'Imagination will take you everywhere'
I have just finished constructing my very own ship. Not a full-scale one but a miniature one. Let me explain… I begin an Art Foundation course in September and the summer project is entitled ‘Kin Ships’ and involves making a ship to reflect your personality, interests and traits. It’s meant to be ‘serious fun’ and has enabled us vast creative freedom, as we have no limits – we can use any materials we want.
I have to admit I began the project with a small sense of trepidation; what to make? What materials? what size? Should I make a normal sailing ship or a flying ship or a space ship? How on earth do I display my personality? Not to mention the pressure – the room was practically buzzing when our tutor announced the brief; you know those arty types who get all interpretive and go off on a creative tangent.
I’ve never been that great at craft – no matter how much I try to stick things together they just won’t stay. There were the slippers I made out of cardboard and bits of carpet in primary school (disaster) and then for my Textiles GCSE I made a corset but managed to put too many eyelets down one side so it wouldn’t do up properly (I then had to wear it for the school fashion show – cringe). You may ask why I’m doing an art foundation and the reason is simple: photography and (hopefully) film-making, as well as having the purpose of increasing my knowledge of the wider creative world. My ultimate aim is to become an arts and culture journalist, so I thought an interesting route into the industry would be to begin on the other side – the side I would be reporting on, so I would therefore be able to understand it more comprehensively. I love art but have always found it more interesting to view it, question it, and to interview the person who created it – stripping back the layers to find the inspiration, purpose and intent behind it.
Despite this, the construction of my ship has been a very enjoyable process. And for once the glue has actually stuck and nothing has fallen apart. The ship is called ‘Kernow’, which is Cornish for Cornwall and is essentially my shrine to the county. Cornwall is a big part of my life; it’s not only a place where I can fully relax and unwind, but also somewhere that has inspired me. I’m not of Cornish descent, but I’ve got relatives who live there and I’ve been holidaying there ever since I was little. I’ve got many childhood memories of playing in the sea, running across the sand and taking picnics along coastal paths. So the ship represents my love of the county.
The main inspiration for my ship came in the form of a music video; the one for Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s ‘Atlas Hands’. The video is set on an empty beach and features a group of people constructing a ship in which the children set sail in at the end. It’s a beautiful piece of film-making which I think represents the creative freedom of childhood and then the journey to adulthood and the loss of innocence. The sea signifies the unknown; dangers we can’t hide from but must go through to reach our destination. Life is a bumpy ride with both choppy and calm water.
I wanted my ship to encompass the same style as the ship in the video: rustic, natural, free, bohemian. Most of the materials I used to construct it were from nature, picked up when I went beach combing along my favourite beach in Cornwall, e.g. a block of driftwood for the base of the ship, a long stick for the mast, rope and string, shells, a net from a lobster pot, and feathers (you won’t believe how many lovely bits and bobs there are amongst the heaps of rubbish on beaches). These materials represent my love of nature and the outside world. For the sail I created a triangular-shaped collage – I photocopied a map of Cornwall and ripped out sections which showed my favourite places (Rock, Padstow, Polzeath, Constantine, Booby’s Bay, Port Isaac), this portrays my love of adventure, exploration and travel. On top of this I stuck down photographs I’d taken in Cornwall – showing the dramatically rugged yet serene coastline. This element portrays my photographic hobby. Hopefully this ship represents not only Cornwall but also my personality. Maybe one day I’ll take the ship to my favourite beach in Cornwall and set it on to the chilly Atlantic to watch it sail away into the sunset. I’m sure it wouldn’t last a second.
Here are some photos of the construction process…