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Green Grow the Rushes O Making a Rush Boat

Enjoy our simple step by step Create guides devised by professional artists and foragers for Friends Around the Table. Absolutely no experience is necessary, these activities are accessible for most people and can be undertaken in your own time.

Each guide welcomes you to explore food and nature in new and exciting ways to bring some relaxing and creative activity to your day. Once you have had a go, why not share the skills you have learned with a neighbor, friend or family member!

For Jon Tyler there are few pleasures as endlessly satisfying as making a rush boat. All that is required is a rush stem, a few minutes of time and a little patience – that’s it. Following just a few simple steps a single stemlike leaf can be fashioned into an aesthetically pleasing object that requires no preparation and not even any tools.

Activity

Making a rush boat

  1.  In the clump of rushes look for a nice green round rush leafstem (preferably without flowers on) that is at least 40cm long, not damaged and with the pointed end intact.
  2. Hold the upper stem in one hand then reach the other hand down the stem towards the base as far as you can go. Carefully pull out the stem without breaking it, using the hand holding the lower stem. If needed gently peel the brown leaf sheaf from the thicker base of the stem to expose the white stem butt.
  3. Starting at the butt end; fold 2 – 4cm of the stem back onto itself. Roll the stem around the fold and repeat the fold with the next section of stem.
  4. Continue folding and rolling the stem round itself as you go to make a flat ‘deck’. Hold the already rolled stem as you fold it round each new section.
  5. When you have about a quarter of the rush left, wrap the stem tightly 3 to 5 times across the deck you have already folded to secure the rolled stem.
  6. On the last wraparound pass the pointed tip end of the stem through the middle of the ‘deck’ and gently pull tight to secure your craft. If needed use the thin stick to make a guide hole for the rush tip.
  7. With the remaining stem fashion a sail (or 2 sails) and tuck the tip through the cross wrapping to secure the sail.
  8. Find a puddle or any other body of water to launch your vessel on and watch it sail.

Why not also try making:

Rush broaches

Rush dragonflies or butterflies

You will need

  • A clump of rushes found in marshes and in meadows or by ponds, streams or rivers.
  • Optional – a cocktail stick or one thin straight stick (match thickness).

Download activity guide

Download the PDF version of this activity.

If you’ve enjoyed this DIY activity and would like to make a donation to Suffolk Artlink please visit our CAF Donate page here https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/9780#!/DonationDetails. Every penny will help.

Download pdf (909.18 KB)

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