AN artist in residency in Harwich has shared his “hero’s journey” of going through cancer treatment and then sailing around the British Isles.

Jamie Limond, who lives and works in Suffolk, is part of an artists residency at Harwich Arts and Heritage Centre this February alongside Larain Briggs and Dawn Hesketh-Joslin.

Jamie said he sailed counter-clockwise around the British Isles in 2023, following a significant radiotherapy treatment for his throat cancer in 2021.

Jamie, who still has Leukaemia, praised the staff at Ipswich Hospital for his radiotherapy treatment in May, 2021 which he filmed with their permission - this later becoming part of his video art.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Memory - Jamie Limond at Ipswich Hospital in May, 2022Memory - Jamie Limond at Ipswich Hospital in May, 2022 (Image: Newsquest)

Jamie said his subsequent sailing trip was a ‘hero’s journey”, a term referring to mythological heroes such as Odysseus which was later brought into psychology, particularly by Carl Jung.

Jamie added: “I don’t like the word ‘hero’ but the journey felt quite transformative. It helped restore a lot of my self-esteem.

“I never imagined it would do so, but by the end of it, it was very rewarding."

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Beautiful - ‘Joyce’s Pass' near Slyne Head, Ireland Beautiful - ‘Joyce’s Pass' near Slyne Head, Ireland (Image: Jamie Limond)

The 12 steps of the psychological ‘hero’s journey’ inspired Jamie to use his filmed radiotherapy treatment as the start of his 10-minute short film which also used water imagery and flashing subliminal images.

An important moment in the video is the sound of a bell ringing, which Jamie explained is the sound made in the hospital when a patient has finished their round of cancer treatment where “everyone claps and cheers you on”.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Discovery - The wooden spoons share a lot in common with boats, both being vesselsDiscovery - The wooden spoons share a lot in common with boats, both being vessels (Image: Newsquest)

Another medium Jamie has discovered is the art of handmade wooden spoon making, which due to the risk-associated with it led him to buying a Kevlar glove, then inspiring another collection of photographic art.

The meaning behind any artwork is personal and subjective, but Jamie explained that the process of chemically treating and firing up the wooden spoons reminded him of his own radiotherapy.

He said: “When I was making a piece of furniture, I was using that process, it really came back that this is really what happened to me."

Jamie explained how on the back of some spoons there is a ‘keel’, the same word in fact as the bottom of a boat, a further co-incidental connection throughout his exhibition.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Keel - both boats and spoons can be crafted to have 'keels'Keel - both boats and spoons can be crafted to have 'keels' (Image: Newsquest)

For Jamie, his current work is very autobiographical, with the fragility of the spoon’s necks in particular reflecting his own throat cancer where it was found out that two of his tonsils developed cancer identically but separately. 

For this exhibition and his final doctorate proposal, Jamie revealed he wanted to transition to themes of empowerment, self-care, and growth following the profound trauma he has experienced. 

This shift was reflected in the unplanned spoons he created which due to their very long length or thinness were “not utilitarian but purposeless” - a statement on life and art.

Being so interested in the psychology of art, Jamie’s series of prints of a real-life photograph of his boat in his 2023 voyage, provoked strong reactions from visitors.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Provoking - Jamie revealed many artists and visitors were drawn to the red print looking for many like bloodProvoking - Jamie revealed many artists and visitors were drawn to the red print looking for many like blood (Image: Newsquest)

The image of the choppy waters highlighted the danger of his journey – with many other sailors telling Jamie that going around the coast of Britain and Ireland is much tougher than sailing across the Atlantic to the USA.

Regarding moments of artistic ‘transcendence’ and the ‘sublime’, Jamie said that sailing into to Wells-next-the-sea, near his local beach growing up, was “perfect”, and added: “The height of the tide was right, we sailed in and the sun was coming down.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Challenge - Jamie's voyage meant sailing around Britain and IrelandChallenge - Jamie's voyage meant sailing around Britain and Ireland (Image: Newsquest)

Ending the trip, on the leg back from Scarborough, Jamie said a 'squall' came out of nowhere, knocking the boat over a lot – a “reminder of the power of the sea and the weather”.

Jamie added: “I didn’t realise it was a hero’s journey properly until I got back with what it is described as ‘a hero’s return'.

“I was welcomed home by my family and friends and other passengers and crewmates.

"There was a real achievement in that journey, and I had really managed to overcome some difficulties.”

To find out more about Jamie’s art, his ‘secular pilgrimage’ sailing around the British Isles, and his doctorate in fine art University of East London click here.