J a n e t M c E w a n
Skelf is a 12 ft vessel, made mainly from from hazel wood and cloth in the manner of a Donegal Currach: an Irish skin boat. I constructed Skelf over several months in Cornwall with Rory MacPhee, a green woodworker, boatbuilder and marine lawyer, based in Falmouth, who had made similar models previously, and basically told me what to do. During this mini apprenticeship, I learned a huge amount around green woodworking and was also inspired to join a gig team to up my rowing skills.
Skelf is made from hedge trimmings, of hazel, larch, ( one of my favourite trees), canvas (appropriately the very same type is often used by artists to paint on), string, and tar.
The canvas could have been substituted with old curtains, or a bedspread, thus reducing the material costs even further - but I didn't have any to spare at the time. The total cost for materials was about £70, but with a bit more planning and/or patience that amount could have been more than halved.
I took this image of Rory MacPhee trying Skelf out amongst the grown up ships and boats in Falmouth Harbour, on the launch day in March 2010.
Due to other projects in Scotland I have not yet spent too much time with Skelf but hope to have a few watery adventures in the not too distant.
Falmouth, Cornwall. March 2010: