What is it about the phrase ‘magical Story Boat’ that makes you get a little bit giddy? Sounds great if you’re ready to be rocked to snooze by the gentle swell and a soothing story. Less good if you have trouble focusing even while you’re on a pedalo. But come one and all, the Tree to Sea magical Story Boat is ideal for land lubbers and seafarers alike!
The journey from Tree to Sea inside a magical Story Boat will help you discover the East Devon coastline through creative writing, music and visual art.
Tree to Sea is a new interdisciplinary project, and the Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) is working with storyteller/ boat builder Gail McGarva and her Story Boat to bring to life the heritage of East Devon coastal communities, including Beer, Branscombe and Sidmouth.
Participants will be able to climb aboard and hear her story, handle the mysterious objects housed inside and write and create their own responses.
Gail told ArtsCulture: “When you climb aboard the Story Boat made from an upturned fishing boat of 1923, you enter a miniature world of the sea. She is a celebration of our local maritime heritage and our instinctive connection to the sea.
“As a traditional wooden boatbuilder I love to work with larch and oak, shaping the wood from tree to sea. I am looking forward immensely to this collaborative project with the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, bringing the Story Boat to East Devon with her journey – from tree to sea.”
The project takes its inspiration from local Victorian antiquarian Peter Orlando Hutchinson and his diary sketches of fishing boats and beached whales in the 19th century.
In partnership with East Devon AONB, Tree to Sea is funded by Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Story Boat will begin her journey with free drop-in workshops during Sidmouth Sea Fest, (18 May). Gail McGarva will then moor her at THG to make two appearances: in the gallery’s Garden Party on Saturday 25 May and a Half Term Family Workshop on 28 May.
She will then make appearances at Beer (6 July), Woodbury Common (28 July), Trinity Hill (13 August) and Salcombe Hill (22 September) as well as schools workshops in Beer, Branscombe, Farway and Sidmouth.
This project will culminate in an exhibition opening in September.
top image: Gail McGarva on her Story Boat. Courtesy of Nick Matthews.