Artist Resources

A Product Shoot on a Lightship: RB Visits LV21

Armed with an enormous pile of art and design, we climbed aboard a 1960s steel hulled lightship that's being transformed into an amazing space for creative people.

There are two RB Headquarters – one in the Bay Area of San Francisco and one in Melbourne, but like any good spy agency global art and design community, there are operatives squirreled away in a bunch of other locations. One of those locations is the land of grey clouds, fish and chips and funny hats. The following is the story of a Redbubble product shoot on board a 40 metre steel hulled lightship, in a little place called Gillingham in the south of England.

Light Vessel 21 is a work in progress. Owners Gary and Paivi have been converting the ship for the past three years but it’s not destined to become a home, nor a fishing vessel or navigational aid. The ship is slowly evolving into a ‘cultural vessel’ with space for events, exhibitions and gigs, and plans to convert the old cabins into artist studios. Gary and Paivi have scraped bitumen off walls, welded, repaired, painted, laid flooring and installed more portholes than you can imagine, in a bid to create something unique and bring a little more awesome to their local area. It’s one monumental creative labor of love.

Originally built in 1963, it’s beautifully retro, with loads of cool features like control panels, light switches and old signage. And thanks to Paivi’s magpie tendencies and artistic eye it’s also home to a treasure chest of nautical ephemera and vintage finds. The prospect of spending a day there was too good an opportunity to pass up so we grabbed as much artwork as we could carry and climbed aboard with photographer Sara Norling. Here’s a behind the scenes look at our adventures on board LV21.