I never thought I’d hear myself use the words “sexy” and “bad-ass” to describe a blackhouse, but after weeks of working with texture-less wireframe models my St Kilda blackhouse was lit and rendered for the first time today.
As I watched the software computing the final gather points (a process which sees small squares dart across the screen as the image below becomes less and less pixellated) and the scene rendered in front of me, those were the only words that seemed appropriate!
This is always my favourite stage in the modelling process, when everything starts to looks real and you as the artist can begin to add those little touches to make a scene feel authentic, lived in and…well in this case cosy! In my research I’ve talked a lot about how the process of reconstruction affects the integrity of not only the captured record (in my case laser scans) but the integrity of the archaeological evidence itself.
Up until this point I’ve not felt like my decision-making with the model has had much of an impact on the archaeological record in terms of accounts of life on St Kilda, excavation reports and academic papers etc. The modelling of the basic blackhouse structure was fairly straightforward, I adapted instructions on blackhouse construction from a text on the Arnol blackhouses on the Isle of Lewis to St Kildan specifications and filled the structure with appropriate artefacts. Simple and relatively accurate.
However, I’m now at the interesting and somewhat controversial stage of building authenticity and a sense of place into the scene. I want to tell a story with my visualisation, and in order to do that I need to use a bit of artistic licence…this is where it gets good! More updates to follow in the coming weeks.