Restoration of the Mariners Way sculpture
The Mariners Way ball was deconstructed in situ at the University of Exeter in July and at the end of the day it was apparent that the heavy rain had removed a substantial amount of tar from the rope. Tar was used on organic ropes to protect and inhibit it from weathering and being attacked by airborne diseases, specifically fungi. In this case, fungus’ has decayed parts of the Mariners Way ball.
All is not lost. I found back in the studio that the majority of the bottom half of the rope was untouched and could be re-attached easily. However work needed to get started in cleaning the fungus off the rope.
For this process I used a Bordeaux Mixture of Copper Sulphate, Slaked Lime and water. Once this was soaked over night, the 1,300metres of rope had to be divided into infected or uninfected rope.
The rope then was dried before it could get re knotted as whole lengths of approximately 40metres.
This was a long and tiring processes as there where many hundreds of small lengths of rope to attached to one another so I asked for some help from my friends, which they gladly accepted!
Over the period of three weeks I managed to redeem 600metres of the 1,300metres of rope. This has meant that even through over half of the rope is unusable I am still able to create a passage house along The Mariner Ways Walk in September. It will however be on a smaller scale.
I am also looking at the rotten rope as something that I can still use. My first thoughts are of changing it from a organic material into a mineral; a process called petrification.