Minimalist Crafting and Shipwrecks

October 24, 2016

by Jane (obviously)

You can't have a craft room in an RV. 

Let me rephrase that: I can't have both a craft room and a husband in an RV. I chose to keep the husband.

And several boxes of craft supplies tucked into various available niches.

I wish my creative urge took the form of wanting to write fabulous, timely blog posts, but you already know how that's going. (I do write some excellent ones in my head.) Instead, what I want to do is make stuff.

But before I go on, let me talk about shipwrecks. There are so many of them in the waters around Door County, where we spent the month of August 2016, that they actually put them on the tourism map. Whitefish Dunes State Park even has a cool outdoor exhibit on shipwrecks. (I didn't take any photos of it, but you can see a bunch of pics and read about the exhibit on this blog about Wisconsin Historical Markers.) According to the exhibit, shipwrecks in this area were usually caused by fire (a problem not limited to the olden days, as evidenced by a recent news story), storms that capsized the ships or caused them to run aground, or—I'm not making this up—running into other ships.

When I read that sometimes debris from old shipwrecks still washes up on beaches in the area, I was all about it, as would be anyone with an overactive imagination who grew up on classics like The Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe. (And yes, Gilligan's Island, a classic in its own way.) My mission was clear: find a piece of a shipwrecked ship.

And I did! Or at least, I found a piece of wood that could be from a shipwreck. (Did I mention the overactive imagination?)

Here's where the crafting part comes in. One doesn't just carry pieces of wood (even very small ones) in an RV. But neither should one simply discard a piece of wood that Might Be a Piece of a Genuine Historical Shipwreck.

To me, the answer was obvious. (As it will be to my crafting partners Sam and Sarah, who tease me about seeing all the world as a stockpile of craft supplies.) Make something with it.

I decided to incorporate my piece of Possibly Genuine Shipwreck into a shipwreck-themed necklace. (The romanticized kind of shipwreck from novels, not the real kind of shipwreck with actual bad consequences.) And I would make it with only the supplies I had on hand and whatever I could find in my beach-combing, because there were no inexpensive craft stores anywhere near us (and besides, I wasn't quite up to explaining to Steve why I was accumulating more craft stuff).

I used a sturdier-than-typical chain as an allusion to anchor chains (and because it's what I had). The piece of Possibly Genuine Shipwreck represents shipwrecks in general, but also one of the causes of shipwreck: collision with other ships. The black rock next to it, which looks like coal, represents fire as a cause of shipwreck, and the stone on the other side (it looks a little like birchbark in this shot, but it's a stone) represents running aground. They are affixed to a bit of hardware that evokes a tiller or perhaps a gear from a steam engine, suspended from a bit of rigging tied in a sailorly knot.


The shell, of course, is for the lake, and it is topped by two tiny beads (hard to see in this pic) the color of whitecaps. The white bead enclosed in a wire cage reminds me of the "bird cage" lighthouses of years gone by; there is still one on Baileys Harbor in Door County.

And the white gull feather—that's for hope, as readers of Emily Dickinson will already have surmised.

Of course, now instead of carrying around a piece of wood in the RV, I'm carrying around an entire necklace...


Picture of birdcage lighthouse: public domain https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lighthouse_lantern_room_with_Fresnel_lens.png

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2 comments

  1. Jane, I love the way you can create beauty out of even a shipwreck! (You had training from your editing days, no doubt!)

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