Much of the flotsam incorporated in my work has travelled many, many miles. Marine debris arrives on my doorstep, collected and sent from Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, Maryland USA, Australia and even Cape Town.
These objects now begin the next stage in their epic journey, interwoven and framed to prompt discussions around the subjects of nostalgia, childhood, memory, travel and the environmental impact of their continued presence. It was inspiring to hear so many people’s childhood memories that had been triggered by my flotsam weaving.
One of the two largest tapestries in the exhibition, Plenty More Fish in the Sea (2014) features a collection of lobster trap tags found on the Atlantic coasts of Ireland, Wales and England.
Each tag includes a year and location code: Newfoundland (NFLD) in Canada, Rhode Island (RI) and Maine (MA) in the USA are just some examples of the remarkable transatlantic origins of these tags.
Every object washed up on the beach has a story – Where did it come from? How did it end up in the sea? For the most part we will never know, but that can’t stop us from wondering…
It’s Only a Game (2014) has been constructed from netting, rope and fishing line, incorporating small plastic toys washed ashore on the coasts of Britain and Ireland.
With cheap production methods, we now consider small plastic objects to be disposable. Plastic toys from our childhood have found their way into the sea, but despite being jumbled and tumbled by currents and tides, they show few obvious signs of decay, even after decades. While we have grown up, their adventures have continued.
It’s Only a Game invokes nostalgia for a time of childhood innocence. At first the reunion with these familiar toys is joyful, but then we consider the far from innocent consequences of their continued existence.
My exhibition is on at Watford Museum until 28th June 2014, so why not go and see what kind of memories the collections of flotsam stir in you. I will also be running a weaving workshop on Thursday 29th May from 10.30 – 12 noon, so download the Flotsam at Space2 poster (pdf) to find out more.