At the weekend we went down to Lyme Regis to visit my son who is learning to build boats at the Boat Building Academy. He showed us around the workshop, where the previous cohort of students were working on and taking great care over beautiful wooden boats, and then up to the first floor where his work is being done. He has only been there for a couple of months so the boat building process is only starting for him and for the past week he has been Lofting. This is a drafting technique that transfers boat plans from A4 sheets to full size. It is traditionally done on the floor in the loft – hence the name. The plans are marked out onto enormous, white painted wooden boards and are beautiful. Vertical lines are meticulously measured and drawn to serve as a grid or base onto which the curved lines of the hull can be plotted with long flexible battens in order to draw a fair curve.
(Photos taken by Alex Lyddon)
Lofting is a technical and accurate way of drawing and reminds me of the Richard Deacon drawings, It’s Orpheus when there’s Singing, that I saw recently at Tate Britain. These are diagrams of sculpture – ruled lines and arcs made with a pencil and line. They are explorations of form rather than a transposition of form but their method of construction is remarkably similar.
I loved the scale of the large boat plans and the materiality of the white painted wood – they are beautiful objects in their own right – a working tool.
In between the (very heavy) showers we managed a walk along the beach where there is still an amazing amount of driftwood that was washed up by the storms at the beginning of the year.
This would be extreme beachcombing!