CORNWALL ARTISTS: OPEN STUDIOS
This spring, step off the usual tourist trail and discover the unique spaces
in which Cornwall’s artists work. Open Studios Cornwall is back from the
23 - 31 May - and with 232 artists taking part, it’s a fantastic way to
kick-start your summer. Simply keep your eyes peeled for the orange
signs in the hedgerows and discover the creative soul of Cornwall…
Cornwall has long been recognised as a hub for artists. Painters, sculptors, dressmakers and printmakers have flocked here, encouraged by the strong sense of community and inspired by the unusually bright light, dramatic vistas and ever-changing seas.
Walk through the bustling streets of Cornish towns, such as St Ives, Falmouth and Fowey, and their galleries are bursting with paintings, glassworks and ceramics – but the art is only half of the story. Open Studios is a chance to peer in, to discover the places where projects begin and to learn the stories behind the art. With artists and craftspeople taking part all over the county - from Saltash to Penzance – it’s a unique way to explore the length and breadth of Cornwall. So pack a picnic, hop in the car and let Cornwall’s creative community be your guide. You might just be inspired to pick up a brush…
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Discover an artistic community
For an idyllic start to your Cornish tour, head to West Penwith and the Trewidden Art Studios. Set in a converted 18th century stable block, Trewidden is a popular workspace for artists, many of whom will be opening their studio doors to the public.
Paul Wadsworth is one such artist. Like many creative people based in the county, he studied at Falmouth University, discovered the local art scene and decided to make Cornwall his permanent home. Paul is inspired by the natural world around him. When he’s not in his studio, he’s out and about in Cornwall, armed with his charcoals or oil paints, capturing the energy of the wild seas and open landscapes. Be sure to ask him about his recent travels in India, which have inspired his latest project.
Sophia England is also a member of Trewidden’s artistic community. Having holidayed in Cornwall frequently as a child, she recently made the move down from London to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and proximity to nature. Sophia will be using Open Studios Cornwall as an opportunity to talk about her paintings, her artistic journey and the way that she creates. Sophia is inspired by the stillness and space she has found in Penwith, so be sure to take a stroll through the gardens at Trewidden to experience the atmosphere for yourself.
Learn about the creative process
Opposite the Krowji building in Redruth you’ll find the studio of Cat Rowe, a textiles artist who creates contemporary artworks and greetings cards, inspired by her travels around the Cornish countryside. This is Cat’s 7th Open Studios Cornwall event and she’s keen to show visitors her latest work, as well as the creative process behind it. Starting with a sketch, Cat transforms her designs into artworks using pieces of fabric, before adding the finishing touches with her sewing machine.
For a completely different experience, head south east to the market town of Helston. Tucked away in a residential street of stone-built townhouses you’ll find the home of Catherine Hyde. Catherine is well known, having won awards for her illustration work for Carol Ann Duffy. She has transformed the attic of her house into a studio, so it’s an opportunity to see the artist surrounded by her work. During Open Studios Cornwall, Catherine will be busy illustrating her new children’s picture book, The Star Tree, and visitors will be able to learn more about her creative process.
Explore an enchanting
Not far from Catherine’s studio, you’ll find the beautiful countryside village of Trenear, home of Poldark Mine. Look out for the orange Open Studios Cornwall sign and the home of Yvonne and Peter Boex – a married couple with very different creative talents.
Peter Boex is a sculptor and he creates abstract, figurative pieces inspired by the fluid shapes of nature. He is a well-established sculptor here in Cornwall; in fact, he now uses the wood from beech trees he planted more than 30 years ago. The couple’s colourful garden is filled with Peter’s projects and you can see Yvonne Boex designs fine-fabric casual and eveningwear. Her studio/shop is adjacent to the couple’s house and you are invited to learn more about the dressmaking process and browse her collection. There will also be tea and cakes in the sunroom, and Yvonne and Peter will be taking donations for Cornwall Hospice Care.
Escape to an artist’s haven
An Open Studios tour wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the artist’s haven, Potager Garden in Constantine, near Falmouth. With a gorgeous greenhouse café serving up delicious vegetarian food, gardens to explore and hammocks to laze in, it’s a space that instantly ignites the creative spark within you.
Head into the gardens and you’ll find the studio of Carl Austin, who will be showing his contemporary garden furniture. Using traditional boat building techniques, he creates nautically inspired outdoor furniture, which looks particularly striking when set against the beautiful scenery at Potager Garden.
This is just a snapshot of the exciting activities that will be happening across Cornwall. From cottages hidden away in the depths of the Cornish countryside to repurposed barracks and bright beachside studios - there’s a world of wonderful work to explore. To discover more about the artists taking part in this year’s event, visit openstudioscornwall.co.uk. n