A Useless Creative Day

I came back from town soaking wet thoroughly dejected and frustrated that I cannot get out and do things I wish to do, it being Saturday I was hoping to get out and do some busking, no chance I was soaking wet and freezing. I came back home and read the recent edition of the DCA bulletin I began to feel better from knowing that someone out there feels the same about certain things.

I began thinking about erecting the mast on Sadaf and how to approach it single handed, erecting a pulley system and what rope systems to use to hoist it. Also perhaps about putting two forestays for added support, one from wire and the other from rope, as I now believe the sails are too heavy for the mast. By looking on the internet and studying the sails on other Hurley Felicities I think my sails are from a larger boat and made from thicker material meaning that there is too much weight on the rigging and that when wet the weight will be greater. I have already reduced the length to make it fit the boom and mast but having more support makes it a little bit more secure for the strong winds.

After pondering these things for a while, I went for a walk by the river. The sun had come out and I wanted to see a bit of nature. A few projects had been buzzing around my brain over the past few months and I needed to divert my thoughts from them as I was making no progress.

One of the projects I am busy with is how to make myself a harp. I saw an ancient African harp (an ‘Adungu’ from Uganda) in the Anthological Museum in Madrid and I liked its form and simple construction. We Brits can often make engineering quite technical and me not being from an engineering background I am often lost in the jargon. I liked the simple construction of this ancient African harp and I was thinking to adopt its form and have a go at making it myself. I wanted to try out a simple version to see if it is possible at first and then later make a better one, so I had been thinking about types of building materials and structures, remembering my old wood working classes as school and reading up on instrument making on the internet and library. My brain was starting to smoke and the walk by the river was to let it cool down and to see what wood was lying around and if any were suitable for a possible sound-body. At this stage any material would do: plastic tubing, wooden or plastic boxes, tree trunks or branches, planking etc.

Another project is an idea to make things from the beach by using what has been washed up and turn it into something creative and useful. In a previous journey to Paris I had visited a shop that sold interior furniture from the East, mainly South East Asia and India. There were some smaller objects like lamp stands and lamp shades, picture frames and pictures. Like ‘Poirot’ I logged these items in the “little grey cells” for a time when they might come in handy. Having the boat and being beside the beach a lot, and seeing these Parisian crafts made from natural materials I thought to give a try. Spending so much time besides the sea has helped me formulate ideas and observed the materials I have to play with, as well as giving me a new direction it has helped me bring out a creative side that I thought had been lacking of late.

It is more “strings to my bow” (or should I say harp) if I can set these ideas into action, but I find progress slow, not moving forward is very frustrating.
Beside the river there is a lay-by and a part from being a resting place for weary motorists its other function is as a dumping ground for unwanted rubbish. Sure enough there were a lot of uncovered ‘social archaeology’ to see and I saw several tires discarded which I could possibly use for moorings if I weighted them with concrete, and lying close by was a length of chain that could be used as a mooring or anchor chain.

Next to the tires there was a nice sized piece of plastic tubing that would be great for the experimental sounding body of the harp. I crossed the road to walk by the river and I noticed some willow trees and protruding from the dead wood was a ‘V’ shaped limb that would be good for the harp’s arms, this could logged into the plastic tubing so creating the body and arms of the harp. Further along, amongst the debris that the swollen winter waters had washed up, there was a piece of planking that when cleaned would be ideal for the sound board for the harp. I could not have wished for more.

I was turning to go when I noticed a fallen willow tree that has half submerged in the water, from its trunk where lots of willow branches beginning to produce new shoots of palm for the Easter season, I thought about the project of mine to make lamp shades from natural materials and this thin fresh palm would be supple enough to weave around a wire frame.

I came home thinking how a totally useless day had created a constructive day, and opened up for me lots of possibilities for me to follow through.

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