Three years ago, when we were knee deep in rubble and dust, we contacted Cornwall Today to see if they were interested in the story of turning an old mortuary into a home. Kirstie Newton, the editor, put us in touch with Jackie Butler one of the magazine writers. We met with her in 2016 before moving back to the cottage. Jackie’s article along with photography by Tom Last and Stephanie Yates has been published this month in Cornwall Today. Jackie has written a great article out of a lovely afternoon natter about our two year redevelopment of the old cottage and the adjoining mortuary. What is only touched on briefly, but is the absolute core of this build, is the amazing quality of work of the tradesmen we used. Both creative people, we knew how we wanted the cottage to look but not how it could be achieved.Jason and Dave, Wayne, Pete and Justin listened to our ideas, many of them mad, and used their skill to achieve what we wanted where possible and found great alternatives when things weren’t possible. We had concrete wall desires that would have cost us a fortune if we’d used the same techniques as Tate Modern. Together we worked out how to get the same finish at a fraction of the cost. Wayne was tasked with painting the main room of the house in a dark granite grey. ( Farrow and Ball Railings) . I think he had doubts but then came up with the brainwave of painting the banisters white with a black handrail. It looks epic.Pete put up our eclectic taste in light fittings including the legendary neon and Justin had the unenviable task of putting up tiles in a herringbone pattern. All these lovely men came to us via http://www.superfit.uk.com/
They did a brilliant job.
Its lovely to see their hard work and our ideas in a magazine, thanks to Cornwall Today for taking an interest in our project.
My first visit to New York and the photo I choose to publish is not iconic. I’ve taken loads of iconic photos but this one sums up my feelings so far.Writers and artists have sought to encapsulate the essence of New York with words or images for 400 years. Here’s my attempt.
Timber piles and nuts at the Staton Island Ferry terminal at noon.
I popped out, during a rain shower, to get a picture of a Cardoon dripping from the onslaught of a Cornish Summer. It was upstaged by this comedy shot of Buddha apparently wearing a bobble- hat.
Here is the intended shot.
It wasn’t meant to be an interior sort of day. Today was about painting outside walls, I attempted to paint some walls but the Cornish summer weather got the better of me and as fast as I put the paint on, it was diluted with heavy rain showers and rinsed off the wall.
Time to tackle the spare room and create a feature wall. Today’s problem is barometers . We have two! Something that is no longer needed now every smart phone or tablet has a weather App. But back in the day they were considered a fitting retirement gift from employer to worker. Ours represent a fathers and grandfathers employers gratitude for years of loyal service. It felt too disrespectful to send these two bits of history to the charity shop. I had boxes of framed photographs to sort through and a rusty round mirror that I thought could make an interesting addition to the wall. I picked though the photographs and selected the ones that seemed to match the dark wood of the bed and the barometers . Once that was done I measured out the wall space and marked the same area on the floor. Then it was just time to play around with positions and weed out the pictures or frames that didn’t work in the hanging plan. Once I was happy I started putting nails in the wall in the right position for my chosen pattern, after hanging the barometers and mirror I started putting the photographs into their positions. I only needed to switch a couple of frames that didn’t quite work as well on the actual wall. I’m pretty pleased with this , it has been a good use of a rainy day.
Nate Berkus a US interior designer has many of the same philosophies that we are adopting at theoldmortuary. As we have mentioned before we are sadly depleted of relations the generation above us. We have a pretty large archive of ‘stuff’ from deceased relatives , it needs to be curated or we would be accused of being hoarders and that has never been a stylish look.
Tea sets are a tricksy one , reasonably unfashionable for day to day living .We must have had five sets that were nostalgic to the point of being impossible to send to the charity shop. We’ve found a compromise.
This one , a simple classic that suits our style lives on the Cornish Range in our Kitchen.Denby Manor Green Stoneware was produced from the 1940’s until the 70’s,our collection holds pieces from every decade and has been inherited or gifted from family and friends. I can’t say we use it often but it looks good on the range and is really comforting to use , especially in winter. The bowl shape of the cups is perfect to hold between chilly hands and the plates have a bit of a lip that is great for retaining the melted butter that oozes from hot crumpets.
We have a few bone China plates that we have kept from a variety of manufacturers and sources that spark interest when Cake is required , the quality of the pieces spans Woolworths to Crown Derby. We’ve also kept 4 bone China cups and saucers that we serve deserts in. Beyond that the bone china has gone to charity shops, it takes up too much storage space and flies of shelves if you brush past it. You don’t need an eight person setting to prompt a memory when a single plate will do.
This summer Ocean Studios at the Royal William Yard has opened a bakery and cafe. Sourdough and other bakery products are supplied by Column Bakehouse of Devonport.
The Bakery also sells jams and other luxury provisions all displayed beautifully.
The Cafe spills out into the gallery area of Ocean Studios.
Coffee at Ocean Studios is great, full bodied and fruity. Beans are supplied by Origin Coffee.
There will be regular art exhibitions in the gallery that envelopes the cafe . Currently and running until 11th August is Made In Plymouth. An exhibition featuring contemporary souvenirs created by students from Plymouth College of Art. Held in collaboration with the Real Ideas Corporation it featured Plymouth specific art.
Plymouth has culture and history in abundance and is establishing itself as a creative hub with a thriving and diverse arts scene. The bespoke items at this exhibition show the talents and creativity that the city has to offer.
The merchandise on display is exquisite, some of it so gorgeous it might slip from souvenir to fetish object without any trouble at all. I’m thinking particularly of the collection of Pilgrim Hats , preserved in an old Victorian shop fitting.
Close to the cafe servery there is s display of silk scarves, moving as only silk can do in the gentle breeze.Each one giving a slightly different, colourful,perspective to the Plymouth theme.
The mundane objects, tea-towels, tote bags, beer mats, badges and aprons are not overshadowed by their more sensualist competitors for attention. Well thought out and stylishly created they present an edgy contemporary example of how good souvenirs can be, both representational and abstract at the same time.
Fashion is represented by Fisherperson smocks and Jewellery by badges both intriguingly different from the standard coastal fashions.
Ceramics are well represented by Paulina Chromik, simple black and cream designs that are calm and considered.
2D art and printing fill the walls of the gallery. It is stunning, even the difficult subject of Plymouth Blitz is rendered in a way that is considered and beautiful.
Alan Qualtrough was the artist in residence on our visit .His Kiss and Bite Letterpress prints are both lexicographically and visually pleasing. The usual quiet of the gallery gently disturbed by the rhythmic thump of an Adana hand printing Press.
ocean studios plymouth
Nourishment ( this is not a food blog)We went in search of a burger last night.
Thanks to the Dexter
Who grazed on The Lynher
We had a Burger. A great big , gorgeous burger in a fabulous pub. Enough said . To read our review click on the link above.
Two paintings, inspired by an early morning walk, were finished yesterday. Back in May I took an early trip to the Barbican in Plymouth. The early sky was, an impossibly clear, Klein Blue. The colour was reflected in the waters of the harbour. As usual the harbour water was full of the detritus of a busy fishing port.
In Barbican Detritus II the wake of a boat washes into the harbour and breaks on a roll of fishing net. 50cms x 50cms £300
Barbican Detritus I
Barbican Detritus I, has a super-shiny resin coat which makes photographing it impossible. The shine gives immediate impact but closer inspection shows the texture and detail. It is a macro landscape of a corner of the harbour where rubbish, oil and paint gather.
50cms x 40cms £300
South London Women Artists put on their summer show at Brixton East last week.
Founded in 2008 this collaborative group of women artists are rapidly gaining traction in the London Art World and beyond.
An exhibition at the brilliant Brixton East venue has become a bit of an SLWA summer tradition. The curators of My Place asked artists to respond to the theme of the same name. The artists responded magnificently , those featured here photographed best but all of the work was of a very high standard.
New Ideal Home-Pat Cove
I think this was one of the pieces selected by an art critic who exclaimed that he liked this and one other piece but that “the rest was shit.” Thankfully the comments in the visitors book were more fulsome and complimentary.
The Ladies Bridge- Waterloo Bridge Karen Livesay
This video installation looked amazing projected on the wall next to the three prints of Waterloo Bridge that accompanied it. The text projected is the actual writing of some of the women who were welders on the bridge.
Talking text, which is my current obsession, I bought this painting by Valerie Lambert.
Valerie, a London based Scot, feels that bridges signify her place in London. It’s hanging very happily in theoldmortuary now .
The success of this exhibition is not only the work of women. Celestine, a man of infinite patience, hung every piece of art. The building, Brixton East, is also pretty special.
Did you ever see such well stocked loos ?