Monday, 22 June 2015

Glasney Valley

Hello! After reading the Fabulous Vix's post the other week about transforming a dress to a jumpsuit I had to have a go! I've had this particular dress languishing in my wardrobe for many years now and although I love the print it was far too big and too long; it was ripe for a make over. It was extremely easy to make and I'm now the proud owner of a swanky jumpsuit. I love how swishy it is and i'm now thinking of all the other unworn dresses I can recycle.

I took it for a whirl around Glasney Valley, a beautiful place near my home. Once the home of a 13 century college it is now a beautiful woodland with a brook running right through it. The college was dissolved in 1548 and since then the land has remained virtually untouched bar a majestic viaduct that runs across a glade part the way along.  I love the smell and feeling of the place; damp and mystical it's the perfect place to write, read or draw.  It has the air of a fairy story- as if a troll or goblin might jump out at any moment (and hopefully a friendly one!) Sadly the whole area is currently under threat from planners hoping to build homes right across the valley (you can sign the petition to stop it HERE). This is one of the only easily accessible green spaces in our town and acts as a contemplative space for the whole community. It's so difficult to find these spaces in communities now and we are very lucky to have one. To be able to walk for a few miles without seeing a soul is a rarity in the centre of a town. It has since ancient times offered this to people and it seems extremely rash to plonk houses on top of it. 

I so hope that the plans don't go ahead, Penryn will be much worse off for it. Not only will it loose hundreds of years of history but it will also loose an important space for meeting, thinking and breathing! 

These photographs are extremely silly, I was feeling full of summer joy and excitement. It was 20 degrees and the woodland offered a welcome shade from the intensity of the muggy, dusty heat in town. I'm turning 25 tomorrow so I'm also trying very hard to maintain all my silliness and not grow-up at all! I have lots of exciting plans coming up in aid of my birthday and forthcoming adulthood including a Medieval banquet & a grown-up themed party. I'm also nearly finished making my Adulthood zine which will be published next weekend ready for this on Saturday, I'll also have some paintings there and there will be music and fun and hopefully laughter, please come along if you are in Falmouth! For all my internet pals the zine will also be available in digital format through my shop.

See you all when I'm 25!

Outfit Details

Dress (now a jumpsuit) - Etsy

Embroidered cap - Penny MacBeth

Jelly shoes - JuJu Footwear


Monday, 15 June 2015

A Room of One's Own

'A woman must have money & a room of her own in order to write fiction' (or create anything at all)

I've been musing over this Virginia Woolf quote for a couple of weeks now. Creating, making, bringing anything to fruition seems to require space; both mental and physical. I find it near impossible to create under the eye of others, I also love to spread out. It can be hard for other members of the household- I'm messy when I work (isn't it impossible not to be?), I don't like to talk and I like to work into the night.

As it is I work at a tiny desk underneath my staircase in my living room. I love my space, and feel lucky to have one at all. However, there are times when working in the living room can be rife with distractions: chatter on the street outside, my boyfriend wanting to chat, housemates with questions. All of these things are perfectly reasonable, of course, but when trying to paint they can be enormously frustrating! Making does not lend itself to idle chatter, and the tendency to snap is strong. I crave uninterrupted time and for that there is only one solution; a room of one's own. Sadly I am definitely not at the stage in my career where that is affordable but it is what I strive towards. I long for the moment when I have enough space to work big (one of the funniest questions artists get asked is about scale, it is nearly always dependent on how much space they have) and I don't have to clean up straight away.  I am lucky in that my mum offers me her studio (a lovely big space at the end of her garden) on a regular basis so I get a taste of what it's like! 

I was recently interviewed by Bibelot Magazine about my studio space. It was amusing to think about how to portray my 'space'; sometimes honesty is the best policy. Here are the photographs (plus a few extra) from the article and you can read the interview here

What do you think? Is a room of one's own necessary?

In other news I'm putting together a zine on Adulthood for an art show at the end of June. What does being an adult mean to you? are you one or have you spent a lifetime avoiding it? Is anyone really an adult or is it all just a pretence? I'd love to hear your thoughts. You can also submit poetry, illustration, essays or what ever other medium you feel compelled to work in to my email.

Collection of Intro magazine that belonged to my dad
A monk & a Suffragette watch over me (the Suffragette is saying 'DOWN WITH THE TROUSERS' which I couldn't agree with more!)

Outfit Details

1970s folk patterned silk dress - Vintage sale

1990s Hobbs shoes - belonged to my mum

Floral headdress - Penny MacBeth

Eye choker - Penny MacBeth


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Ronchetti's Ices

I spent last weekend in the very South of Cornwall. The village I was visiting, Newlyn, is a tiny place known mainly for it's thriving fishing port. It is also home to Jelbert's, a fabulously old-fashioned ice cream shop that serves only one flavour- vanilla. Customers get two wafers and can choose from the addition of a flake and/or clotted cream. There are absolutely no frills to the experience; the shop is stark and utilitarian- completely white and with just one counter and an ancient till.  One of life's greatest joys is a small tub of Jelbert's and a wander along the seafront towards Penzance. I managed to eat two Jelbert's whilst I was there this weekend (that's one a day and I probably could of scoffed more).

 Jelbert's has no branding (unless you count the fab blue & white sign) but it got me thinking about all the frill and fancy of Italian Gelato. I've always loved the ornate labels with lots of gilding and laughing ladies. My mum used to buy a brilliant Tiramisu flavour gelato from Lidl when I was a teenager; it had an incredible baroque label with cherubs and Acanthus leaves, sadly it was discontinued years ago.  My maternal Great-Granddad was Italian, I take my middle name, Ronchetti from him. Although he didn't make ice cream (or any of his ancestors I don't think) Ronchetti makes such a fabulous name for an ice cream! I'm almost tempted to start my own..

My outfit was inspired unusually by Dolce & Gabbana's Sicilian inspired Spring/Summer 2013 collection, I so rarely chose to reference catwalk collections however I loved this one. Stripes somehow feel like the perfect pattern to contemplate and serve ice cream in. I love the headscarves too (very practical for keeping my long locks away from the ices). 

Dolce & Gabbana S/S 2013
Source: 1

Vintage Italian packaging had a big part to play too, I sadly cannot find the exact frilly labels I remember enjoying as a teenager. Luckily there are lots of other brilliant ice cream brands out there (and ice cream accompaniments!)
Mottarello Gelato
Source: 2

Amarena Cherries by Fabbri (a delicious accompaniment to ice cream or gelato)
Source: 3

San Pellegrino advertisements are another wonderful example of Italian design (and perfect for washing down an ice with); this one is so like the skirt of my dress! 

San Pellegrino Advertisement
Source: 4
San Pellegrino Advertisement
Source: 5

Sicilian horse carts inspired the Dolce & Gabbana collection mentioned above. I have two miniature versions sitting on my mantlepiece, they both belonged to my Great-Aunt, she was the daughter of my Italian Great-Granddad. She spent a lot of time in Italy and had a brilliant selection of souvenirs that she bought back. She spoke Italian in a broad Brummy accent and hated pasta unless it was cooked to mush; a true Brit! If I did make Gelato, I'd want to deliver the gelato in one of these: 

There are many wonderful Italian 1920s & 30s ice cream shops still open around the UK. Morelli's is excellent, I visited their Selfridge's branch to celebrate an essay hand in a few years ago but I'd LOVE to visit the original in Broadstairs. Just look at that sign!

Morelli's, Broadstairs, Kent
Source: 6
I Should also mention Minghella's Icecream - truly delicious if you get the chance to sample one of their 170 flavours do, it's the best!

It's gorgeous weather here in Cornwall and one of the pivotal moments in the Cornish calendar starts tomorrow: The Sea Shanty Festival. I'll be visiting this weekend so I'll be sure to capture my outfit (which will of course be themed). Enjoy the sunshine!

*I should mention that there is a distinct difference between gelato and ice cream, you can read more about it here.

Outfit Details

Ex-theatre striped cotton dress - Fancy dress shop

Chequered silk scarf - Belonged to my Mum

1990s Hobbs shoes - Belonged to my Mum

Giant badge with crochet pattern - Car boot sale

1970s  beaded choker - Oxfam