The Art of Model Boat Building

This heritage art group exhibition brings together seven area modelers who will display and discuss their work with a focus on both the maritime art and decorative art aspects of boat modeling. Discussed will be the ideas a modeler starts with, the materials used, the process they go through, to the final presentation. Talks may include personal stories about how their model building journey began. Why they do it. How they do it. What they hope people see in it. Explanations on what makes a “museum quality” ship model, or how to start a collection. Or even “how did you make that tiny thing?”

Participating modelers include Howard Freeman, who had a contracting business for over 30 years, retiring in 2008 and starting model work boat building to keep his mind and hands busy; Ed Harrison, who is relatively new to model boats and also enjoys carving miniature ducks and geese and modeling railroad gardens; Web Lippert, who has been building model boats as a hobby for about 15 years, and filling them with hand-crafted “deck clutter” – baskets, nets, anchors and more that helps tell the story of how the boat is used; Jim Moses, who started modeling in second or third grade, inspired by his accomplished model builder dad. Jim’s naval career put modeling on hold for twenty years until shore duty brought him to Washington, allowing day and weekend trips to the Shore that fired his course towards building working craft. Ed Thieler, retired orthopedic surgeon born and raised in Philadelphia, who became intrigued with the waterman culture after moving to the Eastern Shore twenty years ago. Ed helped rebuild the oyster dredge boat skipjack Thomas Clyde and shared dock space with oyster shaft-tongers, and trotline crabbers. As a result of his interest and research, Ed’s model boat dioramas accurately depict the historical and cultural context of the Chesapeake Bay environment.
Additional participants include Scott Todd, model yacht builder and fifth-generation Dorchester County waterman who works out of his 46′ fiberglass crab boat called Endless Summer. Scott also owns and has restored the Skipjack Lady Katie, which was first launched in 1956; and Don Willey, who grew up in Dorchester County and began building in 1980. His first was the three masted schooner P. T. White, and since then Don has built over seven hundred boat models that are on display all around the world.

Over twenty models will on exhibit, running the gamut from a diorama with tiny pieces, to small models, to robust coast guard vessels, to five-foot sailboats! Second Saturday Artist Reception on March 12 includes artist talks and live music with Rick Hester.