt that a primary blue helps to convey a classroom environment. From Schoolhouse’s website: “Using simple, tulip-like silhouettes originally found in fixtures from

Sculpting a Foundation

We learned a lot about concrete this week, especially about the artistry of the crew that sculpted this ubiquitous material into our new floor. Lampasas Trucking and Redi-Mix delivered fourteen yards of concrete to the site on June 16, 2021, and within about five hours the job was finished. The series of pictures below show the progression from the old pier and beam floor to the new concrete one.

Topping It Off

Arturo and his crew from A-Z Roofing in Lampasas finished our standing seam roof on Thursday, May 27, yet the process started much earlier. I couldn’t get up on top of the scaffolding quick enough to snap this picture (to the left) on March 27, 2021, shortly after our contractor removed the schoolhouse’s original roof. This bird’s eye perspective shows a mostly-empty space, save the teacher’s stage on the far east and an island of

Schoolhouse Rock

Finding the right rock for our new gables was a “heavy” task. Rosalio, our rock guy and general contractor, was able to source indigenous rocks from Welch Stone Company, Goldthwaite, to work with the existing rocks. There is no inner support or framing in the walls so rock placement and concrete seams are crucial. Sam was on site while the new stone gables were being constructed. He noticed that the more white, fossilized rocks were

Let’s Start at the Top

Today we made solid progress on the roof, inspecting the new assembly and taking a side trip to Lampasas to visit with Arturo, A-Z Metal Roofing, which specializes in standing seam roofs. The highlight of the trip was taking a close look at the machine that fabricates the roof panels, shown below. We also had the pleasure of meeting with our HVAC guy, Shane, representing TexAir HVAC Inc., Lampasas. See also: Hey, Where’s Our Roof?

The Plan from Above

After a considerable amount of analysis, we have worked out a preliminary plan for the Payne Gap Schoolhouse and Cemetery campus that includes three additional structures beyond the schoolhouse. Actually there’s four if you count the garden area. Folk visiting the schoolhouse will use bathroom facilities available in the studio/garage. The studio/garage calls for parking for two cars, large indoor and outdoor work spaces, and possibly accommodations for a visitor (maybe the artist-in-residence). We have

Payne Gap Schoolhouse Machine-Sewn Textile

This sewn rendering of the Payne Gap Schoolhouse was created using an industrial sewing machine, with a lot of footwork and back and forth stitching. As you see, the back of the linen canvas shows all of the thread work, which is much more complicated (and in some ways more interesting) than the front design. I used cotton thread on linen for this 6″ x 8″ piece. Postscript from Sam: recently Jeffrey and I discovered

Eames, Graypants, and Payne Gap

Two designs that telegraph the aesthetic of the schoolhouse project are these red fiberglass Eames chairs and the exquisite Wick LED lamp from Graypants, which the company describes as, “candlelight for the modern era.” The two provide foundational direction for how we want the place to look and feel. You can purchase a Wick lamp at Grange Hall in Dallas.