I‘ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember: a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at UBC in the early 90’s I’ve been spinning tales: sometimes for others, sometimes for myself, sometimes for money and sometimes not.
Storytelling happens first in the head; before it can be passed along it has to be dreamt … it can be a long process and rarely does it have a clear ending. Progress day to day isn't always seen, much less felt … and if a client changes his/her mind sometimes there’s nothing left but a sheaf of papers.
As a counterpoint to the hours spent at my desk, I would often turn to the physical at the end of a day; mountain biking, climbing, paddling. I would create things that could be touched and felt by the physical senses.
The rewards of the mind would be countered by the rewards of the flesh … the rub of sandpaper against the thumb’s nub; aromatic cedar rising to the nostrils in the heat of a summer evening; a splinter in the palm a welcome counterpoint to the sluggish blood flow at the desk.
First formed in the crucible of the boutique long-board brand Ashes, the idea of building boats had been sitting ready for birthing, unformed and unknown for years.
In the Spring of 2014, two of the four kids were out of the house … evenings and weekends felt more free than they had since my days as a young writer and I set out to test the idea that physical objects could tell a story every bit as compelling as words on a page or images on screen. The form I settled on was a canoe.
After countless hours of experimentation, modelling, consultation, skinned knuckles and dusty beard I settled on a design and materials schedule: the resulting canoes were constructed largely of recovered materials and were as stiff and responsive as any commercial design with a fraction of the weight and a complete story behind them.
Boat building is the synthesis of the things I love and know best; storytelling, design, and the transformation of wood into beautiful, useful objects.