Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Stranger on the shore

 Yes...but is it art?

Walking along the shore of the North Lleyn Peninsular coastline in North Wales, has become a pleasant escape from the dust and grime of a nearby renovation project which has consumed my free time since the start of the year. I’ve always loved beachcombing; especially on a wild and relatively empty coastline and the largely rocky coast hereabouts-lacking in tourist friendly beaches of golden sand- fits this criteria. Depending on what’s going on out in the Atlantic and Irish sea, the sea can be as calm as a mill pond or a churning maelstrom of crashing waves and violent undertows which drags rocks and debris from the shore with a pulsating thunder.

Often, after a rough spell you get lots of fish boxes washed ashore. Mostly from the Irish Republic but some from the Isle of Man and Scotland. The names on these useful plastic boxes reveals the fishing ports where the boats which lost them are registered. Over 50% I’d say, come up from the South West of Ireland. From Castletownbere in County Cork and Rosslare, further East in Wexford.  I guess the prevailing wind and currents send them over to north Wales.

The trawlers also offer up a fair selection of related items including thick orange rubber gloves worn when hauling or gutting the catch, tags and orange welly boots. You can imagine how rough it must get out there with so much being washed overboard.

Last week, my eye caught what I thought was a child’s drawing of a head on a piece of cardboard. Picking it up, it folded out to reveal itself as an Irish election poster for Paul Anthony Ward who in May, stood for Fianna Fail in local elections in Dublin. Time and tide had washed out the colour to its present ghostly condition. It immediately offered itself as a piece of attractive folk art. You could see it hanging in a trendy London gallery with a 5 figure valuation!

The election poster had been floating around the Irish Sea for possibly three months before coming ashore in Wales. In the circumstances it’s surprising there is any discernible image remaining. The fact that its printed on plastic and not paper has saved it from obliteration.

It’s a nice find but I’m still waiting for a nice sea kayak or little boat to be washed ashore. Finders Keepers!

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