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Mare Liberum and le Massicot

Residency Project at the Antique Boat Museum, July 2012

In conjunction with the exhibition Floating Through: Boats and Boating in Contemporary Art, artist and maker collaborative Mare Liberum visited the Antique Boat Museum for a residency project in which they resurrected a forgotten late-19th century boatbuilding method. Inspired by the Waters & Sons Paper Boat and Dome Company,  (1870s, Troy, NY) they built a paper rowing skiff. Further inspired by voyager Nathaniel Bishop, who took a paper canoe from Troy to Florida in 1874, they rowed the boat from the ABM campus to Montreal, Quebec, a journey of 160 miles. 

The boat, christened le Massicot, was made of six layers of craft paper laminated with waterproof wood glue. A deaccessioned 1930s Peterborough skiff from the Museum collection was used as a mold. After the voyage, le Massicot was brought back to the Museum for display during our annual boat show. It has since gone to New York, and now hangs in the Gowanus Studio Space, home base of Mare Liberum. The folks from ML have since built many paper boats using the method first tried at ABM, and they have published how-to guides and conducted classes on paper boat making.  

A broadsheet detailing how to make your own paper boat is available on Mare Liberum's website here