The proposal

Spent today at the museum workshop cutting some shaping moulds for the sculpture that is currently on my mind. My proposal for the sculpture exhibition at the Museum commits me to making 10 sculptures for an exhibition in 9 months time, so I have already been thinking about these in the past 2 or 3 weeks.

My first idea I am very happy about and more about that later. My second idea, which I am getting on with while I wait for the materials for the first, is giving me a lot of trouble!

It is based on a number of photographs and sketches that I have made around the museum and in my mind’s eye it feels good. On paper, however, there is a lot my mind’s eye has glossed over.

boat pod   boat pod2   boat pod4   boat pod 3

The view from the bows of a boat often looks like a pod with very interesting surface patterns. I hope to do something with this.

I spent a number of days last week making full size drawings only to realise I had got it all wrong. I even started to construct some laminated strips but these pinged apart and were the wrong dimensions anyway. I started all over again at the weekend.

Think I’ve got it right today but who knows? The difficulty is that a sculpture is something that no-one else has made before or even conceived of. There are no guidlines so inevitably time will be spent making mistakes and going up blind alleys.

Here are some extracts from my proposal to the Museum to give an idea about the dirrection in which I might be heading.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall

A proposal for an exhibition of sculptural work based on the Museum’s collection

Rob Johnsey April 2015

 Overall objectives for the exhibition

The exhibition, staged in the Museum, would have the following broad objectives:

to enable the viewing public to see the Museum collection in a different way, through the eyes of an artist and boatbuilder;

to provide a facet of the Museum experience which would appeal to those who enjoy fine art;

to satisfy a personal need to express my own fascination with boats and the sea.

Theme of the exhibition

A strong theme running throughout the exhibition would be the link between boats and boat parts and forms which are found in the natural world. For instance there are similarities between the steamed oak ribs of a small boat and the ribcage of a large mammal such as a whale. The structural similarity is something that could be explored through sculpture. The illustration for Carcass below is an example of this.


carcass – mahogany 50 x 50 cm

How the exhibits might link to the items in the Museum collection

I intend to spend some time observing and sketching some of the exhibits in the Museum and in its Ponsharden store. This would, in turn, lead to the production of some developmental drawings in which the information I had gathered would be combined with imagination to suggest 3 dimensional forms. Construction would follow.

The linking concepts would include:

the use of materials found in the exhibits;

the exploration of the structures found in the exhibits such as boat frameworks and clinker construction;

the forms found in the collection would appear in a new way in the sculptures

the use of repetition, curves and colour in the collection would all be exploited.


A provisional title might be: Sculptures from a maritime heritage.

All a bit stuffy really but a necessary pitch for others to read. We have already ditched the provisional title. Any suggestions???????


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s