Design Christmas Wishlist 2015 #1: A British brand inspired by our stunning coastlines with an ingenious design.
We recently visited St. Ives. We only had a few hours but it was enough to soak up the bustling atmosphere, colours and sea air.
Our first stop was the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture garden. You enter via a small side door off a steep back street and are immediately welcomed into a small room displaying artefacts from her life. As you climb the stairs you are greeted with a double-height space, light and smaller works of hers. This was part of her home and studio and its magical to be in a space she inhabited.
From the upstairs you lead out into a small garden but it’s impact is immediate. A jungle of towering coastal foliage makes it feel like a secret garden where sculptures jostle through the greenery for your attention.
Hepworth was obviously a lover of organic form and you feel this from the sculptures and ornaments right down to the choice of planting. We vowed to go back in blue sky season to experience this wonderful space all over again.
After this incredible ‘welcome’ to St. Ives we walked down into town to visit The Hub, a cafe designed by interior architect Kathryn Tyler. On the way we peeked into the the beautiful display window of Plumbline – a gallery which was sadly closed but had beautiful displays, nipped into a Terry Frost exhibition and spotted homes which had been added to in all sorts of incredulous ways alongside new builds springing up in tight plots – all with the common theme of maximising the view! (see below). We walked along the front and straight into The Hub which was bright, warm and friendly – the staff were great and it was a cosy place to sit and admire the view with clever lighting and comfy nooks. And what a view overlooking the lifeboat and bay (including a friendly seal who was bobbing and playing just outside the cafe, much to the utter joy of nearby children and adults). So if you have a few hours then do go to St. Ives, don’t think ‘I’ll go when I have more time’, as this is a place you can come back and back and back to….. and we will.
For our wedding anniversary we had a long weekend in Cornwall. It was beautiful and blustery just like it had been 4 years ago on our honeymoon. This time we checked into the Fistral beach hotel near Newquay which was perched overlooking Fistral beach, a stunning surfers cove which was perfect for people-watching from our balcony.
We visited surrounding National Trust properties, enjoyed the countryside and beaches and on one day decided to visit Falmouth and the surrounds to soak in the autumnal colours and displays. Here we discovered Willow and Stone, a beautiful hotchpotch of homeware and paper-based wares with a fun stationery collection which included Rifle Paper Co (so some ‘essential’ stocking up of cards was done). For lunch we went further afield to a quieter spot to a restaurant designed by Interior Architect Kathryn Tyler called Gylle Beach Cafe which sits directly on this sandy beach.
The food was fresh and tasty but we were studiously taking in her interior design for inspiration on our own home renovation project. Specifically we loved the thin cladding contrasting against a black background with pops of colour and greenery from these simple boxouts.
Kathryn had also cleverly introduced beautifully designed details such as the scalloped layered plywood on the bar itself:
It had a simple clean aesthetic but it felt like a personalised warm space so there were many tips we took from it. Even if you’re not planning your own home renovation its a great place to go with family and friends – even very young kids. The vibe is most definitely relaxed, friendly and orientated towards that glorious beach to walk off the effects of that donut…!
On our way back home to Dorset we stopped off in Padstow – a friendly little coastal town with plenty of fishing boats, bakeries and shops to keep us occupied. We excitedly saw there was a Stein patisserie and our eyes were probably as round as saucers when we left looking at the huge meringues, breads and chocolate!
We dangled our feet over the harbour edge and enjoyed soaking up the chatter of little ones crabbing or spotting a large starfish. The sound of the sea, seagulls and clanking doing wonders for the soul. Over the past few days we seemed to have notched down a gear or two which was much needed. Thank you Cornwall!
We came across Nicolette Dawn during #handmadehour and oddly enough live more or less down the road from each other in Dorset! Nicolette has always been interested in wildlife and animals, even from an early age, and nowadays her one-off designs evolve through the medium of wire. If you’ve got five minutes and a nice brew infront of you then take 5 to discover this talented lady.
Do you feel that each creation has its own personality?
Yes, I love the way that each of my sculptures evolves with its own character and personality. Because of the way the wire works, each one is unique and the end result isnt always easy to predict! I also like the fact that even with such a rigid medium i can create a sense of movement.
Is working with wire challenging?
Firstly there’s the obvious health and safety issues! Wearing gloves is definitely recommended but does restrict your ability to feel what you’re doing so I quite often look like I’ve been fighting with a cat! It’s also quite easy to crumple or squash what you’re working on, so it’s important to build up layers, overlaying the wire in different directions (it does have a ‘grain’). Whilst I’d love to be able to work with more recycled wire, it’s difficult to source and is often very damaged but having said that, it’s nicer to work with and has more ‘body’ then flimsy new wire!
Is there an animal you’d love to make?
I always have new ideas and projects bubbling. I feel that i’m still learning as i’ve only been doing this for just a couple of years so theres a lot i’ve yet to tackle but I do fancy making a fat little Shetland Pony sometime soon!
It seems an unusual medium so have you come across other artists working with wire?
Yes, other artists are also working with wire to create life-sized and over-sized animals and figures. However the wire is often used differently depending on the artist; some make a more solid structure and others leave theirs unpainted!
If you want to keep up to speed with Nicolette’s latest creations then follow her on Twitter (@NicoletteDawn1) where hand-created animals made in Dorset from penguins to swans will ping up unexpectedly on your feed. Enjoy!
Halloween is over and bonfire night is nearly upon us! An enormous pile of scrap wood is heaped in our local village field ready to burn and delight when it gets dark. November has arrived and with that in mind we’re thrilled to be featured in the November Issue of The Simple Things magazine. This is a magazine with a difference – a focus on wellbeing and ‘taking the time to live well’ – you don’t finish the magazine desperate to go out and spend money, you finish having learnt new information on a variety of subjects such as foraging, passion and creativity and feeling empowered to live the life you want.
We feature in the Think | Ideas section of the magazine in a article called ‘A New Lease of Life’ which investigates what to do with products at the end of their (often very) limited lifespan. We came across the frustration of planned obsolescence (products deliberately designed to have an artificially short lifespan) last year when our 2 year old washing machine broke and it made no financial sense to fix it. Instead we replaced it with a new machine but with the guilt of sending a huge white box to landfill. To lessen the guilt we set about with a sledge hammer reducing it to a beautiful shiny drum and our rust-proof fire pit was created (as per the below photo) – tah dah!
So, before throwing items onto the bonfire (or worse landfill) perhaps first consider if it has the possibility of a second life. You never know, you might just surprise yourself!
Whatever you’re up to this month enjoy the crisp air and the crunch of the leaves on the ground and if this article inspires you to have a go at repurposing something in your home then we’d love to hear about it!