Ocean Obsessions and Love Lines

I’ve chronicled more than a few obsessions on Sea-Fever over the years and it could be argued that this blog is itself a bit of an obsession.  A couple of posts that immediately come to mind are 15 years and 4 million matchsticks and The Germans are coming! The Germans are coming! (by pickup and trailer) but there are literally hundreds more.


I look forward to every year at this time because artists in New Bedford open their studios to the public and you can explore and discover some amazing things like Huguette Despault May’s awesome, very large charcoal drawings of maritime rope. In fact, her obsession is drawing the same piece of line, an old worn hawser, over and over and over from different perspectives. I believe that there are currently 12 different drawings which have also been turned into beautiful prints.

I wrote about May’s work last year and was excited to return again this year because there is really no substitute for experiencing it in person. If you are ever in the New Bedford area, try to see her work and studio, you won’t be disappointed. (Her contact info is on her website.)

Click on this image to open a larger version in Flickr

If you spend any time with the artist you’ll see just how passionate and focused she is on this single piece of line. (NB: the above gigantic drawing with Joy standing in front is called Titular Head (2006) and was from a separate series the artist did for her MFA thesis for Tufts/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)(Larger version of photograph of the the artist’s studio)

Obsessions are good! Right Tugster, Never Sea Land (mermaids) and PowerMobyDick?

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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