Cornwall

This summer I took my first trip to the Cornish seaside, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but have never managed to – now that I have I think that it could now become a firm favourite of mine.

I spent a few days wandering around the local beaches, exploring the South Coast Path where it meandered by the campsite and generally soaking in the sound of the waves and the blue, blue sea. The landscape is certainly inspiring, at turns gentle then wild and I was so sad to come home!

Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall

Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall

Of course I didn’t spend the whole week wandering along the coastline (though that wouldn’t have been a challenge) I did venture down to St Ives to take in the light and explore the twisting streets of the town. It offers up a whole host of independent galleries filled with the work of local and international makers and artists, many of whom have been influenced by the beautiful local landscape.

Spread across two floors in the centre of St Ives is the New Craftsman Gallery which is currently hosting work by, among others, Neil Davis and Cornelius Jakob Van Dop.

Neil Davies, Indigo Skies over Sennen

Neil Davies, Indigo Skies over Sennen

Davies paints landscapes, with big, heavy brush strokes and expressive sweeps of colour that all build up on top of each other into some seriously captivating textures. Some of them are stormy, some a little serene as he reacts to the changes in the seasons around his home near St Ives.

Neil Davies, Reflections on the North Coast

Neil Davies, Reflections on the North Coast

Neil Davies, Watching the Crashing Waves at Boat Cove

Neil Davies, Watching the Crashing Waves at Boat Cove

Tucked away in a cabinet downstairs was the work of Cornelius Jakob Van Dop, a jeweller and metalsmith with a clear love for texture, line and the natural world. His small, palm sized boxes are decorated with beautiful illustrations of the coastal landscape and wildlife. There was something in them that reminded me of sailors scimshaw carvings, filled with the details that had been keenly observed during a life looking at the sea.

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

They were beautifully made, with neat hinges and simple dimple locking mechanisms that functioned neatly and really let the quality of the illustrations come across. Alongside these were a collection of animal and insect brooches, I particularly liked the whale, simply made in plain silver with more of that glorious fine detailing:

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Brooch

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Brooch

The Gallery is open all year round and details can be found here.

Advertisements

Poppies and Alliums …

I had a super lazy Sunday yesterday and went out for breakfast at Hillers near Alcester – their display gardens are in full flower now and the alliums and poppies were just stunning:

Ferns …

I took a little Good Friday drive out yesterday with my parents which, naturally, ended at a Garden Centre.

Now, I like plants and all but I’m no expert. When I buy them I really just go for things that I think are pretty. This was a specialist fern nursery with a quite stunning collection of fern colours and textures on show:

I was so inspired by it all that I bought this little one home – I’ll get him comfortably settled into a shady bit of the workshop next week:

Two scarred fingers, walking the Quarter

The Jewellery Quarter has two historic Pavement Trails, put in as kind of DIY walking tours around the time of the millennium. I see parts of them pretty much everyday but this is one of my favourite markers:

It’s a homage to the humble benchpeg, an incredibly simple thing that takes a lot of punishment. The faithful benchpeg soldiers on until (in my case) you’ve drilled so many holes in it that it disintegrates. I rarely give mine much credit but I’d hate to try making anything without its support.

If you fancy heading out to soak up a little history then you can download a PDF of the pavement Trail right here:

Facebook Finds #2: Colour me bright …

It’s a little dreary and grey today so here are a few of my brighter Facebook finds to cheer things up:

Thea Clark goes to town exploring mixed media and modern technology to produce pieces that are at once soft and structural, they’re a neat play of very organic surfaces against harsher prints:

Thea Clark. Cyan Chain, mixed media brooch, paper, plastic, nickel , pearls, wood, tinted plastic, 2010

Thea Clark. Cyan Square, mixed media brooch with cyanotype on silk, wood, plexiglass, tinted plastic, nickel, 2010.

Jacqueline Ryan is much more traditional in her approach to getting colour onto metal  – she uses enameling – but the way she makes up her pieces, from tiny units inspired by the natural world is just breathtaking:

Jacqueline Ryan

Jacqueline Ryan

Jacqueline Ryan - Sketchbook Image

And then there’s Stephanie Tomczak who combines enamel and natural materials to superb effect, bringing out the wonderful qualities of each:

Stephanie Tomczak, Oceanic Gems Collection

Stephanie Tomczak, Oceanic Gems Collection