The public is cordially invited to attend a reception for the artist Clayton Johnson which will be held here in the library Wednesday, January 23rd from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
The original Vasa was built in 1628 under the direction of King Gustaf II Adolf to expand his naval power in the Baltic region during the 30 Years War. It was launched on August 10, 1628, traveled only a short distance before turning on its port side and sinking in about 100 feet of water near the island of Beckholmen.
Clayton Johnson’s interest in ships and ship building started early in life. He was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, to a naval family. Although he grew up in Wrenshall, Minnesota, there were always books on nautical subjects around the house. One of these was a compilation of National Geographic articles that included the archaeology of the Vasa. He began building models at the age of 10 but has only recently developed the skills to tackle a project as intricate as a 17th century warship.
Johnson began building the 1:50 scale model of the Vasa in 2005 and spent 7 and one-half years on the project. He cut out all parts, carved all the sculptures, detailed all the rigging, cast all of the guns, etc., from raw materials. The model was built as the original Vasa was; with over 700 pieces of hull framing and with interior decks and cabins that are built after the originals. Most of the color differences in the hull are due to the use of different types of wood, not paint, and hull and deck planking was omitted to show hull and deck framing and the interior of the model. The director of research at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Fred Hocker, has called Johnson’s model the most accurate miniature representation of the Vasa in the world.
Please stop by the library at any time to view this amazing replica, it will be here through March.