Introducing Norman Beck, Technical Advisor for the Upper Level Installation! While you might not have seen Norman knitting for the bridge, he has played a crucial role working behind the scenes with riggers, engineers, public works, and machine knitters.
Often, you can find Norman at Knit the Bridge functions spreading the word and using the ball winder. Read on to find out more…
1. What is your history with Pittsburgh?
I’m not a native Pittsburgher, but I might as well be. My family moved here when I was four years old. My father took a full-time job teaching Mathematics and Physics at what was then Chatham College. My public school education took me through Wightman and Linden Schools and Taylor Allderdice High School.
While in high school some neighbors and I became apprentices at the Lovelace Marionette Theatre in Shadyside. This led to a twenty-five-year collaboration with Margo Lovelace and her company, interrupted occasionally by an attempt at higher education and widely varied bursts of employment at WQED-FM, the CMU Computer Science Department, the Pittsburgh Public Theatre and on a number of feature films that were shot in Pittsburgh.
In 1987 I settled into a full-time job as the Staff Propmaster and Sound Design Instructor in the CMU School of Drama. I continued to freelance as a Theater Technician, Film Worker and general handyman, evenings, weekends and during the academic summer breaks. In 2008 I left CMU to become a “full-time Freelancer.”
2. What is your history with Fiber Art?
I’m related to Fiber Art by marriage. My first day as Sound Designer at the PPT was also the day I met my wife, Venise St. Pierre. Besides being a fabulous mother to our three sons, she is an incredibly talented Fiber Artist, working rapidly and brilliantly in every imaginable aspect of soft goods design and construction, from costuming and wearable art to quilting knitting, crocheting and “wearable technology.” I regularly provide the technology.
3. What are you most excited about doing as part of the core Knit the Bridge team?
As Technical Advisor for the rigging of the knitted panels on the two “bridge towers,” I simply can’t wait to start the installation, and I REALLY can’t wait to see it completed.
4. What do you see as the challenges?
1) Preparing as much as possible ahead of time, to streamline the installation process
2) Hanging the panels neatly and efficiently, for a spectacular big-picture effect
3) Getting the entire installation finished in only two days
4) Making sure that it won’t come down until the appointed time
5. How can others support your work with Knit the Bridge?
We’ll need a large volunteer army for the installation weekend. We will also need a smaller but equally important crew to prepare the knitted panels and package them for shipment to the bridge site.