Wednesday, 8 May 2013

April in Cornwall 2013

Isn't this rather beautiful? Polythene has been laid down on so many fields in Cornwall this Spring. Apparently big contractors come over from Germany and rent vast areas for the season to plant potatoes on. A few weeks on, what was once just white expanses are now being turned into works of art. The fabric reflects the shifting colours of the sky, the pink earth shines through, the green shoots of the potato harvest begin to show and the breeze makes it flow. The sunlight catches it and it is simply wonderful.
Life has been so busy here this month that I have had hardly any time to actually write my blog so this is catch up time. I've been working, making jewellery and getting out and about, driving through country lanes, through tunnels of trees as they are coming into leaf with all the delicate and endlessly various greens before they all merge in a few weeks into one shade of green. I have been taking photographs of my world as it comes back to life.

I have been discovering new shops and galleries down here to sell my work in. Getting my bearings and expanding my personal understanding of Cornwall. I realise just how easy it can be to stop getting to know a place too soon and to simply keep returning to the same places. Familiarity does provide the illusion of security and lends a sort of comfort zone but persistence and continuing discoveries of places and people changes the experience, expands understanding. I recall a poem I wrote about this - about extending boundaries - 

 Last night I heard a song

A new song when the world was sleeping

That told of all the secret places

Far away from the masquerades.

The song rang in my head till dawn

It was there for all to hear

In the silent places where spiders spin their webs.

The sun is an inscrutable god

Shining down on earth

Through the shelter of the sky.

Beyond the tides and waves of morning

Creation speaks to us to remake our world

From our dreams.

She whispers through all of life

Through the visible and the invisible

Reminds us again and again

Remember who you are

Extend the frontiers of the unknown

Explore and bring your horizons closer

Travel the uncharted territory of your dreams

Reinvent the boundaries of the possible. 

Set sail and discover the true extent of your kingdom.

So, a little foray in the sunshine to Penzance to see Summer in February at the Penlee House Gallery  The film comes out in June. It is bound to be a hit as it has all the right ingredients. 
I also discovered The Alverton Gallery - really liked the owners and they really liked my work so now can once again add Penzance to my list of outlets. Can hardly believe that I hadn't come across Diana and Tim before but I hadn't been down to that end of Penzance before. 
On to St Just and to see Jane Adams at her Gallery and to drop of work. Always lovely to see Jane. Then the breathtaking journey along one of my favourite roads - the stunning and twisting - the
 B3036 to St Ives and to The New Craftsman where I've been selling my works for a long time. The oldest gallery in St Ives, was originally started by Janet Leach, wife of Bernard Leach, the very famous potter, in the 1960s. Janet was joined by Mary "Boots" Redgrave as her business partner. Boots brought Michael Hunt as manager, a position he still holds today. I am always so pleased to see Michael, who is always on top form and so very welcoming. The gallery is now owned by Paul and Ylenia Haase. Then the journey home as the sun began to set, feeling altogether much happier than before.

A few days later it was off to Marazion to stock up Out of the Blue Gallery. This gallery has had quite a few tenants over the years and I think that it now looks even better than before. In the evening I met up with new friends and went to the St. Ives Arts Club to see and hear what I later heard described as 'an old mans band' - well, bring on the old men is all I can say, they were fantastic as were the audience.  

I met a woman called Rachel Damerel in Truro in a little studio in an old bakery. 
I naturally loved her work as, like me, she uses layers and creates a gesso look with oils. She is also a garden designer!
Also came across another painter whilst wandering back with friends from coffee at Provadore, called Mary Mabutt - link here - Someone to look up. 
And as usual, the weather has not been all that wonderful. On grey days I am happy to stay in and work, work, work with a daily swim, a walk or two and coffee but on sunny days I can venture forth to find new places to sell my jewellery. I've developed an r inexpensive line to appeal to people who are being extra careful on spending by replacing sterling silver findings with silver plated ones. 

 I have discovered that there is indeed a place for them after years of thinking that people would not buy silver plated findings. Well, Monsoon don't do too badly! I am also putting my wholesale work on Etsy as it is such a simple and straight forward way of selling to the rest of the world. It is a brochure that I can introduce people and galleries to. The odd few individual people who will buy from me will get a real bargain. 
I don't actually expect too many individual sales from Etsy but it will be good to use as a way of showing my work to galleries and shops. We will see. I am re-building my  website and it is taking a while. I realise that I should really have one once again so I am slowly doing that too. I did think that they were perhaps a little redundant but no.

I like to go to the places that have so far inspired me the most to do my original work. Different places for me have always held a certain feeling, you could call it an energy in today's parlance! Colour is my language. Someone once wrote a very beautiful piece about my work. 
Côte d'Azur
"Colour has its own iconography. It can stir deep perceptions or passionate desires. It brings elemental vision into perspective. Hilary Bravo’s work has a universal visual language, indeed her jewellery is worn and collected by people throughout the world.
It conjures a mood, whether by juxtaposing colours that dance with light and iridescence or with pattern broken into swirls, shafts and trails of jewel-like intensity or subdued with the delicacy of faded frescos. She makes her jewellery by breaking down some of her works on paper into small fragments to make uniquely beautiful pieces, each with its own sense of place." That just about sums it up.
This is a simple ring made by attaching a fragment of mother of pearl that I found the foreshore of the River Thames at low tide to a basic ring component. The mother of pearl has lots of colours in it and catches the light - inner and outer quite beautifully. I have attached it using white Miliput and then gilded it with silver leaf. Rustic and a bit basic but looks very good when worn I have to say.
I've been searching for my heat gun since I moved but to no avail so have finally bought a new one. I will have to buy a few anyway for when I start running workshops. I am probably going to run a few in Falmouth at a shop called Sweatpea and Betty. It is a very pretty and also a very practical place with a big kitchen table and a little sunny courtyard. Mary is also set up for running workshops and stocks all of Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint.

I am currently using this Chalk Paint instead of gesso and love the results. So much quicker, less smelly, less messy and I am now morally uncompromised - no more dead rabbits involved. I will be showing people how to make these lovely beads using the heat guns.
I make them by wrapping Tyvek paper around a wooden kebab stick and heat shrinking it to create a bead that I then wrap iridescent tissue and heat shrink again. It is also possible to add a layer of paint, in my case I prefer to use acrylic ink, and then heat shrink again. This adds a colour or deepens the colours. I sometimes coat them with resin for a more shiny look or with matt varnish for a worn and aged look. They can also be left alone as they are pretty robust.
The turquoise beads are made with papier mache clay. Sometimes I buy this and sometime I make up a batch of my own. I paint them with acrylic ink and the put on a few layers of matt acrylic varnish. They are not entirely waterproof but are so pretty and delicate that I shall keep on making them.
I will experiment with soaking them with resin. There is a way of diluting resin that I am looking into. I made some paper beads, the very simple kind made by wrapping loo paper around a wooden kebab stick, soaking it in water and then squeezing out some of the water but not too much. I've never owned a microwave but the person I'm staying with at the moment has one so I was delighted to discover that the wet beads dried out in four minutes in it. I like to add paper beads to my necklaces, especially if I am using large rough cut semi-precious nuggets as I can paint them to compliment and halve the over-all weight of the finished piece.
The over wintered flowers of Hydrangea - with even more charm!
Falling blossoms of Rhododendron at Penjerrcik Gardens.
 Circa 1971 V.W Beetle near to Provadore on Trewalney Road in Falmouth. 

Jacobs Ladder in Falmouth - I'm thinking it would be quite a good idea to climb these steps whenever I'm in Falmouth so that the steps of Capri won't be so much of a shock.
The Quaker Meeting House at Come To Good. Yes, it really is the name of the village.
The daffodil farm where quite literally thousands of different varieties are raised.
The best bunch of daffodils I have ever seen!

Went to Trefusis Beach to collect white sand blasted sea glass and tiny shells and found this - just what I have been looking ever since I found a fragment of Delft Ware on the foreshore of the Thames a while ago. My thought has always been to make a papier mache version. But I needed a very large balloon and one that would not deflate to boot. Well here it is! The gentle curve on the top of the buoy gives just the right start for the dish. Dish I think that it probably was rather than bowl.
On my way to Porthleven I came across this place. The real thing, nothing made in China as Paul collects everything himself, used to sell in galleries in London but now simply loves his life in this quiet, out of the way little village, especially in the winter when the seas are rough and there is no one about.
I sell through The Customs House Gallery in Porthleven so wanted to top up my display on my way to the Lizard. 
I thought that I would explore and see what I could find. I had already found a little place called Sarah's Shop at Helford Passage.
I really liked Sarah and her little shop. So with that new direction in mind I decided to see if I could find similar little places and indeed I did in Coverack.
I have never been there, it is charming and unspoilt and I found The Mill Gallery. These little places are where I am trying out selling my work with silver plated findings. During this so-called recession people still get the desire to buy a little something when on holiday but do not seem to want to part with much money. 
Next day to Mevagissey where I used to sell my work some years ago. I love the place, it has so much character.
 I found another place to sell my work at Avellana  there.
And the also in Portscatho at Spindrift -
A day or two spent making more jewellery and then off to Sennen Cove near Lands End to The Round House - one of my many favourite galleries in Cornwall where I left lots of work to sell through the summer.
I have been making my other ranges of jewellery with paper tissue and papier mache clay and resin. Photos later but are along these lines - 

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