Caravan Marsh Radio Island / Marsh Island Caravan / Caravan Marsh Island

Posted on Dec 3, 2013
Caravan Marsh Radio Island / Marsh Island Caravan / Caravan Marsh Island

What is this thing we’re developing?

Title explorations:

Is it an: Occupation? Process-based research? Parade? Convergence? Convening? Or a Caravan?


car•a•van (ˈkær əˌvæn)

n., v. -vaned -vanned, -van•ing -van•ning. n.

1. a group of travelers journeying together for safety, as through deserts, hostile territory, etc.

2. any group traveling in or as if in a caravan, as pack animals or vehicles.

3. a large covered vehicle conveying passengers, goods, etc.; van.

4. Chiefly Brit. house trailer.


5. to carry in or as if in a caravan.


6. to travel in or as if in a caravan.

[1590–1600; Italian carovana < Persian kārwān]


Project description 1-pager

1-pager will include images of the work (Andi’s collages) + (maybe) drawings/mock-ups of cart, broadsides, yarn bombs, etc. etc.

1-pagers will be sent to possible partnering organizations and neighborhoods with the goal of sparking conversation and building coalition and support (even a home base.)

1-pager will have a personalized cover letter for each recipient. we’re looking for stakeholders: individuals and organizations who have a role to play in the transformation of the shoreline and the shoreline issue.  Who wants to be at the table. Invite people to use the space for their needs:   Brian Swet: would he want to have a staff meeting out there?  Vivian Li host board meeting on the tarp?

What kind of communities already exist – can we rally existing communities? (i.e. livaboard boat people; KO pies; tap in/introduce/infiltrate/activate)

Recipient list:

–       Vivian Li/Boston Harbor Association

–       Boston Water Taxi (would be willing to fly marsh radio island flag?)

–       Boston Boating Clubs

–       Brian Swet/City of Boston

–       Fort Point Arts Asssociation?

–       East Boston Kowani Club?

–       East Boston shipyard? (via Erica)

–       South Boston quirky dock folks (contact via Erica) and other boat contacts

–       Schools, nurseries, Boston Greenway/parks? ICA? Others?

1-pager will also be shared with:

–       Steve Dietz (possible exploration of residency in summer of 2015?)

–       Could be expanded upon to spark other residencies, supports, etc.

Side 1: Narrative description: What does someone who stumbles upon this thing in their neighborhood see, feel, and hear?   What is surprising and delightful? What emotions are sparked? What are they asked to do?
Jane will do first draft during week of 12/2

Side 2: Concrete description:  What will happen; what will be seen; what are goals; questions explored; partnerships possible?
Andi will do first draft during week of 12/2


Marsh Island Caravan: one-week traversing (exploration) of Boston Harbor shoreline (flood-prone neighborhoods)


–       Participatory exchange

–       Empathy building work through crochet and conversation

–       Maintenance work

–       Festive spontaneous gatherings; afternoon-long drop in stitch and bitch sessions

–       Making a space to open up conversation, questioning, community-building, support around issues of sea-level rise and climate change

–       Tying the flotants to shore and the shore to the flotants

–       Connections-building between land and sea

–       Caravan across the Boston shoreline

–       Literally crocheting together questions, fears, curiosities, impressions, data points, learnings about Boston Harbor and sea-level rise


We’re building the “table” and inviting people to come to it with their fears, questions, ideas, visions, hopes, etc.

We invite “specialists” to use our table as a platform for their needs;  we can trust our platform (and trust our imaginative solution of salt marsh flotants) – we pitch this solution as 1 possible, and we invite others to invision their solution and explore ways of making it happen.

We just want people to come to the table; find a space to speak about the unspeakable (or the unspoken); create relationships in the context of something frightening; sharpen tools for dialogue; AND brainstorm community-based processes for change.

Bond people together so that they can talk about what’s needed for other policy-level solutions; town council-man.

Our space is a way of gathering together creating a closely knit community and finding ways to speak to each other and to others (larger city and government, etc.)

SHOW how EVERYONE in the community is a stakeholder;  we’re creating multiple of entry (process;)  open field for actively contributing and meaningfully connecting.

Inspirational image: the radio (radio transmitter) and radio waves is nice….  Inner wave is Inner circle; Medium wave is larger community; next wave is city; outer wave is national (government?) globe?


–       NEED:  transmit the effectiveness of conversation; the effectiveness of change and the need for change

–       DESIRE:  to be mobile, pliant, responsive, curious – have 1 planned event per day and time to be responsive to environment (drop in on KO pies? On a summer school program? Talk to passers by? Crochet alone? Experiment? Write manifestos?)


Are we: Shoreline Maintenance Workers (Hurricane Andi; Union Boss Jane)  (could consider uniforms/persona/outfits?


1 programmed event per day; several hours available for unprogrammed activities (and moving around!)

Yarn bomb or otherwise mark neighborhood to lead to our spot: create curiosity!

Think about evening events: video screenings; late-night activities; water projections; music; festive things as well as making things (but not too many events.) Fun/Festivaly stuff built in!!!  Can we make craft beer from sea water?  Or seaweed?

Do we go where there’s already festivals happening?

–       Boston Children’s Museum

–       Film projections at fort point buildings

–       Other outdoor events

–       Create our own

–       Pot luck picnic

–       Invite a band to play

–       Learn how to do the sailor’s jig? Dance a thon

–       Partner with the aquarium (Andi’s contact Mariana)

–       Invite someone to host a radio show

–       Make 1 flotant per day

–       Do we do inventive advertising? Wheatpaste fliers? Chalk stencils? KO pies? Yarn bombing to lead people to us and hang tags from them?

–       Bike has a pedal powered speaker?



Cart: Thoughts and next steps

–       Wait to build; make connections with coastline folks: resources; partnering organizations; ideas vis a vis Erica

–       Begin with design: imagine all possible strategies

  • Lean to
  • Cart
  • Boat
  • Tent
  • Storefront?
  • Backpacks?

–       Ideal scenario: find a partnering organization to host (1-week, a few days): Make cart/other structure site specific to that org

Cart elements to be built sooner than cart itself:  (i.e. built this winter – December/January): these things can be used to create an environment for the stitch and bitch sessions such as:

–       Tuffets: (Handmade seating devices:  crocheted tops; made out of easily accessible materials i.e. denim; canvas; waterproof kite material;   Crochet top with other easier to handle/easier to make material on the bottom)

  • Design strategy:  the tuffets are mini salt marsh flotants:  base material is burlap (plus underlying material for sturdiness); decorative top is a crochet flower of some sort with “cord grass” – made like hooked rug (strategy); can be handmade with auto knitting machine; with jute twine; with green yarn, etc. etc.   (maybe the highlight color is red?)

–       Tarp: Is base tarp red, green, or blue

  • If blue, crochet tuffet/flotants ‘float’ above the blue tarp outline of the Boston harbor

–       Stamps for broadside documentation

  • Handmade stamps
    • FONT:  Chunk 5 (downloadable at free font size)
    • Test sizes: 1.5”, 2”, 3”  (all caps for 2”, all lowercase alphabet for 1.5”)
    • Strategy 1: hand cut with craft foam and make handmade stamp handles
    • Strategy 2:  settle on size and have craft foam cut by danger awesome
  • Ink: Tsukineko oil based ink stamp pads and versacraft oil based ink stamp pads
    • Can be thickened using glycerin

Concrete Next Steps

1:  create 1-pagers for promotion to different organizations and individuals

– What do we want to do (1-week residency.  Who? Why? What? When? Where)

– Costs?

– What we will build/do/use

–  drawing/Photoshop sketch of bike cart with all elements

– is there another drawing of other strategies/forms? i.e. tent; lean-to; storefront window?

– Can be multiple one-pagers; can be adapted for multiple cities;

– dry riverbed in the southwest – poingnancy of stitching cozies and flotants in dry areas;

– WEAD (Lauren Elder) connection – – floating stuff;

– Literacy for Environmental Justice


Potential 5-year plan:   Residencies; build on project; write this in to our 1-pager?

Year 1: Boston

Year 2: summer Minneapolis (4-week residency)

Year 3: SF: literacy for Environmental Justice

2:  experiment with stamps and broadsides:  make; decide process; determine stamp ink, etc.

3. Set dates for 1-2 test crochet sessions and invite people for test

3.1. Make tuffet; tarp; or both for test crochet sessions

3.2. Make list and invite/schedule meetings with key stakeholders/potential hosts for July residency

–       Begin broadside stamp documentation

  • Document every meeting (Jane & Andi); 1-2 broadsides each
  • Incorporate documentation into outreach
  • Incorporate documentation technique into test stitch n’ bitch sessions

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