Sea-Fever Style – Huguette Despault May’s Rope Drawings


Last Sunday we dragged the kids out to go to gallery hopping in New Bedford, MA. Yup, that’s right, I said New Bedford. Believe it or not there’s a vibrant art community mostly hidden away in the vast old mill buildings that are scattered around the city.  Each year in the early fall there is an open studio weekend where you can go see and buy art and meet artists. Luckily Luke and Joy fancy themselves as mini-Matisses so this adventure is not too tough a sell.

One of the most amazing shows was by Huguette Despault May who does these very large charcoal drawings of ropes. The above photo will give you some sense of the scale of these works.  From the artist’s website about her Hawser Series (2007):

This series began with the chance discovery of an abandoned ship’s hawser* line languishing in an old cart at the Ropeworks building in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The rope’s heft and tattered state immediately suggested an exciting series of drawing investigations. Having viewed my earlier rope drawings, its owner – who happened to be the last of the Ropeworks master rope makers – offered to let me keep my new found treasure. Each drawing in the Hawser Series derives from that single piece of rope.


Despault May’s amazing work can be viewed at her website but due to it’s awesome scale, it’s best viewed in person.

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Peter A. Mello

Father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

3 thoughts on “Sea-Fever Style – Huguette Despault May’s Rope Drawings”

  1. Peter A. Mello,

    Thank you so much for writing about my work! I only just discovered your post today, quite by accident. My I quote you on my website or create a link to this page? Huguette

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting here. I’m so pleased that you like the post because I really love your art. The first time we saw it was open studios a few years ago so I was really pleased to catch it again last fall. It goes without being said that you can quote and link in anyway you want. Hopefully, someday we’ll be able to meet in person. Thanks for the wonderful art and keep up the great work!

      1. I’m still trying to figure out how blogs and such work – hence this reply so embarrassingly late! (Thought I’d get an e-mail response – oh well – at least I made it back here!) Of course, I’m thrilled over your response to my work and appreciate your encouragement to link and quote. I’m continuing to add new works to my Hawser series of rope drawings – just finished the ninth – planning make it to twelve. I’ll still be at studio 405 in the Hatch St. building when we have our next New Bedford Open Studios. If you make it over again, please shove other visitors aside and introduce yourself! Best, Huguette

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