My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rescuing damsels in distress…

As an incurable romantic, I have spent the best part of years rescuing damsels in distress.  They were all beautiful, at least to eye of this beholder.  Let me tell you about just a few of my amours.

Brookfoot was the last surviving Yorkshire Keel Barge, a direct descendant of the square sail Viking ships.  When I found her, she was languishing at a coal wharf in the industrial North of England.  I rescued her, restored her, and sailed her through the French Canals.

The Gardner 2 LW marine engine that served as the auxiliary power for my 16-ton gaff cutter Born Free, I bought unseen: for the very good reason that she was sunk in eight foot of muddy water on the Bridgewater Canal.  With the help of a diver and crane, I rescued her and spent two winters restoring her to her former glory.

The Bolton Brow Methodist Assembly Hall is a remarkable listed building in the North of England.  She was built in 1882.  Denise and I found her, neglected and forlorn in 1995, when we were searching for a studio.  Restoring her was a Herculean task, not least because of her huge barrel vaulted glass roof.

In comparison rescuing and restoring the Office Letter Press shown in today’s picture was child’s play.  None-the-less, when “she” arrived at my workshop - en-route to the dump - a couple of weeks ago, even this Sir Lancelot doubted the feasibility of her rescue.  But like all my damsels, she awoke from her sleep with the sparkle of a princess.  In her new life, she’ll be pressing hand-made paper made from all kinds of fruits and grasses grown on our land.   

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