The DN blog team welcome back our much travelled membership manager Hayley Banks from her trip to Devon and Cornwall. On the eve of our fabulous beach-combing event with Rue Pigalle we hear about Hayley’s recent trip:
Hello again! In my last blog post I told you all about my planned trip to meet up with members of the DN Cornwall & Devon cluster hub. It was a wonderful few days, please read on to hear more.
Thursday 1 July
The first port of call on my journey involved a lovely drive through Devon’s narrow winding roads to visit Alison Brown, one of the coordinators of the Cornwall & Devon hub. Alison is based in the countryside near to Honiton, but isn’t too far from the coast and this is a huge influence on her work. We had a sunny lunch in Alison’s beautiful garden before I set off on the 40 minute drive to Bovey Tracey to visit the Devon Guild of Craftsmen gallery. Exhibitions Manager Flora Pearson gave me a tour of the Spring Show (that features DN member Susan Kinley) and ‘Moonlit’ by artist and printmaker Ruth Broadway, an exhibition in the Riverside Gallery that I found fascinating and moving. It was also great to peruse Devon Guild’s fantastic shop and to see the work of DN members Sasha Wardell and Reworked (Sam Isaacs). Coffee and cake in the courtyard was followed by a wander by the river in Mill Marsh Park opposite the Guild; many people know this as the home of Craft Festival and it’s the first time I’ve ever been there without the excitement of the festival and the marquees of makers, it looks so different! The day ended with the 2-hour drive through Dartmoor National Park and into Cornwall and my hotel in Truro. A day of inspiring art, craft, lovely food and REAL people rather than the Zoom versions I’m so used to!
Friday 2 July
I was at the door of Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro at soon as it opened so I could visit Time-Lapse, DN Cornwall & Devon’s exhibition. The gallery space at RCM is wonderful and the exhibition is everything I knew it would be! The work is thoughtful, inspiring and presented beautifully – hats off to the 9 makers involved. There is still time to visit if you’re in the area as it doesn’t close until the end of this month. At 11am I met with the 6 members of the cluster that are exhibiting at Craft Festival in September before the others joined us – the very first face to face meeting of the group! We had lunch outside and then a discussion about Time-Lapse and future ideas. There are definitely plans for more ‘real life’ meetings and ‘crafternoons’. Following the group meeting and a couple of one-to-ones with DN members, I walked over to Guild of Ten. Truro is very lucky to have this lovely shop featuring the work of ‘Cornwall’s Craft Collective’, staffed by members of the collective including DN member Lynne Speake. This fantastic day was rounded off with a short drive to Perranporth for fish and chips at the beach. Of course!
Saturday 3 July
Studio visit day! A morning drive through yet more beautiful Cornish scenery brought me to Mylor Bridge, south of Truro, to visit Susan Kinley in the studio where she creates her work in glass. Then a short trip on the King Harry Ferry over to St Mawes to see ceramicist Bridget Macklin, the other coordinator of the DN Cornwall & Devon hub. It was great to be back in makers’ studios again; it gives me such a better understanding of how the work is created and see the inspiration that forms the initial ideas into finished artworks and pieces. I realised that I could just about fit in a trip to St Ives so dashed over there (although you can’t really ‘dash’ anywhere on Cornish roads, especially in the summer!) and on Bridget’s recommendation caught the train from St Erth. This 11 minute journey offers amazing views of Hayle, Carbis Bay and then St Ives as the train approaches the bay. As time was short I only had time for seafood in the harbour and a wander around the narrow streets and small galleries. No time for Tate St Ives on this visit, that’s for the next visit… a great excuse to return.
Sunday 4 July
Sad that my trip was coming to an end, I spent the morning eating croissants on the beach in Newquay whilst watching the surf school and reflecting on what a marvellous few days it had been. It’s easy to see why artists and makers are so inspired by the landscape and scenery in Devon and Cornwall, the theme of our partnership event with Rue Pigalle on 16 July. It’s a very special place and I can’t wait to go back and visit again.