Inspirational Barbara Hepworth

So – I need to finish the fresco … BUT … I am feeling the need to break free – evolve my work into something different, take risks, do something new …

Last month, while my Dad was ill, I took a day out to visit Barbara Hepworth’s museum and garden in St Ives. Such a magical place – quite small, secluded and hidden away from the crowds on the streets and beaches outside. I found it such an inspiration – Hepworth’s sculptures within secret areas of the garden, divided by paths, lumps of granite, mature shrubs and trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past 2 years, my husband John has been redeveloping our garden (about the same size as Hepworth’s) as a project which began as ‘therapy’ while undergoing chemotherapy. I’m not a gardener myself but, in Hepworth’s garden, I saw the huge tropical plants as sculptural elements in themselves, and felt a frisson of excitement about finding/making sculptures for our own garden. A long-term project to develop something exciting together … So I dragged John down to St Ives (on a very busy August day) to have a look. He moaned about the traffic and the crowds but fortunately, once there, agreed it was worth it!!

The annual Devon Open Studios (DOS) started last weekend so we actively looked for sculptural artists. First stop – Nicola Axe, stone carver in Teigngrace. DOS is a wonderful opportunity for artists to go and see the work of other artists, to chat to them, to look ‘out’ rather than ‘in’. I recommend everyone to go to Nicola’s venue. Her exhibition was in the Old School House, now converted into the Teigngrace village hall. With original old wood floors and white walls, it was the perfect exhibition space, not unlike Hepworth’s own museum/gallery in St Ives. Nicola was so enthusiastic about her beautiful work – natural forms like shells and ammonites, and elongated heads, in a style rather like Modigliani. We made a purchase!

The following day, I visited another DOS exhibition – Tony Barclay in Topsham. I love artists who do something unusual or quirky. Tony, a ceramicist by profession, uses parts of reclaimed boats to make seascapes in varying sizes – the wood is charred and (sometimes) paint is added. Lead patches (previously used to mend holes in the old boats) are bent to create small model boats to add to the seascapes. Very original.

An item in the garden (below) caught my eye. It had not yet been priced. In it, I saw a heart, or a whale’s tail. I loved it. (It is the transom of a derelict small boat which once belonged to the Commodore of Dartmouth Naval college, no less! ) I had to buy it for the garden. Excited!

Below – the actual boat from which the sculpture was created … transom at the aft.

 

 

 

 

 

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