This is the week of Thanksgiving. We are to think of all that we are grateful for and I am working on that. Now that we are nearing the end of 2016 it feels like we have weathered a storm much like this boat above. I looked through my images of all the boats I have made to represent safe places, safe from turbulent seas surrounding them. I don’t much care for water but am quite partial to boats. Probably because they are designed to keep one out of the water. I should build one large enough to just sit in, put it in a corner of the studio, toss in a couple of pillows and a good book. Tune out all the things that either are out of my control and the ones I don’t want to control any more. It has been quite a year, a good year to just climb aboard.
I am back in the studio and working on those houses. Right now it is the beekeepers place. I like putting the roof on an open house. When I fix that roof into place it makes everything inside safe….even though the whole front is open, the things inside are safe.
I will show more boats below. Boats that were never intended to go near water, made to be part of a bigger picture, a bigger story. I wonder if that is the reason I am finding it hard to stay focused in the studio. Have I run dry of good stories? It seems everything I do has a story, a reason it is there. The story comes first and then the work. As we age do we run out of stories or the energy to tell them? I should get into one of these boats and go off on an adventure in my mind. Then bring back stories of where the boat took me. This is a good idea. In the meantime, here are some boats .
Return Voyage that holds our memories that are connected with thin golden threads.
Different Road that sits with its painting in a private school in South Carolina inspiring students to make up their own stories about it.
Shifu Boat I that probably will sink the minute it sets off dragging its anchor of memories. Paper boats are not that safe.
Land Boat I completely cannibalized this boat for its parts. And it was my most favorite one of all so far. That rock for an anchor and an oar of roots that just want to tap into the soil, and branches pretending to be sails. When I first made the under structure of this boat it was to have a horse in it for Lyle Lovett. It was an ugly horse so the boat went off in another direction.
Sampan Book I liked building in the negative spaces, constructing sampans throughout this book. It was inspired by the sampans I saw in China. Closed it is made to look like a rope from a boat hooked to a dock.
Navigations is work done in graduate school about masculinity. The silk phallic bodies are wrapped in the text of what was passed down to them on what it takes to “be a man”. They drag their testicular anchor bags full of small stones through waters of feminist text. Their boats are all iron axes, hatchets and the like. No chance of survival for these men in their present circumstances.
Cooperation This was part of a series done in undergraduate school about the patriarchal system I grew up in. Here the old man patriarch is teaching the next generation about cooperation. Keep the compatible end of the oar in the water….work together.
And finally a detail of a catamaran made of bamboo roots and willow. All it takes to anchor this boat is a feather attached via shifu paper thread with a story of connection written on it.
Better stop here and get back to the beekeepers house. His clothes line should be dry by now and I can put him with the others. And in another hour company is coming for the week. A celebration is in order. Happy Thanksgiving. I am going to be thankful for boats and stories and single malt.