Monday 24 April 2017


"It's kissing season when the gorse is in bloom...."
a page in my sketchbook

The Cornish landscape is full of inspiration, and there is something special about going to a place where you feel that you have it all to yourself, either by visiting early in the morning or choosing a place that not many people think about going to - or sometimes it's just luck!

I live only three miles from St Ives here in West Cornwall, and whilst I love all that the town offers in its own unique way, I will often travel away from its cobbled streets to strike out along a coastpath or across the moors to a more secluded and peaceful setting.

Recently I had to visit Penzance and drove home along the coastal route, parked up by mine ruins at Carn Galver and took the little path down to the cliffs.  For a while I was the only person there, and I felt my head clear almost instantly.  

All I could hear was birdsong and the thrum of the sea and with every intake of breath, the smell of the gorse was almost intoxicating.  I sat for a little while down on the edge of the cliffs just taking it all in - it was a moment of solitary bliss; a moment when nothing else mattered.

The place to myself at Bosigran

Sitting on the cliffs at Bosigran with a view towards Pendeen Lighthouse

The colours of the landscape are constantly changing - gorse, bracken, granite, heather, blackthorn, the sea and cliffs - it all looks different dependent on the weather, the light and the season.

The gorse along the coast is looking stunning at the moment, and the hedgerows are adorned with a blanket of blackthorn blossom. 

Glorious gorse and blue skies

Gorse and blackthorn

Big wide open landscapes can be quite breathtaking, and can sometimes make us feel small and insignificant as a result, perhaps putting everything about being human in today's society into perspective. We can get so caught up in everyday 'stuff'  that we forget the wonders that are out there to enjoy for free that allow us to just 'be', to breathe and to feel the ground beneath our feet.

On the way back up to the main road from the cliffs at Bosigran

At the weekend, I took an early morning walk from home to the top of Trencrom Hill - it was a little misty and damp but that made it feel a little more lonely, quiet, eerie and even magical. Again, not another soul to be seen - a moment of peace on top of the world.

On Trencrom Hill
 Losing yourself in sewing, felting, painting or anything, can give a similar feeling of peace, when time just skips by and you become totally absorbed.  I think that's perhaps why I feel a bit 'itchy' when I haven't managed to factor in some creative time to my day - it's that need to switch off, have 'me time' or practice something 'mindfully', however you want to describe it!

Using my own photos and sketches, I'm hoping to make a variety of pieces that capture the essence of our ever changing landscape - the sights, sounds, colours and textures that inspire me. It may be a streak of acid green of a field of grass, or a golden cluster of the gorse - looking at nature for the most amazing colour combinations!

To start the ball rolling, I took this painting by Kurt Jackson, which is a favourite of mine, and used it as inspiration for a felted piece.

I laid out the fibres, using those pinks, greens and golds in a loose way.

It always looks rather dreamy in its fluffy state, but looks so different once it's been wet felted and it's easy to lose some of the colours during the process.

I wanted it to be really well felted so that it could be displayed without having to be behind glass, so I did lose a little of the brightness of some of the colours, however it gave me a piece of fabric sturdy enough to stitch into to add more texture and surface interest.

Adding hand stitch to the handmade felt

I am pleased with the final outcome - I've backed it in some fabric and attached a 'hanger' but it could equally be popped in a frame.

I also made a couple of abstract landscape brooches which were fun to do - I used a little bit of cotton doily dyed with Payne's Grey acrylic paint (thinking of the big granite rocks on Trencom)which I stitched onto some handmade felt and cotton scrim, and of course added the usual french knots! I really must expand my stitching knowledge!
One of the landscape brooches

Well, I'll stop rambling now, but just grabbing a few moments of 'solitary bliss' over the last couple of weeks has inspired some new work.  It's not always easy to get those times away from the everyday, but I think I can conclude that it's important to try!  

I'd love to hear your comments or thoughts.

Have a lovely week!

xx Tanya xx