Porthmeor Studios, St.Ives

Living in Cornwall for 3 years, while attending university, has been a dream. It is totally unique to the rest of the country, in many ways and there will be plenty of future blog posts, sharing the wonderful and inspirational places here.

In my 2nd year at Falmouth University, our class worked on a live brief with the Borlase Smart John Wells Trust, who own Porthmeor Studios, St.Ives. The studios where the artists of the St.Ives art scene mostly worked.

The brief asked for us to experience the Penwith Landscape, as the artists of the Porthmeor studios did. To think contextually and reflect on our experience of place in light of the artists’ own perceptions and philosophies. With this knowledge, we were to then design a silk scarf, which we would present to a panel of judges.

I thought it was important to understand these artists’ place in time. They were following some of the great masters that were challenging what art could be, in the early 20th century.

To really engage with these artists, I followed in their footsteps. Like Peter Lanyon, I interacted with the landscape. I walked part of the coastal path between St.Ives and Zennor; climbed boulders and took time to observe.

The artist I connected with the most however, was Patrick Heron. Heron was inspired by the Fauvists, Derain, Braque & Cezanne, which is apparent in his paintings and his understanding of colour. Many of Heron’s forms are, to me, reminiscent of Matisse’s. I was fortunate enough to see Heron’s Azalea Garden, on display at the Tate Britain. I found it totally mesmerising; it is by far one of my favourite pieces.

In Azalea Garden, Heron uses lots of white, which helps to neutralise large plains of contrasting colour. From reading ‘Painter as Critic’-Mel Gooding and seeing his works in person, I had learnt a great deal about his process. I began to extract shapes from my sketches of the Penwith coastline and found my own way of placing colour, using only primary colours and the colours I took from the landscape.

Sophie Chadwick from Seasalt was part of the judging panel for our silk scarves and has written a blog post on the day. The post features lots of photos, including my own design and the two winning designs, by Meg Jones and Poppy Thaxter, which are now being sold at Porthmeor Studios! (See link below)