Local & International (ongoing)

An ongoing exploration into sustainable materials and coracles as an offering to audiences in landscape

I’ve been fascinated by coracles for years and I think they are the perfect metaphor for a sustainable and creative way of living, I’m interested in them as a vehicle for an audience experience that allows one person at a time access to a space and a moment in which to be alone in the vastness of an epic landscape, to consider their place in it all, building on my explorations with Raft and Chalk Coracle.

Coracles are a truly sustainable and indigenous craft – found in many countries around the world they are used for fishing and transportation, and are made from locally sourced materials and with local techniques. Their design varies in each place to meet the particular demands of the watercourse the boat will be used on and the material they are made from. Their use dates back around 5000 years, possibly more- since the materials they are made from are fully biodegradable earlier models will have returned to the soil by now so we may never know how far their usage stretches back.  Welsh coracles (Cwrwg or Cwrgwl) are typically made from willow, ash or hazel, with an animal hide cover, and are used on rivers for fishing and crossing. Irish curraghs are designed for sea-faring and have sailed as far as from Ireland to Newfoundland. In Iran, giant coracles (quffa) ferried goods and groups of people, and in Vietnam and India coracles are still used for transport, fishing, and river crossings. In most cases the coracle defies being controlled by humans, and the sailor is at the whim of the ocean or river currents.

Modern versions use a calico cover with a coating of bitumen for waterproofing, and I’m researching whether a seaweed based material might work as a waterproof coating instead of using extracted fossil fuel.

The little boats are difficult to steer and so I am interested in the situation of the human in a craft that was beyond their control, surrendering to the whims of the tides and currents.