ArtsWestchester Exhibit features Skin-on-Frame Kayaks


A recent article in the NY Times has drawn attention to some locally built skin-on-frame (SOF) kayaks as “art “.  Mr. Tom van Buren, director of ArtsWestchester’s Folk Arts program, is quoted in the article as saying “I like to think of boats as floating sculptures.”  “The art of it is the mastery of the materials and methods to produce a thing that is functional — that handles itself safely and gets from point A to point B and delivers its crew and cargo efficiently and comfortably — but that also is beautiful.”

Featured are kayaks built by Jack Gilman of the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club who is also a member of North Atlantic Canoe & Kayak. Jack has built many SOFs that are both beautiful and functional.  Built in the tradition of the Arctic peoples many SOF are constructed with “skins” of nylon or polyester fabric (seal skin is hard to come by today) hand sewn over frames of steam-bent oak or cedar and lashed together.  Several NACK members have also built their own SOFs ranging from 9 to 18 feet.  There is just something special about building and paddling such a craft.

“From Shore to Shore: Boat Builders and Boatyards of Westchester and Long Island”  runs from Friday January 18, 2013 through Saturday March 9, 2013 at ArtsWestchester 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601White Plains, NY

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  1. Deborah Horne says:

    Nice to see that some of the skill and workman of a SOF is being recognized and displayed. Congratulations to Jack for having his work displayed and educating the public about the art of SOF construction and the beauty of the finished product.



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