The First Coast
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The Blog

The First Coast journey

work is under way!

The Renovations.

"Cilla" is a donated 1976 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht. Phase 1 of The First Coast has begun!

It's a fairly balmy January and I'm in Deer Isle, Maine, working steadily on Cilla's renovation. I'm thankful for the weather, even if it seems strange to have 40 degree days in the middle of January. Cilla has to be outside, which is not ideal, but this time of year on Deer Isle the boat shops are mostly full. I'm hoping for fair weather for the rest of the month, fingers crossed. 

Cilla is a beauty - 27 feet of curved lines and leaky rivets. When I started dreaming of The First Coast mobile studio / exhibit, I remembered that my step-dad, Pete, bought this vintage Airstream about five years ago. It was a little worse-for-wear, having been used by farm hands for several years. The last I knew, Pete had the Airstream back on his land in Deer Isle, with plans to tear everything out and start from scratch. 

And so I asked him if I could use the trailer - just for a couple of years. After receiving funding from SPACE Gallery through The Kindling Fund, Pete agreed to donate the trailer to me for a negotiable 2-year lease. 

 Before the demolition - this is what Cilla looked like inside. January 2017.

Before the demolition - this is what Cilla looked like inside. January 2017.

Now I'm renovating an Airstream. And some people might say, "How do you know how to do that?" And my answer is, "I don't." But so far it's going surprisingly well. 

Before I made the drive from Portland to Deer Isle on January 15th, the work had already begun. "Downeast David" is a jack-of-all-trades and works with my step-dad. In just two days David and Pete gutted the Airstream and removed the plywood floor and rats' nests... then David set to welding the steel support beams. It seems he can do just about anything, and he can do it fast. I'm eternally grateful for those first few days of work. 


 David hard at work on removing the floor. January 2017.

David hard at work on removing the floor. January 2017.

 The support beams underneath the plywood floor. I'll need to replace the aluminum sheeting, but that will probably be the last thing I do at the end of the spring, when the weather is a little warmer and the ground a little les unpredictable. January 2017.

The support beams underneath the plywood floor. I'll need to replace the aluminum sheeting, but that will probably be the last thing I do at the end of the spring, when the weather is a little warmer and the ground a little les unpredictable. January 2017.


 Rust removal on the support beams. January 2017.

Rust removal on the support beams. January 2017.

After David's work on the support beams, it was time for me to start removing rust. There was a little more welding to be done, and my first task for renovations was to remove any really bad rust from the steel support beams. On Day 4, David went back in to finish some final weld jobs and I sat back to think about the next steps...

Here's hoping the weather holds!

- GK

 Cilla in all her beauty, at the work site in Deer Isle, Maine. Jenny Rebecca Nelson © 2017

Cilla in all her beauty, at the work site in Deer Isle, Maine. Jenny Rebecca Nelson © 2017

airstreamGalen Koch