A Walk Near Tintagel

England’s South-West Coast Path is one of the world’s great walking routes, stretching from Somerset in the North, around the tip of Cornwall to the Jurassic Coast of Dorset.. We are lucky to have some 300 miles of that route here within Cornwall.

Recently, Alex and I took advantage of the glorious weather to take a walk along part of the Cornwall Coastal Path that was new to us. The stretch of the Path between Tintagel and Trebarwith Strand is typical of North Cornwall with it’s rugged rocky cliffs. That ruggedness is made even more dramatic here due to the scars of old slate quarrying. This is such a feature that the area is known as the “Slate Coast”. In fact, the coast path here is largely created from the old paths that the quarry-men used to access the mining sites.

Quarrying for slate has left its impact on the cliffs
looking to the sea over a field of bright yellow wildflowers

We started our walk just to the west of Tintagel. Looking back to the east we could see the island part of Tintagel Castle, while a little further on we passed the fabulously situated Tintagel Youth Hostel.

The island of Tintagel Castle seen from the South-West
Tintagel Youth Hostel has a magnificent clifftop view

If you live in Cornwall you are used to seeing seas in shades of dark brooding greys. With summers we are having now however, there are more and more days when you can see the waters in clear, almost mediterranean blues and greens.

As Trebarwith Strand comes into view along the walk, one can see the huge scars that historical slate mining has left in the cliffs.

A feature of the quarry sites are the great rock pillars left undisturbed where the miners hit unsuitable rock. These now tower over the old quarry beds.

Precautions were needed against the blazing sun!

All the waste rock from the quarries has led to many variations of dry stone walling.

And if you turn away from the sea, you are faced with the beautiful green of Cornwall

The Garden House

Alex and I made the most of the sunny weather by visiting The Garden House, a ten acre garden near Yelverton, in Devon.

The original house was built for the vicars of the parish, including the former Abbot of Buckland Abbey, who became vicar after the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1500s. A modern vicarage was built in the 1920s and The Garden House was sold as a private dwelling.

When the house and gardens came on to the market again in the 1940s, they were purchased by Lionel and Katharine Fortescue, who created the gardens whilst running a thriving market garden business. After their deaths, the Garden House was bequeathed to a charity to maintain their legacy.

The Garden House features both naturalistic planting and more traditional arrangements, making it a beautifully varied place to visit.

Here’s a sample of what was on offer (click to enlarge):

Back after a break!

Hello everyone, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted but I’m looking forward to blogging more frequently from now on.

Since I last posted, I’ve been enjoying retirement – lots more time for creativity, gardening, friends and family!

My daughter, Isla, has been dealing with a difficult health condition and has started her own blog where she talks about her experiences and posts her own artwork, you can find her at Medically Unexplained.

I spent a week staying with my son a few weeks back, and visited Hillier Gardens in Hampshire. The seasonal planting displays are stunning and I’m feeling very inspired by all the colours and patterns.

Isla’s Birthday Cake

Hi!

I have not got around to posting anything for a while but I thought I should share a photo of the cake my husband Alex decorated for our daughter’s birthday last month. She planned to have friends old and new come to her flat for tea and cakes.

When I mentioned making a cake, Isla said that her real favourite was gingerbread so I made an iced gingerbread cake for her.

Then Alex got in on the act. Isla is a great Studio Ghibli fan and has some Totoro cushions. So Alex painted the cake with an image based on the film “My Neighbour Totoro”.

The cake was a surprise and went down well with all her friends. So much so that it very quickly disappeared!

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Fuji

A few nights ago I watched a wonderful documentary on Hokusai. Since then I have been working on pieces inspired by Mount Fuji, not only the Fuji from Hokusai’s prints but my own memories of the mountain from when we visited there a couple of years ago.

Here are a couple of brooches with a Mount Fuji inspiration.

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Devon Guild

Last week I delivered a new batch of work to The Devon Guild of Craftsmen gallery in Bovey Tracey, South Devon. I have been a member of the Guild for many years and always have work on sale there. Through June I will be a featured artist in the Guild shop and my work will be on offer at 10% off. I will be doing a day of demonstrations on my work there on June 24th.

Here are a few of the new pieces featured this month.

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If anyone can make it to Riverside Mill in Bovey Tracey on June 24th I would love to meet you and give an insight into how I make my work.

Retirement!

Alex and I retired from our part-time jobs in a local school last Friday. I am really going to miss working with young people!

The generous staff in the department sent us home with bunches of beautiful flowers and lots of gardening vouchers that will ensure we stay busy.

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We plan to fit in some more travelling over the next few years, while we are still fit enough to do so.

Don’t worry, I have no plans to give up my textile work just yet!

Widemouth Bay

Today has been wet and miserable in this bit of the world but last week we had some days of brilliant sunshine. Last Wednesday I had a really good day working on my textile jewellery. I finished a new necklace that I was pleased with so Alex and I decided that a trip to the beach to enjoy the sunset was overdue.

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A new textile necklace

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When we arrived the at Widemouth Bay the light was stunning. The reflection of the brilliant blue sky on the the breaking waves made them appear almost fluorescent.

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Widemouth Bay near Bude in North Cornwall

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Near the beach, the air was laden with spray that glowed in the evening light

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A big wave crashing into the headland

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I always enjoy the little details as well as the broad seascape

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Light effects change very rapidly as the sun sinks down

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Another shot of the amazing glow in the spray lit by the setting sun

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The glowing sky reflected in the wet sand

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Just as the sun dipped under the horizon

Christmas meal with friends

Here are some photographs of a meal I recently hosted for a few of my friends. I normally do a post connected with my Christmas meal or cakes but this year I will be away for the holiday season, so this is serving as a substitute.

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My Xmas bread with tomato

I regularly have a few friends round on a Friday evening for some wine a chat and perhaps a few nibbles. For Christmas I decided to do something a little fancier with a variety of tasty dishes.

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Adding some finishing touches

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Just a few dishes to go!

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Barbecue chicken with Chinese spice marinade

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Sliced steak with asparagus and roast pepper

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Deep-fried chicken balls with apricot, shallot and sesame seeds, served with mushroom and pepper

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Pan-fried lamb with plum stuffing

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The meal also featured smoked salmon with herb cheese bites and Shanghai dumplings

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Ready to start eating!

In addition to the food, wine and chatter, we also spent our time doing some felting.

Sorry about the image quality – just quick pics on a phone!

Devon Guild Summer Show

The Summer Show, the annual exhibition of work by the Devon Guild of Craftsmen membership is on at their Bovey Tracey gallery until 4th September 2016.

This year’s show has no specific theme and features a particularly wide range of exciting work. Wai-Yuk is represented by her “Taunton Kimono”.

Devon Guild Summer Show

Private View

The Summer Show Private View

If you have the chance to be in South Devon over the next month, try to get along to see a very fine selection of the best in contemporary craft.

The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey, Devon TQ13 9AF
Open seven days a week – 10.00am to 5.30pm.

Antwerp Kimono Show

Last weekend we travelled to Antwerp to see an exhibition of kimono by the late Japanese master Itchiku Kubota. Kubota is one of my favourite artists and the chance to see some of his pieces that I only knew in reproduction made the trip a must.

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The exhibition was small with just eight kimono, six from the “Symphony of Light” series (the “Universe” set) plus two from his “Mount Fuji” series. The works were fabulous, which I knew they would be, but sadly the quality of the display was very poor with untidy hanging and lighting totally unsuitable for this type of work. The main light came from an internal paved courtyard but this caused so much reflection on the glass that you could only really see the piece directly in front of you. Fortunately we were permitted to take photographs, which is normally strictly forbidden in Kubota exhibits.

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Reflections on the glass made viewing very difficult!

The “Universe” set of kimono represents a mythical dragon within Mount Fuji breathing out flames and magma. They form one amazing continous image which was impossible to photograph but I have put together a set of individual photos to show the effect.

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The Universe set from “The Festival of Light”

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The complexity of the shibori work is amazing

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The subtle areas are among the most beautiful

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One of the Mount Fuji kimono

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The hand-stitched shibori textures are breathtaking!

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The other Mount Fuji kimono

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Kubota would spend as much as a year working on each kimono

The exhibition runs until the 19th June at MOMU – The Antwerp Fashion Museum. Antwerp itself is not a city I had ever considered visiting but proved to be a very pleasant and enjoyable destination.

Metal sculpture in Florence

A few weeks ago I posted some photos of Florentine wrought ironwork. Here is a follow-up featuring Florentine metalwork closer to the fine art end of the spectrum. This is a huge subject with a great tradition but these are just a few pictures that appealed to me.

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The main bronze doors of Florence Cathedral by Augusto Passaglia

The casting of┬árelief-decorated bronze doors has been a major art form in Florence since the start of the Renaissance. In fact, many classic texts date the true start of the Italian Renaissance to the sculpting of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s doors for Florence’s Baptistery.

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“The Annunciation” – A panel in a side door of Florence Cathedral

Sadly, the two sets of doors that Ghiberti made for the Baptistery have now been replaced by modern copies in order to preserve the originals. The copies are superb, however, and a great testament to an enduring Florentine bronze casting tradition.

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One of the North doors of the Baptistery (a modern exact replica)

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The second set of doors by Ghiberti were christened “The Gates of Paradise” by Michelangelo

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Detail from “The Gates of Paradise” (a modern replica)

Cast sculpture can be found throughout Florence both in the galleries and out in public spaces. A favourite of mine is the fountains in the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata by Pietro Tacca.

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Detail from a mannerist fountain by Pietro Tacca

As well as skills with bronze, Florence has long been renowned as a centre for gold-smithing. In the Pitti Palace fine examples are displayed of gold working from many periods.

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A gold mounted drinking horn

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A large gold snail featuring a real seashell

Finally, though not high art, I noticed a number small metal tortoises scattered around the city, often in hard to spot places and usually carrying heavy loads on their backs.sculpture 8

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See also: Florentine Ironwork