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Call Out: DIY 14: 2017 – Sheaf+Barley: How to Build Boats and Influence People (to build boats)

Posted: 23 May 2017


Five days making your own skin-on-frame coracle somewhere in or near Newcastle and thinking about things quite a bit

Project summary

For a significant part of human history boats were the mainstay of movement. Rivers and seas were highways while the land was often impenetrable desert, marsh, woodland or mountain. Boats allowed people to travel and trade, but also to hang on the boundary of different worlds. Boats are one of the first forms of magical technology. Now nothing is public: private companies own the rights to land, trespassing is illegal, the waterways are controlled and violently policed. Nations feel no guilt as they leave people to die outside their walls. We are exiled individuals defined by the spaces that are not ours. Almost everything is a border, and for many people these borders kill.

We’ve found that making these boats reshapes the relationship of person to landscape. The process of making and using becomes a form of relearning. The alienation of ourselves from our surroundings becomes an intimate understanding. The knowledges of the past serve as tools for interrupting the hegemony of now, through the heft and tug of the current on taut skin. The waterways are not borders but highways, our movement is momentarily our own.

Also you get to keep your boats and also you learn how to make boats and also it will be fun we promise.

How to apply

This call is open to anybody. We’d like to specifically extend an invitation to people who have felt borders, boundaries and restrictions keenly in their lives. Anyone of any ability can apply and we will be on hand to assist and support where needed – it’s just helpful for us to know your experience so we can factor in time, rest, and structure.

Applications are invited via the link below. Details on your practice, and your experience of making physical objects with your body or working with materials are required, and you should also answer 2 out of a possible 4 optional questions: on the sea, on time, on space, and on spirits. Applications can be written or uploaded as video/audio (we’d suggest each 300 written words corresponds to equal around 2 mins of video/audio). If accepted we will ask to arrange a Skype date to talk about the building, or a physical meetup if you’re in London!

Think about how you could store your coracle, and get in touch if you need help finding somewhere. Even if you have nowhere to keep it you’ll have the know-how to build one yourself and knowledge weighs nothing as they say lol…

The deadline for applications is Mon 19 June at 12noon.


Dates, times and location

Dates: TBC (late Aug likely)
Location: somewhere in or near Newcastle
UK travel, accommodation, and food included.

The artists

Sheaf+Barley are cunning folk, which means they go around performing charms, telling stories, drawing symbols and reading signs for people who need it. They think belief is a radical act, and that to interrupt hegemony we must be in a constant state of uprising. Everybody can be cunning folk.

If you have questions about this project, please contact Noa and Max.

More information here.

This DIY is supported by The NewBridge Project and Wunderbar.