Porthleven’s Great Baulk Auction

Living in Porthleven, I’d often walk past the harbour yard and see the broken pieces of harbour defence or baulks as they are known. They broke under the weight of the continuous storm on the 5th February 2014. What was there to protect, ended up destroying 10 of the 40 boats. These broken large two tonne pieces of wood with metal bolts and ends floated around the harbour and caused the damage. Two years later I asked the Harbour Master and gained permission to use the wood for a unique fundraiser.” Said Julian Waring, Fundraising Manager for the Fishermen’s Mission in Cornwall. 

Together with a volunteer, the first task, back in April 2016 was to cut the wood into manageable sizes of about four long. The wood is about foot wide and by a foot high, ideal we thought to cut into planks and then cut again into the same size as an artists canvas board. The project felt exciting and considerable but was the quality of the wood up to scratch? The Harbour Master thought it might split and not be of good enough quality for what we wanted. A wood turner in Porthleven, David Cuisick, took a large chunk of the wood and within three days produced the large candle holder. I approached St Eval Candle Company who agreed immediately to donate a bespoke candle for it. Owner of St Eval, Ian Greaves, recalled the time in the 1980’s when they owned the then called Lugger restaurant (now the Square) and how the storm then affected the village. This sparked the start of the project and so the wood was loaded onto pallets and taken to Marconi Timber Framers in Helston and Jo’s Sawmill in Mabe, all to be cut up and was done so without charge. 

Volunteers from Porthleven, of backgrounds who support the work of the Fishermen’s Mission from the arts, historical research and planning joined the team to start the project in September 2016. We contacted artists & carpenters etc, creative people who have produced wonderful works of; art, furniture, book that’s bound with the wood, mosaics, glass ware, ceramics all using the broken wood. The Charity’s Honorary Patron, Dame Judi Dench agreed to sign a painted portrait from the artist Jon Jones (who is the artist in residence for the BBC drama, The Peaky Blinders), Dame Carol Ann Duffy, the PoetLaureate and her artist friend Stephen Raw produced a wonderful illustrated poem. Local artists such as David Hosking, Heather Howe, Neil Canning and Port Isaac’s Caroline Cleave agreed with with others and we will have nearly 200 works of art. 

Images projected on the face of the Porthleven Clock Tower

On the 18th March, the auction has now moved to the Harbour Head, Porthleven and will be housed in the Porthleven CIC marquee. It starts at 4pm, lead by the auctioneer David Lay live and online ( online registration details to follow soon). The marquee will be equipped with a bar and a bbq courtesy of the Atlantic Inn. When the gavel strikes for the last lot, there will be a range of fantastic singers and local groups to finish off the night until 11pm.

If you can’t wait! Then all the images of the art will be projected on the face of the Porthleven Clock Tower on the anniversary of the storm, the Sunday 5th February starting from 6.30pm. This outdoor event that has never been done before and it will be a popular evening. This is a chance to own a unique piece of social history and support the on-going work of the Fishermen’s Mission.

 

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