Debbie Lyddon


For Debbie Lyddon, ‘Tailored’ means the designing, cutting, and hand-stitching of individual utilitarian objects, evoking those found in her environment. Her piece on display in the exhibition is a jib sail, taking inspiration from a small traditional sailing boat.

The design of a boat’s sail is complex. It is custom-made to the purpose and size of the vessel.  A working sail has a 3-D curved surface and is made of multiple, shaped panels. It needs to be made with the appropriate shape and material to harness the power of the wind and propel the boat forwards. Depending on the rig of the boat, the sail could be triangular or rectangular, and its size is determined by its placement relative to other sails on the boat.

A sail is attached to the hull and to the mast by attachments at its corners and edges. These take the strain and need to be reinforced. Historically a sail would be made of waterproofed or treated cotton or flax.

Debbie has created a sail evoking a triangular foresail. Jib uses a traditional waterproofing concoction of linseed oil, beeswax and locally found yellow ochre to preserve and colour the sail. The attachments and fittings at its edges and corners are inspired by time-honoured sail-making techniques.