Fly Away Home

Fly Away Home
Fly Away Home, a minature wooden fishing hut by Tamsin Williams inside a real Hastings fishing hut. Photograph: Tamsin Williams.

The Fisherman’s Hut, Rock-a-Nore, Old Town, Hastings, 2001

This work examines the idea of the exotic being captured purely to display its beauty. However when we seek the exotic we cannot always see it in its true finery because we are looking beyond what is familiar to us. Here I am displaying a symbol of Hastings tourist town – the fishing hut – but we can’t see exactly what is inside. It is a statement about how we can only see a flicker of the true town or place when we visit as a tourist.

I made a scaled down model of a Hastings fishing hut, (these are tall wooden huts used to hang out the fish men’s nets situated in the old town on Hastings seafront). Inside was a net trapping a dead Morpho butterfly. This butterfly is famous for it’s beautiful iridescent blue wings, they were used in jewellery and to create decorative pictures in Victorian England.

Butterflies in the wild are free creatures reminding us of summer with their bright colours and lively movement. Here we are intrigued to see what is inside this dark, slightly foreboding fairy tale hut, we only get a glimpse at its real beauty.


Flyaway Home was exhibited as part of What We Did On Our Holidays, a series of site-specific works throughout Hastings and St Leonard's in 2001. The art trail showed the work of 25 artists examining ideas around the exotic and the familiar in a seaside town. It was curated by Judith Stewart (Hastings Museum & Art Gallery) and Susan Diab (an artist based in Brighton).

This project introduced contemporary art works into people’s everyday surroundings. Frequently given a bad press or dismissed as “pretentious rubbish”, this project allowed people to get accustomed to a particular piece of work by living or working with it for a period of three weeks. In this sense, although the general public could see most of the works, the intended audience was the people who regularly used each particular place.

What We Did On Our Holidays was part of the Coastal Currents arts festival.
Morpho butterfly loaned in kind by the Booth Museum, Brighton.
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