The Boat Project, an initiative for 2012's Cultural Olympiad, aims to construct a ship of stories and memories from wooden belongings supplied by the public. What will you be donating?

Dan Gould
  • 19 may 2011

Powered by
This article titled “I wood, would you?” was written by Jonathan Jones, for on Thursday 19th May 2011 11.58 UTC

Wood has two important qualities that make it ideal for The Boat Project, a public art initiative by Lone Twin for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. First, it floats. And second, as wood ages it holds memories, keeping them warm in its living grain.

Lone Twin is making a boat from any old wooden memorabilia you may have, which will become part of a collective artwork for the Olympic year. Anyone who wants to participate can turn up at donation days in south-east England – the next is in Portsmouth on 22 May – and bring along a wooden item, of whatever size or age, so long as you can tell a story about it. You can also take objects to the project’s base, The Boat Shed, at Thornham Marina. A wooden toy that belonged to your grandmother, a wooden spoon your mum stirs cake-mix with … examples collected so far include a mast from a Hastings fishing boat, driftwood from Thailand, an old hairbrush, and a fragment from Brighton’s West Pier. Everything that is donated will be used to construct a seaworthy yacht to be sailed along the south coast in 2012.

It sounds lovely, a boat of stories and memories – really unusual. But then, wood means a lot to me personally. My father Eric Lewis Jones is a highly skilled furniture-maker and from the earliest I can remember we were surrounded by beautiful wooden objects, glistening with varnish. My dad would point out lovingly the different kinds of wood in his creations – an oak table, a mahogany cabinet. He also made richly rounded wooden bowls, inlaid decorations and some truly extravagant toys, including my own Apollo space rocket, big enough to get inside.

I don’t think I’ll be giving any of these to Lone Twin – too precious – nor am I likely to hand over my grandfathers’s wooden tools, which look exactly like those in old paintings of Joseph. My grandfather – or rather, in Welsh, taid – was also a woodworker, employed as a joiner on building sites in north Wales, a technician on biplanes in the first world war and part of the team that built the Mulberry harbours for D-Day.

That’s enough nostalgia from me. The point is, Lone Twin have tapped into something vivid here. Wood is soft and organic, yet also tough and practical. A wooden object always feels handmade and makes you wonder who made it, when and where. It connects you with a story that might cross centuries and traverse the planet. Just last night I was looking at an painted wooden demon from (I think) Bali that I have had since I was a student. Its nose has broken off, but the colours are still vivid. It made me wonder who made it. It’s just an ordinary, half-forgotten object lying around but when you think about it, you sense a story. Perhaps I will hand it over for The Boat Project. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.


Why The Apple Watch Is Taking Foot In The Restaurant Industry

Syndicated Today

Why Fashion Labels Are Moving Away From Overt Branding

New research suggests brand are shying away from logos and flashy displays

Fashion Today

Scientists Have Developed A Furry Wetsuit Material Inspired By Beavers

MIT researchers created the lighter and warmer fabric to maximize speed in the water and to keep swimmers dry


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Advertising

See All
Automotive Today

Toyota FCV Plus Is A Hydrogen Power Station On Wheels

The concept explores the intersection of mobility and resource sharing

Technology Today

Coca-Cola Has Created A Custom Gaming PC

Maingear developed a computer featuring a fully functional coke bottle water-cooling reservoir

Related Expert

Benedetta Piantella

Sustainable Solutions

Social Media Today

Chipotle’s New Weekly Show Broadcasts Over Snapchat

The Mexican fast food brand is trying to build goodwill with high school and college students through the social media platform

Media & Publishing Today

The NBA Is Filming Live Games With A Special Camera Just For Your Phone

Subscribers to League Pass can now access a feature called Mobile View, which is shot to be optimized for phones and tablets

AI Today

Film Touchingly Portrays The Challenge Of Relying On AI To Combat Loneliness

Director David Wilson takes viewers on a journey of the benefits and ultimate deficiencies of replacing human interaction with robots


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 26, 2016

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Travel Today

Delta Lets Flyers Track Their Luggage From The Airplane To The Airport

The airline's new app allows customers to see exactly where their baggage is throughout their journey

Food Today

Chef Turns Invasive Species Into Delicious Sushi

Creator Bun Lai is adapting strange new ingredients for his menu, which responds to the ecological impact of overabundant creatures in the local environment

Gaming & Play Today

Build Your Own Subway System In This Minimalist Game

Mini Metro lets you design your own fully functional transit network, simulating the flow of urban commuters with pared-down visuals

Work Today

Keyboard Designed To Help Women Use More Assertive Language

The device is a commentary on gender roles in the workplace, and features easy access to "power verbs" that help reinforce a habit of being direct in writing

Arts & Culture Today

Spanish Artist Dreams Up What Animals Would Look Like In Modern Clothing

Yago Partal's portraits depict the fantasized style preferences of creatures worldwide, from an Arctic wolf to a zebra

Fitness & Sport Today

New Data Technologies Make Hyper-Personalized Training A Reality

The Sports Debrief from PSFK Labs looks at how analytics tools are being developed to optimize human performance across all industries

Entertainment Today

IBM Watson Helps Grammy-Winning Producer Craft An EP

The computer system's data technology generated musical scores for Alex Da Kid's first solo project

Travel Yesterday

30-Year-Old Photographs Used As Travel Guides

A new photo series revolves around tracing the origins of images from the past

No search results found.