NEW ART DIRECTION

We at dAbe Art always combined our commercial art with the not commercial art.
We create art for a market, for what people want to buy, as we can’t live from fresh air alone.
Together with other artists we feel strongly that commercialism blocks creative freedom and you might get trapped in making the same thing over and over  again.

ik zie, ik zie wat jij niet zie

ik zie, ik zie wat jij niet zie

We would not have the groundbreaking work from Vincent van Gogh, if he would have painted what the market at that time demanded. Artists even loose their artistic freedom when working as community artists or creating funded work. The funding bodies are now a market themselves as they have to justify the money they spend, with other words thick the boxes. Artists also loose on health and safety, the insurance. At times the monetary value of the insurance is higher than that of the art work.

ground breaking

ground breaking

Dabe-Art used their own money for all projects which reflect their artistic expression and the spend time was never wasted though not paid.
We sell to eat, we live to create. We like to explore and love to push boundaries.

wonder

wonder

Right now we are starting once again a meaningless, boundless, aimless project in which we take the freedom to reflect and prospect. A project divided in two, the upper part where we sell and be commercial, the lower part where we act out our freedom to be artists. Or perhaps split into a front part and a back part or a left and a right or an in and out, cleave the subjects. We will be asking other artists to join us on this journey. Before you ask, yes we, again, will be planting trees on our route. Oh and before we forget: the art retreats are a part of our commercial exportation, but when you are interested we will add on the abstract expectation.

do you see the meaning?

do you see the meaning?

Dabe-Art started the experimenting, the researching, the possibilities. We opened up some old ideas, which lay buried under sheets of dust. We look and search once again we might enhance the new into our old perspectivity  (new word) perhaps a new world.
We will use this new space not only to sell put also to explore and to feel your anticipation.

pick this up

pick this up

mAgdA

dAbE Art

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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

Preparations

We are busy making preparations for the floating art project Artists on the Canals. Next to all the phone calls and emails to organise it all my mind bubbles with making work for the exhibitions.
The theme for the exhibition is how the canals inspire our work, we show this in a video/sound installation and other work. So i decided to create work specially for this, not making work fit for it but really think about how the canals inspire me.

geese reflection

geese reflection

My childhood was spend on rivers and along rivers, in Wales i lived next to the wild coast of Pembrokeshire, so water is my element. Yet there is something special about the canals which you don’t find on the beach. Perhaps the reflections you get like a mirror seeing double. Yeh that certainly gives you inspiration but it is more.
Wandering over the canals that feeling of freedom well ja but.
While walking along the canals i wrote a little poem trying to catch that special feeling.

seeing the leaf falling
down
touching the cloud
on unsoiled ground
a little dimple
a circle off ripples
to float like a boat
through the clouds off reflections

touch the clouds

touch the clouds

So on my knees i went to go close to the water to see it from an other perspective, getting that leaf getting the reflections. Yet most of all capture an atmosphere of stillness of two worlds touching each other in a perspective moment but never for real. Yet that leaf came from the sky turning in her last fall to float away on her last journey.

wet

wet

The consequences were wet knees and many faces passing me with big ?? and some asking me what i was doing. Well i was getting close to my subject but never said that always talked about the project. One moment of turning reflections and the camera is wet as it almost touches the water.

tussen wal en schip

tussen wal en schip

What i saw and what i now see, you only see when on your knees. You see here a small part of the many many images i took over the last months between all the phone calls,  emails, searching for exhibition spaces, negotiations, informations and so on.
One photo comes on our promotion poster which will float from place to place.
So this land artist became a float on the water.

poem

poem

Thats not all i want to show, thats not all i want to make. For me this water-life away from the land makes me turn like a leaf on the wind, looking for a new direction.
The books i made sold good but they miss something, they need to be more creative, creative writing not just telling a story, not just the words behind the image, something more.
Now i am learning how to make my own books, hand made books, what will come out of it, who knows.
The leave poem, you see here above, will be developed into a larger piece which will be filmed for the video installation.

working

working

What Berth will make will be a total surprise, we only show so much you just need to come to the exhibitions and see our boats. Its not just us the Wånderlust but also other art boats totally 4 art boats with their popUP gallery will be floating along to show the canals in a different way. Come along talk to us, see our work in the making, hear some poems.
When you are lucky you can participate in the making of a spiral with a spiral poem.

beach

beach

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

LOCKS week 13 and 14

We went to Birmingham Floating Market, to get to Birmingham you need to do a lot of locks. We did 27 locks to get there and 30 locks to get out of Birmingham.
The market was fantastic, we tried out our ‘wings’, against the rain, however i write this blog about the locks.

wings

wings

For a boat to go up the hill it has to do locks, water flows down to the sea not up the hill.
Most of the locks on the canals of Britain are operated manually by the boaters themselves, no lock keepers to help you.

rack of pedal mechanic

rack of pedal mechanic

With a special tool, called the windlass, you wind up the rack to let either water in or out of the lock.
You have single locks, in which just one boat fits and you have double locks, in which 2 boats or a wide boat fits.

cogwheel of the lock paddle

cogwheel of the lock pedal

It is a simple system with cogwheel and rack, when rack is up the paddles are open to let water in the lock or out of the lock all depends if you are going up or down.

both racks up of a double lock

both racks up of a double lock

Than you just wait when you let water out of the lock or into the lock it goes wild. It is wise when you let the water out to have the boat well away from the lock. When you are a single boat in a double lock and the wild water comes in, the boat can become a bouncing ball in the lock. The first wide/double lock we did was a bit scary to say the least. Now we keep the boat well under control with the centre line which is attached in the centre of the boat on the roof. We also have learned which paddle to open first to let the water push the boat against the wall.

wild water

wild water

You set the lock for the level you are entering so low when you go up or high when you go down.
While the water flows the boat just wait until it is high enough and you can push open the gates to cruise out of the lock.

waiting

waiting

At times you have a flight of locks, one lock after an other to do a steep climb up the hill. When we went into Birmingham we done two flights of locks. First the Aston Flight of totally 11 locks from which 8 locks close to each other.
The lock wheeler has a lot of work than setting one lock while the other lock is filling with water, opening gates of the locks letting the boat out than closing the gates after boat is out one lock and in the next lock.

flight of locks going up

flight of locks going up

After the Aston flight you get the Farmers Bridge Flight of locks, 13 locks in a row.

lock going under a building

lock going under a building

The flight goes partly under a new building which is a kind of bizarre experience. The wind here speeds up so the person on the helm needs to keep their wits. Yet under the building, which was build well after the canal was dug, you find yourself under an old bridge, which is under the building.

lock under the bridge, bridge under a building

lock under the bridge, bridge under a building

When boaters know you are coming up in a flight they help. When we went to the market we were following a hole string of boats and an other string of boats followed us. The boater who done the flight helped them coming up, so we did as well. It gives a real community spirit.

Hatton Flight

Hatton Flight

When we left Birmingham we done the famous Hatton Flight of locks a total of 21 locks in one flight, one after an other. You have a small pond between the locks where you can pass boats which are coming up, in our case. The Hatton Flight are wide locks and we were lucky enough to do most of them paired with an other boat. Going down in a wide lock is not so hard as going up however with two boats it is a lot easier and it safes a lot of water.

high up

high up

Locks are high in some cases and it is sure not a place to fall in the water.
The feeling you get when you done the locks and you leave the last lock is one of great achievement. We are getting better and better at doing the locks, we even do them with lots of wind. To go to a market or an event is for us hard work but full of pleasure. We are now on our way to Cassiobury Park near Watford. We still have to do an other 40 locks.

lockeruitvaren

We will be there on Saturday.

 

 

POPPERUP week 10, 11, 12

The last few weeks we reversed our footsteps and went back the way we came. We made marks on the map for good spots to popUP the cruising art gallery.

the box display

the box display

The gallery was popUPed at many places with just a bit of cruising in between.  The great site effect of this cruising art gallery is the fantastic spots we can display our art in. We went to Wolverton and moored right next to this amazing running sculpture.

Wolverton popUP

Wolverton popUP

The warehouse across the canal has been transformed into apartments and little shops or offices. A different industry took over the once vibrant train industry which was housed in these buildings.

Stoke Bruerne was our next stop, close to the National Waterways Museum, which was closed the last time we came. Here we discovered the role woman played on the waterways in Britain, specially in the second world war.

old book cover of a wonderful book

old book cover of a wonderful book

After a day cruising we arrived in Braunston and took our time to create something new again. Berth experiment here with Walnut wood to add a different colour, still with a fine grain so you see the sculpture before you see the wood.

working with Walnut

working with Walnut

Again we were reminded of the roles of women on the canals. We were moored right next to the bridge leading to the marina with a plaque. Along the canals you get reminded of the old industry which once dominated the landscape and with it the canals. Out of this old buildings and canals evolved a new industry of mainly leisure orientation and living back on the canals. Even the old coal-boats now deliver coal for the heating of boats rather than going from mines to industry. Some of the boats have becoming travelling shops.

The old and the new

The old and the new

 

The urban landscape lay behind us as we enter the more farming cultured land. Perhaps better to say the old way of farming as most farm animals these days never see the outdoors.

freedom cow

freedom cow

The summer showed her face in the blue sky making the cruising such a pleasure. Seeing the sunset into the canal we decided to have a short break just before Rugby to just do nothing. Well, here one Oak found a home in the hollow tree-trunk i found and live now on top of the roof. One day it will be planted with trunk at all. Once again i used the soil of a mole-hill to fill up the trunk.

no words

no words

All along our route we looked at opportunities to meet up with the Rusty Alexandre a double decker bus converted into a travelling gallery. The artists involved with the Rusty Alexandre like the idea to meet up somewhere, to make a small spontaneous art event. Most places don’t have a car-park next to the canal, there is even a high fence between it our a hedge. We found a good spot at the Coventry Basin the end of the Coventry canal. The basin is surrounded by old building which are, once again converted into little shops. In one of the shops a comic artist and his wife have set up, now we love comics so to meet an artist in the midst of comics is double pleasure. The Astral Gypsy is also interested to set up a small art event at the Coventry Basin.

Coventry Basin

Coventry Basin

The beauty of travelling art you meet and meet again you’re not bound on one place or one time. With a smile on our face and a new project in our hands we left Coventry to cruise all the way up the Coventry Canal to Fradley Junction. On the way we stopped again at a forest where i picked up some rocks on the way down. The forest had changed into a brilliant colour green but the rocks where still shattered around for me to pick up and to discover the fence eating tree.

popUP at Fradley Junction

popUP at Fradley Junction

After Fradley Junction we moved into the Trent and Mersey and were on unknown territory to discover what ever came on our route. The aim was to go to the birth place of our boat, at Midland Canal Centre where she was build by Stenson Boat Builders.

coming together the place she was build

coming together the place she was build

 

When we got there they still remembered her, the old colours and her old name. The Wånderlust new role as cruising art gallery left a mark along this section of the Trend and Mersey by planting an other Oak and leaving several rocks.

roof garden

roof garden