A new collective Ingenious Pursuits reflecting the hidden talents of makers in North Cornwall was a weekend event over the May bank Holiday.
The whole idea for the event was inspired and curated by friends Rich and Jane. They own Jacques Cabin, a local company who make beautifully crafted furniture made from recycled woods in a myriad of colours.
Norton Barton farm, a developing business with food and creatives in mind was a perfect venue for this weekend event showcasing the cream of North Cornwall in terms of design. They added a great bar and food from the up and coming producers at Norton Barton.
I was very privileged to be a part of this event. It was cleverly laid out in a big barn over two levels mixing everyone’s work together creating sets reflecting a home.
Two new paintings ‘Sunset over Lundy‘ and ‘Supernova‘ provided the core of my display along with some smaller originals and a selection of framed prints.
The standard of workmanship on the furniture and diversity was stunning and everything was enhanced by artwork from myself, Stephen Brownhill Photography, Merlyn Chesterman and Katie Godden Green with beautiful contemporary lighting from Stuart Lamble Designs whilst Welcombe Pottery , Stone and Ocean and William Peers sculpture added a three dimensional element.
The furniture providing the backbones to the exhibition was stunning and visually beautiful in it’s contrast and style. Exhibitors were the eclectic Jacques Cabin, Max Marshall , Pacha Design and Paul Anderson.
I have just returned from ‘St Ives School of Painting’, having done a four day art course ‘Advanced Abstraction’.
Winter is a great time to be in St Ives, when it is so much quieter. The quality of light is clear and blue and walks along the shoreline skipping the surges are in solitude.
Advanced abstraction with oils was a four day course with charcoal sketching, outside drawing, monoprints, mark making and exploration with oil paints before making more detailed surface work in colour with individual tutorials.
Kerry Harding was very intuitive to our needs and after feeling slightly lost and unfocused over the past few months, I was able to consolidate ideas and made a clear plan to move my art practice forward.
The first time staying away on my own too, and loved it, meeting different people for a glass of wine in the evening and different conversations. If you are thinking of it; do it. There are courses for all levels.
SOME PICS FROM THE COURSE
WINTER WALKS around ST IVES ISLAND
People feel a need to create, whether it’s art, gardening, cooking, DIY. “How do you get the confidence to sell myself” is a question I’m often asked. Well, it’s simple… I believe in ME.
That is Being ME, Doing ME and sharing ME. Present and future.
Painting for me personally is a metaphor for living. It’s listening to intuition, your heart, trusting in your ideas and being brave. This is all built on a strong foundation of remembering what excites me, going back to simple things and what and who make my life amazing. This is what gives me confidence and a passion to keep creating an ‘Expression of myself ‘.
I had no idea how to make this painting. I just let it come with a feeling of trust, bravery, excitement and some frustration too. It wasn’t easy, but I always have faith that it will come ok in the end. It’s all part of the journey in art and life.
It’s very easy to be comfortable with what we know. We have an inherent trait to protect, defend and fear the future and what we don’t know. But it’s far more exciting to let things unfold, discover the new, break boundaries, meet new shiny souls and once in a while take a risk. No regrets and all that.
Usually seeking sunshine, we embraced the idea of a city break in winter. Longing to see the Joan Eardley exhibition and after hearing good things we booked a four day break in Edinburgh on a fact finding visit to include all the galleries and art centres.
Edinburgh is an imposing city built over seven hills with a long city centre down the middle. We were incredibly lucky with the weather; sunny crisp days with no wind and white frosty mornings. The dark grey buildings glistened aided by the Christmas lights strewn across streets and buildings.
There is a ‘wow’ moment around every corner. Whether a large row of Georgian mansions in a crescent, a small park, a beautiful hotel, a cobbled street, a narrow row of terraced cottages, the steep steps linking lower and upper levels or the ‘closes’ , what we call ‘drangways’ in Cornwall these little covered paths lead to a courtyard or the back of a building. History has left its mark and nothing prepares you for the view of Edinburgh castle and Holyrood perched on the steepest of hilltops.
The walk along Princes street, and onto the cobbled lanes that lead up steeply to the castle is magnificent and gives you views right over the city as buildings rise higher and higher. We were in the old town and found lovely shops and pubs in the grass market area where we also stumbled across greyfriars church with its ancient tombstones . The elephant cafe was a must where J.K Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series .
The new town on the other side is also stunning with the back streets full of gorgeous cafes and pubs. Recommended areas are the West End, Stockbridge, Rose Street and Thistle Street which lie on the back roads of the main New Town. The old town has it’s charm but also feels more touristy.
Not city people, we are always looking for a bit of sanctuary and found this on the Water of Leith, a six mile walk that can be joined at several points along the river. We had been to the modern art galleries and could join it at the bottom of the garden and walk to Dean village and on to Stockbridge where we found a great Scandinavian bakery ,St Peters Yard . From here it was a fifteen minute walk uphill back into the main town. By day three we were seriously flagging so jumped on a tour bus to see the outer reaches through Leith and by the royal yacht Britannia.
Travel is easy with great buses and the tram system. And from the airport there are dedicated buses that run every 10minutes . Our flight from Exeter was just an hour and on our return having left Edinburgh airport at 11am we were at home with a cup of tea by 1.30 pm. The ease of our trip means we will be going back. There is still so much to see.
Thistle Street Pub
Water of Leith
Just before Xmas, I managed a pitstop night over to visit Sarah, an old friend who wasn’t in Bude for long, but in that time we made a great connection.
Now living in Bath when I asked her if she would make one of her seaweed lampshades for me, she said yes but only if I came to visit and collect it in person. It was a perfect time to visit and finish some christmas shopping whilst taking in a bit of Bath. We slotted back together immediately; we have a similar eye for things, but unlike me, I’m quietly jealous of her ability to be unaware of time and the general semi organised untidiness which she lives in.
A dolls house strapped to the wall has her mugs in it , old seventies corner cabinets are laiden with her collected treasures, the squashy collapsing chairs and sofas are soften by velvet covers and ticking . Nothing matches but all lives happily together in a mutual tone of cosiness and warmth with the two cats, Moth and Watermill. IT IS Sarah’s ‘Hygge’.
After a whistle stop tour of Baths finest architectural landmarks, we did a spot of shopping, drank the sulphurous waters of Bath from the Kings fountain in the pump room (a little know secret); and picked up some cheeses, salmon and the makings for mulled wine .
She is the queen of make do and mend, shunning consumerism in favour of making everything her own with a twist of creativity and a love of nature. Whilst the mulled wine was brewing we revamped her chandelier. Spraying it grey in a confined space with candles burning on reflection wasn’t a good idea, but hey.. we survived it. We didn’t quite get to completing it with the strings of collected broken shells but it will look fabulous when done.
The conversation never stopped, from kids to men to life, friends and lots of inspired creativity home ideas . We even made a velvet stole for me to take back. It’s beautiful and totally unique ; just like the darling Sarah.
This is titled ‘I’ve got a loose connection with my bulb’ as it summed us up perfectly over the 24 hours, but was really reference to a temperamental sewing machine while piecing velvet and silk together. Just like me and Sarah.
My Seaweed Lamp