Saturday, March 5, 2011

Puffing out my sails: papier maché boats and an interview

While sailing round the great bloggie seas last year I navigated around the coast of this blog, to finally cast anchor at the port of Anne Wood. There I discovered, amongst slivers of antique wedding dresses,  her template for papier maché boats. I've been dreaming of making them ever since...

Finally over the last couple of weeks, snuggled in by the fire with a darn good reading lamp, I started making my own version of the little marvels Anne Wood sells in her shop.  You see, I have faaaar faaaaar faaaaaaaaaaar too many a reasonable number of antique French books/papers and I have been scouting far and wide (including inside the idea section of my sadly frazzled brain) for a worthwhile project to use them on. I did consider folding them into precious words, like Isaac Salazaar, but that wouldn't have allowed me to puff any of my own creative wind into the outcome. 

I have this vision of making words float.
... light as air…
...delicate as clouds...
Not unlike Tibetan prayer flags in a Himalayan blue sky
So I opted to try the boats. These, possums, are my humble beginnings. I have actually made seven all up and they are all more or less at the cocoon stage, like the three shown here. I have discovered a new passion. PAPIER MACHE :) Each boat so far has taken 3 hours to make.  Though that could be very much due to the fact that I spend an inordinate amount of time reading each hand written page of the French history book as I slowly pull it to bits.

Tonight yet again I have cast anchor beside the fire, ready for the grand task of making the sails. It's no mean feat I tell you for I am going to have to wield a needle and thread. 'Easy Peasy!' I hear you all scoff! Et bien PAS pour MOI! Sewing is possibly the only handicraft where I believe I automatically grow two left feet in place of my hands. It's a grotesque metamorphosis that often ends in tears of despair and frustration ;)  Indeed, the last time I spent 5 hours painstakingly sewing a piece of curtain onto a t-shirt for Chickpea's Carnavale parade, it promply fell off her and the preschool teachers were forced to staple her bits and pieces together. Yes - t'was a bit of a mess… 

But I have resolved not to let experiences of 8 years past discourage me, detemined as I am to have a sea of seven sails billowing beautiful expressions into the crisp spring air within the next 5 days; before the scurvy rats messmonsters get home.

Keep watch!  I will post the first outcome of my handwritten sails early in the week. All of my godsons, as well as Pokemon, celebrate their birthdays between end January and end March (yup- late for some, early for others) I thought some warm words of hope billowing above their pillows might inspire them to dream big for the future. 
Speaking of dreams. If you'd like a French, or better yet, Google Translate English version of what's happening with the 'Spread the Word' Indian project; I urge you to pop over to The Bohemian Caravan. Lise, a kindred soul and talented artist who lives in Geneva, has taken an interest in my art project and interviewed me about it. More than anything, while you're there, take a moment to find out about what inspires her amazing art projects, like this  gorgeous mini terrarium Lise made below.


Land ahoy me hearties!! 
I'll sail by later in the week.


  1. Adore the boats! Sail by for a chat sometime. Would love to visit.
    Hugs ~ Sarah

  2. wonderfully charming ms. Ange
    always fun to see what you are up to
    lovely evening to you ~

  3. Oh Ange I love your little sailboats.. what a clever thing you are.. but we all knew that already .. right??

    Funny how you have all the kids birthdays in the first quarter of the year.. we had something similar in our family.. all kids and my mum between April and June.. then my dad was way off in October... we called him the backyard loo... [aussie thing I'm sure you'll get it]

    Missing you and the kids.. and missing all my blogging friends.. trying to get back into the swing of it now.. slowly catching up with everyone..

    Have a lovely weekend.. ciao xxxx Julie

  4. That's funny you know because I can remember you spotting Ann Wood's boats and have associated you with them ever since. They're coming along nicely and I know they'll be special.
    I enjoyed reading your interview Ange,your creativity and generosity shines through every word.

  5. Love these boats - may have to try something similar with my students. I have seen half gallon milk cartons used too... Hmmm now you have me thinking. beautiful blog, quotes... Makes me feel like I am on a vacation - thanks.

  6. I adore these! They make me want to build a much larger one that I can carry down to the pier at the end of my street, hop into, and sail across the ocean to visit you. I promise to bring random bits of string and paper and stamps and other goodies for us to make beauties with. The paper may be a little damp by the time I get there, as may I, but nothing that a little sunshine couldn't cure. xoxo Gigi

  7. These are gggrrreat I too want to make some now

  8. I need to make an effort to make my words as light as air Ange, MOTH reckons most of the time they hit him like a sledge hammer blow to the face! Now this IS an interesting project, I will stay tuned closely to see those special sails atop those gorgeous little boats.
    Millie x

  9. They are just gorgeous!! And I'm totally confident the sails will be stitched beautifully as well. Did you get Ann's instructions to make the papier mache teacup in her email last week? I'm desperate to give it a go. xx

  10. great boats Ange! and I just discovered Ann Wood, really fun stuff!! xx's

  11. wow... i remember papier mache being really messy and fun!
    bravo...they re awesome
    ~laura xx

  12. If you aren't the most fascinating artist I know, I don't know who is. How do you find the time to do it all?


Can't think of a famous quote that says 'communication makes the world go round' so you 'll just have to get my clumsy way of putting it instead ;-) Your comments are precious. Thanks for dropping by!