Boston now has a new art installation. A series of repurposed vintage navigational buoys have been placed around the town. These six buoys spent years aiding navigation in the nearby Wash and North Sea and when they were recently replaced by modern ones they were recognised for their heritage and cultural value.
The project was funded by Transported, the Boston arts organisation and supported by the Port of Boston, Boston Big Local, the Environment Agency and Boston in Bloom.
They can be found at various locations around the town, with one on a roundabout near the bus station, one on a site opposite the Black Sluice, two on either side of the Haven Bridge, one in Central Park and one at Saint Botolph’s Footbridge.
The artworks are designed to celebrate Bostons heritage and maritime connections and three artists were commissioned to work on two buoys each.
Carrie Reichardt is an internationally renowned craft-activist and public artist who has made work for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London amongst other commissions and she has worked on the buoys that are in Central Park and by Saint Botolph’s Footbridge. She has referenced Bostons historic coat of arms and its motto “By sea and by land”. The buoy by Saint Botolph’s footbridge is called “By sea” and features fish made by local people and schools, tattoo like marine images, and stories from the Boston Standard and photographs and quotes from archives in the area. The buoy in Central Park is called “By land”. The artwork on this one celebrates the wealth of the areas fertile land and the bounty of the harvest. Mosaics have been included from all over the world alongside pieces made by local people. The images were inspired by heritage seed packets and old agricultural and flower advertisements. This buoy is in a spiral garden designed by Jeni Cairns.
Jo Chapman who is a specialist in outdoor sculpture has created the artwork for the buoys on the roundabout near the bus station and the one opposite the Black Sluice on London Road. The one near the bus station is called “Flotsam” and refers to Boston’s long history of travel across the seas and trade with other countries. The name of it is a maritime definition of goods floating on the surface of the water as the result of a shipwreck. The buoy near the Black Sluice which overlooks the Haven, the Port of Boston and Bostons flood barrier, reflects on the maritime history of the town. It is entwined with seaweed, as though washed up on the tide and features quotes from local resident’s stories of important journeys. The buoy has been left in its original state allowing the marks and dents to tell its history. It is called “Lagan” which is a maritime term for goods that are cast overboard and tied to a floating marker such as a buoy.
Inspired by the award winning volunteer group Boston in Bloom and the beautiful floral displays that they create all around the town, blacksmith artist Bex Simon has turned her two buoys upside down to create enormous vases for sculptured forged flowers. Situated on both sides of the Haven Bridge they are named “Leeward” and “Windward bloom”. Windward Bloom features plants that grow wild in the area, including cow parsley, rape seed pods and creeping jenny. Leeward Bloom has been influenced by Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging where minimalism is of the essence. It includes alliums, samphire, eucalyptus and creeping jenny. Local residents and school children took part in part in blacksmithing sessions to create the eucalyptus leaves which feature on these artworks.
Leaflets containing a list of the buoys and a map of their locations can be obtained from the Tourist Information Office at Boston Guildhall or from Fydell House.