A teenager and her grandad are ’em-barking’ on an innovative business adventure, which is bringing a new ‘leash of life’ to the county.
15-year-old Beth Perkin and her grandad Frank Plummer – a retired St Ives fisherman – have launched a new venture called ‘Cornish Spliced’, making products from discarded fishing rope and ghost gear in Cornwall, using a traditional fishing skill.
Using ‘splicing’ skills, the duo started by handmaking dog leads added pet toys, horse leads, lanyards, rope bowls, floating key fobs, keyrings, doorstops, placemats, hanging baskets and other lifestyle products to their range within weeks.
Beth explains how the unusual idea started: “My grandad retired from fishing aboard Tyak Mor and Harvester in St Ives before I was born, but my mum and aunty often remember spending time as girls in his ‘fishing loft’, sitting on top of bundles of nets whilst he made repairs to his fishing gear. Grandad often talks about his fishing days and always has a bit of rope for when any of the family forget their dog leads. One day we wondered if other people might like ‘a lead with a story’. It started as a joke around the kitchen table just before Christmas, but a few social media posts later, Cornish Spliced was born.
Beth continued: “Making a living from fishing and passing down the skills needed from generation to generation is dying out in Cornwall, especially St Ives where our family lives. So we wanted to find a weird and wonderful way to keep the skills alive in our family, whilst helping to protect the environment and sea-life for generations to come.”
As well as the pet and lifestyle products that the family are dreaming up, Cornish Spliced has been approached by people with a connection to Cornwall who want to commission bespoke items.
Wholesalers have also shown an interest, with organisations such as gallery and gift shops through to charities approaching Cornish Spliced to stock their wares across the Duchy.
All of Cornish Spliced items are made from Plummer’s retired fishing gear or donated goodies from other fisherman in St Ives, as well as ghost gear found during family beach cleans around the Cornish coastlines, to prevent it re-entering the sea.
By utilising the discarded gear to make unusual products with a link to the country, it is preventing materials ending up in landfills – giving them a new purpose and ‘leash’ of life.
The family are constantly adding new products to the Cornish Spliced range, along with incorporating assorted colours and textures of rope, floats, nets, buoy lines, anchor lines, floats, ‘dans’, cork… each item has its own unique story, which is written on the product’s label as its “previous life”.
Plummer commented: “We ‘splice’ the rope to make joins, so we can add clips, make handles, combine ropes – all kinds of things. Spliced means to join or never-ending, which feels like the right way to explain our family adventure.
“I’m really enjoying teaching Beth (and my daughters) how to splice and explaining how the different bits of gear was used. It has brought back great memories of my fishing days and I’m proud that we’re keeping this special skill passing down through our family. Locals and visitors alike seem to love having a little piece of Cornwall in their daily lives or giving a present with an association to our county.”