Tag Archives: St.Ives

Two Worthy Causes: Helping Survivors of Torture or Typhoon.

Christmas.  You know it’s that time of year when the begging letters with pitiful photos of suffering donkeys/dogs/homeless people etc., flop through your letterbox designed to tear at your heart-strings, and dig a deep hole in your pocket.  They are difficult to ignore.  I’ve seen the graphic images on Facebook too.  Images of unbelievable cruelty metered out on these poor innocent creatures.  They stay with me for days and leave me weeping with anger and sadness.

Poniou by Veronica Vickery

Poniou by Veronica Vickery

But it’s the cruelty we inflict on our fellow humans that is the most shocking of all and shatter the lives of families around the world.  Not to mention the natural disasters like the recent Typhoon Hayain that shatter the lives of millions of people.  At the very least, witnessing the survivors of these natural or man-made catastrophes serve to put any adversities we may be experiencing into perspective.  Anything that we can do, however small, to try to heal those affected and suffering is surely worth pursuing.

installation of 'kisses', Drawing the Line exhibition.

detail of installation of ‘kisses’, Paul Carter and Alexandra Zierle, ‘Drawing the Line’ exhibition.

Two exhibitions opened this week in Cornwall with the aim of raising funds for charities that help others in desperate situations: Freedom From Torture and ShelterBox.  It was a coincidence that they happened to open on the same evening.  Both causes are close to my heart and I am proud to say I have had a small part to play in both events.

preparing to hang

Works by Faye Dobinson (left) and Samuel Bassett.

‘Drawing the Line’, kindly hosted by the Millennium Gallery, St. Ives, is a sealed bid charity exhibition in aid of Freedom From Torture, the medical branch of Amnesty.  The charity aims to help rehabilitate men and women from anywhere in the world who have survived torture.  The exhibition has been organised and curated by artist, Kate Walters, and as a member of the West Cornwall branch of the charity, I offered to help ‘hang’ the show.

lunch break for Janet, Kate (and me).

lunch break for Janet, Kate (and me).

Over 150 artists, not only from Cornwall but also from across the globe responded to the call-out and generously donated works with some well-known names amongst the line-up.   Kiki Smith, Tim Shaw RA, Sarah Gillespie, Lisa Wright and Pippa Young to name just a few.  With such a diverse range of work from different artists and over 200 works, putting this exhibition together has been a considerable task and not without its challenges.

untitled, by Richard Nott

untitled, by Richard Nott

However, there are some truly stunning pieces on show alongside contributions of work by a few of the people who have been helped by FFT.   The exhibition runs until 7th December so there is still time to make a bid and own a drawing by your favourite artist!  (I have donated 4 ‘drawings’).


A drawing by Hugh Mendes

Over £8,000 has been raised so far from successful bids.  Take a look at more drawings here.

‘The Christmas Postcard Show’ is a collaborative event this year between Badcocks Gallery and Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens.


The exhibition is taking place in the Lime Tree Café at Tremenheere, with part of the proceeds going to ShelterBox, a charity set up in Cornwall delivering emergency relief to people around the world.  (Typhoon Hayain in the Philippines is still so recent in our memories).  The show which this year has a ‘botanical’ theme, runs until Sunday, 15th December.  You can see the works here  (I have contributed 3 small drawings which I did from a recent visit to the Gardens in November, see one below).   The café is worth a visit in itself.  A slice of their home-made coffee and walnut cake is highly recommended!

Collecting Seeds, mixed media collage, 23cm x 18cm.  Inspired by the knowledge that the owner of the garden is a modern-day seed collector and visits foreign parts of the world to enhance his garden.

Collecting Seeds, 2013, mixed media collage, 23cm x 18cm, by Caro Woods.  Inspired by the knowledge that the owner of the garden is a modern-day plant collector who visits foreign parts of the world to bring back seeds to enhance the garden at Tremenheere.



Filed under Art Works, Exhibitions, my sketchbook pages, The Art Business

In Genial Company

A 16mm Collaboration

What could be more compatible than a group of artists working together on a project?   In this instance it was the making of a film on the no.w.here workshop (see A Weekend with Bolex).  This film was put together by Stuart (one of the participants) from his ‘phone footage and is the result of that collaboration.   What is evident in the film is the obvious playfulness in the visuals and the delight in the ‘chatter’ as we watch the results.  What could be more companionable than that?

See how other people view this weeks’ photo challenge: ‘companionable


Filed under Films, my sketchbook pages, Professional Development, Studio Practice, The Artist as Pilgrim

A South West Coaster

As I was going to St Ives

I met a man with seven wives

Every wife had seven sacks

Every sack had seven cats

Every cat had seven kits

Kits, cats, sacks, wives

How many were going to St Ives?

On Sunday, I passed a man walking along the path on the dunes above Porth Kidney beach.  The one that runs alongside the little dodger train track that links St Erth to St Ives.  Actually, he was going to St Ives and judging from his backpack (packed with clothes I discovered and not kits, cats, wives and sacks), he was no ordinary walker.  He told me he was about a third of his way around the South West Coastal footpath, a distance of some 630 miles having begun his journey from Minehead 18 days ago.

IMG_8254The traveler kindly let me take this photograph of him.  I would like to have talked to him longer but he was already 3 hours behind his schedule.  What should have taken seconds to hop across the spit of beach that connects Godrevy to Porth Kidney at the mouth of the river, he had decided to circumnavigate the estuary via Hayle after being informed by beach-goers he could be drawn down by quicksand on either bank, so decided not to chance it.   I felt I could not delay him further but I would like to have asked him what had prompted him to undertake such a journey.

As we stood there briefly chatting, I became vaguely aware that this meeting was significant for some reason.  (that brain blink moment just before the light bulb goes on, see previous post).  A few moments later, it dawned on me!  And what a moment.  This was the prompt that I was looking for.  I now had a subject for my research project.  Why had I not thought of it before since it made such perfect sense?  Suddenly that vital missing piece of the puzzle had just fallen into place.  The modern pilgrim – as spiritual quester – will be my metaphor for taking a stream of consciousness on a journey through the landscape.

You know those moments in life which are pivot points on which the rest of your future lies?  This whole chance(?) encounter could not have taken more than a couple of minutes, at most, yet I had the feeling my life for the past few years had been leading up to this precise moment.  I went home and rewrote my proposal from scratch without hesitation, as much for my own clarification as anything else.  Job done.  This feels so right and my new project starts from here.  So a big thank you to my guiding angels, and to the coastal path walker, for gifting me with this insight!  Unless he happens to see this, which is highly unlikely, he will be blissfully unaware of the impact he has had on me!

I am wondering now if the number 7 has any significance as it’s the theme of this little ditty about going to St Ives?  Any ideas?


Filed under my sketchbook pages, Nature / Nurture Project, Paths of Enlightenment, Personal Philosophy, Walks