Shroppie

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shroppie magic

The Wanderlust wandering down, perhaps up, or maybe over, better into a magic place called Shropshire Union Canal.
Our most favourite spot on the canals is the cut, a real cut out of rocks to prevent the need of many locks, Woodseaves Cut
Created as a vein for the industry ended as haven for wilderness.

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a green wall

It is still, it is green, it is wild yet human hands made it with spades and pickaxe. It was the last project made by the engineer Thomas Telford he never saw it finished as his ambition was high it took more time to repair and repair again what failed and failed again.
Yet, here it is full of life full of beauty. He knew you could do it and so he did.

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tall

The bridges here are TALL, higher than trees no problem here for the bird on the chimney. The canal here narrows to an almost single lane canal, yet two boats can just pass if no rocks stick out.

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ssssssstttt

Trees are growing almost vertical any crack hides its own little forest of ferns, moss and my favourite liverworts. The liverworts are old very old plants living while adapting, in my opinion the strongest plant on earth.

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Liverwort with a small fern covering cliffs

While passing you feel the jungle surrounding you with different sounds, different smells giving you the feeling you just entered an other world.
You can almost see the animals swing on the strings of Ivy.

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vertical garden 

Somebody said a picture never does it justice, no matter how i pick my brain, words certainly don’t describe it.

When you are ever on the canals in the UK make sure you don’t miss this piece of magic.

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good bye

A very special way to say good bye to our life on the canals as we wander on, over land towards new water to be explored by us but not with the Wanderlust.

Watch this space for more and even more updates.

 

 

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Thyme

PLANT PROFILE
THYME

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thymus are small woody evergreen shrubs, which grows very well in sunny, well drained, conditions.

The final size of Thyme various from 5 cm (2 inch) to 20 cm (8 inch). Therefor they are brilliant plants for in pots.

 

Thymus vulgaris the compact form and the normal garden Thyme

Thymus vulgaris the compact form and the normal garden Thyme

Growing Thyme in pots makes it easier to create the right environment for them. When you grow Thyme in a pot choose terracotta or a stone pot as they drain of the water very well, but avoid plastic pots.

What Thyme doesn’t like is: too much water, damp conditions, acid soil and a shady spot; in these cases Thyme will be susceptible to rotting.
To make soil less acid you can add some calcium to the soil in the form of horticultural grit, dolomite lime or make your own by using eggshells: you wash tand dry them and than make it into powder or as fine as you can get in a mortal and pestle or use a rock to grind them.
You can make soil more well drained by adding some gravel. Compost in pots will become more acid in time, add some calcium after around 3 months.
Lots of compost is too fertile for Thyme, fertility will wash away in time and the good thing is you never need to fertilise Thyme. When you do fertilise you will get a very leggy plant which will grow too fast and die too fast.

Thyme silver posy in terracotta pot

Thyme silver posy in terracotta pot

In nature Thyme grows in sandy soil mainly in coastal areas, therefor the plant can handle salty winds or exposure very well. You can find wild Thyme growing along the Pembrokeshire coast or other coastal areas in the UK. Thyme is winter hardy and can handle frost well into the -15º.

flowering Thyme

Thyme can be used in cooking and goes very well in mediterranean cooking and with meat dishes, it helps us to digest our food better.
It also is an antiseptic herb very helpful when you have a cold.
Cutting Thyme will help the plant and yourself, you don’t need to prune it when you use the herb in cooking.

Thyme in the garden can be used in many ways to help us. When you are seeding in a greenhouse or under plastic put some stems of Thyme on the soil to prevent powdery mildew and damping off. When lucky the stems will set root and you have some new Thyme plants as well.
Thyme will attract the bees to the garden they, just love the tiny flowers. Thyme honey is well known and has a special taste, good for colds.

Thymus vulgaris compact, perfect for all size pots

Thymus vulgaris compact, perfect for all size pots

On the boat we sell the garden Thyme in a normal and the compact variety and we have the silver posy Thyme in a terracotta pot.

For more information please visit us by the boat.

 

ROOF TOP

ZEN-SCAPES

beach dreaming

beach dreaming

The idea of making small scale landscapes based on big scale landscapes, has been brewing for several years now. The making of big gardens lay behind us but gardening is still a part of land art. Only a narrowboat does not have much space and a roof garden was a big question. How will a garden effect the roof? Think about the rust it could create. A small roof garden was the compromise with a bit of experimenting in mind. The garden came on some wood so water could flow away or on some rubber matt to let in air, plus protecting the paint.

roof top garden last year

roof top garden last year

After two years the paint was fine, no more rust under the roof garden than on the rest of the roof. So the old idea of ‘Zen-Scapes’ came back on the agenda of the Wanderlust as a part of making our products more diverse. Landscape inspire many artists in just as many ways; photography, painting, poetry, land art, sculptures and gardening. The Japanese gardens reflect on landscapes and in certain ways garden-design in Europe also show small scale landscapes. While standing on the cliff tops in Pembrokeshire by Trefin looking down on the small beach surrounded by a rocky landscape something started to develop.

Trefin Beach, Pembrokeshire

Trefin Beach, Pembrokeshire

How can you “terrascape” a landscape like that in a pot, micro landscaping. You see the big rocks yet there are so many small pebbles, pieces of driftwood and even drift glass. While writing a land art poem on the beach the collecting of material started, small material to create small landscapes.

circle made with found material of the beach some only 2 MM big

circle made with found material of the beach some only 2 MM big

The beach by Trefin relaxes the mind and body just like so many other landscapes, just like zen gardens. The simplicity of emptiness shows in every Japanese garden, they use just a few plants with not too many flowers. The opposite of an English cottage garden which is filled with flowers of every season except during the cold winter months. The Japanese always use rocks and gravel or sand, they create a relaxing atmosphere while behind the wall the hassle and bustle of life goes on. The Japanese garden becomes a place to relax, a place to escape.

rocky water

rocky water

How to get that relax atmosphere of water over rocks in a pot, how to get the colours and reflection into a pot?

water reflection

water reflection

In this example only one rock is used washed on the sand and the glass pot represents the water.
The air-plant can’t be placed outside, it is more something for on the coffee table. Air-plants do not need any soil and can be used in a creative way but will not survive outside. We only have very limited space inside the boat and most windows are filled with sculptures some discussions later, better look at outdoor solutions.

Zen scape

Zen scape

Succulent plants survive with very little soil and even grow right on rocks. The problem with these plants is: too much water will kill them and some can only handle a little frost. We are now working on a system to protect the plants which will also protect the roof. The roof will be filled with ‘Zen-Scapes’ each reflecting a landscape somewhere in the world using special little objects found in that landscape. At times they will be simple and others will be big.

simple Zen Scape

simple Zen Scape

The wing will fly away as the ‘Zen-Scapes’ need the light and not the red light of the wing, which function was to give some shelter from the elements yet still look like a boat. The wing also made people aware of us, we are more than a moored narrowboat. We are back to the drawing board how to fit all the different elements on the boat.

stilte   silence

stilte silence

The Mercia Marina will create a bee garden and the boaters will place some bee attracting plants on their boats. There are many succulent plants who flower and many who attract  bees and butterflies. We will arrive at the Marina around 25 March and will start trading not long afterwards. The roof top garden with the many ‘Zen-Scapes’ will be developed right there, right than.

 

roof top garden in 2014

roof top garden in 2014

 

 

 

Artists on the Canals TOUR

here we come

here we come

For 8 weeks now we have been on the Artists on the Canals Tour and we will be for an other 4 weeks. It feels a lot longer as we have been organising this tour for months.
The tour started in Atherstone where we had a long week-end poppingUP our galleries.
It makes a nice difference to tour together, helping, sharing, cooperating most of all getting inspired.

the two art boats at Atherstone

the two art boats at Atherstone

Right before the start we had engine problems, I mean real engine problems with alarm bells going right left and centre. Repair after repair did not solve the problem so here we were cruising with from time to time the engine giving a right big scream showing red lights   telling us turn me of much too hot here in the engine-room.
We were going in the locks together us without a running engine and the other boat moving us, lucky we were at a part of the canals with double locks.

together in lock

together in lock

After some cooling down we followed our companion into the tunnel with a not so good engine, ready to shout and horn blowing for them to reverse to come and get us when all would go wrong.
All went fine exempt for the nerves.

popUP of 3 boats

popUP of 3 boats

While in popUP mode we don’t need the engine much as we have the solar panel for our electricity, only for the hot water we need fossil power.
It isn’t just nice for when in trouble to work together, doing something together we add to the other artists work and they add to our work. When you come along you see many different art forms and artistic expression not just one, new styles, new subjects all on narrowboats.

Tonies garden

Tonies garden

The advantage of being in one place for a while you meet other very interesting and creative people. Tony Robinson who makes a lovely garden along the Aylesbury Canal, is one of them. He is well over 80 years old and do the gardening with what people donate to him, when the sun shines you will find him there. Nobody owns the garden, yet all enjoy it, thanks to a man who took time and initiative to create.
The garden has some of our plants and rocks in there and all he wants people to do is water it when dry, leave the rest to him, it is his ‘painting’ after all.

enjoyment

enjoyment

In between the popUP and exhibitions we have time for pure enjoyment, when the engine keeps going. The good thing of travelling with a narrowboat from place to place is you experience the environment in details. You hear the birds, you smell the flowers, you see the rocks.
So we went to the next spot to popUP again, even we are together we stay totally separate while our studios and work link up along the towpath.

Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted

In Berkhamsted we linked up with a canal site pub we remember from last year. The Rising Sun is right next to the lock. In summer it feels like you locking through the pub as the customers taking their seats right next to the lock.
After us the floating theatre would play one of their acts right next to the lock.
On the moment we are moored in Hemel Hempstead meeting up with other artists like the Angry Boater the comedian. Tomorrow I link up with a woman to work together on a poetry-film.
We even share our exhibition space with musicians and comedians in the Cellar Club at the Old Town Hall. Our art gives a very different background to their performances linking visual art with a different audience.
In Aylesbury we had an exhibition in The Queens Park Art Centre a lovely community art centre. Heidi Siggers one of the artists from Artists on the Canals linked here up to get her fantastic ceramic work fired in their kiln. It will be hard to accommodate a kiln on a narrowboat.

different perspective

different perspective

We moored up at different spots giving a very different perspective and inspiration. Discovering new places with new inhabitants, not only the people who walk past with their dogs. People enjoying the towpath in many different ways, cycling, running, jogging, talking and now experimenting with art.
We had so many talks with people who got inspired by our work, not many galleries give you the experience to talk with the artists and see them at work.

dreaming

dreaming

We also get inspired by these new environments and their individual beauty, to get a special place, one day, in the different floating galleries.
We will be moving on again next week towards Cassiobury Park at Watford where we will have an exhibition in The Cha Cafe. On Saturday 18 July we will be making a Spiral in the park with the locale community. At the same time the Watford and Busky artists society will come and express the landscape in drawings, paintings and other art-forms.
It will be a great way to end the Artists on the Canals Tour.

new way of photography

new way of photography

Hope to see you there or here.

GLASS PHOTOS

GLASS PHOTOGRAPHY
Photography has everything to do with light, exposure, shutter-speed, aperture, film sensitivity to light (ISO).  Photography gives you the possibility to play with light, even alter the light. When we print the photos we take away that light as the printed material has no concept of light and blocks it out rather than let it in.

water reflection

water reflection

Living on the water shows me everyday reflection of light. Light comes in waves, yet water need to be without waves to reflect. The reflection can be a mountain on the horizon or the drops of water under a floating feather.

floating feather

floating feather

For the floating art project I went deeper into the aspect of floating reflections, the little picture within the big picture. At times the falling light creates shadows and at an other angle it creates a reflection. Two objects were chosen; the feathers of the geese and the fallen leaves from the Oak. On my knees, often even on my belly, I hanged over the canal with my camera almost touching the water surface. It became an act of balancing to capture the silence reflection of a floating feather or leaf.
After some weeks I started to recognise the perfect light for the photo I wanted.

Glass Landscape

Glass Landscape

Than came the printing, working with water, I asked the question what resembles water the answer for many would be Glass. The idea for printing on Glass was born. The see-through feature of Glass created an other dimension onto the printing. How to print a photo where you can see through yet still see the photo, next to this how to print on glass.

towpath feather

towpath feather

Research started while i was still figuring out the final result. I could imagine the see through feature of Glass, so the floating subject of the photo would float through any landscape, the landscape which was behind it. Creating art for the window an other extension of Glass and light.
There are several printers who print on glass as a part of indoor design, specially kitchen. When i was talking to them they didn’t really understand what i meant or what i wanted to achieve. After a visit to Format Festival in Quad Gallery, Derby i found a more artistic orientated printer.

factory feather

factory feather

Now i had to make the photos more transparent so you can see through them. Photoshop is a new territory for me but i had to learn it quick and smart. The good thing of being on a boat with two artists you can dig into other peoples experience. The notes for this quick course will not go away as i will need them again.

rain shadows

rain shadows

Some more detailed telephone calls were made with the printer. In the past i made prints on stones and driftwood as a part of an other art project. The printer told me whatever is white in the photo will become the colour of the material it was printed on, this would become a problem with the feather. Well the technic moved on and this problem was solved. The colour white is in the process the fifth colour, the ink droplets are in two layers thermo-hardening resin. Not a cheap process but a long lasting one after 10 years the colours would fade less than 20% in an outdoors setting. You could hang them outside in the garden, my mind went wandering but had to stay focussed on the float project.
The glass was ordered using toughed Glass with rounded corners for safety reasons as they would be displayed in public places.

exhibition QPAC

Exhibition in Queens Park Art Centre in Aylesbury

 

On a narrowboat the windows are not straight and the boats moves a lot, therefor 4 holes were drilled in the Glass to safely hang it in a narrowboat window. The final result became better than expected the reflection of light played around with the Glass. Rain drops shadows added to the art or even the reflection of the landscape in the photo.

 

 

landscape reflection in a photo

landscape reflection in a photo

Follow the Glass Photos on  Artists on the Canals tour, hope to see you somewhere on our tour and if you give this magic word you will get 20% reduction on the Glass Photos, opaque

see you

mAgdA

Wandering spirals

We are retracing our boat-steps from last year but not just so, we will leave behind a trail of spirals. All them lovely spots from last year, which left a deep impression we will visit again, not alone but with a group of other floating artist on their narrowboats. As a group we have several exhibitions on the land and on our boats, see video to get a first impression.

back to where we came from

back to where we came from

Right from the beginning of Land Art spirals were important, perhaps because we see so many wonderful spirals in nature and not just in plants also in animals like the tail of the Seahorse. So the idea to make spirals on our route as a community Land Art project was born. Each lovely place will get a spiral made in that landscape with what we can find in that landscape. As a part of the spiral a poem will be written, by them who make the spiral.

spiral tail

spiral tail

First the Wanderlust went back home, close to her home, where she was build. Last year we past it and planted an Oak nearby along the Trend and Mersey Canal, now we call it home, boat and crew. The Mercia Marina became our place to be in February. We can popUP our gallery here and sell our art while making it. The marina was very keen to hear about Spiral Journey and offered a place to make the Spiral.

spiral spotting

spiral spotting

The first spiral of a group of spirals along the canals on our tour this year. We made the Spiral with Willow cuttings pushing them in the ground and weave them together. Willow is such a great art material and there was plenty of it around growing and flowing. You can make great living sculptures with Willow as they grow the tree themselves makes a sculpture started by human hands.

growing sculptures

growing sculptures

So Spiral Journey started right near the home of Wanderlust. Boaters made this first spiral leaving something behind for the passing boats to wonder about and wander through. The spiral is big enough for people and their dogs to walk the spiral to the centre, where an other Oak was planted from the Shropshire Union Canal acorns seeded last year.

Spiral weaving

Spiral weaving

Willow Spiral could be made real big into a Land Art Forest, planting trees in the shape of a spiral people walking to the centre, all we need would be a piece of land large enough to accommodate a forest. Spiral journey will be preliminary to the Land Art Forest planted in the shape of a spiral. As from this moment anything sold from the Wanderlust 20% will go into the Land Art Forest and we will start to fundraise money on Crowd Funding Sites.

concentration

concentration

All the Spirals of Spiral Journey will come together in a book with the poems and photos of the Spirals, the selling of this book will go 100% into the Land Art Forest.
You can take part, this Saturday 9 May at Milton Keynes at the StonePit field. As the name says there are plenty of stones here to create the spiral with and to write a poem on.

Stone Pit Field

Stone Pit Field

Two sand spirals will be made at Queens Park Art Centre Aylesbury, with children from 4 till 11 years old. The children will make some sand stories to take home and to leave in the spiral, poetry or figurative. After this a spiral will appear at Cassiobury Park near Watford on 18 July and anybody is welcome to join in followed shortly after by a spiral in the Peace Meadow as part of Linslade Canal Festival.

Willow hoop

Willow hoop

You can follow the Artists on the Canals on Facebook to see where we are but here is a list:

Milton Keynes at the Great Linford park from 2 – 12 May

Aylesbury at the canals basin right in town from 17 – 30 May with an exhibition at Queens Park Art Centre

Berkhamsted the mooring by the Rising Sun Pub from 3 – 6 June

Hemel Hempstead several moorings from 9 – 28 June with an exhibition at the Old Town Hall

Cassiobury Park by the Iron Lock Bridge from 6 – 20 July with an exhibition at the Cha Cafe

Spiral Poems

Spiral Poems

SPIRAL JOURNEY

The first Spiral for Spiral Journey will be made in the next few weeks, just a few miles away from Stenson where the Wanderlust was build in 1992.
On the moment we are moored at Mercia Marina near Willington along the Trend and Mercey Canal. It was here we planted last year one of the Oak trees, grown from an acorn found along the Shropshire Union Canal. The little Oak was planted in a hollow Willow tree which was sawn down to prevent it from falling.

the little Oak

the little Oak

Willows only live for a short time unless you coppice them. Now we will be making a Spiral as a part of Spiral Journey with people from the Marina. This Spiral will be made from Willow on a field next to the canal to virtual join the other Spirals which will be made along the canals. The field is a part of a wild life area and you can walk through it on the 3 circular walks from the Marina.

the field by the canal

the field by the canal

The field was chosen, not only for its position next to the canal, but also for its natural beauty. The location in the field is near the foot-bridge over the canal so people can see the spiral from higher up when crossing the bridge. In a way it moves on from the Bridge project starting by a bridge.

the foot-bridge

the foot-bridge

We will be weaving the Willow as some of the Willows in the field did natural, it will grow together into a living wooden sculpture. Last year i made a living Willow sculpture along the Shropshire Union Canal and after just one season the woven branches grew together.

natural woven

natural woven

Shropshire Union Willow

Shropshire Union Willow

A poem written by the people making the Spiral about the landscape in which the Spiral grows. Everybody experience the landscape different and by writing these different experience in one poem will make people look at that landscape from a different perspective. Visitors can walk through the Spiral while reading the poem coming to the centre. In the centre we will plant Flowering Rush, which we call in Holland the SwanFlower which is appropriate for the Marina as the Swan is used on their information packet.

flowering rush swanflower

flowering rush swan-flower

On our route with the Artist on the Canals more Spirals will be made. Permission has been granted in Milton Keynes on the StonePit Field using the stones we find there and again with a special landscape poem. In Aylesbury 2 Spirals will be made with children at the Queens Park Art Centre, these Spirals will be made with sand. One will have a poem the other, as it will be made by small children between the age of 4 till 7, will have handprints. The people of Cassiobury park are very keen to make an other Spiral there, on the moment we are working out the details of this project. The last Spiral will be made as a part of Linslade Canal Festival and will appear on the Peace Meadow next to the canal close to an other footbridge.

spiralpopUP

popUP gallery at Mercia Marina

Keep an eye on our FaceBook page for more details to be involved with the making of the Spirals any of the Spirals and become part of the Spiral Journey.

2015 planned TOUR

The last few weeks we have been busy with making our tour for 2015.
This year our tour will be involving a lot more than just ourselves and we leave the experimenting and go for ‘real’ meaning we have a plan. Now that is something new for us as we work mainly makeshift with a few dates and schedules.  As all artists we need bread on our plates, so we need to be commercial and put on a different thinking cap.

ICE

ICE

The largest part of our tour will be together with other art-boats, showing, making and selling our art along the towpaths. This floating art project takes some organising not just ourselves. The name is Artists on the Canals, an exhibition how the canals inspire our artists working and living on narrowboats.

In February we set off from our mooring here at Venetian Marina. We hope to arrive before March at our new mooring at Mersey marina on the Trend and Mersey Canal from this mooring we can Trade from the boat.

1 March till 27 April Mersey Marina trading from boat
cruising

Gab reflections

Gab reflections

Start of the Artists on the Canals project.
Friday 1 May – Monday 4 May Atherstone
cruising
Saturday 9 May – Monday 11 May Milton Keynes
cruising
Sunday 17 May – Sunday 31 May Aylesbury
cruising
Wednesday 3 June and Thursday 4 June Berkhamsted
cruising
Saturday 6 June – Saturday 4 July Hemel Hempstead
cruising
Tuesday 7 July – Monday 20 July Cassiobury Park, Watford
End of Artists on the Canals project.

sun set

sun set

cruising
Saturday 25 July Linslade Canal Festival
cruising
Saturday 1 August – Monday 3 August The Globe Inn by bridge 111 Grand Union Canal
cruising
Friday 7 August – Monday 10 August Blisworth Canal Festival
cruising
Saturday 15 August – Sunday 16 August somewhere
cruising
Friday 28 August – Monday 31 August somewhere
cruising

snail pace

snail pace

Friday 4 September – Sunday 6 September Stourport Floating Market
cruising
making some art thinking some art exploring a bit
cruising
somewhere in the neighbourhood
cruising
Friday 25 September – Sunday 27 September Birmingham Floating Market
cruising
Back at Mersey Marina trading from boat

i can see the future

i can see the future

A long program with some bits of uncertainty, like life anywhere.
We float along thinking about our work for the exhibitions. New work for selling, new books, new sculptures, new photos, totally new video installation with sound installation.
When you see, one of us laying on her belly on the towpath with a camera touching ‘almost’ the water, you know WHY.

The canals the Reflections The water The engine The trees

cloud meets water

                                 cloud meets water

We will post more details somewhere, sometime if you want more info visit website
dabe-art.org

mAgdA

WANDER YEAR

REFLECTIONS ON A YEAR

WATER

WATER

2014 was our first year as a Cruising Art Gallery on board narrowboat Wånderlust.
What a year it has been. First getting it all ready the popUP gallery to fit in the roof box yet easy to popUP. Than getting ourselves ready, training by experimenting, do a wide lock, a staircase lock, a flight of locks and do tunnels, winding, mooring, going backwards. Finally we went on our way down south, The lines from the song Wanderlust from Bjork come into my mind

 “I feel at home whenever the unknown surrounds me,
i receive it’s embrace,
onboard my floating house”

What a great feeling it was to enter the unknown canals seeing the new surrounding floating into spring with the left overs from the winter storms all around us. The slow motion of the boat passing through well life on board became surrounded by locking, map reading, sorting popUP locations and just slowly separating the water to move us through.  Even the engine was snoring the stilte was all around us and deep inside us, a drift to serenity.

STILTE SSSSTTTT

STILTE SSSSTTTT

Even in the middle of London we found stillness flowing under roads, underneath houses, along tree edges, passing apartments standing in the canal. Seeing countless Dutch boats with the old names remaining on their bows. To go through Camden Locks with a massive growth watching or skills, only to find no moorings, plenty of good spots for a popUP gallery without moorings. Our gentle motion became entangled into the web of runners, cyclist, walkers, talkers and plenty of mobile phones. Business decisions made on the towpath also for us we left with an illusion wiped from our slate. While going we learned, gained impressions, received appreciations and discovered what works and what not.

CAMDEN LOCKS

CAMDEN LOCKS

We saw films made and took part in a film, made photos plenty of photos and were the object of photography, found places and lost location. We talked and we listen, we looked to learn the scheme.

The wings were bought and shaped, bunting went up or down depending of the edge, hats on chairs out we found the spots.

AYLESBURY CANAL

AYLESBURY CANAL

Atherstone, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, Berkhamstead, Hemel Hempstead, Casiobury Park by Watford and than back to Linslade and Blisworth, what you read here is our route from this year which will be our route for next year. We will not be alone as we never really were, we have joined forces with other artist living on narrowboats selling their art. Together we come and join with art organisations on our route to have on land exhibitions about Artists on the Canals. We will popUP for longer or shorter moments. A video and sound installation will be showed from the boat or land based galleries. Musicians, drawer, painter, jeweller, sculptor, land artist, poet we float along and make art, show art, dance art, talk art.

POPUP CHESTER

POPUP CHESTER

The experimental year came to completion.

We float on to a new art project,
new popUP experience,
where land meets water,
where art meets daughter.

yearfloat

We all looking forwards to see you again next year.

happy NEW year

mAgdA

Travelling art travelling gallery

When we started our travelling art experiment we knew that is was quite new:  most galleries and museums stay in one spot and the art gets transported from gallery to gallery. Even the new popUP movement do not travel from place to place but popUP in buildings. The camper from Berth was a piece of travelling art but he could not use it as a popUP due to all sort of regulations. The van became a piece of travelling art promoting our art work.

The artistic camper

The artistic camper

With a new paint scheme “Wanderlust” became as well a promotion vehicle but had now more the function of a travelling gallery. There are some travelling galleries on the road in trucks, campers, caravans or buses; but we had to learn the art of cruising the canals as an art gallery by doing it.
Already after our first popUP we discovered the need of better weather shelter and good presentation. As a ‘show room’ the well deck of the boat was too small and also not weatherproof as the rain is just blowing in through the site opening. The weather also took its toll on the banner we had, here the wind was more the problem. The banner became a sail with a tiny mast which snapped to soon. Even the reinforcement of the ‘mast’ did not help much.

first popUP

first popUP

Apart of those technical issues we had no idea how people would react towards bringing art to the towpath and at which places we would meet art lovers. We like the idea of transporting our art to the people instead of the people have to go to the art. However we still had to sell our artistic expressions to eat and feed the boat.

London popUP at Little Venice

London popUP at Little Venice

We expected – and with us many other people – we would do well in London as a place of the popUP movement and the city as an art centre. Well, we didn’t succeed. People just passed by or shouted over their mobile “oooh – wow – look at this” – but only very few stopped and even less bought something. We spend some weeks in the capital to find out that it was not the place for us.

At other places we did better. Cassiobury park (near Watford) where we moored rather because of the beauty of the spot and the beech trees, was a good place for business. The park attracts mainly walkers yet the people are taking the time to stop, look and talk. The Cruising Art Gallery was appreciated in more than one way.

Aylesbury popUP

Aylesbury popUP

Soon we found out we had to promote ourselves better, had to stand out, so our appearance became more of an event than just another interesting boat. In small canal towns like Atherstone or Aylesbury that happened rather than in cities or touristy places like for example Stratford upon Avon.  As part of an event like canal festivals we did even better. The floating markets organised by the  RTCA were a good push.

the floating market Birmingham with the art-boat

the floating market Birmingham with the art-boat

It was at Birmingham Floating Market in June that we tried our new weather protection. We didn’t want it too much looking like a market stall – even we do take part in markets – so we tailor made  the ‘wings’. The wings work fantastic: we are standing out and our art work is well sheltered from the weather. And it looks “boaty”, as it blends into the appearance like a sail. Additionally the wings store easy and are not bulky. For under £15, some rope and elastic plus the boat pole we had an almost perfect weather shelter.

the wings

the wings

From June things went better not only thanks to the appearance but also by meeting more people and making contacts with other cruising artists. After the Middlewich floating market we went with an other art boat to Chester to popUP together. It makes the travelling more fun, specially in the wide locks but we also traded a lot better with two boats. We compliment each other and giving people more choice.

two art boats in the lock going to Chester

two art boats in the lock going to Chester

After a very successful popUP in Aylesbury in May we made some good contact with the Queens Park Art Centre creating a project for 2015. As you see this year became a true learning year and while it was also a successful year we can continue and take these lessons into the new year.

Chester popUP with artist Lesley Pearson on NarrowBoat Hekla

Chester popUP with artist Lesley Pearson on NarrowBoat Hekla

As a result “Wanderlust” will attend more canal festivals and floating markets. We also will join up with other travelling galleries to make artistic events along the canals with painters, poets, musicians and other artists on boats or moving galleries.

the boat as a studio

the boat as a studio