Cannibalizing Barnesworth AnnubisMarch 7, 2010
Well, not literally. Though he’s an exceptionally nice guy, so he might be sweet…
Okay, okay. As mentioned previously, Barnesworth (a great and famous SL builder) had some Riviera structures with shuttered windows, plastered finishes, many things that I was was interested in. He doesn’t sell any of the window or other units, but kindly urged me to get a building or two, take it apart, use its components, and learn from it.
I decided to lay down a decent-sized two story type to serve as the base of the “modern” Yoruba palace of Ijinle, built in the 1950s. Immediately I saw it was too tall, and started cutting it down. Then its windows were disproportionate, so I started moving those, too. Barnesworth didn’t create a usable second floor, so building blocks upstairs are solid 10m…umm…blocks. A very quick and useful solution! Working with the shuttered windows, I saw that Barnesworth uses a thick enough shutter that it (and its frame) show up on both sides of the wall–an elegant and economical (prim-wise) solution!
Even better, he creates holes for windows by using the “hollow” command on a flat wall, rather than building rectangles all around the window. It had never even occurred to me! And here’s where it creates regret–why didn’t I use my memorization skills to pay attention in math, lo those many years ago? I could be calculating angles, etc. without agonies of despair and doing everything the long way first. Finally, a practical use for those accelerated math classes and I feel as if the dunce’s cap is my only appropriate choice!
In any case (did you feel that gusty sigh?), I went ahead and bought sculpty balustrades (and am VERY happy with them–thank you, Anthonys Republic, another skilled and generous builder!) and made a staircase and balcony for the palace. I’m modeling the building (somewhat) after the modern portion of the palace at Ado Ekiti. Multi-story buildings, glass windows, decorative plasterwork, balconies and balustrades were introduced at the turn of the twentieth century by Brazilians who returned to West Africa after emancipation in 1888. Initially their style was confined to colonial towns like Lagos and Porto Novo, because even if they knew how to get to the towns and villages of their birth, reaching them was perilous, for they risked reenslavement along the way. The British and French, entrenched at the coast and beginning to force expansion of their territory through colonialism, ensured both personal safety and a clientele for expert work in a Western style. From the early years of the century through the 1960s, the style grew in popularity for wealthy Yoruba, such as the obas (kings), rich traders and cocoa farmers. As the first generation of Brazilian masons died out, the Yoruba had adopted and adapted their methods. Cement blocks, stuccoed over, became the medium of choice, and decorative pierced blocks and panels replaced the wrought iron or elaborate masonry balconies of the past.
Cement animals, particularly lions, leopards and elephants, decorated some of the gateways and walls, again inspired by the Brazilians. Lions are not a familiar sight in Yorubaland; their appearance on architecture came from European heraldry via Brazil. As such, many of the Yoruba lions have a slightly goofy appearance, so the anatomically correct lion statues in Second Life would have looked completely wrong. I searched on Xstreet, and hit the jackpot! Some rather abstract sculpty animals were present, and just right for my plans. Two became goofy leopards, while I added a textured hemisphere to the head of the other and got a lion. I can’t tell you how pleased I was!