Since 1995 the concept of the firm on board we live has been meeting four goals:
To create a bag or objects consistent with this material – that is used sails – which is technological as well as poetic, in that it hides several secrets among its threads(see material – page); respectful to the seafaring tradition of recycling, once vital to mariners and today’s active principle in our new life style; where each model evokes a page in the History of Sailing.
To manufacture ourselves (see workshop chap.) for the sake of: searching, designing, tracing, imagining, finding out, learning, sewing, splicing, changing, verifying.
To control unique pieces or items belonging to a very limited series in order to: enhance the time dedicated to creativity; to cope with and retrieve the stock of used sails; to respect the environment by means of natural products in order to wash (nuts of “sapindus mukorossi”), and to screenprint (non-toxic, water-based ink for the printing of logotypes on cloth pieces).
To propose an accessory or an object of quality which will give us pleasure in carrying it, and either in offering or keeping it.
The workshop of Relations de voyages®, being it the one some of you visited in St.Malo, or Marie-Galante, Pietrasanta, Brest, is like most craftsmen’s workshops, a mysterious and confused room which you enter while taking care of … watching your steps and being ready to discover a strange tool, a squiggle on a shape, a tentative model forgotten between two piles of old sails or among balls of cotton rope. Here, the head is not in the open sea.
The hands have to feel the texture of the fabric, to understand its frail bits as well as its points of resistance, to draw and cut the right portion. They have to decide whether to keep a smear of rust because it could recall the Bahamas archipelago, or to eliminate it because of its irrelevance.
The hands will sometimes want to take a support cloth out, to rip the seams so as to show the authentic fabric, and afterwards to play with a double weave and the nuances produced by the sun on the shaded colour. The hands are also there, at the presser foot of the sewing machine. The last one’s name is Bernina; it is made in Switzerland, and it is trustworthy and unrelenting, despite having crossed the Ocean twice. It’s a Formula 1 and a land-rover at the one time, because it is good at cutting both duradon and spinnaker fabric.
Certainly these very hands – the same which hoisted the jib, hauled or loosened the line, and threw the mooring line while aboard – do remember the hawsers and instinctively get down to work. The knots’s handle of the Matelot bag – as we produce it – is an homage to the creativity and severity, typical in traditional sailing. With the aid of a Belaying Pin and a pair of Scissors, the Sailor’s knot is an astute one indeed, one which is meant for a precise purpose and cannot be loosened; and yet, you can untie it with just one hand once you have understood where it begins and where it ends. As for other fancies of sailors’ knots – like their names – they might be called turban, chicken’s foot, Franciscan’s knot, wolf’s mouth, bowline.
Being at times a hassle, and at times a plaything for the hands; a nice way not to get bored in windless days … at sea, not in the workshop!
Our main material is any used sail. For about fifty years, most sails have been manufactured from synthetic fabrics, which have been developed according to advanced technological research, such as: duradon, dacron(invented 1950), mylar(1952), kevlar (patented 1966 five times more resistant than steel), spectra , carbon…
Their major features are RESISTANCE and LIGHTNESS.
Their main defect: TO DEFY ETERNITY.
As soon as they are no more able to provide boats with an efficient propulsion, they are usually dumped into a garage; and later, on a fatal day, they are disposed of or burnt up. Before getting that far – and given that sails are not biodegradable – we are willing to buy them from their owners.
These sails, which flapped in the wind and yawned in the sun and did much more, amounts to our little treasures; because, without their skippers knowing, during the passage of the Horizon, they have been imprinted with stories which ? at any rate we believe it ? are out of Time and out of the Space of nautical cartography.Whenever it has leaned out a bit, the Horizon has existed since the formation of the Earth. Still, it was invented by men: sailors, explorers, lookouts…, who were afraid that it would mark the end of the Earth, and then an abyss into which their sail-ships were to fall. Centuries have gone by.Yet, no far-sighted geographer, no technical progress, not even the globalization(!) has reached it. Inviolable home in the gaze of seamen, or of the coasts.
The horizon is a pleasant human invention, because, before it, everything is possible, free and infinite. Clouds and mist are the only accomplices, like this morning in Porspoder.
la houle roule déroule
puis tourne et s’enroule
au loin une nouvelle voile
glisse entre les nuages
se faufile dans la fente
machine à graver la mémoire du monde
l’Horizon imprime sans relâche
s’infiltrent dans les fibres de la toile
traçant à l’infini
paroles en l’air
ordres de manoeuvres
chants de marins
vociférations de la vigie
les appels des naufragés,
toutes les routes de navigation s’y croisent
toutes les voies océanes confient aux vents qui passent
secrètes relations de voyages.
When we observe and touch those sails, whose purpose we are modifying, they sometimes let us into these impressions: imagined ones ?
The sewing machine stitches in zig-zags, Vincenzo crafts weird reliefs with cotton ropes while he keeps going, “a sail was enough to get farther”.
Pascale L. C.