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breadman exchange penzance cornwall

I like to think I’m a pretty open-minded kind of person when it comes to the arts but even I was a little perplexed this morning when I got the Exchange Gallery‘s summer programme through the post. First thing I spotted was an event taking place this Saturday morning called the Breadman, accompanied by a picture of people with bread on their heads.

OK, fine, I get it: the people have baguettes tied to their heads. I read on… “Tatsumi Orimoto, as Breadman, will dress a dozen assistants with loaves of bread bound with twine around their heads. Starting at The Exchange, the Breadman will lead a tour of tourist sites through the centre of Penzance, stopping for photo opportunities and offering bread to the public.”

It is definitely bizarre but it’s also quite an intriguing photo op. BUT IS IT ART?! Only one way to find out. It starts at 11am on Saturday. See for more deets. Get your bread on.

the exchange penzance cornwall

I’ve been to the Exchange gallery café for lunch about a dozen times (it’s central, quick and all lunches are around the £5 mark – oh and I get to gaze longingly at the hand-made vases, jewellery and books). And every time I’ve been, I’ve found a strawberry part-dipped in black pepper tucked artistically in my salad.

I *love* this touch – particularly good with the Cornish yarg in my ploughman’s this week. I’ve got pretty expectant of this strawberry now – they’d better not go changing the chef.

The Exchange, Princes Street, Penzance, TR18 2NL (

More photos after the hop… Read the rest of this entry »

jubilee pool penzance cornwall

The 1930s deco lido in Penzance is a great source of inspiration to local photographers and artists – the cool curves, cubist steps, and triangular shapes pointing out into the sea are a pretty extraordinary sight.

To celebrate my first ever swim in the Jubilee Pool – so overdue, it was getting quite embarrassing – I thought I’d post my humble interpretation of this iconic monument. This was the view from my towel as I lay sunbathing at the weekend (before, that is, I was told to stop photographing the architecture due to ‘child protection’).

I lay there for at least an hour thinking that if I could just absorb enough rays, it would defend me against the famously cold temperature of the water. I noted with some concern that over half the people in the pool had some sort of expensive-looking swimming protection, including swimming caps made of wetsuit material.

But I have to say the water really was lovely – fresh but manageable, and considerably warmer than the sea proper (I know this because I swam off Battery Rocks on Friday evening sans suit and it was… challenging). The feeling of swimming in a pool of that size (100 metres long at its longest point!) was invigorating – and the unconventional triangular shape liberates you from boring old up-and-down lengths, and makes it feel more like a wild swim.

This year is the 75th anniversary of Jubilee Pool, and there are celebratory flags flying (below) and historic Read the rest of this entry »

Cornwall railway Poster

image via

I’ve always been a huge fan of those old railway posters advertising trips to Cornwall – they are beautifully designed and just bursting with the pride and aspiration that once surrounded rail travel. Many of the Cornish ones are famous to the point of cliché but thanks to Jaunted today I discovered a new one, dating back to 1907 and boldly comparing the Cornish riviera to Italy.

‘There is,’ it claims, ‘a great similarity between Cornwall and Italy in… climate.’ Even on a scorching summer’s day such as today with the sea shining on Mount’s Bay and the sky a deep blue, you can’t help but laugh at this barefaced advertising lie.

I’d love to own one of these vintage rail posters but every time I come close to buying one I think: isn’t that a bit like wearing an ‘I heart NYC’ t-shirt when you live there? Totally uncool. Similarly my Alfred Wallis harbour print came straight out of the frame as soon as I moved to Cornwall – I still love it, but it made me feel like a tourist.

Here’s another goodun:

rail poster cornwall

hawkershut cornwall

hawker's hut, morwenstow

This fantastic drawing of the Hawker’s Hut near Morwenstow is the work of Jerwood Drawing Prize-shortlisted artist James Hobbs.

I don’t know about you but with all the (justified) fuss about the colour and light in Cornwall, I found it refreshing to chance upon this brilliantly unruly black and white drawing, which conjures up the eccentricities of the famous opium-smoking Reverend Hawker against the backdrop of the north Cornish coast.

In his blog post, James says, “Hawker’s Hut is set into the 400-foot cliffs of remote north Cornwall, originally built out of driftwood by the Victorian priest Rev Robert Stephen Hawker as a place to write poetry, smoke opium and watch for passing ships coming to grief on this notoriously dangerous stretch of Atlantic coast. It’s remote and wild, and one of my favourite places.’ Read the rest of the post here.

Mmm, I need to think of a job that lets me write poetry, smoke opium and watch for passing ships…

I also love this sketch by James of London’s planeless skies the other week.

Check out for more of his work. Thanks to James for letting me use this image.

geevor fiona crisp

fiona crisp at geevor tin mine

In the space of three months last year I visited virtually every sightseeing attraction in Cornwall (not as some sort of bizarre personal challenge, you understand, but for the new Time Out Guide to Devon & Cornwall). And of them all, Geevor Tin Mine, on the moody cliffs of Pendeen, was the most rewarding – not least because it came as such a surprise.

Mining heritage centres in Cornwall have a tendency to contain interesting but ultimately very dusty exhibitions, with captions in Read the rest of this entry »

Ramp towards Newlyn Cornwall Jason Walker

'ramp towards newlyn' by artist jason walker

It’s not often that you get to see such prosaic sights as your local skate ramp rendered on canvas by a successful artist but that is exactly what I found when I opened a link to the subtly affecting paintings of Penzance-based artist Jason Walker. Read the rest of this entry »

tate st ives dalwood cornwall

dexter dalwood 'immersion' at the tate st ives

During the is-it-art-or-is-it-simply-a-red-splodge-type debates, I have been known to find myself marooned on the side of the red splodge – perhaps due to a fact-finding journalistic background.

This is why I found the Dexter Dalwood exhibition, currently showing at the Tate St Ives (until 3 May), so engaging. Working at the junction of history and art, Dalwood produces large-scale works that recreate key historical events, celebrity deaths (Sid and Nancy, Janis Joplin) and an array of imagined celebrity bedrooms (Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix). Read the rest of this entry »

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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