Rachel Capovila – background to ‘Jaunt to Piel’

Apart from a brief part of my childhood that was spent in Argentina, where my step-Dad is from, I am from and live in Barrow-in-Furness. Like many of my generation from the town, I love it. I grew up in a Victorian Terrace overlooking Buccleuch Dock and spent my time playing in the urban and wild places that we could reach either  on foot or bicycle. Exploring these places with my brother and friends were some of the best times of my life! 

sea and side of boat, piel island in distance.

Barrow has miles and miles of beaches and Islands, urban wild areas, secret histories and iconic architecture. I  feel that nowhere else in Cumbria is there an island with a ruined castle on it that you can access by foot at low tide, or by a local ferryman at other times, as Piel Island. To visit the castle, the beaches, The Ship Inn and meet the King of Piel is still a thrill to me now! The fact it is an island makes it at times inaccessible, so I wanted to walk as well as take the ferry, and through sharing my love of the place, encourage others to make a pilgrimage, or to experience it through my film.  

A group of people walking towards Piel Castle.

On one journey, I joined an organised sands crossing to the island, which includes a tour of the castle and the old inn,  within which is ‘A Seldom Seen Collection of Curiosities’, created by Art Gene with the local community. On  another day, I took the ferry over to the island. Throughout, I carried the Artful Ways questions regarding creativity, connectivity and place; and created zines for people to interact with and use.  

The finished work is presented using two projectors side by side: one film shows the landscape and nature, the second shows people and their interactions.  

A group of people walking across walney sands.

Walking and experiencing nature as an outlet for my well-being has been a tool that allowed me to connect with Brother before he died last year. His mental health at times was so poor that he could not manage to go to places, plus after a serious accident, which left him partially in a wheelchair for some time, we had to be inventive so he could experience the places he loved. Luckily the ferry came to his rescue and I know he enjoyed the experience as much as if he walked there, as he could take in the same sights and experiences. However, this is not possible for everyone, due to either geographical or physical access issues. Making a film that is available online would hope still bring some sense of wonder and joy to those participating. 

You can read more about Rachel’s journeys through her blog posts:

A trip to Piel Island

Jaunt to Piel blog

And watch her film here.

A piece of paper with the words cabinet of curiosities with natural objects like shells and seaweed on top; made by Rachel Capovila for Artful Ways and a Jaunt to Piel.