A T H E
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N P I N N A C L E
N O F
U L U X U RY
L I F E S T Y L E
0 I N
C O R N W A L L
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F O R E WO R D
Introduction B Y H A N N A H TA P P I N G
RIFT was born in 2019 out of a desire to share Cornwall’s rarity, to celebrate a luxury lifestyle and bring together a society of exclusive readers.
We set out to create each volume as an odyssey experienced through a combination of editorial excellence and pictorial elegance. Over a set of exquisite volumes we have celebrated the lives and work of a select group of artists, producers, photographers, chefs, authors and forward-thinkers. We have toured Cornwall’s iconic landscape and delved into its eclectic history. We have seen nature and landscape captured through the lens of some incredible documentarians. Stories have been told by Cornwall’s leading wordsmiths. Our journey has taken
us the length and breadth of Cornwall in order to showcase its pioneers, artisans and adventurers. THE
For this year’s DRIFT Annual we have curated our favourite editorials and features from the last seven volumes. In the true spirit of DRIFT, every page is intended to take you on a journey; one where you can immerse yourself in the pages and allow yourself to drift with the current, washed over by the luxury within. It is also a celebration of the incredible group of people, contributors and protagonists alike, that have made DRIFT possible. It is our hope that the resulting collection of words and images will grace your bookshelf and coffee table for years to come.
PI N NAC L E
L U X U RY
L I F EST Y L E
C O R N WA L L
noun 1. the act of driving something along . the flow or the velocity of the current of a river or ocean stream
dri corn all.com
1. to become driven or carried along, as by a current of water, wind, or air . to move or float smoothly and effortlessly
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On the cover This photo was taken by George Stephens, aka ‘Gstee’ at Pedn Vounder. See more of Gstee’s stunning photography from page 8. gstee.co.uk
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T E A M
Our contributors Commercial Director Ben Pratchett email@example.com Editor Hannah Tapping firstname.lastname@example.org
Content & Project Manager Dan Warden email@example.com
Creative Designers Spencer Hawes Jamie Crocker
Digital Content Creative Megan Searle firstname.lastname@example.org
PROUD TO BE PART OF
ri is published by: Engine House Media LTD Holbrook, The Moors, Porthleven, Cornwall TR13 9JX www.enginehousemedia.co.uk www.levenmediagroup.co.uk
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ÂŠ All rights reserved. Material may not be re-produced without the permission of Engine House Media Ltd. Engine House Media Ltd nor its contributors can accept any liability for reader dissatisfaction arising from editorial features, editorial or advertising featured in these pages. Engine House Media reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit such material prior to publication. The opinions expressed or advice given in the publication are the views of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of Engine House Media Ltd. It is suggested that further advice is taken over any actions resulting from reading any part of DRIFT.
We invite you to continue your lifestyle voyage online. Find inspiring stories and uncover more luxury content on nsta ram dri corn all. oin our e clusive e ournal communit at dri corn all.co.u to receive reci es revie s and insider no led e of some of orn all s most loved lu ur destinations. dri corn all.co.u
Engine House Media Ltd is a multi-platform media business with a passion for everything Cornish. Visit www.enginehousemedia.co.uk to find out more.
Visit drift-cornwall.co.uk to read more about our writers
L U X U RY
dri corn all LIF ESTY LE
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C O N T E N T S
At a glance 08
CAPTURING THE ESSENCE
F I N E A RT F U S I O N
A DESIGN ICON
GOING WITH THE FLOW
THE RIGHT PLACE
T H E A RT O F T H E S E N S E S
NAT U R A L L I G H T
Conceptual photography from Gstee
What success means to Jo Downs
Cornishware is loved around the world
The transformation of Zee van Gils
andsca e hoto ra h from hris u
Ashley Hansonâ€™s commitment to colour
A career in the appreciation of art
Clare James is captivated by the water
FA M I L I A R T H I N G S
F RO M T H E G RO U N D U P
LIFE IN THE LENS
A RT A N D I N F L U E N C E
A landscape painter like no other
The rise of Newlyn Art School
Wildlife in pictures from Richard Birchett
In conversation with Ylenia Haase
STEALING THE SHOW
WAT C H T H I S S PA C E
BEAUTY AND MENACE
In the studio of Luke Knight
Mercedes Smith meets Jasmine Mills
Exploring the work of Gareth Edwards
A new body of work from Mark Surridge
THE SOUL OF THE THING
MOMENTS OF WONDER
NAT U R E I N F O C U S
B R AV E A N D B O L D
W H E R E T H E H E A RT I S
T H E A RT O F A RT I S A N
T H E C I D E R R E V I VA L
F RO M T H E F O R AG E R S
Paintings with a deeply poetic edge
Finding fascination in every subject
Inspiring action for conservation
We meet Anouska Lancaster
The history of a Cornish icon
Championing sustainable food practices
Creating the very best artisan cider
Recipes from the Cornish Seaweed Co.
THE SEED OF AN IDEA
S I M P LY S E A S O NA L
C H A R I S M AT I C C H A R M
B L U E S PA C E S
C RO S S I N G A N O C E A N
E V E RY O N E W E L C O M E
I N I M I TA B LY B E AU T I F U L
At the Porthminster Collection
A dedication to the pursuit of provenance
Recipes from Tia Tamblyn
Harlyn Bay welcomes The Pig Hotel
Exploring our relationship with the sea
n a id to
ht for the future
Meet a National Trust Lead Ranger
Nobody makes a boat quite like Cockwells
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F O C U S
eorge Stephens, aka ‘Gstee’, is an abstract aerial photographer based in Newquay, predominantly shooting seascapes around ornwall reativity flows constantly here and the changing seasons and swells offer endless inspiration.”
George is self-taught, having had an interest in capturing moments on camera for as long as he can remember: “This, mixed with my interest in aviation, has allowed me to develop and evolve this abstract style of photography and allows my imagination to blend with reality, creating conceptual imagery. I hope to take the viewer on a journey, letting their imagination decipher the subject, inviting a true moment in the present.” In sharing his emotive images of our oceans, George aims to invoke respect for this vast, but fragile, environment.
the ESSENCE WO R D S B Y DA N WA R D E N
IMAGES BY GSTEE
Conceptual photography that explores, from above, the kaleidoscopic colours and textures of the natural world.
“I feel that the bird’s eye view provides an alternative perspective on familiar surroundings, and a sense of escapism.” And that’s precisely how it feels, scanning through George’s work on his website; he captures the
textures and colours – the very essence – of landscapes that you simply cannot appreciate from the ground level: “I have recently been on a few international trips where I had the chance to shoot new terrain, including the salt flats of northern Spain and the volcanic island of Fuerteventura. It is a privilege to be able to share these often unseen viewpoints of the beautiful natural world.” gstee.co.uk
LEFT Pedn Vounder
A B OV E Hayle Estuary
A B OV E Gylly beach, Falmouth
A B OV E Camel Estuary
A B OV E Salt flats in northern Spain
A B OV E Colours evocative of galaxies distant
LEFT Daymer Bay
A B OV E Crantock Surf
A B OV E Surfer Trio, Fistral
A B OV E Little Fistral 1
A B OV E Little Fistral 2
A B OV E Sharing often unseen viewpoints
LEFT Volcanic terrain, Fuerteventura
A B OV E Gannel, Newquay
A B OV E Gannel, Newquay
A B OV E Capturing the essence of the landscape
A B OV E Revealing new perspectives
RIGHT Carve â€“ Fistral Beach
C R E AT E
used glass artist Jo Downs has always known that talent is not enough. In a region brimming with creatives, she has set the standard for professionalism in the arts, creating a successful, design-led company based on the value and integrity of her original, handcrafted work. Since graduating from university 25 years ago her talent and technical expertise have made her an unrivalled specialist in her field, with a portfolio that includes commissions for high profile public venues like the Royal College of Art London, and the Flying Boat Club on the Isles of Scilly. Here, she tells us what it takes to build a meaningful career as an artist, and how focusing on her passions has been the secret to her success.
Fine art FUSION
We take a look at the career of one of orn all s most hi h ro le desi ners.
Jo, you are one of Cornwall’s most highprofile creatives. What does that kind of success mean to you? I think ‘success’ means different things to different people. or me, it means the freedom to spend my life making beautiful work. When I first discovered glass fusing at university, I didn’t think ‘Wow, this could make me really
successful’, I thought ‘Wow I love this stuff, I want to mess about with it every single day for the rest of my life’. Passion – I mean that raw, almost childish passion for a thing – is the secret to success in anything, isn’t it? I’ve been lucky in that I found my passion early in life, but honestly, the rest has been down to commitment and a great deal of hard work. There are lots of artists here in the south west with exceptional talent, but it’s not enough, you need that something extra to make it in the arts. I’ve heard people call it ‘business sense’ but it’s not that. It’s commitment, an absolute commitment to following your dream. Creatively, I’ve always felt confident, but business wise, I’ve simply learned. Trial and error have been two of my greatest allies! And taking advice from others has made all the difference. If I don’t know something, I just ask someone who does. It’s really that simple. My success is the result of my own passion, every ounce of my energy and the wisdom and support of a whole string of other people who have helped me build Jo Downs Handmade Glass, and who now give me the freedom to make
A B OV E Jo Downs
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A B OV E Jo at her Launceston studio
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A B OV E A stunning installation in Cawsand
C R E AT E
work while they take care of the day-to-day running of the company. I come into my studio each day and get hands-on with fused glass, and that’s my definition of success.”
the galleries. On the commissions side, I work from a separate studio with its own kiln and workspace, and I focus on bespoke work for private clients. That’s where I love to be, with my dog Izzy, my radio and shelves of glass in every conceivable colour.” What do you love most about creating bespoke work? ne off, large-scale work is where fused glass goes ‘fine art’, if I can describe it like that. oing back to my college tutor’s comment about colour and texture, those are the things that make fused glass such a special medium to work with. Colour and texture are both enhanced by light, so the larger a work is, the
How did you get started as a fused glass artist? “I originally planned to study ceramics, but at college my tutor said I had a talent for colour and texture and he suggested I try working with glass. I enrolled for a degree in Glass and Ceramic Design at Sunderland University and that’s where I first tried glass fusing. All that came out of the kiln was this glorious, melted lump of colour – but I fell in love with glass right there. When I graduated, I spent some time working with established glass artists, people like Mike Davies, Galia Amsel and Rebecca Newnham, and then set up my own workshop in London. I’m well known for my galleries now, but that’s not how I started. I went straight into bespoke commissions and that was a steep learning curve. Hilton Hotels and P&O Cruises approached me to make large scale installations, and that’s where I really found my focus. Commissions have always been my passion, and still account for the majority of my studio time. In 2001, when my first son was born, I set up my studio here in Cornwall, and over the next few years I developed a range of interior pieces. They sold well at independent galleries across the country, so in I set up the first dedicated Jo Downs gallery in Padstow. Now I have five galleries in ornwall, and one in Surrey, and a small team of talented glass artists who work with me every day here at the studio. I design, we make, and then the most successful pieces are pulled together into collections for INSET Jo with her Shoaling Fish commission for an architect designed home in Padstow
A B OV E Multi storey shoaling fish chandelier
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C R E AT E
more it captures the natural light in a space. It’s incredibly satisfying, as an artist, to see my work reach its full potential like that. I also really enjoy the process of creating to a brief. Clients come to me with some extraordinary ideas – I have been asked for swimming pool floors, four-storey chandeliers and spectacular glass ceilings – and every idea pushes my creativity just a little bit further. Put simply, clients come to me for something beautiful and totally unique. It’s a special thing to work with people who’ve created a beautiful home, or a beautiful business space, and to make something meaningful for them. I begin by meeting with the client, visiting the space where the commission will sit, and finding the balance between what the client wants and what’s possible in fused glass. From there I will make sketches just to frame an idea, then the actual design process is really about experimentation and getting straight into the glass. It’s an exciting journey for me and my client, and at the end of the project A B OV E Jo’s work enhances this space beautifully
A B OV E Each commission is an exciting journey for Jo
there is that wonderful moment when the finished work is installed in its rightful place. I never get over the thrill of that.” What inspires your work above all else? “Living and working in Cornwall is my greatest inspiration. The landscape here is so varied and yet so unique. So much of my work is inspired by the shapes and colours of the Cornish coast, from the rolling ocean to the quiet little rockpools, the brilliant blue of a Cornish cove or the dusty gold of the moorland. It’s the same for everyone who is drawn to this part of the world, isn’t it? We want to celebrate the natural beauty of the place. Nearly every commission I make here reflects my clients’ passion for Cornwall, and in some sense brings the inside and the outside together. What could be better than creating work inspired by the place I love, for people who love it as much as I do? It’s a pretty nice way to live my life.” odo ns.com RIGHT Simply stunning
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D I A LO G U E
ith a timeless and instantly recognisable style, the history of Cornishware stretches back to the 1920s. 1924 to be exact. Produced by company T.G. Green, the classic design has stood the test of time, the iconic stripes adorning kitchens the world over. As a testament to this, if you happen to visit the London design museum you will see the classic 10 ounce mug displayed amongst 50 of the most iconic design pieces in the world.
A brush with
Cornishware is now owned by husband and wife team, Charles and Karina Rickards, who bought the company in 2007. “When Charles bought Cornishware it was a decision very much led by the heart,” explains Karina. “We knew we had to rescue this iconic company, we knew we couldn’t let this household name disappear.” In order to save the struggling brand, production was reluctantly moved overseas. However, thanks to Charles’ entrepreneurial spirit and Karina’s passion, fortunes have now been restored to the brand and the couple have been working hard to return production back to the UK.
WORDS BY BETHANY ALLEN
Famed for its iconic stripes, Cornishware is a British design icon inspired by the azure blue skies and white crested waves of Cornwall.
original Cornishware cup and saucer with bright blue stripes that juxtapose against the clean white, the chunky design and smooth edges immediately comforting, and I can easily imagine myself curled up on the sofa nursing a cup of tea as I turn the pages of an absorbing book. Lost in this thought I look up over the edge of my teacup and comment on the beautiful design. Karina gestures to the wall behind me where a huge photo of the clear blue skies and white crashing surf of Cornwall is displayed, and goes on to tell me the story of how one of the company designers
I sit talking with Karina at the Great Cornish Food Store in Truro, where the range of Cornishware pottery is used and displayed in the café. My peppermint tea arrives in the
A B OV E Charles and Karina Rickards
RIGHT Decorated by hand
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D I A LO G U E for T.G. Green was inspired by a scene just like this when he created the Cornishware brand. Extremely modern for its time – considering that most pottery in the 20s was very delicate and floral these chunky, durable mugs stood out. Indeed, almost 100 years later, thanks to the unique production process and dedication to hand-decoration, they continue to do so. I want to know where the story began for Karina. “My husband, Charles, bought the business 10 years ago. I was then heavily pregnant with my fifth child.” She says with a smile: “He came back from work one day and announced that Cornishware had gone bankrupt. He was running another business at the time but his entrepreneurial spirit prevailed and the next day he came home and announced that he had indeed bought it. I was with my fifth child, knee deep in nappies and so
LEFT A process that’s all about human dexterity
I wasn’t that involved with the business to begin with. But then we moved to the West Country for a slower pace of life, we bought a Georgian farmhouse with all these beautiful outbuildings and when my little one started school I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to walk out the front door and into the pottery’. It didn’t happen instantaneously. Charles made the decision to move production back to the UK and initially it gave us quite a headache because we had to find very skilled workers and decorators. ne day I said to Charles: ‘I’ll have a go, let’s see if I can decorate a plate, why not? I’m an artist, my background is in art.’ He handed me a blank plate made with Cornish clay in Stoke-on-Trent (which is how we make our pottery now), we had an electric wheel and I had a go. kay I was a bit slow to start with but it worked and the stripes were perfect! That was a real ‘eureka’ moment and one I will never forget.”
A B OV E Beauty in simplicity
A B OV E The iconic blue stripes have become a hallmark of quality
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D I A LO G U E
Thanks to Karina’s determination to decorate the plates by hand, what once housed the combine harvesters and tractors is now the warehouse; the milking parlour is the pottery and Karina’s dream of walking across the road and into the pottery has become a reality. Production began with plates and other nonhandle flatware and has progressed into making the mugs and other products as well. “Bringing the mug production back has been tricky,” Karina says. “It takes three months to learn how to make a Cornishware mug and it is by far the most labour-intensive item. To create the striped effect you apply wax by hand and then dip the whole mug in paint, as it comes out the paint stays on the unwaxed areas and falls of the waxed areas like water off a duck’s back. It’s a really hard techni ue to master and at the moment it’s just two of us painting with another two learning the technique, so we are four decorators altogether, producing thousands of mugs a month! The days are long, tea helps,” she says musing. “So does chocolate, and loud music.” They are almost three years down the line of reinstating production to the UK and 70% of all Cornishware is now made in Stokeon-Trent and decorated at the pottery in the south west. “By summer 2020 we hope to have completed the move to 100% UK production. It’s been an amazing journey with various ups and downs, but by being part of the process my confidence has excelled,” arina confides. or someone who hasn’t been working for a while it’s so valuable to be part of a team, because when you’re bringing up children they’re not going to say ‘oh well done for mopping up the floor, that was great,’ or ‘thank you for changing my nappies for the first three years of my life.’”
You may be wondering what role Charles plays. The answer is logistics, the numbers, the big plan, looking five years ahead and having a clear understanding of the business’ direction. Charles joins us midway through the interview, so I’m able to pick his brains on the production process. “The clay comes from the clay pits in St Austell, it’s then transported up to Stoke-on-Trent where four different components are added to it, before being delivered to oyal Stafford factory to make what we call the ‘blanks’, ready to be transported to our factory in the south west. And then the fun begins,” he says laughing. nce it arrives at the factory the di cult bit starts the painstaking process of decorating by hand with paint brushes, which people in this day and age find very curious.” He smiles: “So it’s all done as it was historically, it’s all about human dexterity and skill, each piece lovingly decorated and then fired again in the kiln which fuses the paint onto the body. Finally, it’s glazed and goes back in at a much higher temperature, that’s what gives it its durability. The higher the temperature the harder the product, so our product is suitable for both domestic use and professional use.” “A lot of people can’t believe it’s hand applied,” Karina adds, “so it’s my job to show the process to the audience. I’m very active on social media; I show products and try to connect with our audience. I’m so passionate about it, I live it, I breathe it, and I probably still have a bit of pottery dust on me,” she says appraising her clothes, “but that’s the best way to show our story. If you speak from the heart then people are going to relate to you and the brand that you’re creating.”
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D I A LO G U E
Karina’s Instagram account allows her loyal and growing fan base to follow her Cornish adventures at the family’s adored second home on the Lizard peninsula, as well as seeing the day-to-day goings on behind the scenes at Cornishware. Her followers will ask ‘how did you come up with the yellow?’, and Karina can tell them that it’s inspired by the oil-skin raincoats that the fishermen wear and the gorse flowers as she walks along the South West Coast Path. “I just love that yellow,” Karina says with a smile, “it always reminds me of these things as well as my sailing days.” As she speaks she lifts up her own yellow mug that has a designated spot in her handbag: “This is one of my very first hand-decorated mugs, it’s not absolutely perfect,” she says pointing to the vibrant block of yellow. “You can see a little dribble of yellow here, the paint is a bit too thick here, but it’s very special to me, it represents a turning point in my life and the Cornishware story.” “Next year will be a big year for us,” says Charles. “It’s all about creating a philosophy of getting it right the first time attention to detail and being considered and thoughtful. But most importantly it’s about finding people who understand what we’re trying to achieve, because then they care, and caring is what it’s all about.”
The Cornishware range is truly beautiful, capturing warmth and cosiness through its sturdy design and calling to mind scenes from a farm kitchen way back when. For those rainy days when all you want to do is wrap your hands around a comforting mug of tea and sink into the sofa, for long night’s studying, or for big family breakfasts full of chatter and laughter. Cornishware will see you through it all, as it has done for generations. cornishware.co.uk cornishware_artist
A B OV E Karina Rickards
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C R E AT E
he tale of Zee’s life reads like an adventure novel. Her early education was far-removed from anything in the art world. She began by studying animal care and wildlife research in her home country of The Netherlands; a study that allowed her to travel the world. She spent a time volunteering with the Atlantic Whale and Dolphin Foundation in Tenerife, moving on to working in elephant shelters and on an organic farm. Zee tells me: “Travelling got me out of a pretty bad depression and helped me to open my mind.”
Going with the
FLOW WO R D S B Y H A N N A H TA P P I N G
Eventually, Zee settled in a small fishing village on Lombok, an Indonesian island famed for its beaches and surf spots, where she lived pretty much off grid in a little hillside cabin. Surfing dominated Zee’s daily life, from being on the water, working as a surf photographer and creating surfboard art alongside the first surfboard shapers on Lombok island at Banyu
From surfboard artist to resin artist; the transformation of Zee van Gils.
A B OV E Zee van Gils
Surfboards. With no classical art training, Zee is self-taught, developing a creative talent for drawing and making that began when she was a young girl. Learning to ‘glass’ the boards she was working on was Zee’s introduction to resin. As she looked around her she was inspired by the shapes, colours and textures of the ocean and had a desire to recreate them in resin. All of the materials had to be imported and it cost Zee six months of savings to obtain what she needed. With noone to learn from, it was a case of trial and error: “I accidentally covered my bedroom floor in resin and almost set my wooden house on fire,” explains Zee. I drove around for five hours once to find wood so I could build my own panels and wasted hundreds of pounds experimenting with this medium to find the techniques and textures that I wanted to achieve.”
RIGHT ‘Return To Self ’
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C R E AT E
LEFT Pouring the resin
A B OV E ‘Above and Below’
TOP ‘The Lady’ closeup
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A B OV E ‘Detox’
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A B OV E Arbo board
RIGHT ‘ Through Your Eyes’
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C R E AT E
Three years later and a move to Perth, Australia with her boyfriend Anthony, Zee was rewarded with her first exhibition. Life in Australia however was not meant to be. Visa technicalities led to a six hour interrogation, four days in an airport detention centre, followed by deportation via Indonesia back to The Netherlands. “I laugh about it now,” says Zee, “but I certainly wasn’t laughing at the time. I had to leave my boyfriend way back in Australia to finish my exhibition and to then sell all our belongings!” What felt like seven long weeks later and the couple were reunited. Anthony secured a job as a hydrographic surveyor which would take him offshore for work, meaning the world was now Zee’s oyster in terms of where she would settle. And so Zee chose the Cornish surf mecca of Newquay, where she now creates her pieces from a small garden studio. Taking inspiration from her natural surroundings, above and below the surface, Zee uses a two-part resin that she then colours with inks and powder pigments: “I love the many coloured pots of resin that are the first part of the process. These are then poured on to Birch panels and as you pour the resin it keeps moving and
A B OV E An exciting, fluid process
INSET ‘The Lady’
flowing. Working across three continents I have found that the resin behaves very differently depending on the climate and so you’re never quite sure what the end result will be – it’s a very exciting process. Since moving to Cornwall, this has been the first time that I have been able to concentrate solely on my art, giving it my full attention, rather than having to work three or four jobs on the side.” It comes as no surprise that Zee has also managed to combine her passion for surfing with her artistry. Last year saw a collaboration with Album surfboards from California, while closer to home, local shapers such as Bos and Arbo are incorporating Zee’s designs into their boards. Alongside her resin art, Zee also creates flora-inspired wall murals. A contrast from the micro designs in the resin, these macro patterns can cover over 200 square feet of wall, as can be seen at a recent installation at Mawgan Porth, creating a dramatic effect in a swimming pool area. Zee’s work has now found homes in over fifteen different countries worldwide. underthezee.com
RIGHT ‘Jade’ closeup
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F O C U S
or hris Tuff, award-winning freelance photographer, writer and director based in ornwall Landscape photography is about revealing, evoking the spirit, or capturing the evanescent mood and moment of a place its power, drama, beauty or serenity, whatever I happen to feel about it at that instant. My images are a visceral reaction to the landscape, the result of sensory immersion in the interaction of the elements of sea, sky and shore.”
The right PLACE
espite devoting most of his career to film, hris’ roots have always been in photography. In fact, he tells us how by the age of nine I was taking my own photographs, with an ancient odak folding camera that belonged to my grandfather”, processing the film himself and making prints in his father’s darkroom.
WO R D S B Y DA N WA R D E N
Landscape photography, according to hris u can conve an incredi le ran e de th and su tlet of emotion feelin and meanin .
Winter is ust around the corner, and hris is ready for it. uring the winter months the primeval, ornish coastal landscape is sub ugated to the raw, elemental power of nature and the capricious character of the everchanging light.”
Whatever the season, the conditions influence how hris treats images, whether traditional black and white or more meditative colour images that reduce the seascape to its basic elements”, as seen over the following pages. hris grew up the son of a photography lecturer and landscape photographer and so was accustomed to spending hours, days, sometimes weeks on photographic expeditions. I think this is where my love and appreciation of landscape and nature came from, and my intuitive feeling for when everything is right. To be a landscape photographer re uires patience and the instinct to be in the right place, at the right time.” christu
A B OV E hris Tuff
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A B OV E ‘Last Light’
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A B OV E ‘Sun. Sea, Sky’
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A B OV E ‘ ravity’
A B OV E ‘Symphonic Sky’
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RIGHT ‘ phelia’
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LEFT ‘Linear Light’
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A B OV E ‘Lonely’
A B OV E ‘ erulean Sea’
A B OV E ‘Ghosts’
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A B OV E ‘ ivine light’
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A B OV E ‘ enaissance’
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A B OV E ‘ Into the Blue’
A B OV E ‘ enaissance’
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RIGHT ‘Last Light 2’
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C R E AT E
he joy of abstract art, to my mind, is that it has returned us to the simple childhood freedom of responding, instinctively, to colour. You may think that’s a limited explanation for one of the most intellectually advanced art genres in the world, but it’s true nonetheless, and is significant, since by adulthood most of us will have demoted the value of colour in our lives from ‘powerful’ to merely ‘pretty’.
The Art of the
This year, at Terrace Gallery Penryn, visitors had the chance to see work by one of Cornwall’s foremost Colourists. Painter Ashley Hanson is a prizewinning artist with an exhibition record that has included selection for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, National Open Art Competition, Discerning Eye, and ‘Discovery: Contemporary Art Perspectives from England’ at Agora Gallery in New York.
WO R D S B Y M E RC E D E S S M I T H
Ashley Hanson is a painter committed to the power of colour.
Ashley studied architecture at Manchester University, but was inspired to become a painter after visiting a Peter Lanyon retrospective in London in . Lanyon, a leading figure amongst the St Ives School
painters, was inspired by the Cornish landscape, and by abstract expressionism and colour field painting, and these in turn have become a significant influence on Ashley’s work. I found my own freedom in painting through colour,” says Ashley. Mixing colours, finding colours, and the placing of one colour next to another are still the most exciting things for me in painting. Colour dominates all my work: it may come from my source material, or equally from two paint pots sitting side by side in my studio. I have a discipline of using no more than two or three colours in a mix, to keep the vibrancy and to create the hums and ings and harmonies that I’m after.” Ashley was introduced to the colour work of French painters Bonnard and Matisse, and was literally introduced to British Modernists, whilst studying at Canterbury College of Art. “We had visits from Patrick Heron and Terry Frost, whose lecture on ‘The Yellows of Cornwall’ included slides of a hundred different yellows in the landscape related to his painting.
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A B OV E ‘Port Isaac’
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RIGHT Ashley Hanson
A B OV E ‘Book smile ’
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C R E AT E
As Matisse said,” says Ashley, “colour is the art of the senses. It’s a powerful tool for the artist. olour can be uplifting, oyous or unsettling. It can be used to set the mood in a painting, or to create harmony or discord, and colour can be used symbolically, or to express emotion.” This intuitive approach to colour is at the core of Ashley’s work, and is also the focus of his ‘Freedom in Painting’ courses, which he runs periodically in Cornwall and Kent in response to the landscape. Landscape provides “a context, or a catalyst for my paintings,” says Ashley. I’m always on the lookout for a way into a painting, and that may come from the landscape, from the city, from music, or from the written word from fiction. I’ve a lifelong interest in harbours and seaside towns as a subject, but since my time has been split between my landscape work and my responses to the written word, ‘Painting the Novel’.” Alongside works inspired by the Cornish coast, including his ongoing Porthleven series of forty-two paintings directly inspired by Peter Lanyon’s ‘Porthleven’ painting of , Ashley has spent the last few years working on an
INSET ‘ ity of lass
extended series inspired by paperback crime thrillers. Entitled 20 Books = 20 Paintings, the collection responds to twenty different novels from around the world, and each painting takes the format of two canvases joined together like an open book. I’m not going to reveal the source novels until the series is complete though,” explains Ashley. It will allow the viewer some fun trying to work out the book from the clues in each painting.” Our potential response to colour, it seems, plays an important part in this curious guessing game. Of his painting ‘B - smile ’ he tells me All I can say is that the orange and green palette is significant. Like all my work, I would hope the resulting paintings are objects of beauty, intrigue and authenticity that work first on the senses, and then on the intellect.” Ashley’s habit of working in series “allows all possibilities to be explored,” he tells me, and the inspiration behind his ongoing collections of vivid, large scale paintings, which he refers to as ‘abstract figuration’, are varied. His Cornwall and Americascapes
A B OV E The Possibility of Window ’
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series are both inspired by landscape, the latter by a series of train journeys across the United States, while his dramatic City of Glass series is inspired by the novel of the same name by Paul Auster. “City of Glass is a series that has grown to sixty-three paintings in seven years,” says Ashley of the collection, which will form part of his Painting the Novel exhibition at Linden all Studio in eal next year. He describes it as “a dark story, a tale of obsession that became my obsession.” A catalogue of the paintings which Ashley sent to the author elicited a note from Auster saying he was “incredibly moved by your magnificent paintings. To think that my book could have inspired such vivid colours.” Auster rightly picks up on the essential power of Ashley’s paintings – on the predominance of colour that abstraction allows. “For me, abstraction is the means to achieve clarity in a painting,” says Ashley. It is a process of editing and simplification that reveals the essential, where the ‘subject’ is subservient to the painting. In fact, I’ve no problem in removing the image altogether if it makes the painting stronger. With the ‘pure’ abstract artists that I admire, such as Mondrian, Rothko, Agnes Martin, Franz Kline, Kazuo Shiraga, Sandra Blow and Lee fan, there is an authenticity and language that is very powerful, but in my own practice, I found ‘pure’ abstraction to be a dead-end. The landscape, and music,
A Pint of
and stories provide a springboard for my paintings,” he says, “but the essence of my work is in the interplay between information and imagination, between freedom and control.” He describes process and the instinctive pursuit of truly meaningful colour as “the fear and thrill of the chase! I need surprise, not sameness in my work, and exciting, unexpected things happen if you allow them to. I believe a pre-conceived painting is a fake painting: you can ‘think’ a painting, but as soon as a brush mark is on the canvas the idea evolves or is even replaced because of what is happening in the painting. As an artist, you have this database in your mind of all the paintings ever made, all the paintings seen, the weight of history, but you have to understand and resolve this painting - the one in front of you. I have a favourite quotation from Frank Auerbach, one of my artistic heroes, which I think sums things up. He says ‘all good painting looks as though [it] has escaped from the thicket of prepared positions and has entered some sort of freedom where it exists on its own, and by its own laws and inexplicably has got free of all possible explanations’.” Ashley Hanson is represented by Modern Artists Gallery, Berkshire. For information on Ashley’s work and ‘Freedom in Painting’ courses, see ashleyhanson.co.uk ashleyhanson.co.uk
oom and a large Merlot ’
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A B OV E A solo show at Helstine Gallery, Truro
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RIGHT Artworks in the studio
C R E AT E
xplaining how she went from art fan, to arts writer, to modest collector, Mercedes Smith also tells us why you should consider investing your time and money in contemporary art.
Art is a subject that attracts passionate advocates and equally passionate disdain. One thing is certain though: beautiful objects are good for your soul, your mind and can even, given time, enhance your bank balance. If you live in Cornwall, you have access to some of the best artists in the country, and some of the most respected galleries, so if you’ve ever been tempted to make a significant purchase, let Mercedes Smith encourage you to go with your instincts.
OBJECTS WO R D S B Y M E RC E D E S S M I T H
A childhood encounter led Mercedes Smith to a career in the appreciation of art.
ercedes tell us what first inspired you to follow an education in fine art. My first real encounter with art is perhaps the most vivid memory of my childhood. On a school trip to London, aged nine, I was taken to a gallery on Cork Street where our
class was marched in with firm instructions to ‘touch nothing’. Around the edges of the gallery were objects I understood to be art paintings and little models on plinths - but at the centre of the space stood a massive object that I literally had no words for. Constructed from curving walls of core-ten steel, it towered above me at over twenty feet high and drew me into a labyrinth of gleaming, unearthly space. Inside this ‘walk in’ work of art I found myself entirely alone, and risked running my fingers, rather naughtily, along the surface of the sculpture, listening to the echo of my footsteps and getting lost in its strange twists and turns. I know that sculpture now as a work by artist Richard Serra, but at that moment I only knew it was a curious kind of thing that I had never, ever seen before. Looking back, I think it woke my senses up to the thrill of the utterly nonsensical, and the beauty of shape, space and surface that have no definition in the real world. As we left, I pressed my nose against the gallery window for one last look, and in truth I’ve stayed that awestruck nineyear-old ever since.
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A B OV E ‘Straze Rocking Vessels’ by Alex O’Conner
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A B OV E ‘Conical Vessels’ by Jack Doherty
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C R E AT E
What led you to write about art for a living? I was raised in a home where big thoughts and big concepts were regular topics of conversation. My father, in particular, had a masterful grip on the English language and was the sort of man to encourage theoretical argument just for the fun of it. At university I studied Fine Art, but it was years before I put my love of art and language together. Whilst studying for an MA in Art History in my early thirties, I came to the delicious and frankly life-changing realisation that in writing and theorising about art you could never be wrong, and never be right. What lay before me was a wonderland of endless theoretical argument that could literally go on forever. Like most art students, I was practiced in defending my passion for art to friends and family who saw absolutely nothing in it, and it was a good-natured push and pull that I had always enjoyed. Here, then, was a chance to spend my life talking the hind legs off a donkey about my favourite subject whilst getting paid for it; I honestly never looked back.
What s the greatest barrier to the appreciation of art? I think there is a preconception that fine art is an exclusive arena, but the idea that art is only for those ‘in the know’ is absolute nonsense and is not helpful for the success of artists or galleries. Because of that, it’s important for writers like me to do away with ‘art speak’ and to try and bring art into the everyday. Without new audiences and confident new collectors, the fine arts will not survive, and our culture will be all the poorer. Appreciating art is no more complicated than walking into a gallery and saying, ‘I like that’ or ‘I love that!’ or ‘that means nothing to me, it bores me senseless’. No special knowledge is required for the appreciation of art, and in fact the less seriously you take it, the more fun you will have. If you want to learn more about art, that’s great. Just pick up a book on the subject, but don’t be afraid to collect art based purely on your own tastes and instincts. When you buy a work of art you really love, you’ll be making a valuable contribution to the art scene, and a valuable contribution to your personal happiness.
A B OV E ‘Pomegranate Grey’ by Jessica Cooper
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C R E AT E
You don’t need to be a master of Italian cuisine to enjoy a carbonara, and you don’t need a degree in English to enjoy a good novel. You just need to know what you like, and that may take a little exploration. If my writing can persuade more people into galleries to look at paintings, sculpture and pottery, then I’m doing my job properly. What would you say to aspiring collectors? The first thing I’d say is that, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need piles of money. If you have piles of money, that’s lovely, but its not a requirement for start-up collectors. The first painting I ever bought cost me less than twenty pounds, and since then my collecting budget has remained very, very modest. The second thing I’d say is be clear what you like and why you are buying. Personally, I like to buy abstract paintings, since as previously stated, the simple beauty of shape, space and surface is what the nine year old ‘fan girl’ in me still lives for. In the back of my mind, perhaps I hope these works may appreciate during my lifetime so my kids can cash in
TOP ‘Coste Faena’ by Liz Hough
on my smart investments, but that’s never certain, so only spend what you can afford to lose. Buying new work from galleries or direct from the artist is the least expensive way to acquire art and brings with it the pleasure of supporting new talent. Your investment may prove lucrative over time - or not, since new artists are unproven in the market - but there’s fun in taking an inexpensive gamble on a great new work of art. Buying from art auctions or at sales of previously purchased work can cost a great deal more, and the financial risk is ust as unpredictable, but works like these may have a comforting track record of increasing value you can actually see on paper. More importantly though, I’d simply say JUST BUY ART. Enhancing your life with paintings, sculpture or pieces of pottery you love is a wonderful thing, and supporting new artists is a uniquely ‘feel good’ experience. Good food, great music and fine art are cultural pleasures that take life from the mundane to spectacular. You really mustn’t deny yourself. neartcommunications.co.u
A B OV E ‘Dancing with Bull’ by Toby O’ Brien
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A B OV E ‘Placing Stones’ by Paul Fry
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F O C U S
lare first started shooting underwater whilst working as a dive instructor in Mexico: â€œI was documenting the coral reef we were monitoring and taking photos of the guests underwater. I was captivated by how the light plays underwater and I am still fascinated every day I get in the ocean to shoot. I soon became addicted and took the camera back onto dry land.â€?
WO R D S B Y H A N N A H TA P P I N G
Clare James is a 28-year-old photographer with a self-confessed addiction to the ocean.
However, shooting in-water is still something which Clare tries to do as much as possible. Based in Newquay, she works with an array of clients shooting surfing, wild swimming
lare made the move to Cornwall in 2009 to study Geography at Falmouth University, which opened her eyes to an amazing array of inspiring, science-based ideas and projects. However, Clare found that they often never reached the public eye. She was determined to use photography as a way to throw more light on these ideas, particularly those related to environmental and ocean-related issues.
and any other sports or products that can be filmed or photographed in water. She continues to use her photography to raise awareness of ethical and sustainable businesses and has recently completed a shoot in Iceland for Helston-based dive business, Fourth Element. For prints of her work, contact Clare by email or on Instagram. clarejamesphotography.com
A B OV E Clare James
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A B OV E Watergate Bay
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LEFT ight Skies at ynance ove
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TOP Dry Bag
A B OV E isherman in l Salvador
TOP Transkei, Africa
A B OV E Porthcurno
A B OV E Mossel Bay, Africa
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A B OV E Watergate Bay
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A B OV E Beavers
TOP Surf Landscape
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A B OV E Surf
A B OV E ‘Cornish Pinks’
RIGHT Watergate Bay
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C R E AT E
o refer to Kerry Harding as a landscape painter is both accurate, and utterly inadequate. Many artists create works which celebrate the pastoral or dramatic beauty of the outdoors, or works that explore the depths of human emotion through spectacular vistas, but Kerry is an artist whose paintings explore subliminal triggers, unconscious response and the sensorially weird. With a BA from Oxford’s Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, an MA in Fine Art Painting from Falmouth University and successful exhibitions in the UK, Australia, America and South Africa, Kerry has forged a career based on a new definition of landscape painting.
Familiar THINGS WO R D S B Y M E RC E D E S S M I T H
Kerry Harding is a landscape painter like no other, creating work that challenges both her viewers and the conventions of Cornish painting.
Pictorially, her paintings are a masterclass in colour and composition: a sober palette, highlighted with punches of startling colour, give each work an edgy, disconcerting feel against a backdrop of perfectly balanced space and shape. In terms of subject, her works take aspects of the landscape around
her north Cornwall home and present them in a curious, semi-abstracted way that hints at peripheral vision rather than any direct translation of what is seen. “My work is about noticing - and not noticing - the things I encounter every day,” says Kerry when we meet at her Krowji studio. Those ‘things’ are details synonymous with Cornwall wind bent trees, yellow gorse, ploughed fields, twisting paths, wind-blasted cli ops and the elegant, industrial silhouettes of aqueducts and bridges. Her way of making work, which involves reversing, turning or reworking old canvases, and a rhythm of applying and removing layers and layers of paint over time, mirrors the repetition and familiarity that define her engagement with the landscape. “It is my ongoing relationship with visually familiar things that inspires me to paint,” she tells me. “I work from memory and from photographs, and I paint, and then strip it all off again to leave only a shadow of what was there before. Then I will layer new applications of paint over the traces of past images and repeat that process again
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A B OV E Kerry Harding at her Krowji Studio
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A B OV E ‘ Back to Chapel’
A B OV E ‘Stratacumulous II’
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C R E AT E
and again. I en oy the on and off, the random reworking of the canvas until the image becomes whole. “What I’m looking for is the richness of expression that comes from working a surface over and over again. A finished painting must have that history – those years of walking or running the same route through the landscape, reflected in the making and unmaking of the image.” Referring to the dozens of finished and halffinished works that hang floor to ceiling in her bright, white studio, she explains: “Finished canvases may have spent months, sometimes years as unfinished works. We have history, these paintings and me, these places and me.” Just as every wall is covered with artworks, every surface is covered with reference books on artists, and a good deal of her studio time is spent absorbing knowledge
and inspiration from 20th century master painters. “[Romantic landscape painter] Caspar David Friedrich and [Neo-romantic artist] Harald Sohlberg have been a constant influence on my work,” says erry, in terms of the ‘sublime’ elements of the big, romantic vistas that inspired them. The ‘gods’ of my studio bookshelf, however the most paint stained books!” she jokes, “are those of [Art Informel painter] Antony Tapies and [Abstract and Photorealist artist] erhard ichter.” At first, the variation of influences she describes is startling, and yet a moment’s consideration confirms that Romanticism, A b s t r a c t i o n , Photorealism and Art Informel or ‘matter painting’, where materials and process are prioritised over subject, are all evident in the emotive, semi-abstract, semifigurative and highly worked surfaces of her paintings. “Richter is the painter’s painter,” she continues. “I referred to his work a great deal at the start of my career
INSET ‘Blue Hills to Follow the Sea’
A B OV E ‘Harvest Squall’
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regarding the scope and possibility of my chosen medium, and I’ve referred to him more recently to a rm the validity of the journey I’ve taken from abstraction back to more representational work. Tapies, I think, pushes me to think outside the box – to question every instinct and consider the opposite. His example has taught me to strive for surprises, and continually develop my practice towards images I’ve never considered or seen before”. The passion with which Kerry talks about her work, and the work of others, is evidence of an artist immersed in her practice and the mindset of artistic progression. What causes her, I ask, to work on so many paintings, so constantly, with so much energy and focus? “I’m compelled to do it,” she tells me. “It’s a necessity for me to make sense of the world, for my observations to be ‘got out of my head’ so I can make room for more. I constantly feel there are works on the tip of my tongue, and I have a constant need to grasp what’s round the corner, not by changing my work, but by taking each thing I learn and improving. I think it’s part of wanting to surprise myself, and the idea of taking the viewer on that journey is an equally important motivation. I try to give viewers
something that they know, but is uncertain in a way that makes them want to look more. I like the longevity of interest that intrigue and subtle disconcertion can give to a work of art.” Kerry achieves this disconcertion by combining figurative sub ects with the trickeries of flat paint, skewed perspective and the downright visually incorrect. er works are hard to define, but landscape is the constant that holds them together. “Landscape is always going to be a big part of what I paint,” says Kerry. “This particular landscape on the north coast of Cornwall, at the edge of the Atlantic, is probably the reason for that. This is a landscape of subtle surfaces and textures, of ocean tides, big skies and weather systems. The potential for oddities of nature, or of light, are endless on this peninsula. Despite, or perhaps because of that, I feel more comfortable here than anywhere else in the world, and I think that’s due to the objectivity this landscape gives me. It’s wild, uncontrollable and exposed, and that puts everything else into perspective. I’m not a spiritual person in the religious sense, but this is perhaps as close as it gets.” kerryharding.co.uk
A B OV E ‘Quay Top Green’
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A B OV E ‘Strata II’
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C R E AT E
n a beautiful Victorian schoolhouse overlooking Newlyn harbour, Henry arfit has spent the last decade building up one of the s most progressive and independent art schools. In only its first few years, ewlyn School of Art has received widespread coverage in national broadsheet publications, with the Telegraph describing it as ‘cutting edge’ and the school topping the Sunday Times list of ‘the top ten worldwide educational breaks’ thanks to its vision of offering student-focused courses run by world-class artists, that eschew the rules and restrictions of public sector colleges.
Students attending courses here uickly find that we are not like a traditional college,” says enry, who is a working artist, and is oint founder and irector of the school with his wife Sasha. The tutors here aren’t ticking boxes, there isn’t any red tape and we don’t offer any ualifications. We’ve learned that what people really want is experience, and they get much more than they expected from the courses they attend here. ur artist-tutors share things they have learned through years of working and experimenting with different materials and surfaces in their studios, and that is ‘gold dust’ for our students.”
WO R D S B Y M E RC E D E S S M I T H
Vision and absolute independence have given rise to one of the UK’s most inspirational art schools.
is idea, which began with three years of market research and two years of personal investment, during which time neither he nor Sasha drew any salary, was to create a school that was entirely self-funded. We felt that strategy would force us to run a tight ship in terms of our business decisions,” says enry. ational arts funding has shrunk significantly so we are much fitter for not relying on it.” It was also not ust about attracting students it was ust as much about contributing to the supporting of ornwall’s working artists. Artists can’t survive on sales of artworks alone, and they have so many ama ing skills to share,” says enry. We had a hunch there would be demand for the opportunity to learn from real working artists, that people know and respect. It’s important that our artist-tutors don’t teach too regularly,” explains enry, so they are energi ed about teaching here, and so it is complementary to their practice. ur tutors aren’t trained teachers, they are ust very engaged with what they do and are passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience, and importantly they aren’t trying to get people to paint like them, but are focused on engaging with how each student works and helping them move forward individually.”
RIGHT Newlyn School of Art
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RIGHT Ashley Hanson
A B OV E Port Isaac
Newlyn School of Art
A B OV E This is not your traditional college
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C R E AT E
Although the art school now welcomes over , students a year to their short or oneyear courses, it focuses on uality of teaching, not the uantity of students signing up. We genuinely care about helping our students move forward in their practice, and we love it when they leave here bu ing with enthusiasm for what they have learned and what they plan to do next with their work,” says enry.
The school first started with fifteen tutors teaching various short courses we were lucky enough to twist some talented artistic arms in that first year,” says enry with courses covering everything from outdoor landscape painting to still life and figure drawing, but the school uickly grew through the addition of its one-year courses. The progression of the school came very much from our students,” says enry. ur short three and five day courses had a huge number of people coming through, and they were really responding to that hit of energy, knowledge and skills training, but increasingly we found they were also keen for more consistent contact with our artists, in a group environment where they could move their practice forward.” Accordingly, the school added its flagship ‘ ne ear Mentoring and efining Practice’ courses, which have set a new standard nationally in progressive art tuition. The longer courses are genuinely ground-breaking, in part because we have ignored what other institutions are doing and have instead chosen to build our courses from the ground up. These courses are so unlike anything that has come before that we’ve had re uests from some of the top London art colleges to advise them on how they could run their own courses, which is a cra y position to be in only a few years after opening the art school.”
The list of tutors working at the school is impressive, and includes names like esse Leroy Smith, aye obinson, essica ooper WA and Paul Lewin. We have a core of over thirty talented tutors from ornwall,” says enry, and we also have artists coming here from London, Stockholm and Berlin to teach.” Their students come from far and wide as well, with coming from outside of the county, including international students from as far afield as Sweden, anada and Australia. We find students are happy to come all the way to west ornwall,” continues enry, for the beauty of the landscape we run a lot of outdoor painting courses here but also to get away from urban centres like London. We get doctors, architects, company directors, ournalists and a huge range of people enrolling on our courses. It’s an opportunity for them to step outside what they usually do and breathe life into their creative ambitions.”
A B OV E Working and experimenting with different sub ects and materials
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The Mentoring course was set up to support professional artists on the cusp of launching their careers, advising them on everything from framing, to residencies, to the artist gallery relationship. The ‘ efining Practice’ course, on the other hand, originated from the process of interviewing for the ‘Mentoring’ course, when enry and artist esse Leroy Smith, who is Lead Tutor on the school’s longer courses, realised we could help a lot of them, but not through the Mentoring course because they weren’t uite ready, they were still at the stage of exploring their identity as artists”. un as six two-day sessions over a year between anuary and ovember, efining Practice is a practical course based on working in response to different sub ects, with different tutors, using different processes and mediums but always with the students’ own practice and work at the fore. It gives them space to develop as artists,” says artist and efining Practice ourse Leader, aye obinson, to tease out their own language, and to work out what they want to say.” ach session is led by aye and two guest tutors, which vary throughout the year so that students are exposed to the broadest possible influence.
Students get one-to-one time with each tutor, who will talk to them about their work, and give them a creative task as a starting point for moving forward.” or people interested in attending one of the longer courses, the school offers free one-toone tutorials on specific dates throughout the year, so prospective students can meet the team, show their work, get feedback and ask uestions about the courses, and if they are excited about their work and want to take it further, we suggest the right course,” says enry. What we are looking for in applicants,” adds esse Leroy Smith, is a willingness to experiment and really trust in the course process. It is also important that they feel open to working in a group, because they’ll learn such a lot from each other during the course by discussing which artists they’ve been looking at, or how they are using their materials. There is a real energy in being with likeminded people and sharing ideas about your work. It’s genuinely uite addictive ” Short courses run continuously throughout the year. See newlynartschool.co.uk for details. newlynartschool.co.uk
RIGHT An outdoor painting course on the fringes of the coast
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s a wildlife photographer, for Richard Birchett, the welfare of the subject is paramount. “To disturb it from its natural behaviour, in order to get the picture, goes against everything I believe in. I would much rather enjoy the experience than get the shot, although if practical and morally safe to do so, a picture is a massive bonus.”
Without a doubt, Richard’s favourite place to photograph in Cornwall is the Goonhilly Downs. He describes the sheer diversity of nature over the 300 hectares as “amazing”, explaining that “one day it can be deathly quiet, but the next it can be full of life and sometimes put on a spectacular show of birds of prey.”
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ears servin in the militar as a urvival ecialist ichard irchett has ada ted his ath ndin s ills usin them to trac stal and hoto ra h even the remotest ildlife s ecies.
Richard’s goal, in time, is to become a professional photographer, and it seems that he’s well on his way; early last year, he presented a short film for the BB ’s WinterWatch 2019, then later in the year he was shortlisted for the 2019 British Photography Awards.
INSET ichard at roft Pascoe Pool,
Professional or not, through his experiences and images, Richard has the uncanny ability to highlight the many benefits that the natural world has to offer, drawing on his skills as a military Survival Specialist and his ability with a camera to re-engage his audience with it. richardbirchettphotography.co.uk
RIGHT Red-billed Cornish choughs at Ogo Dour Cove, Mullion
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A B OV E Nuthatch, Tehidy Woods
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A B OV E Great spotted woodpecker, Gweek woods
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A B OV E Peregrine falcon at Kynance Cove
A B OV E Hobby, Goonhilly Downs
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A B OV E ingfisher at Tremayne uay,
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RIGHT Cornish badger at Windmill Farm Nature Reserve, on the Lizard
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influence WO R D S B Y M E RC E D E S S M I T H
An inspiration for art collectors for more than 50 years, what does it take to head one of the s most in uential art alleries
he ew raftsman allery has been inspiring art collectors for more than half a century, playing host to every important name in British craft, design and painting. Ahead of its ma or September estival exhibition, we talk to allery irector lenia aase
immeasurable, supporting, as it has done, the fledgling careers of some of the world’s most important artists. Ahead of the forthcoming Art of athering exhibition, irector lenia aase tells us what it is like to be at the helm of one of the ’s most influential art galleries.
When the ew raftsman allery celebrated its th year in , it issued a limitededition poster with exactly names on it, each an artist shown there since its opening in . That list is a ‘who’s who’ of British art and craft, from na ve painter Alfred Wallis, whose untutored style triggered decades of subse uent art movements, to luminaries of St Ives art such as Breon ’ asey, Barbara epworth, Bryan Winter, Patrick eron, oger ilton, Terry rost and Sandra Blow, to internationally celebrated potters Bernard Leach, Sho i amada, ans oper and mmanuel ooper, to world class contemporary ceramicists upert Spira, Akiko irai, Matthew hambers and erwood Pri e winner Adam Buick. The influence of this unassuming, yet historically important gallery on St Ives’ ore Street is
Ylenia, tell us a little about the history of the ew ra sman The gallery was founded in by anet Leach celebrated th century potter and wife of Bernard Leach , then within a few years anet went into partnership with Mary ‘Boots’ edgrave. Boots brought with her Michael unt, who was taken on as allery Manager and went on to work here for years straight, if you can believe that. e is an absolute authority on St Ives art. Since aster of this year he has been semi-retired aged , but he is still here whenever he wants to be, helping us hang shows and entertaining guests at our Private iews. uring the early years the gallery focused primarily on ceramics and interior design ob ects and was incredibly innovative it was all anish furniture and hand-woven
RIGHT ‘Moon ar’ by Adam Buick
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A B OV E ‘Priest ove, reeping Tide’ by
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A B OV E eaven’ by Matthew Lanyon
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textiles in a space dotted with Lucie ie pots and Barbara epworth sculptures. anet and Boots were showing harles ames chairs here, and long before abitat was founded asper onran was making furniture for the ew raftsman. In the s, the gallery started to deal in painting, showing artists like Peter Lanyon and Wilhelmina Barns- raham, who are now recogni ed as some of this country’s most important th century artists. In the gallery came up for sale, and my husband Paul and I were able to buy it. or several years we left the space exactly as it had always been, then in we took the risk of overhauling the space, opening it up across two floors and creating a spacious gallery that could accommodate a whole variety of contemporary craft and painting. Since that time, we have worked hard to maintain the gallery’s ethos and reputation, and we are very proud of that.” How did it feel, taking on a gallery of such historic importance to t ves? Well we had always been collectors of St Ives art, and had great respect for the ew raftsman. Taking ownership of this space was a huge turning point in my life. I knew that as directors of such an important art
venue we had a great responsibility to the people of St Ives, and I knew it would take up every ounce of my energy and commitment, but I had a great friend in Michael unt , who stayed in place as allery Manager and worked with me to maintain and expand the gallery’s place in contemporary art and craft. We took our time over the first three years, then began to develop our own ideas regarding the gallery’s future. I knew we needed to bring in new artists and reach new audiences, but it was absolutely crucial to prioriti e the gallery’s uni ue history and its special atmosphere. With all that in mind, we now show the very best work by th century St Ives artists, alongside the ’s most inspiring contemporary painters and craftspeople. Maintaining the heritage of this place and supporting new talent is always our focus. In , we were proud to celebrate the gallery’s th year. That was an auspicious moment and I won’t pretend we did it uietly We made a big noise, with a landmark exhibition featuring work by modern and contemporary artists that have exhibited at the gallery over the last years. It was a hugely popular show, and a really proud moment for myself and the gallery team.”
TOP ‘Blackthorn Pouring essel’ by Stuart airns
A B OV E ‘Sake Bottles’ by Akiko irai
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Tell us how you select artists, and what factors are key to including their work When it comes to contemporary artists, I go with my instincts, and certainly my love of ceramics has driven a lot of my decision making. We regularly exhibit work by innovative ceramicists like Akiko irai, whose pieces exhibit the most beautiful neutral hues and fabulously rich textures and Tanya ome , who has been groundbreaking in her use of colour and form. The work we show here by Matthew hambers is absolutely extraordinary, as anyone who has seen his work will know, and for the last two years we have shown the work of in ui im, who is effectively bringing p Art into ceramics. With all types of craft, I want to see a high level of skill in the execution of the work, and an interesting use of materials. Simple is always good it doesn’t have to be
TOP LEFT ct old and arnelian by uy oyle A B OV E ew raftsman
complicated to be great work. It’s harder to define good painting, because I think that’s more sub ective. In essence, I am always looking for painters whose work will move the gallery’s remit forward. ornwall has some truly outstanding landscape painters eil avies, for example, shows here every summer and is one of our most collected contemporary artists but the gallery’s connection to St Ives Modernism means we also have a real passion for abstraction. or many years we have been proud to show the work of Matthew Lanyon, which is of such importance to ornwall and to this gallery’s history. ew raftsman showed the work of his father, Peter Lanyon, and Matthew took that legacy and made it something truly significant to the history of this area.” ne cra smanstives.com
TOP RIGHT ‘ ylindrical orms’ by in ui im
INSET ‘Blue Spiral’ by Matthew hambers
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A B OV E ‘Land Marks’ by Patricia Shone
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rom hundreds of submissions, and just 30 works shortlisted for exhibition in Spain last autumn, Luke Knight’s Cornish landscape painting ‘Wish You Were Here’ scooped the competition’s substantial first pri e, which includes European gallery representation and a coveted summer 2020 solo exhibition at CAGE Gallery, Barcelona. Were Luke an established name on the European art scene, this would be impressive, but as a totally new name in contemporary art, it hints at a talent altogether more special.
Luke, tell us how you came to be a painter. As a child I used to paint a lot, and I later went on to study at ardiff School of Art and Design. That’s where I started to develop a real passion, not just for oil painting, but for the paintings of Europe’s great masters. My degree included a four-month Erasmus Exchange at L’Ecole De Beaux-Art in France, and as well as developing my studio practise, that opportunity allowed me to travel round urope and see historic paintings first-hand. I spent time in Italy, Paris, and Holland at
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In the last year, Cornish painter Luke Knight has gone from relative unknown, to winner of Europe’s prestigious Barcelona International Gallery Awards. We meet him at his Truro studio.
Den Bosch, the Hague and Amsterdam. I spent time in the Rijksmuseum, marvelling at Rembrandt’s mastery of paint, at his ability to create illusion with such simplicity. I was able to see Titian’s ‘ enus of rbino’ at the i Gallery in Florence, and then a few days later compare it to Manet’s ‘Olympia’ at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Studying in Europe was such an enriching experience so different but so complementary to my experience of studying in the UK. I loved being able to just get on a train and go and see paintings I had only ever read about in books. What stayed in my memory more than anything else were paintings that had the quality of quietness, of a captured moment in time – a cinematic feel perhaps, that had something to do with composition and quality of light. Those are the works that have influenced my painting ever since. What inspired you to enter your painting for a European art prize? I first entered a uropean art competition while I was studying in ardiff. I took part in the an -Brinker Painting Pri e in
RIGHT Luke Knight at his Truro studio
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A B OV E ‘Last Night’
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A B OV E ‘Last Summer’
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Amsterdam, which is the largest student fine art pri e in urope, and I was shortlisted but didn’t win. It was a great experience of course, and a chance to meet lots of other young painters. When I came across the Barcelona International Gallery Awards it looked equally inspiring, but I didn’t think past entering really. I went ahead and packed up the painting and sent it to Spain, worrying and hoping that the work would arrive safely, and was very excited to find that I was one of 30 artists shortlisted for exhibition. Actually winning the pri e was totally unexpected. Being able to show my painting to any audience feels like a privilege, so the thought that there is such a high-profile place for my work in Europe, or elsewhere for that matter, is so exciting. It is thrilling to think that contemporary work made here in Cornwall, inspired by the landscape of Cornwall, has an appreciative audience on the international art scene.
What most inspires your work? Landscape is my inspiration, specifically Cornwall - the sea, and the coast, and my experiences of being in these places - but as with all artworks my relationship with a painting may be different to that of the viewer’s. Exhibiting a work completes the creative process in a way, because viewers develop their own relationship with a work of art. Shown in a context outside Cornwall, my paintings could be of anywhere, but what is important is that they convey the feeling, and emotion, and experience of a place, of its ‘psychogeography’. That, perhaps, is why my painting travelled so successfully. For me though, my work is about being in Cornwall. My paintings are a memory of the feeling of a particular time and place. A huge part of living in Cornwall, for me, is being able to spend time surfing and swimming in the sea. That’s where a large part of my inspiration comes from, and what
INSET ‘Summer Wave’
A B OV E ‘Rain in July Blue Sky’
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necessitates my use of memory in the studio, because it is di cult to carry a sketch book into the ocean. Cornwall is such a rugged place, and much of its beauty derives from its ruggedness, from its eroded cliffs and windswept beaches. The sea plays a huge part in Cornwall’s beauty, and in nearly all my paintings there is an element of water. Time in the sea is time when I can be in the moment and experience things in a different way experience the feel of the ocean, the wind, and the sunlight diffused through cloud or sea spray. I hope to express the beauty of space, and emotion and light. That’s what drives my work. Tell us about your studio practise and the artists that have in uenced you. My paintings take time - sometimes months, if not years in the studio, to reach the point where I consider them finished. I work in layers, and I want my oil paint to saturate the board before I sand the surface and strip it back to discover what’s underneath. I create texture by distressing the surface, by adding scrapes or cuts. I want my paintings to be polished and eroded by process, like the landscape here, to find marks that add tension, that rip-up the surface. My paintings often have to sit, to be looked at, before the process of adding and subtracting goes on. Some paintings are started in the winter and might be finished in the summer, or
vice versa. I might be struggling with a work during the day, then be in the sea that evening and experience something about the light that I want to capture. I will hold it in my memory, and when I come back to the studio it can often be the last piece of the pu le that brings a painting together. Many great painters have influenced my work, in particular [Pierre] Bonnard, who also painted from memory, and used colour – and changes in the temperature of a colour – to describe space. I have been looking at works by Julius Olsson lately, at his nocturne paintings of the sea, the moon and clouds, and Fred Cuming RA is a contemporary artist I look at a lot. His paintings are of seascapes and light through clouds, and there is a space and simplicity to his paintings that I really admire. Space and simplicity in my work is what I aspire to. Alison Bevan [Director of the Royal West of England Academy] said recently about my work that my “delicious little paintings communicate with deceptive simplicity – the kind that masks painstaking sophistication – all that is wonderful about the Cornish landscape”. That’s really the very best compliment I could wish for. See Luke Knight’s work on show at Whitewater Gallery, Polzeath. Head to whitewatergallery.co.uk or visit Luke’s website. lukeknightpaintings.com
A B OV E ‘Dream Big Sky’
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A B OV E ‘Wish You Were Here’
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ast year at Penryn’s Enys House I attended what turned out, unexpectedly, to be the best art show of the year. I attend a lot of shows - a lot of big name, big venue events - but this was different, and frankly, so much better. Curated by recent Falmouth graduates Jasmine Mills, Lillian Thomson and Eleanor Lee, Island demonstrated a totally new approach to selecting artists for exhibition, and woke me up to the startling ‘new order’ of emerging arts management.
When I meet Jasmine Mills at her Krowji studio she is relaxed, confident, and already planning to curate her second multi-artist show, all at only 23 years old. While hundreds of artists graduate each year from Falmouth and other universities, only a few will go on to commit to the full-time career of a painter, and fewer still will hit the scene with the ability to pull off a highly successful twentyartist exhibition featuring artists from as far afield as London, Scotland, yprus and Barcelona. The traditional hierarchy of fine art has always been artist at the bottom, with gallery and curator at the top, selecting artwork according to their own criteria and
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Jasmine Mills is an emerging young artist whose focus goes beyond her work to the creation of a powerfully independent community of inspirational talent.
giving it legitimi ed ‘space’, both literally, and metaphorically in the contemporary art market. But now that space is changing. Serious art shows are popping up in all sorts of non-gallery spaces, and the artist/curator is now the recognised authority in their field. This brings with it all sorts of freedoms for new artists, who no longer have to wait to be selected by galleries, and it is fostering a strong community of creatives intent on helping, informing and supporting each other. Jasmine is one such example, a new graduate who recognises the importance of an interconnected art community and has begun her career on that basis. “When you start making work outside of education,” says asmine of life after graduation, you are almost starting again. You suddenly have no restrictions after having a fairly structured experience at university. Initially it was a bit of a shock, because at almouth I had a great studio space, amazing people around me, and a lot of supportive conversation and feedback. Everyone understands what you are doing, then all of a sudden you completely lose that support. Conversations from that point on are only with yourself. That was the hardest thing for me.” She is speaking, of course, of
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A B OV E ‘ ibernate’
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RIGHT Jasmine Mills
A B OV E ‘Midsummer’s ve’
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being thrown into the career wilderness, an experience we all felt at the end of our art training, myself included. It is one of the reasons so many people quit the arts early in their career, because they uickly realise that, to succeed, they will have to sustain their self-belief for all eternity - without help or encouragement from anyone else. Some however, cannot uit, not when it “comes down to how much your art is a part of you,” says Jasmine. “For me, I felt I couldn’t exist without painting.” f course, being selected by a gallery is the encouragement and validation most artists seek, but newcomers can wait a long time for that break. So, what if there were an opportunity for support, encouragement and validation, and an early opportunity to exhibit outside the traditional parameters? This is the concept that Jasmine and others are running with. ur priority for the Enys House exhibition was inviting artists at a similar stage in their career to us,” says Jasmine. “We wanted to create a show around newly graduated and early career artists, in the hope that we could translate that first show into long term, mutually
supportive relationships, not just for now but into the future. It can be tough being an artist working alone in the studio each day, and we need to support each other and build strong networks.” Accordingly, the criteria for selecting works for the exhibition was not by theme, but by selecting “artists we felt would benefit most from inclusion in the show, and artists whose contacts and experience would enrich the network. It felt so positive to select people that way, and it gave us a hugely diverse collection of work to exhibit, including painting, drawing, installation, video art and so much more”. Pop-up shows in extraordinary spaces like nys House, a crumbling mansion with “an amazing aesthetic, an amazing history, and lots of hidden rooms” are now not the only curated space in which to see new work in this newly democratized art scene: as we talk, asmine tells me about her involvement with ‘ ircle Triangle S uare’, a new web venture set up by friend Edward May which exhibits her work, and that of many others, and “provides long-term engagement and support for artists and collectors within the field of emerging contemporary art.”
INSET ‘The Fool’
A B OV E ‘Hunter’s Moon’
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I guess the art world, the art ‘business’ and all those scary definitions, is changing drastically,” says asmine, and I think it has to. There is so much art online now that dependence on galleries will eventually become a thing of the past. There are all these platforms where artists can be part of a community. It’s really exciting to see artists working to help each other, and to build independent networks that didn’t exist before. I want to bring people together. That’s just something that’s really important to me. I want to be able to do things for other artists, and also for myself - to just go for it and put on a big art show in a great space. therwise my career will simply be a process of waiting for a gallery to be interested in my work”. Her own fascinating and deeply enigmatic work is all around us we talk, and has a scale and confidence to match her curatorial ambition. Jasmine refers to it as “abstract landscape, with lost or anonymous figures. I paint about a sense of place, somewhere with some sort of historical link to me, where I have memories, like my childhood home in orfolk, or ornwall where she now lives and works , but in my paintings they become unknown or even fantastical places. My work is about storytelling, about people leaving their mark on the landscape through time, and nature’s endless ability to take back. I think there is something very important about reflecting on memory, and on the past.”
Further proving her point about the value of artistic support and encouragement, she tells me that both her paintings and her career choice go back to the influence of a strong cultural background at home. My mum loves 18th and 19th century art. We spent a lot of time in museums and looking through art books, so I was raised on art. My dad is a restorer and antique dealer with a real appreciation of cultural things, and of stories in particular. He taught me that there is not enough reflection on the things that have been left behind, or on people’s stories and the way they have impacted on ‘place’. As an artist, that’s an idea I always come back to.” er paintings strike me as psychologically profound, I tell her, and have something of Edvard Munch to them in their brooding palette and twisting lines. “Munch is one of my favourite artists,” she tells me, and my work is often defined by my emotional output, which I think keeps it moving forward. I hope I will always be in the process of developing my work, but ust as important is simply sharing my art with people, and communicating with other artists, and encouraging conversation and allowing people to look at art and be freed by it in whatever way works for them.” See Jasmine’s work by appointment at Krowji Studios, Redruth jasminemills.co.uk circletrianglesquare.co.uk
A B OV E ‘Translucent Gods’
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A B OV E ‘ ollowed by my Shadow’
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To give yourself permission to engage with paintings like these, as a man, whether artist or collector, is a powerful thing,” says Gareth Edwards when I interview him at his studio in St Ives. The studio itself, with its high ceilings and windows that capture Cornwall’s famous north light, is drenched in paint spatter and the heavy scent of oil colour, and around us hang a series of sensuous, large-scale canvases.
As an artist of some 30 years, an elected Royal West of England Academician and a lecturer in Fine Art and Visual Culture, Gareth is respected as a painter of extraordinary landscapes. His highly contemporary, semiabstracted works are exhibited regularly in London, New York and Toronto with Jill George Gallery, and in Cornwall they have led the field in contemporary painting, with shows at Millennium, Newlyn Art Gallery and Lemon Street. Gareth and I have met numerous times before to discuss and review his work, and in recent years his paintings have exhibited a notably dark edge: blacks, greys and taupes – with the occasional hint of gold have defined his work, and his
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Painter Gareth Edwards RWA is the original Alpha creative, but his work exudes an intriguing sensuality.
subject matter has been distinctly moody, all dark ravines, towering forests and bleak terrains. This new work then, which has lately expanded not just in terms of colour and scale, but also in subtlety, is something of a revelation. It started with some floral works I made just for pleasure,” says Gareth, of a small series which is currently on show at the Saatchi Gallery in London. “They were generic really, none of them specific flowers, but they were an excuse to bring some colour back into my painting. I had been thinking lately about Monet’s Nymphia (known also as his famous Water Lilies), those spectacular decorative friezes at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, and I was considering ways of making abstracted landscapes with flowers. I read studies of those works and it set me off on a train of research. I was able to start leaving behind a certain ‘rugged landscape’ imagery – things like mountain passes, estuaries and the cooler climes I’ve been working on for several years that have gone down well at exhibitions in Canada and North America – those vast countries of the ‘Grand’ landscape. That combination of studying Monet’s work and making my own little flower paintings has put me in a much
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TOP ‘Koyoto Water Garden’
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A B OV E ‘Pure’
A B OV E Gareth Edwards at his Porthmeor Studio
A B OV E ‘Lotus’
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more sensuous place, and it has opened up a dialogue between imagery and landscape painting that hasn’t yet been explored, I think, in a Postmodern way.” The resulting works, which hang floor to ceiling in his studio space, shimmer with depth and colour, and are, well, beautiful. Is that a word he deems fit to describe such imposing paintings? “Yes, it is,” he says of a word that is generally anathema to the art world. “For a long time now I’ve been campaigning to myself about the genius of ‘beauty without meaning’, and the key that that can turn in people. I’ve seen it again and again – it’s absolutely what I’m interested in as an artist. obody can define what ‘beautiful’ is, but that’s what artists are doing, they are rearranging ideas of ‘beauty’ all the time.” Something in his work, though, seems to counterbalance their innate beauty; I describe it to him, as I take in more and more of his new paintings, as an underlying sense of ‘menace’. That description seems to please him. “I would say that there is a kind of Baudelairian menace behind them,” he
says, “like in a movie scene, where you get the feeling that just below the glittering surface someone could have just been drowned. That whole idea of Ophelia and of madness is there alongside all that sumptuous beauty. I am very aware of Lacanian philosophy, of ideas of reflection, of mirroring, and things unseen beneath the surface.” A wicked and deeply entertaining thought comes to him. “It makes me think of Lord Byron! Of him slipping quietly out of a grand country house in the early morning for a swim in the lake owned by some aristocratic woman he has ust seduced after seducing her daughter – a dark slick of immorality circling behind him as he slips below the surface amongst the water lilies. It’s there in my work, absolutely!” This duality in his paintings, the pale, culturally feminised motif of the flower paired with a potentially sinister darkness, is a metaphor in itself for the recent progression of Gareth’s work, and perhaps for the artist himself. “I suppose these new works,” he confides, coincided with me starting therapy, and with giving up alcohol. The brooding, rugged landscape is still in me, but I wanted to increase what I gave myself permission to paint. I wanted to
A B OV E ‘River Deep’
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explore a more intimate and poetic palette, so these new, much larger paintings of rivers, ponds, and lakes have allowed me to bring in deep greens, beautiful purples, damson colours and pinks. In addition, the spaces within my paintings have become more atmospheric, in a more intimate way I think, and that was certainly precipitated by having a healthier mind and body.” As Gareth describes them, I note that the scale, and the colour of these works seem essential to their power. “Their huge scale is about immersion” he explains, “and about ‘Colour Field’ really. Viewers can lose themselves, literally, within these paintings. In theory their size presents a risk, in terms of what happens to them, because not everyone has the space to hang such large works. I’m constantly being told by gallerists that nobody wants huge paintings, but in my experience the opposite is true. These works demand a commitment – a real passion for painting – that will put them in the hands of the right collector.” Amongst the vast expanse of colour then, what place does the flower motif hold, and what, if any, is its meaning? “My default position has always been to use process
and composition, and the other formal properties of painting, to create emotional atmospheres. However, when you have a figurative sub ect in a work, like a river, or water, or a flower, there is always freighted meaning: water lilies carry a whole range of meaning, from ideas of the ‘lotus eater’ and it’s use as a hallucinogenic flower, to the ymphia, the scientific name for Water Lillies, from the Classical myth that attributes the birth of the flower to a nymph who was dying of love for Hercules] which were seen in ancient Greek as the symbol of flowering womanhood. lowers generally carry with them ideas of life and death, and of beauty and decay, so I have always been very interested in floral imagery. It is a dialectic I have within me. I can be compelled by a colour – and I am always interested in abstraction – but I can use a motif to give focus and meaning to my work. Essentially, we are all, as human beings, both male and female, and I am definitely accessing a more feminine side in my work at the moment. In the end, all we are left with in life is human complexity and the existential journey. That’s what all my work is about”. garethedwardsartist.co.uk
A B OV E ‘Subtropical Morning Towards The Beach’
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A B OV E ‘The Romantics’
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meet Mark Surridge at his converted chapel, deep in the Cornish countryside. A labour of love in itself, Surridge and partner Lisa Wright – also a renowned artist – moved there in 1997, transforming a crumbling place of worship into their home and studio. With family grown up and flown from the nest, both now work out of studios at Cornubian Arts & Science Trust (CAST) in Helston, with the chapel now housing post-exhibition work. The vaulted ceilings and vast windows give a quality of light to match any exhibition space and it’s here that Surridge talks me through his latest work.
VISION WO R D S B Y H A N N A H TA P P I N G
Mark Surridge’s new body of work draws on the natural world and the celestial digest for its visual inspiration.
In 2018 Surridge was selected for The Waiheke Art Residency in New Zealand where he spent three months making work
INSET ‘Hemisphere ll’ – acrylic on gesso panel 40x40cm
which featured a solo exhibition, The Shape of the Walk, at The Waiheke Community Art Gallery. It was during this 12-week period that the seed of an idea for making a series of paintings which use GPS technology to map a walk really began to germinate. The walks became the starting point for Surridge’s work in the studio. “The residency on Waiheke Island has been pivotal to my practice, a sense of renewal and a deeper focus has manifested itself within me not only to map the terrain but to own it in my paintings.” The pieces we are looking at today are from his latest solo exhibition, Walking the Stone, held at the end of this summer at Tremenheere Gallery, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens and in association with his gallery representatives Coates and Scarry.
RIGHT ‘Rising Ground I’ – acrylic on paper 28x38cm
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A B OV E ‘Astral Land V’ – acrylic and ilmenite on canvas 60x50cm
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A B OV E ‘Outcrop 2’ – acrylic on paper 34x28cm
C R E AT E
Image courtesy of Lucie Averill
For the exhibition in Cornwall, Surridge took his inspiration from walks around the county’s ancient monument sites, taking in to view their megalithic structures and monolithic stones. However, the walks impact on the paintings in a far less obvious way than one would imagine. Our perception of a traditional landscape painting is that of immediately recognisable sky and trees and paths and rocks. The paintings themselves contain within them a more dreamlike suggestion of the landscape, employing aspects of abstraction, shape, colour and texture to create a mood and feeling. He explains that as he walks he is not always scrutinising the landscape; he might be thinking about something else or have an awareness of what is around him through a tunnel of peripheral vision which may affect the final paintings. In the studio he strives for simplicity of the experience through colour, for instance: “I don’t want the landscape to dictate exactly what I should be doing, and what’s on each painting. It’s more of a sensation. Sometimes I might want to push the colour key up a little bit. Sometimes I might mix up some colours that suggest to me the essence of the walk.”
Surridge tracks his walks on a GPS app: “Each route taken creates a shape, the shape doesn’t always end up in each painting though, but it’s a hook.” There is evidence of these black route shapes on several of the paintings we look at, overlaying the dominant colours. The lines are almost gra ti-es ue, a term that Surridge is wary of: “I’m not sure I like that term as it implies I don’t care, but I do like the marks an airbrush makes and the way it brings a graphic element to the work.” There is also the placement of dots on many of the paintings that I’m curious about. Surridge explains: “While I was researching GPS I started to read a lot about satellites orbiting, so the first bodies of work were a bit more about outer space. The idea of looking down on Earth and seeing someone moving from above. I like to explore new ideas, there are a lot of painters that are known for just doing one ‘thing’ and that’s what they do. For me, I want reasons for making a painting and that process can lead to new discoveries. The dots became a way of bringing in the idea of the orbiting satellites. At first these circles represented actual satellites but then they suggested visual markers of people
INSET Mark Surridge
A B OV E ‘Blue Motus’ – acrylic and ilmenite on canvas 150x120cm
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walking in the landscape, also they became a formal device for making your eye move around the painting. The dots draw your eye around the painting almost like a visual game and another way of appreciating the surface. The dots then became a way of finishing a painting. Some of the initial colour washes on the canvas happened quite quickly, so there was something about the slowing down in the making of these graphic dots that appealed. It introduced a different pace to the way I work and I enjoyed the additional precision the dots brought to the paintings.” There is further reference to the dots in Surridge’s smaller, circular panel paintings. These cut panels, with a smooth surface built up with numerous layers of gesso result in a effect, suggesting depth and enhanced by the effect of the airbrushing. They are a departure from Surridge’s signature large canvases and work on a more domestic level. We discuss how they would work well as a ceramic surface design; a collaboration that Surridge is keen to explore in the future. There are times during his walks that Surridge photographs natural objects found in the landscape, especially the stones, which
he would then make preparatory sketches of before committing to canvas: “Sometimes you can see the drawings in the foreground, other times they are still there, but get covered as the painting transitions through the various layers. And I like that idea, that they are still there but obscured behind the colour washes.” “When creating work in the studio I’m not always sure what the next stage will be. Sometimes I’ll stop mid-way on a canvas if I feel it’s got a bit stuck. Sometimes I’ll make some sketches or I might cut out some collage elements, these paper painted coloured shapes can be temporarily attached to the painting which can help me make decisions about how to resolve the composition and pictorial harmony of each painting. However, if I’m in the flow I’m not even exactly sure what I’m doing, but I know something is happening and then it’s uite a fluid process.” Surridge’s work is an impactful dialogue between the surroundings of nature, shape and colour. Senses are channeled and there is a poetic essence of a moment in space and time. marksurridge.co.uk coatesandscarry.com
TOP ‘Land Forms (Earth)’ – acrylic and ilmenite on canvas 120cmx240cm A B OV E ‘The Forgotten Footpath (Green)’ – acrylic and ilmenite on canvas 150x120cm
A B OV E ‘Blue Latitude’ – acrylic and ilmenite on canvas 150x120cm
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A B OV E ‘Astral Land II’ – acrylic on canvas 60x50cm
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A B OV E ‘Cirrus Stone’ – acrylic and ilmenite on canvas 150x120cm
C R E AT E
rtist Suki Wapshott lives in an ocean view house above the spectacular beach at Polzeath. As a painter of sensuous landscapes inspired by the beauty of Cornwall’s rugged north coast, she is highly regarded, and highly collected, by an army of devoted buyers who share her love of this unique coastal landscape. At her studio and gallery on Polzeath’s beachfront Parade, Suki paints each day in the languid company of her beloved deer hounds, Freddie and Daisy, and pours the passion and the poetry of her life until now onto canvas. So far it has been an extraordinary, sometimes bitterly painful life, as suggested in the following diary entry, written by Suki in 1997 when she was a newly enrolled mature student of English Literature at Oxford University.
THE SOUL of
the thing WO R D S B Y M E RC E D E S S M I T H
An appreciation of beauty, literature, joy and loss, give Suki Wapshott’s paintings a deeply poetic edge.
“Oxford today, to pick up some books and go to the Bodleian - and I will probably try and nd a cou le of thin s for i i in a on the a home. o have overcome m fear of the library system, and more importantly the li rarians love oth the adcli e Camera and the Bodleian. I feel privileged to have access to these institutions and to work in quiet, reverential hush - not silence, just
quiet scratching, pages turning, small sighs and the gentle tapping of laptop keyboards. From the to oor of the odleian ou can loo out over the roo o s and in the evenin light Oxford becomes even more magical. he area that n lish students use in the adcli e amera ... has ecome a sanctuar of dim li hts and ersonal s ace for me . omorro am to ta e i i for her rst prison visit.” These private notes reveal the two things from which Suki draws meaning and motivation as an artist: her love of English literature, and the precious but all-too-short life of her daughter Niki. When Suki wrote this diary entry, Niki was 18 years old and in the grip of a drug addiction that took her life only two years later. The prison visit, to see Niki’s partner - who was himself a victim of drug addiction - is an example of the unfathomable split that occurred in Suki’s life at that time, between the happiness and stability of their home and Suki’s success in securing a place at Oxford, and her daughter’s irretrievable slide into an entirely different world. My whole life, until I came to Cornwall, has been a dichotomy,” she tells me now. It has been a life of contrasting situations, and being at
RIGHT Suki with her hounds Daisy and Freddie
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A B OV E ‘Siennas and Ochres’
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xford was no different. Being there was new and exhilarating, but whilst I was studying in those ‘hallowed halls’ there was a sense of removal from the world, an unreality almost, which was brought sharply back to ‘terra firma’ by the challenges of being a parent at that time. I think those extremes have since emerged in the content and style of my work. Writing and painting about the more painful moments in my life have been cathartic and have produced some vibrant and deeply personal paintings.” When Niki died, shortly after Suki’s graduation, she and her husband began searching for ways to move forward, and perhaps for a way back to the happy times they had shared before. When iki died my life changed irrevocably,” says Suki. Some of my dearest memories of her are from holidays in Cornwall, and in addition my husband is a surfer and landscape photographer so the decision was made to sell our house and move to Polzeath. Now I spend my days listening to the cries of gulls, and the orchestra of the sea, and feeling the sand and rocks beneath
my bare feet. So many times here, when I am alone, I hear the wonderful opening stanza to ohn Masefield’s poem ‘Sea ever’ ‘I must go down to the seas again, the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; And the wheel’s kick and wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking; And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking’. Those words speak to me of the Cornwall I know,” she adds, and they speak to me very specifically of Polzeath.” In the language of someone well versed in poetic expression, Suki is speaking, of course, of the dazzling appreciation of beauty, and of our very existence, that sometimes follows the pain of profound loss. Her love of landscape, and of poetry in particular, have sustained her in every aspect of her life, and Masefield’s ‘wind’s song’ and ‘the grey dawn breaking’ are evident in many of her paintings. Literature has helped me evolve into the landscape painter I am,” Suki tells me. Most importantly, my study of Medieval and Anglo-Saxon poetry at Oxford put into my imagination an explosion of colour and
INSET ‘Mother of Pearl‘
A B OV E ‘Storm Gatherer’
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form which had not previously been there.” ‘Troilus and Cresyde’, she explains, was the first literary work which inspired an oil painting. I was so struck by the solitariness of Creseyde at the beginning of Chaucer’s poem,” she says, and a painting I titled Criseyde at the Temple came into my head in minutes. That painting sold right off the easel and that was the start of things. Since I graduated, it has become clear to me that not ust poems, but the differing processes of poetry writing over the centuries have influenced the way I think about my art. Cornwall’s landscape, of course, inspires my painting, but poetic concepts such as ‘inscape’ and ‘instress’, which erard Manley opkins termed as ‘the unification of the characteristics of each thing or place’, have helped me to consider what I see in the world. It is the unification of light, colour, sound, movement, tide, wind, sunlight or rain upon the sea which I attempt to bring to the canvas. It is the soul of the thing - the sand between my toes and the salt on my tongue - that I hope to convey through my work, not ust the beauty of the scenery.” Being in the landscape, however, and carrying with her an internal library of her favourite poetry is a daily habit essential to her work on canvas. In winter I spend my time walking the dogs on the beaches, and in summer I walk inland, listening to skylarks and watching kestrels and desperately trying to recall every line
of Hopkins’ ‘The Windhover’. Walking with the dogs is my time to think about what I am making in the studio, and I take sights and sounds back with me in my head - the wind on the strand line, or light effects on water, a budding blackberry blossom, wild flowers or pebbles on the beach. I am a great believer in daydreaming, in staring into the middle distance with no focus and letting my mind sift through things I might not notice initially. [Poet] John Keats talked of ‘negative capability’, where the mind is in a state of receptive passivity. It’s a process that intensifies the emotion of ‘place’, and the peace and beauty of this ‘place’ is very much what my work is about.” Do painting and poetry, I ask her, inspire her in different ways, or does she see them as parallel and equally important inspirations in her life Poetry has always inspired me,” she says thoughtfully, and the role painting has played in my life has been varied. It has been and still is therapeutic. The influence of my own emotions and life experience, and of poetic form are all subsumed into my landscapes, and art that sings to me – the art of Da Vinci and Durer, Caravagio, Rembrandt, Turner, enoir, Bra ues and Picasso are all essential to my creativity and inspire me to pursue excellence in my own work.” whitewatergallery.co.uk
A B OV E ‘Earth colours - Port Quin’
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INSET ‘Sage Grey’
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A B OV E ‘Golden Days’
F O C U S
“I’ve loved all species of animal since I was a child,” says an, who finds fascination in each and every subject. But it is far more than just another hobby. “2020 hasn’t been great to many of us, and for me,” he explains, “photography has become a way to escape what can be a busy and stressful life.”
WO R D S B Y DA N WA R D E N
For Dan Williams, photography is about ca turin ima es that re ect his ersonal fascination with the natural world.
In the last year alone, Dan’s passion for wildlife and his determination to explore have taken him across the UK, from the shores of Cornwall, to the Cairngorms, the Isle of Mull, and even the Treshnish Isles
rowing up in Cornwall, Dan Williams was surrounded by the countryside, his fascination for wildlife in its seemingly endless forms fating him to a life spent outdoors. As an adult, his favourite pastimes include photography, fishing and falconry not only do the three roll nicely off the tongue, they also allow him to spend as much of his time as possible immersed in the outside world.
of Scotland. And even though the subjects change dramatically from place to place – from ornish peregrines to Scottish pu ns – what remains constant is Dan’s ability to capture and share those fleeting moments of wonder, the kind of which can only be found in the natural world. djwilliams_photography
A B OV E Dan Williams
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A B OV E Blue tit, Cornwall
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A B OV E Otters, Isle of Mull
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RIGHT Pu n, Isle of Mull
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A B OV E Young rabbit, Cornwall
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A B OV E Female peregrine falcon, Cornwall
A B OV E Blackcap, Cornwall
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A B OV E Stonechat, Cornwall
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RIGHT Tufted uck, ornwall
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F O C U S
rowing up by the coast in the south west, a love of the sea and the great outdoors was forged at a young age. In fact, it was when learning to scuba dive aged just 13 that a deep-rooted love of the ocean and nature truly began. “My first underwater photo taken on ust a mm instant film camera awoke a passion to reveal the beauty of nature hidden to many. I choose to capture the wonders of the natural world, to showcase the ama ing creatures, habitats and landscapes that so desperately need our protection. opefully my images can help inspire others to love and appreciate nature the way it deserves.”
in FOCUS WORDS BY JULIE SMITH
ith a assion for nature hoto ra h and lmma in e is elieves that o erful ima er has the a ilit to ins ire action for conservation.
Photography has taken Lewis to distant shores chasing light and wild places and while his diverse portfolio reflects those travels, it also illustrates his commercial, conservation and video work closer to home. ornwall has a beauty and energy that is raw and real. It has had a huge influence on me and my work, and it will always be a place I call on for inspiration.” Based in the south west and available
INSET Lewis efferies
for commission, Lewis is a self-shooting filmmaker, licenced drone operator and photographer working on a wide variety of documentary and branded content from wildlife and conservation to real estate. or all en uiries, contact Lewis by email lewism efferies.photo gmail.com le ism e eries.m
RIGHT Indian Mackerel
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LEFT iant clam, gypt
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A B OV E Lionâ€™s mane ellyfish, Scotland
A B OV E ompass ellyfish, almouth
A B OV E Indian mackerel, gypt
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RIGHT Last Light, St Ives Bay
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le is e eries.m
LEFT The Brisons, ape ornwall
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A B OV E Spinner dolphins, gypt
D I A LO G U E
oushka Design is so much more than a business. “It is part of me. I don’t have a ‘work persona’ and a ‘home persona’ – I am who I am; whether I’m working or relaxing with my family.” These words, self-penned by Interior Stylist, Anouska Lancaster, immediately ring true as I pick up the phone for our scheduled interview. It’s almost six months since the country was placed under a nationwide lockdown, and as is inevitable whenever I speak to anybody, we ask one another how life’s been, both in and after lockdown.
Chris Fletcher © Faydit Photography
your heart ON FIRE
“My work’s still really busy, lots of people are making their homes as great as they can be, because they can’t go anywhere else. So I can’t complain!” Anouska Lancaster is an innovator and the creator of a unique and inspiring brand – one who has become known around the , after numerous television appearances and interviews in some of our favourite lifestyle titles, for her bold and brave
WO R D S B Y DA N WA R D E N
‘Brave’ and ‘bold’; the style characteristics of renowned Interior Designer, Anouska Lancaster.
INSET Anouska Lancaster
stamp of interior design. It’s a style that, as she later tells me, you either love or you hate, and that in itself is intriguing. And so when I heard that Anouska had recently completed the interiors of her own two homes in Port Isaac, I absolutely had to find out more. I start, as always, by asking a little about her background. As it turns out, Anouska’s earliest years were spent with her parents showing dogs, and in fact she won her first award at the early age of six! “The whole doggy show life finished when I was about ten, when my parents separated. But when you grow up with dogs, you always have dogs – it makes a house a home.” That’s an important point. Not necessarily the dogs, but the idea of making a house a home – it’s one that’s embedded in the very foundations of Anouska’s design style, and as we find out later, far outweighs the importance of what’s in vogue.
RIGHT Your home should be an exciting place to be
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D I A LO G U E
Anouska’s creative background lies in art. “All I wanted to do when I grew up was to paint and draw, particularly horses and dogs,” she laughs, “so I trained fully as an artist. I didn’t go down the interior design route until much later, after I’d had my children.” In fact, her first interiors ob was designing a nightclub, which, she tells me, “I did as a favour because they knew I was arty and passionate about anything creative”. That pro ect would become highly acclaimed and even nominated for an award, and sure enough, Anouska was quickly asked to do another club. This time, her designs helped her client win ‘Best Nightclub’ in London’s 2007 Nightclub Awards. “It was really bizarre!” It wasn’t, however, until Anouska and her first husband divorced that she decided it was time to move into the interiors business full time. “It’s really hard being an artist and for me, there wasn’t enough money to make a living. I noticed that my designs were really out there and in my style, and that people loved it! I also noticed that everything else was grey, and I think that my style really caught people’s attention. My designs were really colourful, bright, vivid and quirky, and there was certainly a market for that.” In short, she continues: “I found my feet.”
Noushka Designs started out with lots of residential work, steering away from the nightclub route. esidential obs could easily be done around my children’s school, so I started small in 2011 and built and built my business to where it is today.”
What really set Anouska apart was how she stood her ground. “I wanted every single design to be different,” she reveals, as opposed to today’s rather formulaic standard of design that’s largely led by what’s on trend. “For me, your home has to be a reflection of you and your personality, your favourite colours and your ambitions it has to reflect you. That’s what’s really exciting about Noushka Designs no two pro ects are the same.” I ask about Anouska and her husband Greig’s connection to Cornwall. “It’s like our passion place,” she tells me, “and the long term plan is to move down to Cornwall eventually.” That dream started in 2015. “For our wedding present, we were bought a weekend in Port Isaac, and we completely fell in love with the place. We loved the community, we loved how beautiful it was – everything about it – so we immediately began searching for a holiday home there. It did take a while,” she admits, explaining “I wanted the classic ‘chocolate box’ cottage”. They purchased their first Port Isaac home, called Hillside, in 2018, but it wasn’t their first choice. Anouska and reig had previously looked at another called Rose Cottage, and had even booked to go and see it. “Our heart was already set on it, but as we were driving down for the viewing, we had a call from the agency to say it had sold.” Disappointed, but ultimately determined to continue their search for a home in Port Isaac, they instead found and bought Hillside cottage, and embarked on its complete renovation.
A B OV E Colourful and bright, vivid and quirky
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RIGHT An interior with true personality
A B OV E Layering colour on a neutral base
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D I A LO G U E
The result at Hillside is staggering, and while the interiors may be seen to contrast with the seascapes and maritime heritage that define Port Isaac, they do, in their own way, complement the locale. “What I say about my properties in Port Isaac is that they are nautical, but they are nautical with a modern twist,” Anouska explains.
Nods to the nautical can be found throughout ose ottage, including green and pink fish, as opposed to the traditional blue, but not ust that. Anouska and Greig were also keen to complement the location by supporting local industry, and when designing Rose Cottage (and, in fact, Hillside), Anouska explains: “I used all Cornish tradesmen; I wanted to source the art from Cornish artists, and the fabrics from Cornish producers.” But Rose Cottage was never destined to simply repeat what had made Hillside so successful. In fact, having had such an overwhelming response to Hillside, Anouska decided that Rose Cottage was her chance to take things even further. “I wanted to step it up and see how far I could go with my style. It’s a lot edgier,” she laughs, highlighting details such as neon lights, quirky artwork and vintage accessories, and a beautiful art mural that’s been turned into a wallpaper. In fact, Anouska has taken it so far that it might surprise you to learn that Rose Cottage (and Hillside) are currently listed as holiday lets! Available to rent through John Bray Cornish
Anouska’s belief is that “your home should make you happy”, particularly a holiday home. “You need to wake up and feel alive – surrounded by colours that make you happy. It should be a place that you can escape from reality.” The same is true for those letting their homes out to holidaymakers. “Just make it fun. People that stay in holiday homes aren’t there day in, day out – it’s an escape from the norm. You have to take them to a different place. That’s why I use bright colours – because I want to break the rules that everybody else lives by.”
As an example, we’ll move onto Rose Cottage. Despite initially missing the sale, as they forged ahead with the renovation of Hillside, Anouska and Greig received a call from north Cornwall property agents, John Bray, to say that the sale of the cottage they’d originally fallen in love with, had fallen through. “That’s how we’ve ended up with two!”
At this point, I think it’s fair to say that Anouska’s design style is a far cry from the usual whites, blues and boats that characterise a large proportion of Cornwall’s seaside homes. And she wasn’t about to change her approach for Hillside. “I wanted to show people in Cornwall that you don’t have to be scared of colour. In Port Isaac, illside was ust so different, and it really got people talking. It opened up their eyes to stepping outside of their comfort zone, to create something that’s really exciting.”
T O P L E F T & A B OV E Grey Roofs
LEFT rey oofs, a client pro ect in Port Isaac
TOP RIGHT & MIDDLE illside, Anouska’s first property in Port Isaac
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D I A LO G U E
olidays, the goal, reveals Anouska, is to offer something unique to those seeking something a little different during their stay by the sea. “Appealing to the masses, I probably would have calmed it down a little bit, but because we want it to be our forever home, it was like ‘well this is who we are, this is who I am as a designer’. If you love it, brilliant, come and en oy it, and if you don’t, that’s fine, because it’s going to be our home anyway.” Anouska does admit that she’s “nervous about renting Rose Cottage”, having put so much into it. “But I think there’s a massive market out there – particularly Londoners who like boutique hotels and cool places like Soho House – who want that same level of design and inspiration. And I don’t think many places in ornwall are offering that at the moment.” Whilst she clearly has confidence in her style as a designer, what really shines through as I speak with Anouska is a sense of selfawareness, and she tells me that “people either love my designs or they hate them”. This is because she’s not led by what’s in vogue, and when I ask whether she’s at all influenced by current trends, she says efinitely not. With all of my clients, I have to get to know them really well before designing for them. It’s such a personal thing, where you live; that interior has to reflect the person, so I think it’s really dangerous trying to fit the trend.
“Some people are so keen to follow a trend that they go for something that isn’t necessarily their style. Because interior design can be quite scary, a lot of people end up seeking comfort by adhering to what’s in the magazines.
LEFT Bold and brave
“If I had a top tip, it would be that you have to trust your gut instinct and really go with what you like. It’s like fashion – a lot of people wear the same tried-andtested clothes that work for them, but they shouldn’t be afraid to push the boundaries.” Anouska’s philosophy centres around the notion that whether you’re traveling from London for a holiday by the sea, or merely returning home after a day’s work, you should be excited to get there”. Sticking with current trends, it’s interesting to hear that, while Anouska has long been a reader of one of the interior industry’s leading magazines, she has, of late, found herself wondering why. “I don’t know what’s happened to it – all the pictures are ust white It ust feels so uninspiring and I’ll flick through it in ten minutes, whereas I used to tear pages out for my mood boards! I don’t know whether it’s a movement or ust conforming, I’m not sure, but it goes back to what we’ve been saying; whether you love it or hate it, it needs to cause a reaction.” Anouska a rms that when all’s said and done, it’s your home. Your friends may not like what you do, but that doesn’t matter. As long as you love it – as long as it “sets your heart on fire” that is what great interior design is all about. noushka_design noushkadesign.com hillsidecottage_portisaac rosecotta e ortisaac johnbraycornishholidays.co.uk
RIGHT Cornish, with a twist
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Â© Faydit Photography
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D I A LO G U E
hroughout this iconic estate, monuments stand testament to the centuries that the house and grounds have weathered: a 15th century church with King Charles’ coat of arms and a letter thanking Cornwall for its support during the Civil War; a Georgian bath house – one of only four in the country – with a myrtle bush at the entrance, planted from Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet.
heart is the
In recent years the Fortescue family, now in its sixth generation, have undertaken and completed the tremendous challenge of restoring the main house. It’s the story of a father’s vision, of his daughters who picked up the mantle, seeking to immortalise his legacy. We’re lucky enough to speak to Sarah Fortescue, founder of her own interior business and accessories brand, who tells us about Boconnoc today. Reminiscing about her childhood years, she talks about her family home and touches on the dear place it holds in her heart.
WO R D S B Y DA N WA R D E N
Replete with tales of intrigue, spiced with ro al encounters and de ned the mar s of luminaries, Boconnoc’s history spans nearly a millennium.
A brief history Boconnoc Estate and Manor were taxed in the omesday oll of . After changing
hands a number of times, Sir William Mohun bought the property nearly 500 years later and set to rebuilding the house. Formally, this had been a medieval tower known as the ‘Tower of Boconnoc’ and it dates from the 13th century. Sir William passed it to his son, Sir Reginald (of his father’s name), who was made a Baronet in 1612. It would remain in the family until Charles, 4th Baron Mohun, was killed in 1712 in a duel with the Duke of Hamilton. Charles’ estate passed to his second wife, who sold it in 1717 for £54,000 to Thomas Pitt – late Governor of Madras. Pitt is known for making his fortune by selling the ‘Pitt Diamond’, which he acquired from a precious stones merchant some 16 years before in India. Pitt’s diamond, which he sold to the French Crown, would later be set in the crowns of not one, but two French monarchs, as well as in the hat of Marie Antoinette – the last queen of France before the rench evolution. Later, after the bloodless coup d’ tat which ultimately saw Napoleon Bonaparte installed as First Consul of France, the stone, which currently holds a value of around £56M, was set into the very pommel of that historic emperor’s sword. In 1804 – nearly a century since the
INSET From le ; Elizabeth Fortescue, Clare Fortescue and Sarah Fortescue. (Image: Sheerlove Photography)
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The century and a half since have seen a number of works take place on the house and grounds, some reparatory, others additional, but all maintaining the estate’s traditional and historically prestigious aesthetic.
Governor of Madras acquired the estate – the heir, hereditarily named Thomas Pitt, died in a duel with his friend, Captain Best. The estate then passed to his sister, Anne, who married William Wyndham, Lord Grenville, the Prime Minister. 30 years later in 1864, upon the Lady Grenville’s death, Boconnoc was bequeathed to George Matthew Fortescue, son of the late Lord Grenville’s sister, Hester, who married the first arl ortescue of astle ill, evon. The rest, for want of a better phrase, is history.
Sarah, tell us more about the restoration “The restoration of Boconnoc House was huge. The house had been empty for 40 years or so, with the great south facing gallery wing taken down in the ‘60s due to damp, and a support structure erected against the house. As a child, wandering around it, I remember large areas of walling that had fallen through, revealing the bones of the house. The now beautifully restored staircase was once a damp, unloved space, with a hole down to the basement where one side had fallen in. Looking upwards, you could see the rafters of the roof. “My father ambitiously took on the restoration in the late ‘90s, opening the estate to the public in order to fund the project.” Tim Charles
house and gardens back to life. Today Boconnoc is a memorable destination tucked away in the Cornish countryside, with cottages and the main house available to book for boutique stays and private events.
More recently, the house was used by the American Army for strategic planning during the Second World War, also housing an American bomb-disposal unit. Then, from the late ‘90s until 2011, a major restoration and refurbishment project took place, bringing the
D I A LO G U E
Sarah remembers when the old tower was restored into a flat with a kitchen on the ground floor, catering to members of the public. She recalls setting up shop with friends, “selling soup and a sandwich”, with the proceeds going back into the next detail of the restoration. “It was by no means an easy feat. The roof was the first thing to be completely redone, and as my father moved through its old walls, he built a team of talented craftsmen, guided by him, to bring Boconnoc House back to its former glory.” How did you tackle the interiors? By 2010 the house was ready for decoration, which is where Sarah stepped in. “I worked night and day for eight months to complete the first floor bedrooms and bathrooms. It was a tremendous challenge, but one that my father was determined to see completed. His true devotion was rewarded with two awards in 2012: The HHA Sotheby’s Award for Restoration of a Country House, and The Georgian Award.” Inside, Sarah wanted to echo the stories of her ancestors at Boconnoc. “They were intrepid travellers! Governor Pitt of Madras, who was in India; Hester Stanhope, the great woman explorer: I wanted to echo all of that.”
Do you spend a lot of time on the estate? “I spend much of my time there.” Boconnoc holds its ‘ancientness’, as Sarah puts it, “with a great sense of peace and quiet, with the ancient woodlands surrounding it and scarcely mown meadow grasses, where colonies of bees and other insects thrive. The energy here is truly
extraordinary, and although it is my home, it always leaves me in complete wonder. Walking through the woodlands [replanted and extended in the 1800s by Lord Grenville and his wife, Anne Pitt] is a sensation at all times of year, particularly in summer when every bit of life is exploding from the earth and trees. But my favourite spot is across the park from the house. Perched amongst the ancient woodland, it looks back over the parkland and grounds, up to the deer park. It has a stunning scattering of buildings, all dating back to different moments in time the stable yard, for instance, designed by Sir John Soane and surrounded by the fabulous sub-tropical fauna and flora of the gardens. “A more private, Great Gats -esque pocket is down the garden walk, behind the house, where suddenly an enclave erupts out of the rock, lined in palms, tropical ferns and myrtle, and a beautiful stone bath once used by Lady Hamilton. It overlooks Valley Crucis – a sweeping scene of oak woodland in full bloom, a stream meandering through its course.” “Waking in Boconnoc,” Sarah concludes, there is still the soft cooing from the doves that roost above the window sills of the house. It’s a wonderfully cathartic sound. It all provides food for the soul. Whether you’re visiting Boconnoc for five minutes or staying for five days, it never fails to restore and inspire.” oconnoc.com
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THE ART of
artisan WORDS BY BETHANY ALLEN
ames tra rid e strives to incor orate sustaina le food ractices into all elements of his life alon side su ortin local artisan usinesses.
ames has published numerous books to promote artisan kitchen skills and has had TV appearances on shows with an environmental outlook throughout his career.
readers regarding artisan kitchen activities,” says ames. The new version incorporates things that people can do even if they only have a small plot or garden and focuses on how to live ‘zero waste’ and plastic free.”
He has featured in a number of BBC television series, including his debut on It’s Not Easy Being Green in 2006, when he returned home after completing his istory degree. The programme followed his family as they attempted to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, during which time James learnt green engineering concepts, animal husbandry, land management and a very hands-on approach to environmental living.
ick is currently en oying television fame thanks to his documentary series on hannel 4, sca e to the h teau, which James has made appearances on too. The series follows Dick and his partner Angel Adoree as they trade in their two-bed apartment in ssex for a dilapidated th century French château and begin a restoration pro ect. Throughout the restoration ick has incorporated sustainable practises however, this hasn’t been covered in detail by the show yet. So, this year, ick and ames will be revealing the château’s sustainable elements on the programme, covering its renewable technology and beautiful kitchen garden.
This experience inspired James and his Dad, ick Strawbridge, to co-write and publish ractical elf u cienc he om lete Guide to Sustainable Living, which was initially released in but has recently been updated and re-released for . We had to re-write vast amounts of Practical elf u cienc because times have changed and there has been a bigger appetite from
James also presented with his Dad on the popular ITV series he un r ailors in and , which saw the duo set sail
RIGHT James Strawbridge
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aboard a wooden pilot cutter to explore the food of Britain’s coastal towns. Mooring in tiny harbours and busy ports they met farmers, fishermen, producers and foragers, gathering fantastic local produce and heading back to the galley to cook up a storm. In regards to how his TV appearances have influenced him, ames explains When we sailed around Cornwall, The Channel Islands and the south coast for he un r Sailors show, every single week was fun and positive. The ‘ ust do it’ attitude that comes across in the show is something that I don’t ever want to forget.” Heading to the source of some of ornwall’s best produce also left its mark on James and he makes sure to incorporate locally sourced food and drink in his approach, both in terms of business and on a personal level too. James has written and published various books since the launch of Practical elf u cienc in . Most recently, in spring he published mo ed Food anual for ome mo in and he is currently working on another book called he rtisan itchen.
In an era where people are uite short on time, the motivation behind he rtisan itchen is to show how you can easily fit skills into your kitchen life that end up reducing the amount of processed foods that you buy,” says ames. It also provides inspiration on how to minimise waste in the kitchen. ne way to do this is to take your leftovers and give them a new lease of life. At the moment I’m sat down writing about potted meats, confit and ways of preserving
A B OV E James and his Dad at the château
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food using clarified butter so it can sit for three or four months rather than being put in the bin because you think that it’s ust a leftover.” There are a lot of eco aspects to the new book, but it’s also about not denying yourself things that you en oy. The book touches on how your health can benefit if you’re making your own bread and kefir and drinking ombucha. All of these practises tend to come across as a bit hipster and modern,” says ames, but my perspective is that none of it is actually that modern or trendy because they are practises that have been around for hundreds of years and it ust happens to be fashionable again now.”
TOP mbrace the artisan way of life
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ames currently lives in ornwall with his wife and three young children. As well as working on his books and television career, he is also a business development chef, offering
Another aspect of choosing artisan foods is that you’re often supporting local experts. ou’ll find certain things that you’ll en oy doing yourself and if you don’t, there’s the opportunity to look down the road and see someone who’s making an exceptional local beer, or a local cheese made by someone with their own goats, and then you have the chance to support those people. A lot of artisan food brands start off as hobbies until they turn into big cottage industry businesses and I think that by choosing to use artisan food, you’re saying to that person ‘go for it, if that’s your dream we’ll support you’. specially when it benefits the environment and your health too, so it’s genuinely a win win for everyone.”
food photography, recipe development and art direction, the skills for which he learnt when he set up his own company The Posh Pasty ompany. This experience allowed him to understand what it’s like to launch a start-up food brand in Cornwall and make a success of it within the national and international market. Subse uently ames has decided to take this knowledge and use it to help local food and drink businesses to develop their brand. At the moment I’m working with various Cornish food and drink businesses, helping them to develop new products for retail but also showing consumers how they can en oy their products. For example, with Cornish Sea Salt, I produce a uarterly maga ine called Seasons where we feature recipes for curing, seasoning and salt baking, showing consumers how to incorporate that ingredient into food and drink. I get a real buzz when I’m working with manufacturers and producers and the thing I love the most is to show people at home how to improve their cooking by understanding ingredients better.”
The idea of an ‘artisan’ approach to food has cropped up numerous times during our discussion. But what does artisan mean? Artisan is about developing a kitchen craft,” ames tells me. ery often we might be used to the convenience of supermarkets and processed foods but artisan champions making food from scratch using traditional knowledge and techni ues. There’s also a tendency to use wild yeasts and natural bacteria over commercially produced substances; meaning that there are often health benefits to artisan foods as well. esterday I was making a load of butter with my three young kids something that generationally was standard practise or years ago. I think there are uite a lot of people who, like me, en oy re-discovering these artisan kitchen skills and finding ways to fit them into a modern lifestyle.”
A B OV E Recipes that focus on fresh local produce
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John Hersey John Hersey John Hersey DRIFT--Annual--2020--Recipe--James Strawbridge--14.00 v2.indd 160
A B OV E Exploring Cornwall
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with his Dad on sca e to the h teau as well as releasing he rtisan itchen and another book. Not to mention his new business consultancy firm. What’s been really exciting this year is writing and shooting another new book that’ll be published in , again with . I’ve produced it all in lockdown from my home kitchen studio and it’s been a great pro ect to remain positive. I develop, cook and shoot lots of recipes myself for a range of clients in ornwall and across the south west. My agency called Strawbridge itchen works with food brands, including Davidstow Cheddar, ornish Sea Salt, cean ish, Tru e unter and Real Olive Co, helping them tell their story to the and international food market. I also work uite closely with retailers such as Waitrose and Tesco, so I’m looking forward to approaching food and drink businesses and artisan producers to help them scale up with larger sales.” The food and drink industry in ornwall is going from strength to strength and the exceptional local produce that’s available is revered throughout the . To have someone like James working to market the artisan food and drink businesses here will help to promote the benefits of choosing artisan products over processed foods and encourage consumers to invest in a healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle. We look forward to seeing what the future will hold for this eco-conscious and entrepreneurial young chef and how his approach will help to promote the artisan way of life. stra stra
When he’s not writing books and helping Cornish businesses to market their products, ames en oys spending his spare time with his family exploring south ornwall’s hidden beaches and secret coves as well as heading on to the river with owey gig rowing club and setting out to sea a few times a week. Making the transition from a business owner to a business development chef has allowed me to spend more time with my family. Part of the reason I chose to become a business development chef is because the working hours mean I’m around in the evenings more,” says ames. And my children are all useful young chefs so we en oy cooking together at home. My home development kitchen and o ce is a place that my children are able to be a part of, they can see me experimenting and making food I feel like it’s part of their education having me around which is amazing.” In terms of what the future holds for ames, he has a busy year ahead working
rid e itchen.com rid e
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hese reci es from usiness evelo ment hef ames tra rid e reveal ho ou can stri ac our coo in to natural in redients ithout com romisin on taste.
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editerranean a neh
SERVES 2 INGREDIENTS: litre yogurt tsp fine sea salt [Cheesecloth/muslin]
To Serve: tbsp pomegranate seeds tbsp chopped mint ripe fig, halved tsp olive oil Pinch of sumac and a’atar
Method Stir teaspoon of salt into litre pints yogurt either natural goat’s milk or uality full-fat cow’s milk yogurt .
Store labneh in a sealed container in the fridge and use as a spread, like cream cheese. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.
Then pour the yogurt into a elly bag or several layers of muslin cheesecloth, tie the edges and hang, allowing to strain over a bowl for hours.
arnish with olive oil, chopped mint, figs and pomegranate seeds. Serve with grilled flatbreads.
The longer you leave the yogurt, the heavier the labneh’s texture will be.
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C U I SI N E
SERVES 4 INGREDIENTS: 4 beetroot
tsp chopped dill
2 red onions
Drizzle of olive oil
Pinch of ornish Sea Salt flakes
2 tbsp walnuts g feta cheese, crumbled 4 caper berries orange, est and segmented
To dip: tbsp yogurt tsp
Method Roast the beetroot and onion in their skins on a bed of hot charcoal. Cook for 45 minutes turning periodically with some tongs until blackened on all sides and tender in the middle.
Toss in a salad with orange, walnut, feta, walnut and capers and garnish with chopped dill and orange zest. Season with Cornish Sea Salt.
Allow to cool for to minutes and then carefully remove the onion skin and beetroot peel.
Quarter the beets and slice the caramelised red onions into segments.
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alted aramel ro nie
g caramel sauce
4 medium St Ewe eggs,
200g unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas
200g golden caster sugar
50g peanut butter 50g cocoa powder
g plain flour g dark chocolate,
tsp ornish Sea Salt flakes
Method rease a cm baking tray and line with o parchment. Preheat the oven to C. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bain marie and remove from the heat to cool slightly.
In another bowl combine the dry ingredients of flour, cocoa and a pinch of salt. Sift this into the beaten eggs and sugar. Mix until smooth. Pour into your lined baking tray and bake for minutes. Let it cool and then cut into s uares.
Mix the caramel sauce with Cornish Sea Salt and then combine with the sugar and eggs using a whisk.
Next add in the mashed banana and peanut butter. inish by whisking in the melted chocolate and butter.
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s this year’s crop of apples slowly ripens on the trees, a new generation of craft cider makers are rubbing their hands together in anticipation. These self-confessed ‘cider geeks’ are honing their trade-craft year on year; searching out traditional apple varieties in forgotten orchards, pressing the perfectly ripe bounty in small batches, fermenting using wild yeasts and bottle conditioning the fruits of their labours as if it were the finest champagne. © Faydit Photography
The GREAT CIDER revival WORDS BY LUCY CORNES
he cra cider movement is fuellin an orchard revival as artisan roducers see to sho case local a le varieties in their urest forms.
This welcome revival much like the art of cider-making itself has been a slow ripening followed by a steady fermentation. rom its old image of growlers of rustic scrumpy filled at farm gates, to the cheap and cheerful massproduced ciders of many a misspent youth, for
INSET In its raw form
a long while cider was considered anything but a connoisseur’s choice. Gradually things have changed, and these days artisan cider is praised for its ability to reflect a sense of place ust as the great wines of the world do. James Waddington is o- ounder of rafty Nectar, the UK’s leading online store for craft cider. He explains why it’s rich pickings these days for the cider enthusiast. “There is a mini cider revolution happening, as a wave of small scale and highly passionate artisan producers celebrate the rich variety of cider apples which grow here in the UK,” James extols. “This skilful endeavour and craftsmanship means that cider now sits alongside fine wine on the menus of Michelin starred restaurants across the country.”
RIGHT Joe Heley and Todd Studley
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ne such craft producer is Secret rchard ider, which has dual production bases in Somerset and Cornwall. The company was co-founded in by oe eley, a horticulturalist and tree surgeon, and Todd Studley, a chef. The pair of childhood friends went to school together in west Somerset. Later, while Joe trained in land management against the bucolic backdrop of xmoor ational Park, Todd was off travelling the world as a chef, working aboard luxury yachts and in alpine ski chalets. Sharing many a cider whenever they were reunited, the boys realised that they had all the right ingredients to craft their own, aside from orchards of course A chance conversation with Tommy Wolseley of ettlecombe provided the missing part of the pu le. ettlecombe ourt is a historic country estate set amidst the rolling hills of Exmoor. It was once in the hands of William The on ueror, and the oak trees which dot the surrounding parkland were specially chosen for the nglish fleet which defeated the Spanish Armada. Here, ancient walled orchards planted with prime cider-making varieties had fallen into disuse the boys had found what they were looking for.
© Faydit Photography
A couple of visits and a funding bid later, Todd and oe embarked on a pro ect to make the very best artisan cider using natural methods. Their knowledge of horticulture and flavour profiles, and their refusal to compromise on high production standards, has resulted in
A B OV E Pick your poison
© Faydit Photography
QU E N C H
a remarkable range of ciders recognised as amongst the best in the . Joe and Todd now source apples from other growers which share their ethos across Somerset and ornwall Todd lives in almouth with his family, hence the Cornish outpost). Both counties have a wealth of old orchards where prime cider apples grow in abundance. Their quest to discover these ‘secret orchards’ has led Todd and oe to some beautiful spots hidden away down farm tracks or behind high garden walls. Many such orchards, which were once the hub of life within a village or grand estate, have gone untended for years and been left to their own devices, their fruit going to
raft cider from Secret
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© Faydit Photography
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QU E N C H
It’s a hands-on, intensely physical process for small producers like Secret rchard, and a month or so of hard graft awaits them as they scramble to harvest the fruit at ust the right time. The apples must be washed, chipped and pressed the uice is then stored in large barrels
Months later the fermented uice is ‘racked’. After it has had time to settle, oe and Todd will carefully taste each small batch to consider how they might be blended together. It’s always an anxious wait to see what the uice tastes like, and therefore what character will define the vintage that year,” says Todd, whose favourite cider apple varieties are abinetts, ingston Black and arry Masters. The exact balance of all our ciders changes slightly from year to year, ust like wine,” he explains. It depends what the growing season has been like, what varieties we’ve sourced, where exactly the apples have come from, and what state of ripeness the fruit is in when we press it.” Secret rchard currently make two different styles from each county; Exmoor ‘Clear’ and ‘Mellow’, and Cornish ‘Crisp’ and ‘Smooth’, plus a popular still cider called ‘Holy Water’. The two friends are also experimenting with adding other hand-picked hedgerow ingredients to their blends. They produce a famous Nettle Cider each year which always sells out uickly, and have ust released two new flavoured ciders, lderflower and Blossom the latter is infused with rosehips, rose petals and blackberries both of which promise to become summertime staples. The overriding style of all these ciders is modern, crisp and refreshing, with the character of fruit to the fore. They are specifically blended with food matching in
Faydit Photography © Faydit©Photography
or oe, the prere uisite for a great cider is traditional, non-intensive orchard management. “To us, really good cider starts at ground level in the orchard,” he explains. We seek out sustainably managed local growers, where no chemicals are used. The biodiversity of these orchards which are often gra ed by animals, bordered by veg patches and ancient hedgerows, and visited by an array of birds, bees, butterflies and other insects is something to be admired and preserved.” Once the apples are harvested, ‘craft’ ciders are made in small batches rather than on an industrial scale. Secret Orchard is made from pressed uice, using wild yeasts. It is also processed without the addition of sulphites, making this a natural, artisan product which varies slightly from year to year. In fact, craft cider has many parallels with the natural wine movement, which extols the values of organic or biodynamic fruit grown in vineyards high in biodiversity, made in small parcels with minimal intervention.
whilst the pulp is donated to local farmers to feed pigs and cattle.
waste. ow, with craft producers willing to go to the time and effort to harvest the crop even from a handful of trees from a smallholding or community space – these ancient orchards are gradually being put to use once more.
LEFT Putting the fruit of ancient orchards to use
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© Faydit Photography
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mind; suggested food pairings on restaurant menus is another key characteristic of the craft cider movement, as are smaller servings rather than pints – again the parallels with wine are obvious. ach bottle of Secret rchard comes with tantalising suggestions of what to drink it with, from roast pork and charcuterie, to sushi, mackerel and summer salads.
© Faydit Photography
or dressing those fresh and delicious salads, more of us are reaching for an ‘ancient elixir’ in the form of cider vinegar. Todd and oe make their own of course, as do many artisan cider makers. A favourite with top chefs across the West Country, the Secret Orchard product is live and unfiltered, containing the active enzyme called ‘the mother’ – a collection of concentrated natural proteins and beneficial bacteria. The uality of the apples we use, the natural way they grow, and our low-
LEFT ow one of the
intervention approach, has resulted in a great tasting vinegar which we are really proud of,” says oe. Some people drink a teaspoon of cider vinegar every day, swearing by the health benefits, whilst others simply add it to salad dressings and other dishes to give an intense citrus-like kick. rom humble beginnings, Secret rchard have established themselves as one of the leading new-wave cider-makers in the . They now have a cult following as far afield as Amsterdam and the rench Alps, and have won multiple awards along the way. But, for the next few months anyway, these passionate cider makers will not be straying far from the apple trees of the West Country, as they watch over their precious crop. secretorchardcider.com
’s leading new-wave cider makers
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Food from the
Tempting recipes from Caroline, Tim and the team at The Cornish Seaweed Company.
Extracted from The Seaweed Cookbook by Caroline Warwick-Evans and Tim Van Berkeld (Anness Publishing, Â£15)
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C U I SI N E
Starter: Mackerel Pâté with Sea Greens SERVES 4 INGREDIENTS: 200g smoked mackerel
4 tbsp unsalted butter
8 tbsp clotted cream
tsp ornish Seaweed ompany flaked dulse or seaweed salt
10g Cornish Seaweed Company dried sea greens or 25g fresh sea greens
Method Peel the skin from the mackerel and set aside. Place the fish, clotted cream and sea greens in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.
The pâté will keep for up to a week if it is well sealed with butter. Once the seal is broken, eat within two days.
David Griffen Photography
Transfer the mixture into a ramekin or a lidded jar.
Melt the butter on a low heat, then add the flaked dulse or seaweed salt and stir together. Pour the butter to form a layer over the top of the mackerel pâté and chill to set.
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C U I SI N E
Main: Marinated Fish and Kombu Curry SERVES 4 INGREDIENTS: 10g Cornish Seaweed Company dried kombu (or 40g fresh kombu) 2 tbsp Madras curry paste
large onion, peeled and finely chopped garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 lemon, halved
A 5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
g sustainable white fish fillets, skinned and cut into big chunks
400g canned tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
200ml vegetable stock
fresh red chilli, seeded if preferred, finely chopped
Cooked rice and natural plain yoghurt, to serve
Method Rehydrate the dried kombu, if using, in a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes. Slice whichever type of kombu using into small strips.
Add the remaining curry paste and the chilli and stir-fry for 1-to-2 minutes, then pour in the tomatoes and stock.
Put half of the curry paste in a non-reactive dish, then squeeze over the juice from half of the lemon and stir to combine.
Bring to a simmer, then add the fish and kombu along with the marinade. Gently cook for 4-tominutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily.
Add the fish and most of the kombu and massage with the paste to ensure it completely coats them. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Garnish the cooked rice with the reserved kombu strips, then serve with the curry and yoghurt. David Griffen Photography
Heat the oil in a deep pan over a medium heat, then add the onion, garlic and ginger and gently fry for about minutes, until the onion is soft.
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C U I SI N E
Dessert: Blackberry, Apple and Dulse Crumble SERVES 4 INGREDIENTS: For the lling
For the crum le
25g Cornish Seaweed Company fresh dulse, or 5g dried dulse, rehydrated in cold water for 20 minutes, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eating apples
2 cooking apples
2 tbsp demerara sugar
4 tbsp rolled oats
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream or cream, to serve
g plain flour
2 tbsp demerara sugar 1 tbsp water
Method To make the filling, snip the dulse into small pieces with scissors and core and chop the apples.
To make the crumble, mix together the cinnamon and flour in a large bowl, then rub in the butter, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Put the blackberries, apples, cinnamon, sugar, water and dulse into a large pan and simmer over a medium heat for about 15 minutes, until soft. heck fre uently that it isn’t drying out, and add a splash more water if necessary.
Stir in the sugar and oats, then spoon the crumble over the filling, patting it down slightly with the back of the spoon.
David Griffen Photography
Remove from the heat, taste the mixture and add more sugar if necessary. Spoon into an ovenproof dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 190 °C/375 °F/Gas 5.
Place the dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Serve with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream or a good slurp of cream and enjoy!
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David Griffen Photography DRIFT--Annual--2020--Recipe--Cornish Seaweed--8.00.indd 193
C U I SI N E
t’s a fiercely guarded secret, but autumn is the best time to be in St Ives. September ushers in a slower pace, with more freedom to appreciate the beauty of the pictures ue harbour town than the hustle and bustle of summer affords. Blustery beaches and meandering cobbled streets, cosy pub corners and window seats for wavewatching autumn has a life-a rming languor that suits this artistic, epicurean enclave.
or food-lovers especially, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness offers rich pickings, with a new larder of local ingredients gradually revealed. certainly the case for visitors to restaurants in the Porthminster overseen by xecutive hef and Mick Smith. veryone has their whether it be the ex uisite food
WORDS BY LUCY CORNES
Sensational food is a year-round fact of life on the Cornish coast. Discover what lies in wait this autumn at three celebrated restaurants in St Ives.
INSET Mick Smith, Creative Director of the Porthminster Collection
This is the three ollection o- wner favourite, and aw-
dropping views at Porthminster Beach af , the uirky cool of harbourside Porthminster itchen, or the relaxed Mediterranean vibe of Porthgwidden Beach af . All three restaurants occupy ocean-facing vantage points and make excellent places to see and be seen. And each has become a St Ives institution beloved of locals and visitors alike (Porthminster Beach af has been established for more than years , standing the test of time while others have fallen foul of fashion. riginally from ictoria, Australia, Mick came to ornwall in search of a great food scene and Britain’s answer to the beach lifestyle he fell in love with St Ives and has made it his home. e began as ead hef at the ‘Beach af ’ over years ago Porthminster featured in a fly-on-the-wall T series of that name in . Mick now
RIGHT Wave-watch in comfort from a cosy vantage point
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oversees all three restaurants in the group - crafting seasonal menus, refining the wine lists, perfecting the guest experience and driving the professional development of plus staff, which includes a talented band of senior chefs. ornwall’s growing attractiveness as a year-round destination fuelled in part by a buoyant food culture now allows the Porthminster ollection, along with many others in St Ives, to stay open all year. This marked change provides steady employment and career progression for those working in the sector, but also importantly encourages a deeper connection with the annual food cycle. When I first started working in St Ives seasonality was a real problem,” explains Mick. ow we ust close for a few weeks in anuary. rom a chef ’s point of view, it’s fantastic because we can make the most of the distinct seasons here in the .”
This deeper connection with the annual food cycle has encouraged Mick to become a ‘hyperlocal’ food pioneer, growing and foraging food to supplement the produce he orders from local suppliers. ence the natural larder in the immediate vicinity of St Ives Bay dictates the direction of the menu. ach day one of the chefs embarks on the ‘foraging run’, whilst another gathers the daily harvest from the restaurant’s uni ue coastal kitchen garden. Mick first started work on this plot a decade ago it has become a daily source of fresh flavour and inspiration. e now employs an experienced gardener to ensure it remains productive all year round, and every bit of the small space yields something useful from fruit and vegetables to herbs, leaves and flowers. Lee Wilson is Mick’s right-hand man at this beach-side food oasis. Lee moved to St Ives years ago after falling in love with the ama ing produce and inspirational food culture of ornwall. After spells in London to work with the likes of ason Atherton, and abroad to serve as personal chef to the atari oyal family, he has settled once more in his favourite town as ead hef of Porthminster Beach af . arly autumn is one of Lee’s favourite times in the kitchen. That slow shift to earthier flavours, the gentle introduction of richer tastes and textures, and a fresh bounty from land and sea gives this creative chef new impetus after the relentlessness of the summer months. At the onset of autumn our cooking turns towards warming, earthy flavours. The garden as well as our foraging missions
INSET Lee Wilson couldn’t resist the pull of St Ives
A B OV E Porthminster
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C U I SI N E
along the beach and coast path play a key role in that seasonal shift,” explains Lee. There’s a rewarding range of staples around for the wild and home-grown food enthusiast, especially berries, nuts and fungi but also things like fennel and alexander seeds. ne of our favourite autumn recipes is pork cheeks braised slowly in local cider and apple uice along with fennel and coriander seeds,” says Lee. We serve this with a erusalem artichoke puree, toasted pine nuts and a splash of tru e oil those earthy, fruity, nutty, spicy notes are all uintessential autumnal flavours for me.”
Seasonal wild food is also used to enhance the seafood which is the restaurant’s mainstay the variety of fish landed is still relatively high at this time of year but locally sourced meat plays an increasing role on the menu as winter looms on the hori on. Mick is hoping to take part in a ornwall Wildlife Trust initiative again this year, using meat from cattle which gra e their sites. We don’t use a lot of beef here at Porthminster, but the aim is that when we do it will have the lowest environmental impact possible,” explains Mick. The ornwall Wildlife Trust manages nature reserves across the county, many of which are gra ed with cattle. The cattle naturally maintain the sites and make them attractive to wildlife. rass-fed beef is much better for the environment, has a good ratio of omega- fatty acids and generally the flavour is believed to be superior.
TOP arvesting seaweed for a batch of ornish ashi Broth
It’s not ust the ingredients that are shifting either, it’s also the cooking methods. We tend A B OV E There’s lots to be foraged along the beach and coastal path
to use more slow cooking techni ues at this time of year,” says Lee. radually infusing flavours, for example to get the layers of deeply rich and umami notes of our signature sticky pork dish these things take time but it’s worth it ” Meanwhile at Porthminster itchen, it’s the arrival of ornish lemon sole and red mullet from the Li ard Peninsula which ead hefs Ben Prior and Paul liver are looking forward to. ed mullet from adgwith ove on the Li ard is a particular delicacy caught by the small day boats which fish ust off the coast, its sustainability is closely managed. Ben and Paul like to serve theirs poached in coconut milk and accompanied by white crab, compressed cucumber, celery salad, asmine rice and lime. It’s the perfect dish to en oy at a window table at the elevated harbourside restaurant, where the famously clear, rose-tinted light of St Ives makes for a spectacular, constantly shifting vista. Autumnal weather brings the best light conditions, as gentle golden sunshine alternates with dramatic dark blue and grey skies, all reflected in the waters of the bay and watched over by the sentinel form of odrevy Lighthouse in the distance. It’s a view which has inspired many generations of artists, including Anthony rost whose work adorns the walls of Porthminster itchen. reativity and playfulness are also given expression in the food here, where local ingredients are given a refreshing twist often inspired by Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. airy and gluten take a backseat
RIGHT Autumn is a great time to be in St Ives
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in favour of lighter textures and intriguing, experimental dishes. Mushrooms, artichokes, celeriac, salsify and leeks are amongst the fresh produce that will be starring alongside autumnal seafood on the menu at Porthminster itchen in the coming months. A little later in the season game will be making an appearance at all three restaurants the timing coinciding nicely with a downturn in the local fishing catch. When the weather gets rough towards the end of the year the boats can’t get out, so we serve more red meat and game in our regularly changing menus,” explains Ben. We don’t have to compromise on uality, we ust adapt,” adds Paul. I’m excited about getting some fantastic partridge, pheasant and venison later in the season.” Meanwhile at Porthgwidden Beach af , the seasonal shift sees the return of comfort food, St Ives style. The caf , nestled next to ‘The Island’, is a popular stop-off for walkers out en oying the blustery beach and nearby coast path, and the large picture window and glass-encased heated terrace make for some of the best wave-watching vantage points in town. Shelter from the elements has become an art-form here, where a cosy blanket and a luxurious hot chocolate are never far away. isitors to St Ives having negotiated the twists and turns of ‘ irgin Street’, ‘Salubrious Place’ and ‘Teetotal Street’ are delighted to discover the small and sheltered bay which is home to the caf . ead hef obert Michael oversees operations here on a daily basis. TOP ach new season sees a different palette of ingredients carried back to the kitchen
A B OV E Porthgwidden Beach afe
Thanks to him, refuelling here with bowls of hearty chowder packed with ornish fish, panang curry laced with warming spices, or a bowl of steaming mussels served with chori o and tomatoes is bliss. or dessert, a modern take on a traditional apple crumble is the perfect autumnal end to a meal, a lemon and chamomile ice cream acting as accompaniment and palate cleanser. Autumn is a time for fresh ideas and experimentation at all three restaurants,” says Mick. We can be ultra-adaptable, concentrating more on daily specials. If a local boat hauls a fantastic catch it can go straight on the menu that evening, or if we harvest a load of pepper dulse we’ll get started on a batch of ornish ashi our take on the apanese classic which uses local mackerel instead of Bonito flakes combined with the purplish seaweed which grows on nearby rocks.” Incidentally, any excess seaweed is combined with comfrey and used as a fertiliser for the garden. Autumn is also an opportunity to refine and perfect the signature dishes which appear intermittently on the menu at all three restaurants. Many of these favourites, such as monkfish curry, crab linguine, crispy s uid and Porthminster’s famous chocolate brownies, can be found in Porthminster Beach af , The ookbook, which offers a taste of St Ives in all seasons. porthminster.kitchen porthminstercafe.co.uk porthgwiddencafe.co.uk
RIGHT efined signature dishes
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WO R D S B Y DA N WA R D E N
An ethos that embodies the Cornish way of life dedicatin itself to the cra of distillin and the pursuit of provenance.
created for my 40th birthday”, he explains. A few months later in 2019, Will and his newly formed team began devoting their time to research and development, until they finally arrived at a set of spirits that now, Will tells me, “we are extremely proud of ”.
It all began in 2018, which is when Will purchased Trefresa Farm, now the home of Porthilly Spirit Distillery. “We have a long term plan to build a hotel here,” explains Will, but “when we were originally looking at concepts, we had the idea of putting a small distillery in the bar. This planted the seed of an idea.”
It was amidst the recent Coronavirus pandemic that the first Porthilly Spirit products were launched, and as you can imagine, the changing landscape meant that the team had to quickly adapt their modus operandi. This meant that “rather than selling predominantly to bars and restaurants, we focused on selling direct to customers”. They also created a host of amazing cocktail recipes on their website, giving those suddenly with more time on their hands the inspiration to start making the most of sunny days spent in the garden.
© Ben Pryor
The SEED of an IDEA
elf-confessed as having a “longstanding obsession with provenance in the food and drink world”, for years, Will Herrmann felt this was missing when it came to spirits. “I wanted to set about changing this.”
It was around the same time that Will set out to build the best team possible, to create the best drink they could. The first batch came in the form of a small 100-bottle run, “initially
INSET Trefresa Farm
RIGHT Porthilly Spirit is led by principles of provenance
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Â© Ben Pryor DRIFT--Annual--2020--Porthilly Spirit Distillery--6.00.indd 143
Â© Ben Pryor
A B OV E Life at Trefresa Farm
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© Ben Pryor
QU E N C H
it comes to food. Surrounded by the ocean, with innumerable acres of farmland between coasts, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to food that’s reared, grown and caught within a few mere miles. This feeds into the very core of the Porthilly Spirit ethos, and Will tells me that “everything we do and create is influenced and inspired by our location on the north Cornwall coast. Farm, shore and sea.” “We are driven by a passion for provenance, and love working with people who share this idea.” In turn, this drive yields products of the highest quality, and in what has been, compared to other businesses, a very short space of time, the team have nevertheless garnered a sterling reputation, particularly among those who relish a dash of quality with their chosen tonic.
“The products continue to evolve,” he continues, “but we’re staying honest to our founding principles of quality and provenance.” In fact, Porthilly is currently working on some exciting limited edition products, and collaborations with the amazing chefs and foodies surrounding us here in Cornwall. And it’s no wonder… The uchy plays by a different rulebook when
Although dedicated to the craft and keen to keep its traditions alive, Porthilly Spirit is nonetheless an innovator. In fact, when I ask Will how a new recipe is settled on, he explains that some of the distillery’s newest recipes are the result of collaboration with some of the Duchy’s most forward thinking individuals, oft from disciplines not traditionally associated with drink. “For example, we’re about to launch a limited edition rum which has been cold smoked! The recipe was created by local chef and master of smoked food, Andi Tuck.” Tim Charles
Always excited by an origin story, I ask how the distillery has evolved since its relatively recent conception. “When we started, we were honest beginners,” reveals Will. “We were – and still are – learning and questioning as the recipes developed, and taking feedback from all who tried the spirits.
The result, Will assures us, is spectacular – smooth and noticeably smoky – and great on its own or in a cocktail. “I think it would
INSET Porthilly produce spirits of the highest order
A B OV E ‘ Cornish spirit’ takes on a new meaning
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© Ben Pryor
QU E N C H
work brilliantly in an old fashioned,” Will muses. For me, having spent the lockdown researching the art of barbeque, building my own makeshift smoker whilst simultaneously nurturing a taste for rum, this limited edition elixir can’t come quickly enough…
And although we will have to wait until at least 2021 for the festival to get the green light, there are some exciting plans taking shape in the meantime, including a series of smaller events at the farm – “special feasts with live music” – which I for one am keeping my ears firmly to the ground for more details.
© Ben Pryor
© Ben Pryor
© Ben Pryor
Moving on, we couldn’t talk about Porthilly Spirit Distillery without touching on the exciting and highly anticipated Porthilly Spirit Festival. May this year would have seen the festival’s ‘maiden voyage’, however, as was the case for festivals around the world, the Coronavirus pandemic put paid to this year’s event. But Will is keen to reassure that “we are doing all we can to make it happen in 2021”, and I think it’s fair to suggest that this is set to become a highlight of the season for festival goers all over the UK – a three-day celebration of the ethos behind everything the team does at Trefresa Farm. “It’s about delivering an experience for all those who share our fascination with the land and sea, bringing in local producers, artisans, restaurateurs, musicians and creatives, to create a weekend of discovery.”
Having learned all about Porthilly’s uncertain, tumultuous, but ultimately flying start, I find myself wondering what the future holds for Will and the team. Are there plans for any new recipes, or to grow the business at all ur first few batches have been created in collaboration with some brilliant master distillers in Cornwall,” says Will, “but our mission has always been to create a distillery at Trefresa Farm. “We hope to start work on building this in the coming months, and this will be the first step in our longer term plans to breathe life back into the farm.” In fact, over the next couple of years, Trefresa Farm will be central to a grand campaign of regeneration, including the creation of a community hub and a boutique hotel, spa and restaurant, creating 85 direct local jobs. All of this will take place alongside the growing agricultural business, the aim of which is to grow all the ingredients necessary to make their own spirits on site. And whilst self-su ciency, sustainability and the pursuit of provenance are of course the driving forces behind this superb Cornish distillery, its ethos – the Porthilly ‘spirit’, if you like – is one of community, and a sense of symbiosis with Cornwall’s coast and countryside. porthillyspiritdistillery.com
A B OV E Products continue to evolve
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Â© Ben Pryor DRIFT--Annual--2020--Porthilly Spirit Distillery--6.00.indd 147
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C U I SI N E
Recipes from Tia Tamblyn of Botelet â€“ a uniquely preserved piece of Cornwall, just upstream of Fowey, where simplicity, sustainability and seasonality take centre stage.
C U I SI N E
Starter: Marrow Slices with Pickled Veg & Goat’s Cheese SERVES 6 INGREDIENTS: For pickled veg: g seasonal veg I used courgette, cauliflower, carrot, green bean, cabbage and beetroot 250ml cider vinegar
½ tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp ground ginger Note - the vegetables, fresh herbs and spices can be swapped depending upon availability and taste reference. his ma es a full ar s orth ou ill e le with a good few portions to use with other dishes.
250ml water 25g Cornish sea salt
For the rest of the dish:
3 sprigs marjoram
100g goat’s cheese
3 sprigs dill
1 tsp black peppercorns ½ tsp black mustard seeds ½ tsp coriander seeds
il I used rapeseed andful fresh herbs I used mar oram Cornish sea salt and pepper
Method Make the pickled veg at least two days in advance: Prepare a 1 litre glass jar with lid for storing the pickled veg by washing thoroughly then drying. Chop the veg into small pieces using all edible parts including stalks and leaves, then place in large bowl. Chop fresh herbs and mix with veg. Pack the vegetables and fresh herbs into the glass jar, pressing down so there is a 5cm (approx.) gap at the top of the jar. johnherseystudio.com
Make the brine - place water, cider vinegar and salt in a pan, bring to a simmer to dissolve salt. Remove from heat, add the peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric and ginger, stir well. Leave to cool. When cool, pour brine over the vegetables, making sure there are no air gaps.
Place the lid tightly on jar and store in fridge. Leave for at least 48 hours before using to let the flavours develop. It will keep for a couple of months in the fridge. To assemble on the day: Cut marrow into 12 rings approximately 1cm thick (allows for 2 per person). Place 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and heat gently. Place marrow rings in pan, season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs, and sauté for a couple of minutes each side until turning golden. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Crumble cheese into small pieces and set aside. To serve Top each marrow ring with a spoonful of pickled veg, sprinkle crumbled goats cheese on top, season with pepper and fresh herb leaves.
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johnherseystudio.com DRIFT--Annual--2020--Recipe--Botelet--8.00.indd 128
C U I SI N E
Main: Fennel & Squash Vegan Risotto SERVES 8 INGREDIENTS:
400g arborio rice
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp dried thyme
1 fennel bulb with stalks and leaves
Cornish sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 pints vegetable stock
2 tins coconut milk
2 cloves garlic
Method Preheat oven to 180 oC.
Prepare stock in a jug.
Peel squash and chop into bite size pieces.
Add 4 tsp dried thyme and 1 tsp cayenne pepper along with salt and pepper to vegetables, and stir well.
Slice fennel bulb into approximately 5cm long.
Place squash and chopped fennel bulb into baking trays (use two trays if there is too much to spread into one layer). Drizzle over olive oil, season with salt, pepper and cinnamon, and grate the lemon rinds into the baking tray(s). Give a good mix then place in oven for 30 minutes until just starting to brown â€“ check and turn a few times during cooking. Remove from oven when ready. Finely chop onion, garlic and fennel stalks and leaves, reserving a few fennel leaves as garnish. Put 4 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, add the chopped onion, garlic and fennel and cook slowly for approximately 15 minutes until they soften.
When vegetables have softened, add the rice. Keep stirring until the rice starts to become translucent. Add the stock, a couple of ladles at a time, keep stirring and adding stock until it is nearly absorbed by the rice then add coconut milk in stages, continuing to stir regularly. After approximately minutes when there is still a little li uid left and the rice has a slight bite, remove from heat. Stir in half of the roasted squash and fennel, and the juice of 2 lemons. Check seasoning then place lid on pan and leave to sit for five minutes.
Cut stalks and leaves from fennel bulb and set aside.
To serve Place a portion of risotto in each bowl, top with remainder of roasted squash and fennel, decorate with fennel leaves and finish with cracked pepper.
C U I SI N E
Dessert: Blackberry Sorbet SERVES 6 INGREDIENTS: 400g blackberries 150ml water 3 tbsp local honey 1 tsp ground ginger 1 vanilla pod, halved both ways 6 mint leaves to decorate
Method Place all ingredients except mint in a saucepan and gently heat, simmer for a couple of minutes then remove from heat. Allow to cool in the saucepan, then remove the vanilla pod.
Pour into a container and place in freezer overnight. emove from free er to soften half an hour before eating. Serve with a sprig of mint.
Place the mixture in a food processor and blend for a couple of minutes.
Pour from food processor through a sieve to remove the pips, into a jug.
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R E T R E AT
n 31st July, The Pig at Harlyn Bay opened its doors, inviting guests in for a heart-warming post lockdown getaway. ffering an authentic and warm atmosphere and fresh delicious food, Pig hotels put their guests’ happiness at the heart of their service, and they never disappoint.
Faced with the new normal, The Pig are operating in line with government guidelines and prioritising guest safety, whilst still ensuring that guests are provided with the same attentive care and relaxing experience as before.
WORDS BY LOWENNA MERRITT
Harlyn Bay welcomes The Pig hotel, a quirky, garden-oriented 16th century house oozing with character.
The Pig have several havens across Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and Kent, each with its own personality, and the new hotel at arlyn Bay is no different. estled amongst beautiful coastline, its location is described by The Pig’s Robin Hutson as “amongst the very best coastal settings anywhere in Cornwall”, with some of the county’s most celebrated beaches “a stone’s throw away”. The hotel
boasts panoramic sea views beyond its five acres of surrounding gardens. The Grade II listed building itself is just as impressive. The Pig at Harlyn Bay is one of Cornwall’s most historic mansions, dating back to the 16th century with Medieval, Jacobean and Georgian features. The Stonehouse, which sits west of the main building and hosts additional rooms, is a traditional Cornish slate building with a Delabole slate roof. The long driveway leading up to the impressive establishment ignites a sense of awe for approaching guests, as the buildings stand proud and invite you in with their regal aura. Stepping inside, the undeniable style is homely charm with a touch of luxury. Guests are welcomed into a traditional Map Room, greeted by a warming wood-burning stove. Beyond this there is a picturesque snug sitting nearby to the hotel’s wine store, the perfect place to unwind with a glass, or perhaps a bottle, of your chosen grape.
RIGHT The Pig Hotel, Harlyn Bay
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A B OV E Each room is unique, with its own character and charm
A B OV E A foodie offering thatâ€™s driven by the hotelâ€™s kitchen garden
R E T R E AT
Rooms range from cosy and small with monsoon showers to luxury large rooms with four poster beds, freestanding baths and private terraces. Each has a sense of individuality in its finishing touches, yet all adhere to the rustic country house décor that is quintessential of The Pig. Expect distressed wood, brass embellishments, panelled walls, hand painted artwork and colour schemes of sea blues and earthy greens. All features are carefully chosen with the soul of the building and location in mind – in this case, a traditional and weathered manor on the windswept seaside. The arden Wagons offer a uirky twist on the country manor stay. Closer to nature but still offering all the luxury comforts of a room, The Pig has four romantic wagons tucked away between the kitchen garden and the main house, each featuring a king sized bed, log burner, en-suite bathroom with monsoon shower and freestanding baths alongside a private outdoor shower, for those who prefer their bathing al fresco. Described as the ‘most comfortable, sexiest Shepherd’s Huts on the planet’, the wagons are perfect for any couple looking for a romantic and adventurous getaway.
At the beating heart of every Pig Hotel is a kitchen garden. Bursting with fresh herbs and vegetables, everything grown in the garden dictates the seasonal menu and nothing is left to waste. This adds to the authentic, homegrown atmosphere; all produce is sourced locally, sustainably and with attentive care. The kitchen garden is the hub of the hotel, and at the end of it you’ll find the magical Potting Sheds, in which guests can truly relax and unwind with an array of massages and facial treatments – a surprise luxury experience in the comfort of the hotel grounds. The Pig encourages guests to connect with nature, and the blend of luxurious treatment in a home grown, garden style environment inspires a sense of natural harmony. The food is another wonder of The Pig experience. Everything is driven by the gardens, from which the chef crafts a menu that is simple, seasonal and embraces the fresh and vibrant flavours that the nglish garden has to offer. The -mile menu supports local farmers and producers, supplying any extras that cannot be grown on site. These include delicious local Tarquin’s gin and produce from Ross Geach – former head chef for Rick Stein’s and owner of Padstow Kitchen Garden. ornwall is often described as the ’s foodie capital and The Pig at Harlyn Bay makes the most of this exciting reputation. Dine on seafood fresh from the ocean, local meats and cheeses from surrounding farmland, and even saffron a tradition in ornish cuisine. And with an incredible wine list to choose from, each dish on the menu can be paired perfectly,
Heading upstairs, The Pig boasts an abundance of unique and characterful rooms, the wide array of sizes and prices meaning that there is something to suit everyone without sparing any luxury. Guests can choose between a room in the Main House, with views across Harlyn Bay and the headland, or the Stonehouse, which offers views of the courtyard and vast gardens.
A B OV E Beautiful from the outside in
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R E T R E AT
for the ultimate fine dining experience. ni ue to The Pig is their brand-new Lobster Shed. In the place of an old Pig Sty, this food outlet serves up fresh lobster, crab, oysters, meats and veggies straight from the wood oven and charcoal fired grill. inish off with a delicious Old School Ice Cream sundae and a choice of Cornish cider or beer, or perhaps a glass of amel alley fi or Pig Hut’s very own rosé. The Lobster Shed’s signature ‘Lobster and Camel’ is a must – a feast of lobster, thrice cooked chips and a signature pinot noir rosé brut, all served al fresco in the serenity of the surrounding gardens. The Pig brand themselves as being ‘home grown in every way’. They embrace what they have available, rejecting the norms of designed hotels by emphasising home grown food, informal and authentic service and a genuine commitment to the environment. The Pig at arlyn Bay offers a ornish twist on this brand’s homely charm, incorporating seaside flavours and aesthetics into a luxury rustic garden-based experience, with incredible results.
A B OV E A luxury rustic garden-based experience
A B OV E The hotel centres around its gardens
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R E T R E AT
he Idle Rocks has been part of the St Mawes community since 1913 and by the 1930s, it had established itself as a luxury coastal hotel – a status that it still holds to this day. Perched perfectly on the rocks in the heart of St Mawes, the 19-bedroom Relais & Châteaux features individually designed bedrooms that reflect waterside comfort and luxury. With an award-winning restaurant and unbeatable south-facing views across the water, the coastal environment at The Idle Rocks is peaceful and the hospitality is genuine and engaging.
2020 marked the start of a new era for The Idle Rocks with the arrival of Executive Head Chef, Dorian Janmaat, who will pave the way to a new culinary future for the hotel. The award-winning chef has returned to his home county of Cornwall, following an impressive few years at the pinnacle of the British restaurant scene. “I joined The Idle Rocks team in January following eight years at the iconic two Michelin star Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons as Head Chef alongside the legendary Raymond Blanc,” says Dorian. The skills that Dorian has learnt as a result will allow him to make the most of Cornwall’s exceptional produce to create Michelin standard dishes that can be enjoyed amidst beautiful coastal surroundings.
WORDS BY BETHANY ALLEN
The Idle Rocks Hotel is delighted to announce a bright culinary future with Michelin-trained Executive Head Chef, Dorian Janmaat at the helm.
When discussing what drew him to St Mawes, Dorian explains that having grown up in Penzance he has been waiting for the right opportunity to arise and come ‘home’ to Cornwall. “Being a Relais & Chateâux property, and after meeting the fantastic owners, David and Karen Richards, I knew The Idle ocks was a perfect fit and an exciting opportunity.” Another reason why Cornwall beckoned is the incredible local produce that we have here. “Cornwall is home to some of the best fresh fish and shellfish in the country, if not the world, and it’s all right on my doorstep,” says Dorian. “I am a very lucky chef!” It’s therefore unsurprising that the outstanding local produce has a big part to play in the curation of Dorian’s menu. “My menus are simple, well balanced and seasonal,” says Dorian. “I’m really looking forward to bringing all that I have learnt under one of the industry’s greatest mentors back to the county I grew up in. My ambition is to capture the local surroundings with each plate, simple, pure and straight from the source.” There will be a fixed-price, two or three-course la carte style menu for dinner, as well as vegetarian and vegan dishes. When you’re living and working in ornwall, it’s hard not to be inspired by the stunning
RIGHT St Mawes
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coastal surroundings and as Dorian and I discuss the various elements that inspire him, it’s clear that one aspect of life in Cornwall stands out. “The seasons,” says Dorian. “I believe that we should all eat seasonally and support our local businesses. My menus are inspired by what my trusted local suppliers are able to offer, together with my wealth of understanding for taste, texture and balance.” Alongside its awardwinning food, The Idle ocks offers a relaxed environment with the perfect combination of great hospitality, amazing views and of course delicious food. It really is a home away from home. “I’m biased but I think our guests get to enjoy the best view in Cornwall,” says Dorian. “There’s nowhere nearer the ocean.” Even if you’re not staying at The Idle Rocks you still have the opportunity to dine at the hotel. Whether it’s morning coffee on the terrace or dinner in the restaurant, The Idle Rocks is accessible to everyone.” With so many great places to relax and dine in St Mawes, The Idle Rocks takes its place amongst them as yet another foodie destination. When it comes to what’s in store
LEFT The Idle Rocks Hotel
for the summer season, Dorian has this to say: “I’m looking forward to a busy summer season. uests will be en oying the best shellfish and fish and my menus will be showcasing the excellent produce ornwall has to offer. All I can say is watch this space! My aspiration is built on our already great foundations, and we as a team are striving for excellence.” We believe there is a real appetite for food produced from the finest local ingredients, and in Cornwall we have the finest produce anywhere,” adds Hotel Owner, David Richards. We are excited to have the brilliance of Dorian in our kitchen who can transform this produce into incredible dishes for our guests.” It’s not just the foodie scene that makes St Mawes a tempting holiday destination, it’s also the location. Situated on the stunning Roseland peninsula in south Cornwall, this is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for its quality of landscape and unrivalled coastal scenery. The hotel is surrounded by secluded coves, delightful creeks, lush countryside, tranquil beaches and scenic cliffs. These surroundings are like something out of a dream with many options for days out and activities including
A B OV E Executive Head Chef Dorian Janmaat
TOP Finest local ingredients
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A B OV E Coastal couture
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touring the pretty rural fishing villages, visiting beautiful gardens, walking, cycling and of course enjoying a multitude of water based activities. One suggestion for a particularly idyllic day out would be to walk from St Mawes castle to St Just in Roseland Church. The medieval castle was built by Henry VIII and represents the area’s significance as a historic waterway, then as you wander along the banks of the Carrick Roads to St Just in Roseland, you can take in the natural beauty of the area with rich green foliage and tranquil waters as well as being able to watch sailing boats cruise along these famous waterways. The Carrick Roads is a world-renowned sailing destination so you may even be lucky enough to witness one of the many regattas that are held here during your explorations. As you continue along your path you will eventually stumble upon St Just in Roseland’s beautiful 13th century church. Set amongst beautiful gardens beside a peaceful tidal creek, the church is described as ‘the most beautiful churchyard in England’. It really
is a breathtaking place to visit and one that you are sure to remember fondly for years to come. Thankfully, The Idle Rocks hotel allows you to access all of this and more from absolute comfort, overlooking the estuary and entrance to the Fal river. It presents the ultimate in waterside luxury for guests, so that your stresses can ebb with the tide and you can enjoy coastal couture at its finest. It’s a place where you can take a breath and escape the every-day stresses of modern life, where you can enjoy great food amidst panoramic views and immerse yourself in the beauty of Cornwall. The hotel features grand sea and harbour view rooms, village hideaways and family rooms, meaning that there is accommodation to suit all tastes and requirements. Luxurious bathrooms, wonderfully spacious beds and classic seaside décor await for an unforgettable stay in a gorgeous location. idlerocks.com
RIGHT A tranquil escape
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SO U L
n 2019, around 40% of UK holidaymakers chose a beach holiday. Perhaps this comes as no surprise to anyone who lives in a coastal location like Cornwall, where around 4 million visitors make an annual pilgrimage to rest, renew and replenish themselves on our coasts. It is also probably no surprise to learn that it is good for us A growing body of scientific evidence seems to confirm that spending time near water is beneficial to our mental and physical wellbeing.
Our relationship with water, throughout the ages, ranges from the sacred and spiritual, to the perceived medicinal benefits much lauded by the Georgians and Victorians. Perhaps then, science is only confirming what we, as human beings, already instinctively know and feel? Despite being land dwellers, it seems we are as powerless to resist the draw of the ocean as the tides are to resist the pull of the moon. Maybe it is because all human life begins in a watery womb or perhaps it is a product of our evolutionary origins. It is in a primal sense where we come from. In recent years the Blue Health movement has gained momentum and
WORDS BY CHRIS TUFF
Exploring the colours and sounds of the ocean, and their associations with both mental and physical wellbeing.
INSET The powerful draw of the ocean
a range of studies have indicated the positive benefits of living near the coast. ne recent study has found that people living close to the coast report that their general health and mental wellbeing is better. A recent residentsâ€™ survey conducted by ornwall ouncil confirms that overall, peopleâ€™s wellbeing in Cornwall has not been as badly affected as the rest of the country during the recent lockdown. While 33% of people nationally said their mental health had suffered, the figure in Cornwall was much lower, at 17%. People in Cornwall also had a more positive attitude to aspects of lockdown, such as the outdoors, cleaner air, and wildlife than the national average. Numerous studies over the years have concluded that exercise and exposure to nature can reduce anxiety and stress, however it seems that access to blue spaces is particularly beneficial. So, why might this be the case? The abundance of negative ions in certain environments such as the ocean, mountains, and waterfalls are believed to produce biochemical reactions that help
RIGHT Sea Sanctuary yacht, Winter
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LEFT Perhaps we are powerless to resist the draw of the ocean
A B OV E On the water is an extraordinary place to be
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But the power of blue spaces is such that you do not even have to be there. Studies show that just looking at images of blue spaces affects our mood and promotes a sense of wellbeing… A recurrent comment about
Researchers are now even investigating the possibilities of using VR technology as a therapeutic aid to improve health and wellbeing in hospitals. One of the pioneering exponents of blue health therapy is the almouth based mental health charity, Sea Sanctuary. ounded by oseph Sabien in , Sea Sanctuary offers a wide range of programmes for both individuals and groups based on marine activities, including sailing and water sports in conjunction with psychological therapy sessions, emotional education, lessons in practical life skills and creative classes. Joseph grew up in the care system and as an adult became a mental health practitioner, working within the Crisis Intervention and Community Mental Health teams in Cornwall. Through both of these first-hand experiences oseph was acutely aware of the limitations and pressures on the available services to deal with children who had suffered trauma and the sterile, clinical environments in which treatment and therapy was conducted.
Then there is the awe factor Studies have found that the captivating, immersive, and attention grabbing nature of awe stimuli reduces self reflective thought. This changes our perception of ourselves relative to the larger world – what researchers call the ‘small self ’ effect. As a photographic artist, this is something I can relate to. Being on a vast beach with an uninterrupted horizon can be a humbling, spiritual experience and in that kind of environment and state of mind you are far less likely to sweat the small stuff
my own minimal photographic artworks, in particular, is that they are calming, tranquil and meditative.
alleviate depression; the colour blue itself is often associated with calmness or serenity the sound of the ocean can induce changes in our brain waves; and the regular, rhythmic sound of the waves can induce a calming, meditative state. Living near the coast can also make for a more active lifestyle. Water sports, swimming in the ocean or just walking the coastal path, all have a positive impact on our physical and mental well-being.
INSET oseph Sabien
A B OV E Paddleboard
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Having also had a life-long love of the sea and been a lifeboat crew member it occurred to him that combining mental health provision and the sea might be a good idea.
“The next thought was that perhaps this needn’t just be land-based on the coast but might involve going to sea. It took several years to raise enough funds to buy a suitable boat. The problem was that the interiors of most modern GRP boats seemed too clinical so I began looking for a wooden boat. They are more alluring, organic and there is something about the nature of bringing a boat back to life that has parallels with nurturing ourselves and looking after our own wellbeing.” ourteen years on, Sea Sanctuary has more than forty staff, working across a number of projects and services. At the core of their services is a 55m Dutch Coaster ship run as a wellbeing facility and the yacht, Winter.
“Our yacht-based programmes are usually based on a four-day voyage with a ualified therapist on hand for group and one-to-one sessions. The Blue Health element obviously comes from that experience of being at sea and all the sensory input that comes with that. Sailing works well because people have to engage with each other and work together as a part of a crew. It is an inclusive and levelling experience, they are all literally in the same boat!”
“The sea works for us in a way that is beyond language so for people who can’t articulate their emotions, the sea is something that makes people feel and connect with their emotions. There is also something about the silence, the serenity and peace that can only be found in or near the sea. Once the engine is turned off and it is only the wind and the sails there is a real sense of exhilaration and peace that makes it quite an extraordinary place to be.” Finally, I ask Joseph about the science behind Blue Health. “I’m perhaps coming at this in a different way to the scientists. I’ve considered the effects of sensory engagement, the movement of a boat on the water and negative ions etc. But, what I have concluded is that perhaps there is no answer. What I mean is that trying to rationalise and analyse it too much takes something away from what we feel, our instinct and innate emotional connection with the water which perhaps may never be fully understood. In some ways I don’t want to know. That is part of the wonder and enigma of the ocean.” He concludes the interview with a quote: The sea has moods to fill the storehouse of the mind…The sea is the matrix of creation, and we have the memory of it in our blood.” (The Cruise of the Nona Hilaire Belloc) seasanctuary.org.uk
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SU STA I N
Louise Tremewan is a primary school teacher from Helston. She’s also a standup paddleboard instructor, working with Ocean High SUP in Marazion during her spare time, and in fact there are very few times of the year when she can’t be found in, on, or at least by, the water. It’s a passion that, in recent months, has literally taken her around the world. But more on that later.
of THE SHORE WO R D S B Y DA N WA R D E N
There are few individuals who will literally cross an ocean in a id to ht for the future but Louise Tremewan is one of them.
I think we can all agree that, on a global scale, progress has been relatively slow when it comes to tackling the growing issue of marine
pollution, but it’s something that Louise has personally pursued for a number of years. “I became especially interested about five years ago. I was walking along a beach at Praa Sands and I became very aware of the amount of plastic and ghost fishing gear that had been washed up on the shoreline.” From that point on, Louise explains: “I would always do a beach clean-up whenever I visited the ocean. Even if it was just for two minutes!” Erica Cirino
The ocean means everything to me. It’s the place I go to when I’m happy, it’s also the place I go to when I need time to think and reflect. Being close to the ocean has such a positive impact on my mental health and growing up, I had so many wonderful experiences by the ocean. It’s a place that holds very special memories of good times with family and friends.”
As she continued on her personal campaign, Louise’s efforts found a point of focus in her classroom at Marazion School. “As a result, we carried out many beach-cleans with the pupils and local community, as well as engaging with Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and their education programme.” In fact, Louise explains that Marazion became the third SAS ‘Plastic Free School’ in the whole of the UK. And she didn’t stop there. “Working with my colleagues at Ocean High SUP, we developed a summer camp for kids, which involved learning to paddleboard, as
INSET Louise Tremewan
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Circumnavigating the globe via four ocean gyres and the Arctic, eXXpedition Round the World is a first-of-its-kind, all-female sailing voyage and scientific research mission. Founded by Emily Penn in 2014, the latest voyage started last year and is set to drop anchor for the last time in 2021, covering a total of 38,000 nautical miles, across 30 voyage legs, with a crew of 300 women aboard the S.V. ravel d e. The course has been plotted to sail through some of the planet’s densest marine plastic accumulation zones, to study the true extent of plastic pollution and the effects it’s having on our oceans, tying together nicely Louise’s love for the water and her interest
Peter Cook/Ocean High Sup
In December 2018, Louise saw an advert on Facebook for an organisation called ‘eXXpedition Round the World’. “I had some knowledge of the organisation, and had been to a talk by the founder, Emily Penn. I actually dismissed the adverts the first two or three times that I saw them, thinking that it would be cool but I had no chance of being selected,” explains Louise, modestly true to form. “However, the adverts kept coming and it got me thinking that maybe it was possible. They stated that no sailing experience was necessary – which was great, as I had none!”
in marine pollution. As you can guess, Louise inevitably applied, requesting to be part of the Atlantic crossing stage. “It involved sailing through the North Atlantic gyre, an area that I’d covered with the pupils in my class. I also thought it would be an amazing opportunity to sail across an ocean ” After submitting a 60-second video explaining why she’d like to be involved, before being interviewed via Skype by eXXpedition Mission Leader, Sally Earthrowl, Louise finally received an email asking if she’d like to accept a place on board. “I was over the moon!” Setting sail from Ponta Delgarda in the Azores on Friday 1st November 2019, Louise and the rest of the crew covered some 2,274 miles, arriving – incidentally – in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, on Saturday 16th. Interested to know more about the voyage, I ask Louise about the role she played. Having read through the blog entries – and caught a few of Louise’s Facebook posts during the course of the trip – I got the impression that there was more to eXXpedition than just the research. “We had three professional sailors with us: Anna, our Skipper; Maggie, our First Mate; and Sophie, our Deckhand. Dr Winnie Courtene Jones, from the University of Plymouth, is the Science Lead for eXXpedition and was our Mission Leader for the voyage.” Along with the rest of what she calls the ‘guest crew’ – of which there were ten – Louise was assigned to one of three ‘watch teams’.
well as covering the basics of beach safety and marine pollution. The children then joined our weekly club, Ocean Tribe, for regular club paddles, skill development and beach clean-ups.”
Lawrence Smith/Ocean High SUP
SU STA I N
A B OV E The ‘Azores to Antigua’ guest crew
TOP Louise is never far from the water
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There were specific duties to be completed during each watch, Louise elaborates. “Sailing the boat was obviously a part of it! We each also had a part in preparing meals and keeping the boat clean and organised. Whilst on watch, we had to ensure the log was completed every hour, on the hour. This included information on our location and speed, as well as the weather conditions and anything else that was happening. We all took it in turns at the helm; the professional sailing crew were fantastic teachers, so the novice sailors among us were given plenty of guidance and support.
SU STA I N
“Research was a big part of each day,” Louise continues, consuming a significant amount of time. We collected samples from the surface of the ocean using a piece of equipment known as a ‘manta trawl’ – thrown over the side of the boat and trawled alongside us for 30 minutes, allowing any microplastics at surface level to be collected.” The crew then used a series of sieves to differentiate between the si es of plastic they found. “Some of these samples were then further tested to determine the type of plastic they were made from. This was done using a Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer,” or, as the crew called it, a ‘magic plastic machine’. “We also collected samples from 25 metres below the surface, using a Niskin bottle. Everything we collected was saved and stored, before being sent to a number of different universities around the globe to be analysed.” Her journey wasn’t all about the research, however, and when I ask Louise to tell us
A B OV E xamining the findings
about her highlights, she reveals how she hadn’t expected to form such amazing bonds with the other women on board. “People said it would happen, but I was a little dubious – it often takes me a while to form significant connections with new people. But I was proved wrong. I feel like I now have 13 new family members.” As they ploughed through the North Atlantic gyre, the crew also had visits from pods of dolphins, and Louise fondly remembers “the two hours we spent with a minke whale.” She also tells me about the night sky: “We were fortunate enough to have a full moon during our transatlantic crossing, which was incredible. The night sky before the moon rose each night was amazing – the stars were unlike anything I’d ever seen before, even compared to Gunwalloe beach on a clear night!” But it wasn’t all plain sailing you’ll have to excuse me for that one , and during the first 36 hours, Louise tells me: “I was so seasick. It completely knocked me out, and all I could do was sit in a corner of the deck feeling rather sorry for myself. Fortunately, I had some very understanding crew mates, who patiently looked after me and promised it would get better. They were right!” The other low-point for Louise was witnessing the vast amount of plastic in the ocean, firsthand. “It’s something I’m still struggling to comprehend. Obviously, I already know that
RIGHT Visited by dolphins
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Erica Cirino Sophie Dingwall DRIFT--Annual--2020--Louise Tremewan Expedition.indd 243
SU STA I N
we have a significant problem with plastic in our oceans; I see it almost daily on our beautiful Cornish beaches, and we witnessed it in large quantities during the outreach work we did in the Azores before we began sailing. However, once we got out on the ocean, it all looked so clear and beautiful. It was unreal – the most incredible blue I have ever seen – and it actually looked as though our research was going to be in vain as there were no obvious signs of plastic.” But on starting their research, Louise assures me that such speculation was quickly quashed. The samples taken by the manta trawl revealed significant uantities of microplastics, which are less than five millimetres in size and therefore impossible to see from the deck. On one particular trawl in the North Atlantic gyre, in fact, she explains how their research revealed “seven times more plastic than fish larvae.” Take a moment to let that sink in.
Other stark revelations included a plastic fork drifting , miles from the nearest landmass, and large expanses of disused fishing nets. All of these findings are logged along with their locations – information that is then sent onto NASA for a marine litter tracking project. As eXXpedition Round the World continues and more data is processed, more conclusive information will become available, but even at first glance, it’s fair to say that the fight against plastic pollution which, really, is still finding its feet around the world – is one we are already sorely losing.
The outlook, however, is not entirely bleak, and that organisations such as eXXpedition are out there working towards change; that individuals like Louise are picking up the baton and engaging with the community to champion a brighter future, is a reassuring thought indeed. Looking to the future and as an eXXpedition Ambassador, Louise will continue to spread the word about the project and the wider issue of marine pollution. Engaging with as many people as possible, she will also be talking about the important part eXXpedition is playing in promoting the role of women in STEM. espite significant progress, women are still underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sectors. Globally,” Louise continues, “women occupy only 13% of the STEM workforce, including health professionals. “I want to inspire and educate individuals,” says Louise, summarising her role and goals for the future, “so that they can begin to make informed choices to reduce their plastic footprint.” And as well as visiting local schools and organisations to deliver talks and workshops about her experience, Louise hopes to continue to develop her work with children and young people through her role with Ocean High SUP, “to continue to share with them the physical and mental health benefits of being on or by the ocean, and the things we can do to protect the blue space that so many of us love so much.” exxpedition.com
A B OV E Louise on watch
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veryone welcome – this has become something of a motto for the National Trust, and when you consider the thousands of volunteers it works with, and its 5.6 million members (as of last year), it certainly seems to ring true. But it doesn’t just refer to people; much of the work with which the National Trust is involved champions the protection and future-proofing of some of our most beloved flora and fauna, something I think it’s fair to say has never been higher on the global agenda.
Mike Simmonds is a National Trust Lead Ranger for North Cornwall, responsible for Trust-owned land along the 35 mile stretch of coast from Tintagel to Holywell Bay. His ‘patch’ also includes Rough Tor on Bodmin Moor. “It’s a dead man’s shoes sort of job,” he laughs when I ask what he enjoys about the role, “because once you’re in, you kind of stick with it. You get passionate about it and you don’t want anyone else to have your job!”
WO R D S B Y DA N WA R D E N
We talk conservation, community and what life is like for a National Trust ranger with Mike Simmonds, Lead Ranger on the north Cornwall coast.
Mike “started life”, as he puts it, by “going to art college and becoming a graphic designer.” Only six or seven years later did he start doing voluntary work in the Chilterns, where,
INSET Mike Simmonds
National Trust Images - Ross Hoddinott
D I A LO G U E
working with other volunteers and rangers, did he think to himself: “I want some of that!” The rest, as they say, is history; in 1994 he undertook a High National Diploma in Countryside Management and during his middle year, got to know the National Trust by taking a work placement here in Cornwall. A few years later he returned to the Duchy and became an Assistant Warden in Boscastle and has been with the Trust ever since. “In 2010, there was a bit of a rebranding of the roles, so we got called rangers instead of wardens.” At the same time, Mike tells us, he was appointed to his current role.
RIGHT The Rumps at Pentire, Mike’s favourite spot
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So what does Mike’s day to day look like? “I head up a small team of rangers based at Polzeath,” which lies roughly in the middle of the patch. “It’s an extremely varied job, literally every day is different.” Mike’s team spend most days doing what he calls “practical estate management”, which encapsulates anything from managing the land for wildlife and the natural habitats there, to looking after and maintaining the South West Coast Path. I ask Mike if he spends much time out and about. “I still keep my hand in,” he assures me, “but I’m more of a facilitator these days.” He admits: “I do get bogged down in emails and admin a little bit,” but it’s no surprise, really. Mike spends a lot of his time administrating agri-environment schemes on the land he’s responsible for. “Sometimes that’s securing grant money for projects; I also do a lot of work with farm tenants, liaising with them on a regular basis and steering them in the right direction in terms of what we’d like to see happen on the land.”
National Trust Images - Ross Hoddinott
A lot of these schemes are worked on in partnership with other organisations, including the RSPB and Natural England, and aim to sustain the biodiversity that, in recent years, has been in decline throughout the UK. For instance, Mike elaborates: “We have a long history of working with the RSPB on management for species like chough and corn buntings.” A ground-nester that relies on spring cereals and grassland left to grow into late summer, in the last 50 years, corn buntings
LEFT Barra Nose Tintagel
have seen a decline in numbers of around 86%. “There is a small Cornish stronghold in north Cornwall,” Mike tells us, namely the Newquay to Padstow area, however “despite everyone’s best efforts, the species is still struggling.” And when you consider that 41% of all British species are in decline since 1970, the vitality of such partnerships between organisations like the RSPB and the National Trust becomes all the more clear. ne pro ect that is ust getting off the ground is a collaboration between local farmers, Natural England, FWAG South West (Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group) and other organisations including the Trust and the RSPB. North Cornwall is host to one of the government’s trial ELM schemes (Environmental Land Management). This is the proposed new, post-Brexit, agri-environment support set to be happening across the UK, but which is first being piloted in a few select areas. “It’s a really big push to get everyone working together,” Mike explains, “bringing on board all the interested farmers, encouraging them to adopt more wildlife friendly farming, and trying to establish a nature recovery network.” Thankfully, Mike tells us that there is a large community of farmers who are already up for the task, and who have already been helping with these kinds of projects for many years. The Trust have their own wider strategy, called ‘Land, Outdoors and Nature’. “We have
A B OV E Trevose Head
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A B OV E Painted lady butterfly
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National Trust Images - Ross Hoddinott Mike Simmonds
TOP Mike Simmonds
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A B OV E A microcosm of Cornish bio-diversity
A B OV E Holywell Bay
set ourselves ambitious nationwide targets to restore natural ecosystems and wildlife on our properties,” Mike reveals. “We are all playing our part in this by working to create more priority habitats and encourage more sustainable and more wildlife friendly farming and land management.” This is referred to as ‘High Nature Status’, something the Trust is aiming to achieve on exactly half of all its land by 2025. But it isn’t just the local farmers who continue to lend a helping hand towards these ambitious goals, and in fact, it’s something you too can easily contribute towards. As you will already know, volunteers are the lifeblood of organisations like the National Trust, and Mike explains how “we regularly get asked by people ‘how can we come and get involved?’” There are all sorts of things you can do as a volunteer and at other times to help, from oneoff surveying and beach cleans, to taking part in ‘scrub bashing’ days. There’s also a packed calendar of events taking place throughout the year for those hoping to experience Cornwall in a different light. These include Bat ights at Pentire Head, where you’ll see and hear greater horseshoe bats emerge from the old mine workings there butterfly walks at Lundy Bay; even stargazing at Bedruthan, which the National Trust hosts alongside Kernow Astronomers. Simply by attending one of these events and absorbing the information presented to you, you’re helping the National
BOTTOM LEFT Peregrine falcon at Trevose Head
MIDDLE Gazing across to Trevose from Constantine Bay
National Trust Images - Nick Upton
National Trust Images - John Miller
National Trust Images - Nick Upton
D I A LO G U E
TOP oldfinches at Pentire
Trust in its mission to raise awareness, and that in itself is an invaluable contribution. For those hoping to become more regularly involved, Mike tells us: “Volunteers from the community are so important to our cause, some of whom help us week in, week out with a wide variety of estate and habitat management tasks.” He tells us about the ground-nesting skylarks, which are a highlight of spring and summer at places such as Cubert Common and lebe liff with their aerial singing displays. With the help of voluntary dog-walking rangers, Mike and his team are able pass that information onto the general public, raising awareness of the skylarks’ presence and thereby minimising the risks of disturbance. And this is precisely what the National Trust stands for. It’s not about the work of one organisation; it’s about the awareness that organisation can raise in the community, by engaging everyone. The National Trust stands for collaboration – between those in the know, and those who wish to know more – and at present, one of its fundamental goals is to secure a future, by collaboration, for our precious landscapes and the biodiversity they support. If you would like to know more, enquiries about events and volunteering in north Cornwall can be sent to email@example.com nationaltrust.org.uk
RIGHT Holywell Bay
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NAU T I C A L
THE ART of
When I arrive in Mylor, at the creekside boatyard where Cockwells have been based since , I am given a tour. ne of the boats that is in for refurbishment has just arrived from Antibes. It is, without a doubt, the most beautiful boat I have ever seen. Its jaw dropping, eye popping, elegant lines and smooth, sweeping contours are stunning. Even by Cockwells’ standards this is a ‘supermodel’ of boats. It belongs to an artist who worked with Cockwells to create what can only be described as a sea-going work of art. The attention to detail is staggering, even down to the head lining of the cabin which is made from hand painted silk, created by the artist. It is uite simply a masterpiece.
boat building WORDS BY CHRIS TUFF
The natural curvature of wood, its organic, timeless lines, is at the beating heart of one of orn all s nest oat uilders.
The driving force behind the company is Founder and Managing Director Dave ockwell. e has ust arrived back at the yard from handing over a new boat to yet another delighted client. When I meet him, he is disarmingly down-to-earth and self-effacing
for someone who has created a multi-millionpound empire building world-renowned luxury motor yachts and tenders. I ask ave to sum up the uni ue appeal of a ockwells boat. e smiles, pauses briefly and then simply says “I think it’s that my boats look like a boat, or what a boat should look like and our clients like what I like and see what I see. Some people can’t see it but they’re not our clients and that’s okay.” And that is exactly it, the appeal of a Cockwells boat, is that it is the epitome of everything a luxury boat should be: chic, sophisticated and refined, a combination of breathtaking design and styling with performance to match.
here is no mistaking a Cockwells boat, the signature, sleek lines and sensuous curves, the beautifully hand-crafted fit and finish. They exude a sense of style and presence, with film star good looks that hark back to the heyday of Hollywood and Cote D’Azur glamour of the ‘ s and ‘ s. obody else makes a boat uite like ockwells.
INSET Dave Cockwell
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Chris Tuff Chris Tuff
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NAU T I C A L
While classical contours with a crisp, clean, modern twist give the boats their sense of purpose, poise and performance in the water, it is the highest levels of artisan craftsmanship and creative use of traditional materials such as oak, teak and walnut
that defines their character and uality. Every boat is a masterful, bespoke blend of cutting-edge design and an all but lost art of traditional boat-building skills from a bygone age. Cockwells’ passion for boats started at an early age. rowing up in Bristol he helped his father build a small cabin cruiser and after years of gaining boat building experience in his teens and twenties, as a freelance boat builder and running a successful boat building business in Bristol, he relocated to Cornwall in 2002 where the legend of ockwells was born. A year later he took two boats, a wooden motor launch and a pilot cutter he was building, to the Southampton Boat Show. They were the only wooden boats at the show and he sold both. Since then ockwells has pretty much maintained a full order book.
Although Cockwells are adept at using composites, carbon fibre and fibreglass and embrace the ualities they bring, they are best known for working in wood and Dave ockwell is a man with a wooden heart. e explains that this inevitably influences the look of his boats. I’m always thinking in wood and being a natural material, it gives you a natural curve. I always look at a boat design and think how would I build it in wood? It’s the constraints of working with wood that gives you the natural beauty and organic lines of our boats.”
verything shouts and screams uality, only uietly, with a genteel whisper and it is that understated, timeless elegance that appeals to the more discerning boat buyer who likes the finer things in life and appreciates uality.
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The company’s success depends on the skill and expertise of its craftsmen. ave Cockwell may not be as hands-on with building boats these days, but sees his role as a mentor to a new generation of boat builders, passing on his knowledge, expertise and experience to create a tight knit ‘family’ of highly skilled artisans.
Cockwells’ customers may be discerning but they also have to be patient, the current delivery time for a new boat is around two years but for those willing to wait there are few who would say it was not worth it. ave Cockwell says that he wants clients to feel the same pride he does in his boats. ou’ve got to feel safe, proud and look really gorgeous. When you come into a marina you want to know that you’re going to turn heads.” wning a Cockwells boat means that you become part of a select family and community of owners who, more often than not, have an ongoing relationship with the company and return the boats for periodic routine maintenance and refurbishment.
He explains that he is not just selling a product but a service. The company works closely with its clients to understand their individual wants and needs and create boats that precisely meet them and always aim to exceed them. e points out that unlike buying a luxury car, because even luxury cars are built on a mass-production basis, almost everything ockwells produce is a one-off and ave has a firm hand in every boat they make. othing leaves the boatyard without his personal stamp of approval.
While ockwells’ design ueues and build uality pay more than a passing nod to the
past, they are very much a forward-looking company and have embraced the latest technology. Stepping aboard a thirty five foot Duchy motor launch I am immediately struck by the high tech touch screens on the dashboard which initially seem slightly incongruous among the chrome-rimmed analogue dials and gauges, but as Design Manager, Will Davidson explains, great care has been taken to keep the user interface and displays simple, cleanly designed and easy to use, and that is the point. The automated systems and software have been developed to unburden the boat owner from manual monitoring and routine checks on bilge pumps, batteries and other systems, leaving them free to simply en oy the boat. The system can even be controlled by an app on your phone so that when you arrive you are ready to go and even if you are hundreds of miles away you can still be connected to your boat. n the water the boats really come alive. A wooden boat feels different and even sounds different, it is uieter, softer, with a real feeling of solidity. or ockwells it is not ust about gorgeous good looks. It is about creating boats whose seakeeping ualities are second to none with confident, predictable handling and high performance for those with a need for speed. As for the future, Dave Cockwell says it will be more of the same. ockwells have no grand plans for expansion or mass production. They will simply keep on doing what they have always done and what they do best and that is to build beautiful boats, beautifully. coc
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I N D E X
Thank you B Y H A N N A H TA P P I N G
ell, it has certainly been a year like no other and this year in particular, I have rekindled my a nity with the sea. Whether that be in it or on it, getting a dose of ‘vitaminsea’ every day has been revitalising for both body and soul. It goes without saying that it is the sea, and the surrounding coast, that draws people to ornwall, whether visiting or relocating. ornwall boasts some of the best beaches in the , our fishing fleets land the freshest of catches that supply ornwall’s growing number of award-winning restaurants, and our coastal properties attract buyers from far and wide. There is no doubt that ornwall has become busier as a county this year. With overseas travel curtailed, many have opted for a staycation in our beautiful county. That is no bad thing – the tourist industry is one of the main supporters of ornwall’s economy. Its waterside hotspots have taken on something of a Mediterranean feel this year, and in the height of the season they were at once vibrant, bu ing and cosmopolitan. owever, there are some who look for a lifestyle that is slower in pace, uieter, a little
more contemplative. And that is where the shoulder seasons in ornwall shine. While some may think that spring and autumn days in ornwall feel a little like the circus has left town, others relish the feeling of calm, the subtle change in light as the sun lowers in the sky and the slight chill in the evening air. Whilst you’re not guaranteed the heat of the summer, autumn days in ornwall are some of my favourite. ou still get to dine in the same restaurants, visit the same beaches, walk the same cli ops, only sometimes you have them all to yourself!
B E N P RY O R - 202-207 www.benjaminpryor.co.uk
J O E L R E D M A N - 88 www.joelredman.com
B O B B E R RY - 1 0 2 www.bbphoto.net
J O H N H E R S E Y - 164-177, 208-215 www.johnherseystudio.com
C H E C K E R E D P H O T O G R A P H Y - 186 www.checkeredphotography.co.uk
N A T I O N A L T RU S T - 246-253 www.nationaltrustimages.co.uk
C H R I S F L E T C H E R - 150-157 chris etcher hoto ra h
J O H N S U C H - 25 www.johnsuch.com.com
C H R I S H A L L - 70 www.chrishallphoto.co.uk
O C E A N H I G H S U P - 239 www.oceanhigh.co.uk
C H R I S H A N D F O R D - 198 smooth_photographics
L E W I S J E F F E R I E S - 142-149 .le ism e eries.m ortfolio.com
C H R I S T U F F - 44-57, 230-235, 254-261 .christu
It is ornwall in all its year-round splendour that inspired us to create the I T Annual, a celebration of the best of the year’s volumes. We set out to showcase the people and places of ornwall that make the county so incredible and we couldn’t have done this without our expert contributors, who have filled our pages with compelling content and arresting photography. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person who has given their time and knowledge. By doing so, they have helped us to bring the very best of ornwall to these pages. dri corn all.com
L U C I E AV E R I L L - 125 www.lucieaverillphotography.co.uk
C H R I S T I N E T AY L O R - 156 christinetaylor.photos
M O L L I E C L O T H I E R - 79, 105 www.mollieclothier.format.com
C L A R E J A M E S - 70-77 www.clarejamesphotography.com
N I C K H U G G I N S - 151-153 www.nickhuggins.co.uk
D A N W I L L I A M S - 134-141 djwilliams_photography
R E B E C C A P E T E R S - 66 www.rebeccapeters.co.uk
D AV I D G R I F F E N - 188-193 .david ri en.com
R I C H A R D B I R C H E T T - 90-97 www.richardbirchettphotography.co.uk
E M M A G R I F F I N - 89 . ri n hoto ra h .co.u
S H A N N O N T O F T S - 103 .shannonto s.com
E R I C A C I R I N O - 236-243 www.ericacirino.com
S H E E R L O V E P H O T O G R A P H Y - 158 www.sheerlovephotography.co.uk
F AY D I T P H O T O G R A P H Y - 178-185 www.fayditphotography.com
S O P H I E D I N G W A L L - 237-245 www.thedingwallpost.com
G E O R G E S T E P H E N S - 8-21 www.gstee.co.uk
S T E V E T A N N E R - 85 .art hoto ra hers.co.u
H A R RY W A D E - 87 hittheroadharry
T E I G A N RU N D L E - 134 teiganr_photography
J A K E E A S T H A M - 216-221 www.jakeeastham.co.uk
T I M C H A R L E S - 159-163 www.timcharlesphotography.co.uk
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