A ‘Fleet’ing moment

So a little more on the current project…

To date, I have 12 boats. These are all edged to provide a little more substance to the form. Without the edging they look very light and they just needed something to ground them a little (which is probably not the best word given they are boats, but you know what I mean).

The thread is either vintage or natural and includes nettle fibre. It’s a good feeling making with old thread, it just has a different quality as does the old rotary wheel for making holes. Now don’t deny it, putting together your project kit of threads and bits and bobs is part of the delight, is it not? My old cutlery tray made the perfect receptacle for my bits of nonsense. Very pleasing.

I wasn’t sure about edging them, but I tested a section on a failed one. I think the thread might suggest domesticity a little. I don’t mind that. I want the boats to represent community and home is a major part of that.

And just to underline that failure is part of it all, I had spent at least 2 hours on one boat, came down the next morning and without thinking, popped the balloon assuming it was dry. I always make a tiny hole and let down slowly. So I tried screwing the balloon about, covering the hole, sellotaping it, parcel taping over the sellotape…nothing stopped the small but deadly hiss of air. I just watched the whole thing fall apart.

Two days after I set to again, and deliberated about standing the balloon in the sun to dry. It makes the air swell and irons out wrinkles but too much and…well, it popped again! Fortunately it was dry enough to inflate a new one inside. Lessons learned.

A few days ago, a friend and I made felted stones. I could place real ones inside the boats but I wanted to see what these would look like. We had a socially distanced session in the garden (which by the way is now dry and complete with drainage channel – thank you for the nice comments).

I tried felting around small stones from the gravel path as I will need something to give the fleet a little weight. I’m still deciding if textile ones rather than real pebbles will be way forwards but I think they may. They are all having a final treatment to ensure they are not hairy, and some will have a fine layer of paint to provide additional texture or colour. Somehow, pebbles just keep reappearing in my work…

There is more to do to create tension and draw the sides up into a more pleasing shape and small ropes/chains will connect the fleet back to ‘harbour’ once I’ve settled on how best to do that.

It will be a while until the piece is finished so I will plod along for now and provide a few peeks when done!