|My complete set of ribs|
My time with Anders and kayaks is over. Traditions of South East Asia are calling me. My final week with kayaks culminated perfectly as began building my second kayak from scratch. One of the most important parts of that process was steaming the ribs myself. It is no easy task, bending the hot and wet oak ribs to the perfect curve, height, aesthetic, all quickly before they cool and snap. It is working with a material in its finest, knowing its nature while simultaneously asking it to conform to yours.
My kayak has eighteen ribs and one by one I worked them, ending with only a few perfect ribs, I will need to revisit the perfect ones with a fresh mind next time we work together. Seeing Anders do it so quickly and naturally is a true lesson to me in the peace and joy that comes from working hard to perfect an art, whatever it may be. Anders has taught me a great many things, not the least of which is a high standard and commitment to doing ones best. As I leave Norway, and put aside my kayak and this tradition for a bit, I can feel that our work is just beginning.
I painted my first Greenlandic style kayak blue. I finished it with the deck ropes for holding paddles and other gear have wooden toggles which tighten on the paddle when pushed apart. I found two blue painted toggles from the front of another old kayak, put aside to be reused another day. It is a nice idea to think the bones, so to speak, of a dead kayak, will be brought to life again in this one. Such is the way of keeping a traditional alive.