Aesthetics, in a shipyard

It’s been awhile, a long old while dear. Once again I must blame time at sea for this absence, however to lay fault with such an indulgence would be nothing but a sin.

           In fact, if anything, this year I have solidified my practice as a sailor more than as an artist, and strangely do not mind a bit, each significantly informs the other and every day I become more entwined as one person in my daily practice, rather than a person split between two such separate worlds. Such a revelation also comes with a new chapter, as for the time being I have left my home in West Cornwall and am working in a shipyard in Maine, North America. 

 

A shipyard is a place of significant anthropological interest, though given the maritime industries fairly significant antiquity and agenda,  this may seem somewhat unsurprising. It’s hierarchical conflicts, are testosterone fuelled to a chorus of power tools and as the sawdust settles I quietly observe. I feel sure it has always been this way,  for close to five years I have worked in and out of these rogue places, filled with the grunts of men, wrestling rust and corrosion. Seafarers and shipwrights by default seem to be those with a glint in their eyes and a certain flair for bending the rules and there are times that I wonder how the hell I ended up working in this bizarre and backwards industry, when to remain gracious and polite feels impossible and the desire to scream is almost deafening. When the need to unpick generations of gender sweeping stereotyping feels an unbearable and unjust burden, when, after all you just want to get on with your job. . .

I have wondered for sometime about whether to to write freely about my experiences as a women in the maritime world, in comparison to many other sectors of humanity we have it so easy. But thats the thing about sexism isn't it? Many people don't even consider it exists in our current western climate, the off hand comments slip under the radar as they have little tangible impact. However, I would perhaps argue that these cumulative notions, the commentary upon your strength, fitness, and physical well being in comparison to your male counter part, have the ability, over time, to grind one down just as far as out right open sexism. I do not pretend to be any stronger or more macho than I actually am. I do not feel I have something to prove, I know what I am capable of and this, often allows the assumption that "I am here as the cook" to wash over me without impact. But sometimes I wonder, in this year, in 2017. In an industry in which women have proven themselves capable for hundreds of years, it is still deemed by many to be acceptable, a path of the cause? We respect our Sea, we respect our ships. Whats left is to respect our She- Captains.