I was asked to create an exhibition centred around a film for Aberystwyth University Ceramics Collection and it is in part based on the Legend of Tresaith.
“When a King of Ireland had seven troublesome daughters, he decided to cast them away in a boat without sails. The currents carried them east and they came ashore upon a Welsh beach. They were rescued shortly afterwards by seven local farmers, with whom they fell in love, and married. The place was named Tresaith, the ‘Place of Seven’, for each of the troublesome daughters who made it their home.”
Fitted with tracking devices, seven ceramic vessels were set adrift at 8:15pm on Sunday the 5th of June 2017 from Wicklow on the East coast of Ireland. The hope was that they would reach the west coast of Wales.
Due to wind and tide the vessels were taken North missing Wales altogether and three landing on the Isle of Man on Sunday the 11th June. Two have landed on the coast of Cumbria, one has never given a signal and the seventh last gave a signal in the busy shipping lane between Holyhead and Dublin.
This is a piece about the human relationship to landscape and seascape, the movement of people and the mingling of societies. It also builds on current themes in my work about movement and change within the environment.
The vulnerability of the vessels at sea is tangible and I like the idea of them drifting towards us dependent entirely on wind and tide. Being cast adrift is a classic human narrative from stories of the Medieval Saints to The Tempest and Robinson Crusoe not to mention the recent trials of refugees adrift in the Mediterranean or the Vietnamese boat people of the 1980’s.
Having now found three of the vessels broken on the shores of the Isle of Man I find the project all the more poignant. Setting them adrift and retrieving them after their journey was far more of an emotional experience then I had anticipated. The sea is a major part of my life. To create an artwork that interacts with this ephemeral part of coastal living has been a significant experience for me, and my art.