Paper Boats

Some years ago James Mayhew and I did a book called Starlight Sailor. At the heart of the book is a paper boat.

I had been fed up with walking into bookshops to be met with a wall of ‘product’ related things that linked to books. As a parent myself I know how hard it is sometimes to make ends meet and I wanted to make a book that had something that couldn’t be bought, but could be played with, for hours.

Now my lovely friend Karin also has a paper boat book, a gentle tale full of love called A Paper Boat for Panda. It is the first of her 3 books being launched at The Blue Ginger Gallery on 19th March, after the preview for The Peace of Wild Things exhib. ( 3 more to follow in June)


To celebrate she is asking people to make a paper boat and send it to the gallery. These will be ‘raffle tickets’, the prize being your own panda made in the shed of great making by Celestine and the Hare. For more about this read her blog post.

I was thinking how wonderful it would be if other artist friends of mine might make a boat. I spent the day yesterday working on just such a thing. Painting a sheet of paper to fold. I think the paper I used was a little too thick. I want to try to make one with gold leaf on too. Perhaps we might auction one or two later, from charity. I will ask Sue at Blue Ginger what she thinks. One of these will be the boat in which Celestine’s panda rides. The other is for Karin’s Little P. A boat for him to sail in the shed.


It was good to step sideways from work for a short while and play.


The instructions for making are on Celestine’s site. Also on the paper boat page on my website.

You can make boats to take out and play with, wax them so they float for longer, string them up to make mobiles, boats of different sizes, write wishes inside them or worries and let them float away, build rivers of fabric for them to float on, whatever. The limit is only your own imagination. They make a wonderful activity for a whole class.

And I urge you to take a look at Celestine’s website and the gentle and playful world she creates. The books are just lovely, threaded through with kindness and love and sharing. In a busy world they bring calm. Her films are a delight ( my particular favourite is the hedgehog film, with soundtrack from Mike Harding).

So, make a boat, send it to Blue Ginger, or better still come yourself. Don’t forget to put your name in or on the boat. It’s a better world in the land of Celestine and the Hare.

About Jackie

I am an artist and writer. I live in a small house by the sea in Wales where I write, paint, walk and watch and dream of bears and whales. I love to read, have a wish for wings and prefer the company of animals to that of humans, though at times I can be quite friendly. I am learning how to work with wood engraving tools and hoping to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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8 Responses to Paper Boats

  1. Bernie Bell says:

    I’d have a go, but I’m crap at that sorta thing. The vision is willing, but the hands won’t do what they’re told!
    I have, however, sent this link on to someone who is very good at making things, and playing, and dreaming……………….

  2. Thank you my dearest friend who taught me to make paper boats.
    The other books have wool weaving with sticks, alder cone bees and then cardboard guitars and dream catchers and book marks too! Next launch I think we shall do book marks. I love that you also wanted to have things to do that didn’t cost lots too. Twin lady.
    I am so glad that I had not read Starlight sailor before I created Paper boat for Panda. I would never have written it if I had for fear of people accusing my of… well, you know… but I realised yesterday when I saw the books for the first time that I am actually rather proud of them and I am glad panda is sailing in his boat and I am glad you taught me to make boats and they have sailed for Jenny and sailed for Hilary and will sail for joy and love too.
    And thank you for asking others to join in. I am a bit under the table about it and a bit rather like Small about it all too. And I so hope that people join in whether they think they are an artist or not because creating is such an important thing and it doesn’t matter if it is a bit wonky because we are all a bit wonky and we all float precariously through life sent off with love and hope .
    I’ll shut up and sit under the table a bit and well, you know… thank you xxx!books/c1hcg

  3. Bernie Bell says:

    I did it! I only gone and did it!
    I read Karin’s blog, and followed the instructions of Baby Weasus and Small, and – hey presto! I made a boat! 60 years old, and it’s the first time I’ve made a paper boat- thought I couldn’t do things like that. You know what thought did? – followed a black cat and thought it was a funeral.
    I’m going to send it to the gathering at the book launch – just because.
    The message here is….you can do it! I did it! You can do it!
    It is a bit wonky, but so am I – who isn’t?
    This is a hoot.

  4. Christina Collie says:

    Lovely paper decoration Jackie Paper boats are So fun to make! Haven’t made one for years Thank goodness B Wea’ and Panda showed me how to make them again! Can’t wait to get the wonderful books Thanks so much for encouraging Karin It’s such a privilege to be a little part of your worlds! Thank You x

  5. Linda Haecker says:

    I love the idea of artists creating and sending their own unique paper boats for Karin’s launch, and also perhaps to be auctioned for charity. Your blue and gold boat above is so lovely, Jackie. Like Bernie Bell I made my first paper boat with the help of Baby Weasus and Small, and I am 62. The boat I made for Karin’s launch has hopefully arrived safe and sound at Blue Ginger. Maggie bear and I shall be sipping tea and scoffing choklit neath our own table to celebrate and send love from our side of the pond. xx

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