My response to the Secret Regatta exhibition is to highlight the beauty that is to be found in the maintenance and repair marks and weathered patinas of boat hulls of many types in dry dock as they are being prepared for re-entry to their natural environment - the sea.
Although my father was a boilermaker and my maternal grandfather worked in the Clyde shipyards I, along with many others at the time, made the break for further education and I graduated as a ceramist from Glasgow School of Art receiving a knowledge and appreciation of Japanese pottery and glazes. I was also a self taught photographer since age fourteen.
Whilst having little sailing experience it was perhaps no surprise that I became interested in the goings on in boatyards. Here I could see hulls in dry dock being scraped down, refitted and repainted. I looked for compositions in the shapes of rudders and propellers, some reminiscent of Matisse paper cutouts. I also saw‘seascapes’ on hulls, the workers seemingly ‘apprentices of Neptune’ creating transient marks with grinders and scrapers that I could interpret as images of the sea.
Recently one of my Hull Pieces was given a Facebook ‘like’which simply stated ‘Wabi-sabi’. This phrase embodies a notion of traditional Japanese beauty and can infer quiet simplicity, quirks and anomalies in natural and constructed objects, beauty that comes with age and the visible evidence of maintenance and repair – an aesthetic appreciation of individuality and impermanence.
The thought persists that, although these once pristine vessels were temporarily high and dry, the sea had not released them without leaving its mark and each awaited the other’s return with quiet anticipation. Wabi-sabi.