Saturday, March 27, 2010


I have always been drawn to boats. Growing up in Arkansas near three lakes, there was always a boat in the see, my dad loved boats, too. There was an aluminum fishing boat with sweeping curved lines and at one time a large wooden boat big enough to sleep several people and later, once the kids were mostly grown and water skiing was out of the question, a party barge or two. I have wonderful memories of fishing for crappie, bass, and bluegill with my dad on Lake Hamilton. If I close my eyes I can still remember the smell of my dad's tackle box and the peculiar odor of the rubber purple worms. He used to tell a story of having me out in the boat with him when I was only 3 or 4 years old. A storm blew in and there was thunder and lightening in the distance. He said every time it lightened my fine red hair would stand straight up from static electricity. My dad kept trying to smooth my hair down afraid that I would draw the lightening to us. Needless to say, we did make it off the lake unscathed.

When I was about 12 years old I wanted a kayak so bad. Mom and dad bought me a kit for my birthday and dad and I worked on the wooden kayak with a cloth skin for months in the unfinished living room addition of our house. We had a pulley system rigged so that at night, or if company came, we could pull the boat up out of the way. Later in life I worked as a kayak guide in Baja...again being drawn to the pod like shape of kayaks.

Maybe it's all this early boat memory in my cells that joined forces a few days ago and led me to make a small sculpture of a boat. I'm calling this style boat a SKIMMER (thanks to my dear friend, Kristi, for helping me come up with this name.) To me a SKIMMER denotes light weight and a hull that barely touches the water. PELLUCID is a word that means translucent. A PELLUCID SKIMMER is the perfect description of this style boat.

The frame of my first skimmer is made of copper wire and just like the skin boats of early arctic people, it, too, has a skin. A very thin Japanese paper (gampi) that has been printed with vintage imagery covers the boat. I purposely chose imagery from old photographs that showed people enjoying the beach or water in general. I glue the paper on while it is damp and as it dries it shrinks slightly and really does resemble a stretched skin.

On this particular boat I used waxed linen thread to attach the ribs. The linen thread reminds me of sinew that was used in traditional skin boats. Eventually this 7 inch skimmer will have a stand. Next I want to try a slightly larger skimmer....maybe 12 inches....and then maybe 20 inches.....stay tuned!!

Remember that you can click on a photo to see an enlarged version.

I really love this organic shape that is both pod and boat at the same time. There is a beautiful translucency when the SKIMMER is slightly backlit.

This photo is looking down into the SKIMMER.

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