2013 – Craft in the Bay 2013: www.makersguildinwales.org.uk
An exhibition inspired by shapes and forms of everyday tools and utensils.
In response to the title ‘Utility” I have chosen to replicate my fathers work tools. My father joined the Cardiff Boat Building Company, situated on the Bute Dry Dock in 1945 at the age of 14 as an apprentice boat builder. Here he learned the traditional craft of boatbuilding using a set of tools, which he still uses today, 68 years later.
For me these tools hold a very powerful meaning. They are not only functional but also beautiful to look at and to hold having been worn and molded to my father’s hands after so many years of use. Their well-used surfaces hold a hidden history of the many boats that they once crafted and I believe these tools also reveal the strong personal union between the craftsman and his tools.
When the Cardiff Boat Building Company had to close down in 2003/4 to make way for the development of the Bay I managed to rescue the original hand written order book for all the boats made and repaired between 1919 – 1983. My father’s tools would have been used to craft many of the boats listed in this book and I therefore decided to link together the order book and the tools by making a set of work tools using the technique of Papier Mache.
Using colour copies of pages from the order book the paper was molded around the tools one half at a time in order to closely capture their shape and form. Once dry the two halves were joined together to complete the shape. Screw heads, rivets and metal rims were then applied to add authentic detail to the final forms.
My final piece is a celebration of the partnership between the craftsman and his tools which, together result in beautiful hand crafted work.