Inspiration: Richard Long & Pamela Rawnsley

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Last week I attended the first of what will, hopefully, be many lectures in the memory of Pamela Rawnsley, an inspirational jeweller and silversmith who died last year.

pamela-pots-752536410
Vessels by Pamela Rawnsley

 

She was very much driven by her love of the landscape, something that comes through very clearly in her work and for that reason when the Contemporary British SIlversmiths association organised the lecture they asked a favourite influence of hers, artist Richard Long, to speak.

The first piece of his work that I ever saw was probably his most iconic:

Richard Long, A Line Made by Walking, 1967
Richard Long, A Line Made by Walking, 1967

A Line Made by Walking. Simple, utterly effective and a distinctly human thing on the landscape.

It seems to be the thing that’s gone on to influence many of his other pieces, over and over, through the years. He said at the talk that ‘replicating his walking and his line making [over time] has formed a point of view‘. His endless walking and making and leaving of lines has come to define him, to build the work of his life. Apparently it didn’t seem like much at the time, just a sculpture that was made, like so many others, while he was out walking, but returning to the essence of it so many times over the years has given it deep significance.

Richard Long, A Line in Bolivia, 1981
Richard Long, A Line in Bolivia, 1981
Richard Long Road Stone Line, China, 2010
Richard Long Road Stone Line, China, 2010

Alongside lines he builds circles:

Richard Long A Circle in Antarctica
Richard Long A Circle in Antarctica

both starkly (like this white one in Antarctica) and in beautifully subtle ways like these circles in South America:

Richard Long ACONCAGUA CIRCLE Argentina, 2012
Richard Long ACONCAGUA CIRCLE Argentina, 2012
Richard Long, A Circle in the Andes, 1972
Richard Long, A Circle in the Andes, 1972

These are probably the ones that I like best, because they dare you to believe that they occurred naturally and make you re-evaluate the landscape that you’re seeing and your place in it.

To find out more about the Memorial Fund, or to donate to it. click here.

Cornwall

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This summer I took my first trip to the Cornish seaside, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but have never managed to – now that I have I think that it could now become a firm favourite of mine.

I spent a few days wandering around the local beaches, exploring the South Coast Path where it meandered by the campsite and generally soaking in the sound of the waves and the blue, blue sea. The landscape is certainly inspiring, at turns gentle then wild and I was so sad to come home!

Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall
Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall

Of course I didn’t spend the whole week wandering along the coastline (though that wouldn’t have been a challenge) I did venture down to St Ives to take in the light and explore the twisting streets of the town. It offers up a whole host of independent galleries filled with the work of local and international makers and artists, many of whom have been influenced by the beautiful local landscape.

Spread across two floors in the centre of St Ives is the New Craftsman Gallery which is currently hosting work by, among others, Neil Davis and Cornelius Jakob Van Dop.

Neil Davies, Indigo Skies over Sennen
Neil Davies, Indigo Skies over Sennen

Davies paints landscapes, with big, heavy brush strokes and expressive sweeps of colour that all build up on top of each other into some seriously captivating textures. Some of them are stormy, some a little serene as he reacts to the changes in the seasons around his home near St Ives.

Neil Davies, Reflections on the North Coast
Neil Davies, Reflections on the North Coast
Neil Davies, Watching the Crashing Waves at Boat Cove
Neil Davies, Watching the Crashing Waves at Boat Cove

Tucked away in a cabinet downstairs was the work of Cornelius Jakob Van Dop, a jeweller and metalsmith with a clear love for texture, line and the natural world. His small, palm sized boxes are decorated with beautiful illustrations of the coastal landscape and wildlife. There was something in them that reminded me of sailors scimshaw carvings, filled with the details that had been keenly observed during a life looking at the sea.

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box
Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

They were beautifully made, with neat hinges and simple dimple locking mechanisms that functioned neatly and really let the quality of the illustrations come across. Alongside these were a collection of animal and insect brooches, I particularly liked the whale, simply made in plain silver with more of that glorious fine detailing:

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box
Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box
Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Brooch
Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Brooch

The Gallery is open all year round and details can be found here.