The Weaving Wagon will be EartHand’s pop-up studio and pick up truck, a hybrid of cutting-edge bicycle-based transport and traditional woven willow carts. Geoff Hibbard, with an engineering education and co-founder of Shift Delivery, is designing the chassis; Alastair Heseltine will be overseeing our weaving of the body; and Martin Borden will be documenting the process on film.
Riding a bike during rush hour at the end of July in beach season, riding past Kits beach, riding faster than the cars are moving. My bike is loaded down with large armfuls of green, freshly harvested flax that will be turned into linen. Imagine how the mini field of green in my view contrast strongly with the street sounds, glaring reflections off metal surfaces and the smell of car exhaust through which I rode.
In that moment in 2013 I was a bucolic agricultural vision juxtaposed against the dense urban environment. The effect galvanized others; people stopped in the midst of crossing the road or rolled down windows at red lights to ask, to talk. What was I carrying? And on a bike! And then the conversation, linen? Linen is a plant?
It was after this particular commute from a project that I realized that my commute is not just a mundane pragmatic choice but a social interaction, an unfolding performance that plays a role in breaking down the country/city schism that Le Corbusier outlined so rigidly in his idealist city planning models and that we now try and escape through community gardens and the urban food-growing movement. And, if breaking down stereotypes of country and city, why not blend medieval travel methods like a woven ox cart with urban green delivery technology?
How can I extend and repeat the performative, social interaction of that bike ride, a daily commute carrying local agricultural crops- so people keep stopping to talk at lights and when I park?
The Weaving Wagon has to be jaw-dropping in scope. Visual splendour that is theatre, the backdrop and the costume to its own performance of movement on wheels, it also has to be extremely high functioning to serve the purpose of travel down city streets attached to an electric bike.