Morvargh (Cornish name for Seahorse)Image – Gweniver Exton
At the start of 2017 I contemplated acquiring an ‘Obby ‘Oss of my own. A smaller ‘Oss skull would be ideal so that I could also be a rider. I originally searched for the skull of a small horse asking the advice of David Pitt who owns and rides Coppertown Mari. I then discovered the skull of an Icelandic foal with Viking heritage which I have a natural connection with as I too was born on the site of an ancient Viking settlement.
I had to ensure the skull was in good condition for my requirements and as David Pitt had ‘birthed’ a number of ‘Obby ‘Osses into the folk world the foal was sent immediately to him on purchase. David kept me updated with video footage explaining the work required to make it robust for riding. He explained the skull’s condition and I was fascinated to see the adult teeth still embedded deep within the jaw that had not yet emerged. (This Icelandic foal was born and bred on a farm, unfortunately they do not always survive the severe weather there and may be undernourished, these factors are important for survival. )
David worked on the foal in his free time over a period of 3 months and when the skull was ready, he constructed silver ears and a tongue. I sent him shiny teal baubles for the eyes which he attached to the sockets. David constructed a pole along with the fixtures and fittings for riding and gave the jaw a wonderful ‘snap’.
Our good friend Craig Weatherill informed me that the Cornish phrase for seahorse was Morvargh. I had given the ‘Oss’ image a lot of thought and it would naturally become a part of my work and connection to the sea.
The three months that passed without seeing or holding Morvargh was a little frustrating, but I knew my ‘Oss was in expert hands! David Pitt kindly travelled all the way from Wales to deliver her to me in person at Beltane 2017.
He was accompanied by his beautiful Coppertown Mari. We had dinner together at our local pub the St Buryan Inn and then visited Boscawen-un stone circle together. Cassandra had the wonderful experience of riding Coppertown while David filmed video footage of them.
Coppertown Mari at Boscawen-in Stone Circle.
When David left us, it was then time for me to work on Morvargh. I had already created a new dress for Penkevyll with her new mane and tatters and two new hearth dolls, so the creative energy had been flowing well.
I began with the mane by fitting blue hessian material to the skull. I then had the lengthy task of braiding strands of wool together until I had constructed 40 braids and used two large balls of wool. The braids were then sewn to the hessian.
When the mane was complete, I attached 120 pearls to it plus large mother of pearl shells along the centre parting.
I added a starfish and shells to the skull using a glue recommended by our wonderful friends John and Sue Exton who have had plenty of experience in decorating Mari Celeste and Mari Seren. Ribbons were tied at the sides of the skull along with cockleshells that make a wonderful sound. There are Pirate rings in the ears and the teal dress was constructed from a sheet and netted material.
Morvargh’s first outing was at Penberth Cove on a beautiful warm sunny day.
It was a wonderful to show Morvargh the sea. Our bond had strengthened during the time I worked on the image and we naturally merged together as one.
Riding is quite an experience, the ground ahead of me was visible when walking on the stones as the ‘Oss dress has a netted panel at the front. Even though the material is made from thin cotton, the temperature quickly rose within it.
Morvargh will attend sea-related charity events throughout Cornwall.
Chepstow Wassail 2018
Morvargh will visit festivals and events with us when Penkevyll is not available and occasionally they will appear together. I will update you on our adventures. There is also a Facebook page
An extra special thank you to the wonderful David Pitt for all his hard work and preparation, also to the lovely Craig Weatherill who helped name her and the fabulous John and Sue Exton for helpful hints in decoration of ‘Osses. Thank you also to Cassandra Latham Jones for her support.
Morvargh’s debut at the All Hallows Dark Gathering 2017 in Boscastle…
…and performance with the loveable Mole and Wreckers Morris.
We will be seeing you soon…….