Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wall Hanging Progress, and a Story: Deep Blue Sea

Here are the latest pictures for the wall hanging, work-in-progress. It tells a story, but it is not quite ready to end. I have some more work to do and will keep adding pictures.

(click for details)
As you might remember, the base is Tyvek, which is very flexible and allows for painting, stitching, whatever you want to do. The base was collaged with papers, fabric, lace, origami mesh, cheesecloth, acrylic paints and oil pastels.

Closeup 1
(click for details)
The houses were cut from book pages, altered with inks and images and wire windows were added. I have yet to add the window on the top house. Buttons were sewn on. 

 Closeup 2
(Click for details)

The image of the girl is a tag I had made a while ago, and underneath her are pages, stained cheesecloth and stained muslin. Click here to see the beginnings. I have had several rough nights where I either can't get to sleep, or wake up at 2:30 AM, and have mostly worked on it then. I'm pleased with how it's coming along and look forward to adding more to it as the story all comes together!


Deep Blue Sea
53rd in the Tuesday Story Series

When my father was in his seventies, and was still able to travel, he started a tradition which was repeated for several years. Every year, he would make a group reservation for a Gulf Stream fishing boat out of Charleston, and we would all chip in. Usually in May, before the weather would be too hot, a group consisting of my Dad, one of my sisters, brothers, my uncle, several cousins, in-laws and various friends would meet together at 5 AM at the dock, usually still in the dark. Dad and other family members would come down the day before and stay with me, and we would get up at 4 in the morning, meet several of the others at an all night restaurant in Mt. Pleasant and some would eat breakfast, the rest drinking coffee and talking. Some of us had found out that it was better to be very careful what we ate before a 3 hour trip on the open sea! 

The boat had an open top deck for seating, and an inside cabin. Most of us stayed on the top, braving the wind and sprays because it was easier to calm the stomach in fresh air. Often if there were no clouds on the horizon, we would see dawn break and watch the cargo ships passing on their way to the busy Charleston ports. What was really thrilling was to see the submarines come in (the Navy Base was still open then). You just don't realize how large and imposing they are until you pass within a short distance of it traveling above water. There were usually several sailors up top and we'd all wave to them and yell. And some of the container ships which moved determinedly towards the city were huge, with stacks of trailers on their decks which would dwarf a small town. 

Once we got to the Gulf Stream, the color change in the water was amazing. Light aqua greens and blues reminded you of a tropical island. It was not unusual to see a sea turtle go past, or watch a school of flying fish. The captain would use his radar to spot a likely group of fish, and did his best to place the boat right over it. Once done, the boat hands would call out for us to go to our poles, which we had placed in a chosen spot around the boat. We usually fished off the back of the boat, because there was less likelihood of the lines getting tangled.

Our boat looked similar to this one. The boat we used is now retired.

Bait was cut up squid, and we had 2-3 hooks on the line. I would bait my line, then press the release button and down it would go for 200 or more feet. The boat hands would be moving all about us, detangling lines, helping to pull in fish with a gaff, or taking the fish off the line. There was a large freezer on the back of the boat, and as you caught fish, they would mark it with your ID and throw in with the rest. We would catch grouper, spot tail bass, red and pink snapper and small sharks. Once in a while, I or someone else would pull in a trigger fish or a dogfish, and one of the boat hands would yell "Don't touch it!" and come cut it off and add new hooks to the line. Dogfish have poisonous spines and trigger fish have a small mouth with razor sharp teeth, so I was glad the guys were there to help!

The squid would be inky and slimy on our hands and clothing and sometimes we would catch our fingers on a hook. It was a balancing act with the boat rocking on the waves, and sometimes we would be in a rain shower. Your thumb got very tired pressing the button to reel in the line, and you had to occasionally reapply sunscreen out on the bright water. You smelled like fish and were bone tired when the boat headed back in at the end of the day. Lunch was chili dogs and water or soda, or crackers and snacks. (Some of the other passengers brought a cooler of beer, and sat up top just drinking. That was an expensive beer party!!) It usually took till the next morning before you would stop feeling the boat rocking, which made a kind of odd sensation when you were taking a shower later on. Once, upon arriving home, and barely able to stand up, my husband (who is not a fisherman) stood there for a minute taking in my smelly appearance, disheveled hair, filthy clothes and my plastic bag full of freshly cleaned fish and said "I don't understand why you do it!" I just looked at him and said "It's FUN!" 

And it was. And those were great trips!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!


  1. Your wall hanging is looking real good! I remember the time I went with y'all,(Pop was sick that year) and there were two guys on either side of the boat and they were both yelling about having caught something that must be REALLY big since they couldn't seem to reel it in. Turned out, their lines had gotten tangled together! Love you!

  2. chili dogs and soda, haha...
    I still remember how you smelled when you got back from those trips! But I also remember how much fun you had too. :)


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