Roving Canal Traders Association

roving canal traders

roving canal traders associationThe Roving Canal Traders Association is the collective voice of roving canal traders. It aims to give advice to old, new & would-be traders, and holds frequent events giving increased opportunities to all floating traders.

A different floating trader - every one a 'character of the cut' - will be presented in each edition of this magazine.

For more information on the RCTA, or to join, please see Website

Fern Floating Fine Art

featured roving canal traders

Shiam & John Wilcox - Fern Floating Fine Art

Fern Floating Fine Art is a nomadic arts illustration business, currently making its way around the inland waterways of Britain.

Fern Floating Fine ArtI live on, work in and sell from my little boat ‘Fern’. I am a painter of fauna and flora and resident artist at Fern Floating Fine Art. My work is influenced by folklore, superstition, fireside tales, canal and traveller traditions, the macabre, Victoriana, and I take constant inspiration from the seasons and the countryside around me.

I am fascinated by animals and their connection to the natural world. Their interdependence with the world around them, that as human beings I feel, we have now largely lost. I use my exploration of animals and the subsequent paintings as an attempt to reconnect with nature and the forgotten elements of our own culture. One way that I attempt to do this is by always painting the creature whilst we are making eye contact. In this moment I feel a special knowledge is passed between us. I use flowers as symbolic signposts to direct the meaning of the painting. Each flower is carefully chosen to represent and to compliment the birds status and the meaning of the work.

I like to separate my subjects from their everyday existence and instead venerate them to icon status by infusing them with vast amounts of symbolic flora. I pay no regard to accurate or relative proportion, instead preferring to use this to further separate the subject by using the flowers to create busy almost abstracted backgrounds. This technique and my use of colour is very much influenced by my traveller culture where almost everything is highly decorative. My paintings reflect rather than illustrate the stories that I come across through my travels.

As an artist my mission is to create a feeling of connection and guardianship towards our planet and the life it contains.

John creates our beautiful handmade wooden frames, using wood that we have found and reclaimed along our travels.

All of the work is professionally printed and comes either mounted ready for framing or framed in our handmade reclaimed wood frames.

Shiam Wilcox, photo by canal photographyShiam and John Wilcox sell from their narrowboat wherever they happen to be on the waterways.

You can follow them on Facebook to see where they are, or you can buy direct from their website.

You may also contact Shiam by phone on 07528 802 967 or by email

previously featured traders

Brian Greaves - floating blacksmith      Lorraine Stevenson - the mad hatter


Lesley & Rob Pearson



buy online from a roving trader

  • Floating Dolly Lady (Joanne & Steve)
    Amazing range of metal birds as well as Russian Dolls.
    Buy online by going to Facebook
  • Bird Box & Jenny Wren (Andrea)
    Host of loving handmade items such as knitwear alongside other gifts such as Bags, Scarves, Rugs, Hats, Jewellery and handmade wooden items.
    For mail order go to Facebook
  • Canal Art by Julie
    Canal Art by JulieHand painted canal ware and items of canalia such as tea towels, model boats etc.
    Please visit website
  • Stitch on the Water (Colin & Gillian)
    Making a variety of embroidered gifts including cushions for children and adults, Bags, hand tied keyrings, embroidered earrings, cot quilts etc.
    Please see Facebook
  • Last Night in Limehouse (Zoe)
    Hand painted leather dog collars byZoe Marsden
    Individually hand painted luxury dog collars (predominantly for sight-hounds)
    Please visit Etsy shop
  • Paw Prints Afloat (Doggie Boat & Tim Clarke Photography)
    All manner of doggie essentials: leads, collars, bandannas, portable water bottles & collapsible bowls, plus toys & healthy treats.
  • Visit Website to buy online
  • Gangplank (Sam)
    Cafe/bar. Creator & seller of foraged fruit spirits (Gangplank Gins) cordials and preserves.
    Visit Website
  • Julie Weir Art
    Wildlife Artist who paints with Watercolours & Acrylic inks. Also Online Watercolour School.
    Visit Website
  • Fern Floating Fine Art (Shiam Wilcox)
    Fern floating art
    Flora & Fauna Artist, prints framed or unframed, greetings cards.
    Browse & buy online 
  • Dazzle Paws (Sheena Orton)
    Hand made dog collar by Dazzle Paws
    Dog collars, bandanas and accessories, all lovingly hand made.
    Browse and buy online