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.

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Beachcomber #2

New beachcomber necklace:

Becca Williams Beachcomber Necklace 2 72dpi

New ellipses …

Silver Castings - necklace and jump rings

I collected some new castings in the week and finally got them onto my bench today. I made the original copper models of these, looking at pictures I took of the shapes of little fishing boats moored out in a harbour.

There’s a very definite stripe that runs through the centre, on a curve, which I think I’ll put a bright, burnished edge onto once it’s all cleaned up and joined together.

Until then, here’s an idea of what it will be like when it all comes together:

18ct Yellow gold & silver stacking rings

I made these rather lovely 18ct yellow gold and silver stacking rings this autumn and have just realised that the images never made it onto my blog … Working in yellow gold made a nice change from my more usual red gold and the soft sandy texture looked great in yellow metal:

Press Form Practice #4

So, where was I with my press forming?

Ah, yes – earrings:

I’ve played around with the balance and hang of the larger piece a little more and I think I’m finally settled. I much prefer slightly asymmetric shapes to the precise structure of symmetrical ones – these look a little more like the fish/boats and sea of the coast that inspired them. I’ve got some new etching patterns in mind to decorate them too.

So far the range is shaping up like this:

though there’s at least another large brooch form already cut and waiting to be sampled on my bench …

Beside the Scottish seaside …

It’s odd to think that a week ago I was in Scotland … now I’m back in England and it’s muggy, rainy and generally not looking like summer at all. Still, I went to a beautiful wedding yesterday which has made up for the weather (a little) – though I won’t feel like I’m home until I’ve been through the stack of emails that piled up while I was away.

I got to go to the beach while I was up north, Mr Williams and I took a day trip to St Andrews – which turns out to be a town with more than just golf going for it. There’s the gorgeous Alchemia Gallery on one of the main streets and some most delicious ice cream sellers too – I recommend the chocolate at the place on Market Street!

From a distance the town is dominated by the ruins of a castle and a cathedral. The graveyards around the cathedral are a fascinating mix of old and new tombstones from the 1500’s to the modern day.

As you can see it was a gorgeous day – I had a few preconceptions about Scottish weather overridden last week and I actually managed to get sunburnt too!  The beach there is gorgeous, I live in the Midlands so I seize upon any chance to get out to the sea that I can. I wasn’t disappointed:

There’s a huge stretch of sand peppered with these tiny little pebbles:

I always end up bringing handfulls of pebbles back form the seaside – they’re just so darn pretty and, unlike traditional facetted stones, they have such wonderfully organic shapes that I could just gaze at forever. This time I looked for truly tiny pebbles to put into my Flotsam range … so keep an eye out for these turning up in a piece some time soon.