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With Penzance town centre perennially under attack from the faceless threats of supermarkets, parking charges and high business rates, it’s a joy to watch how Chapel Street is turning into a real little vintage and design enclave.

It is an atmospheric street at the worst of times but now it has the likes of Lost & Found cafe (my new cafe favourite with vintage shop attached), one-week-old No.56 (a touch of London’s Labour & Wait plus hand-crocheted cushions), newly relocated Daisy Laing – as well as oldies like Newlyn Books, Fishboy, Steckfensters and the cigar shop – it can genuinely call itself a shopping ‘enclave’.

I also like the way the businesses – all independents – are coming up with shopping extras. See above a poster for a vintage fair at Lost & Found next weekend. Also hark that shops on Chapel Street are opening late on Thursdsays up till Christmas (until 7pm! And yes, if you are reading from afar, that is most definitely ‘late’ & very useful for Cornwall).

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…shop on industrial estates.

I only realised this fact relatively recently and now my theory is gathering momentum. There’s the Frugi warehouse in Helston’s Water-ma-Trout; previously blogged Baker Tom’s cafe in Pool; there’s Ruby Junes newly opened in Hayle; and Shivermetimbers reclamation yard near Crowlas. All heart-sinkingly desolate outside, but harbouring treasure within.

A recent addition to my industrial estate hot list is Celtic Sheepskin, Cornwall’s answer to the Ugg boot, based on Treloggan industrial estate in Newquay. This (mainly online) business specialises in highest-quality sheepskin boots made sustainably with British sheepskin sourced from the last remaining UK footwear tannery.

I’ve been resisting the Ugg boot vibe for some years. God knows we’re all slouchy enough in Cornwall without wearing slouchy boots day and night. Plus, when I’d tried them on I’d found the foot support lacking. But most importantly, I’ve observed that once people own a pair, they DON’T EVER TAKE THEM OFF.

But I couldn’t keep it up, so I’ve capitulated on the grounds that Celtic’s boots have decent heel reinforcement; it’s a great Cornish company; and – frankly – who wouldn’t want their feet to be permanently wrapped in wool and supple suede?

As if to make sure you really never take them off, Celtic has now designed a new boot that is water-resistant, called the Aqualamb, pictured below.

Boots from £120, www.celticandco.co.uk

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mevagissey

How neat is this? It’s by budding Cornish design studio Jetty Street Press. It’s like a 21st-century re-imagining of the wonderful Great Western Railway posters, which are well-loved to the point of cliche. There’s even a touch of Hockney’s clean-lined Californian swimming pool in there… offset nicely by the Cornish cliff-side flora.

‘The drawings are developed from doodles in my spare time,’ Sal from Jetty told me. ‘I wanted to create contemporary illustrations of Cornwall without being too twee or sentimental, focusing more at the nooks and crannies of a place not the obvious postcard views.’ Penzance could be getting the Jetty treatment soon… I’ll keep you post(er)ed.

Jetty prints are currently for sale in Brocante, Mevagissey; £60 for framed print. Or you can buy directly from Sal at Jetty; get in touch by twitter or facebook; an unframed print is £25 plus postage.

The thing about Cornwall is that it is very long. So a happening at one end can feel positively foreign to someone who lives at the other. More’s the shame, as this art event near Bude looks like something discriminating and different (‘bring your own ale‘ certainly bodes well).

It’s curated by the people at Hickory Nines, a surfy collective of writers, artists and assorted cool-sounding people, and is all about the dark side of the coast – ie the bit where there’s no Kelly’s whip *shudder*.

I asked nicely and Cai at Hickory Nines has allowed me to reproduce this mini selection of art on pasties & cream. But for the whole shebang, make your way to National Trust Stowe Barton near Bude on Friday 27th September or Saturday 28th. Full detailage on the poster below.

Friday 27th & Saturday 28th 2013, 6.30pm-9.30pm, bring your own ale (corkage applies). Free entry. Stowe Barton, Nr Bude, Cornwall, EX23 9JW. www.hickorynines.com

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This is happening tomorrow and describes itself as ‘not your usual craft fair’. You have my attention!

www.outlawcraftfair.co.uk

PirripPress2013NewlynFishFestival04

I​ have been snapping up cards and prints by Pirrip Press for a couple of years now – everything produced by this small print studio is so perfectly clean-lined and well-spaced, with a classy wit about it. There is a stylish economy to their work that I much covet – just the right amount of white space, never too many colours or words.

The designers in question are Alexandra Higglett and Georgina Hounsome, previously based in Penzance and still maintaining strong ties with the area. Hence their annual limited-edition poster for the Newlyn Fish Festival – a two-colour silkscreen print, this year featuring circling gulls over the harbour wall. I’m not one to romanticise seagulls (if I ever did, then it stopped dead with the theft of my Callestick Farm ice-cream on Porthmeor Beach, summer 2011) but I love this image, printed on thick mushroom-coloured paper.

It’s already a bargain at £10 and they give 20% of the money to the Fishermen’s Mission. Which is why my print has been firmly checked out of their online shop before I click publish on this! They only make 100. You can buy one here.

You can also catch these guys at the Outlaw Craft Fair (tagline: ‘not your usual craft fair’) in Penzance on 14th September.

www.pirrippress.co.uk

penzance skatepark

Penzance Skate ‘plaza’ opened today on the prom and I’m going to offer the (uneducated in skate) opinion that it looks extremarily cool. The undulating concrete skatescape even looked tempting enough for this ultimate novice to ponder the consequences of attempting that satisfying-looking smooth bump to the right of the picture. Power to the prom.

newlyn filmhouse

Exciting news has reached pasties & cream of plans to create a state-of-the-art, two-screen digital cinema and cultural space in Newlyn, in the old Turner’s fish house (pictured above). Up your street? Get thee along to the open day on Thursday to look at the plans & show your support.

With the local elections last week having taken the area’s pulse and found it somewhat faint, this is a well-timed reason to be cheerful. If planning goes smoothly, says owner Suzie Sinclair, it could be up and running by early next year.

My favourite line of the press release is the bit where it promises ‘comfy seats’ and luxurious surrounds. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Savoy Cinema in its own quirky, insufficiently heated way but the seats could never be called comfy.

Open day 2–5pm for general public – all visitors welcome. St Peter’s Church Hall, The Coombe, Newlyn.

newlyn_filmhouse2

A video about long-time friend of pasties & cream Paul Spooner and his ‘mechanical cartoons’. If you can’t afford one of his automata, you could always buy yourself a bar of Eden Project chocolate, which is illustrated by Paul with the story of chocolate. The sea salt one, in particular, has a nice briny kick.

finisterre sale

I love Finisterre cold-weather clothes and lap up discounts on their high-end gear. This promising-looking workshop sale takes place Saturday at Finisterre’s HQ at Wheal Kitty in St Agnes. Test your gear in the (probably) lashing rain at Trevaunance Cove afterwards. Or better still hang it up and go for a Wheal Kitty pizza at the Cornish Pizza Company – I haven’t tried them out yet but it all sounds perfectly tasty and thin-crust.

www.finisterreuk.com

The guys at Heyday put on these vintage and handmade markets every now and again – I love them. There’s one today until 4pm downstairs at the Acorn. I came back with some knitted freaks, a pack of vintage flower cigarette cards, handmade cards, a starey-gazy cupcake (nice) and a bon bec bag by Alexandra Higlett.

On a stranger note, has anyone noticed how the Acorn sign has grown some sort of seaweedy mushrooms?!

Cornish outdoor clothing brand Finisterre has opened a shop! It’s aptly located on a wind-battered Cornish headland, next to their Wheal Kitty workshops and HQ of Surfers Against Sewage. Anyway, I just bought the most expensive hat of my life there – the merino Cable Beanie pictured above. Fortunately, after the initial layout, it has turned out to be the sort of hat that manages to turbo-heat your whole body. Pure wool yet zero itch, and ample ear coverage. Good sale rail at the shop too, by the way.

Cable Beanie, Finisterre, £30. www.finisterreuk.com

 

Logan rocks – chopping boards by Samuel Walsh

It’s Open Studios time again – an opportunity to stick your nose into the studios of Cornwall’s many hidden away artists and designers, woodworkers, needleworkers and illustrators. Just look out for the orange circles.

It is oft quoted that West Cornwall has more working artists/sole-trading “creatives” per capita than anywhere outside London (or something…). The exact statistic has been distorted by Cornish whispers, but it is clear when you look at the Open Studios map that there are a lot of them – even the village of Nancledra, population 150, is stacked with dots.

I am particularly keen on visiting the arty clusters of studios like Krowji and Trewidden. It doesn’t feel quite so much like walking into someone’s house (with the attendant feeling of obligation to chat!) and you can see lots of different work in a small space in a mellow but bustling atmosphere. Plus you can stop by the wildly eccentric Melting Pot Cafe afterwards at Krowji, which on the whole I love, though I wasn’t so keen on being charged £2.45 for a slightly watery hot chocolate in a paper cup on Sunday.

Open Studios is on for the rest of the week, and I’m not done yet, but my highlights so far are as follows:

• Steam-bent wooden lampshades – Tom Raffield, Krowji

High-design steam-sculptured wooden lampshades, flower pots and assorted furniture. www.tomraffield.com
 
 

• Logan rock chopping boards – Samuel Walsh, Krowji, from £18

Stacked up, they look like the rocks of Bodmin Moor or West Penwith’s Logan Rock – and they are very strokable. www.samwalshfurniture.co.uk

• Paul Fry – Trewidden

Uplifting simple flowers against fresh white backgrounds. www.paulfry.co.uk

• George Meyrick – Krowji

Minimalist geometric 3D shapes and flat paintings. Could be interesting installing one in a Cornish cottage, where right angles are hard to find. More info on George here

 
For all details on Open Studios 2012, including full list of participating artists, have a look here: http://www.creativeskills.org.uk/open-studios-cornwall-2012
Free entry throughout.

Time to blog about my biggest Cornish crush in some time. There’s a newish Cornish clothes brand on the scene – not as out there yet as Cornish stars Finisterre and Seasalt, but it has been quietly growing over the past few years and collecting fans. EKO (Earth Kind Originals) is the work of Cornish maid Helen Davies, who moved back to St Just from London to start an eco-aware, coastally inspired clothes label.

Other than occasional desperate dashes to New Look’s Apricot range, the best of a truly shocking bunch on Penzance’s high street, I aspire to move away from cheapie cheap high-street crap. The prices can only belie a world of sweatshop darkness, the clothes don’t last, and the colours are never quite right.

My EKO Dusk till Dawn scarf, pictured above, has been welded to my neck since it arrived – it’s a tactile cotton-cashmere mix but the real sell is the ingenious string of buttons and buttonholes down the edges, which allows you to fasten it any way you like and however artlessly you do it, it seems to look great.

Other things I like: the models look like real people; the catalogue makes you want to Read the rest of this entry »

I went to these guys’ Christmas Mart at Chapel Street’s Trevelyan House and emerged happily with several ‘knitted freaks‘ (see second row above & pic below – they make the world a better place), silkscreen-printed wrapping paper and cards by Studio No.6, and a few fine slabs of brownie. They (that’s Heyday Presents) are holding a May Mart on Friday and Saturday in Penzance – see poster below for full detailage.

www.helloheyday.com

Paul Spooner at the Poly

A shout-out for two interesting things happening at the Poly in Falmouth. The first is a talk by very long-time pasties & cream friend Paul Spooner, whose career as an automata maker (“making mechanical jokes for people with short attention spans”) has included pieces for the Science Museum, Louis Vuitton and, er, me aged six – a wooden box that I still have and keep my drawing pins in. Takes place tonight at 8pm at the Poly; pay a little visit here for more information and tickets.

The second thing I’m giving you a fraction more notice for. Opening on 21st February, also at the Poly, is an exhibition of the sumptuous illustrations and photography that appear in the Parabola Project‘s second book, the beautifully designed anthology I blogged about the other day. Here’s a taster, reproduced here with kind permission of Parabola.

Read the rest of this entry »

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I got a little overexcited in Falmouth’s new ‘artisan coffee‘ café Espressini on Saturday. The coffee menu covers an entire six-foot-long blackboard and there are three types of sugar (including one with dried rose petals in, another with chilli).

The styling is also very neat. Your coffee is served in retro turquoise cups and saucers, there’s a centrepiece La Marzocco coffee machine, and piles of mags and papers – all nicely accessorised by the addition of artily dressed Falmouth students. Owner Rupert said he looked at some properties in Penzance but Falmouth won out… Ouch, that was hard to hear (what I wouldn’t give for a good hangout coffee shop in PZ) but it does at least now provide further motivation, should ever it be needed, to make the pilgrimage to Trago.

39 Killigrew Street, TR11 3PW, Falmouth, Cornwall. A website is on its way but in the meanwhile, there’s a FB page for interested parties: http://www.facebook.com/Espressini

Bored of driftwood trinkets, Farrow & Ball shades and painted seagulls? Get a load of this luxury B&B in Fowey, which keeps its tongue firmly in cheek at all times. At Upton House, each of the four rooms are bonkersly different, featuring things like pink flamingos, block-printed skull wallpaper (see banner pic – a brilliantly subversive take on townhouse chic) and white rabbits.

I stayed there for the new Time Out Devon & Cornwall Guide the other week and it was such an uplifting jaunt – great to see a hotel nail all the key things (supreme comfort, great service, location – 5 stars from Visit Britain) without taking life too seriously. Breakfast? Heart-shaped waffles from the pink toaster of course.

So, hats off to interior design Angelique Thompson for pulling off something so fabulously nutty in a small seaside town – Cornwall could do with more of you. She has also opened a design boutique next door, soon also to feature a 1940s inspired collection of dresses (from LA) and original 1940s/50s hats and gloves.

Keep an eye on the Upton House website for the soon-to-launch twisted tea parties – think clotted cream meets wild hibiscus champagne in a teacup.

Upton House, 2 Esplanade, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23 1HY. www.upton-house.com

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Here’s a pictorial taster for an article I have out in Coast magazine this month (Feb issue) about the excellent new Newlyn School of Art, the brainchild of local artist Henry Garfit.

I attended the Landscape Painting course with local artist Mark Spray back in September and it was a most eye-opening, exhilarating experience. Beginners, have no fear – Mark’s unorthodox style, which includes the use of earth, paintbrushes strapped on to sticks and speed drawing, had even the experienced painters in my group flummoxed. Having not picked up a paintbrush since GCSE art, at least I was expecting it to be hard.

The school occupies a converted granite school at the top of Paul hill (the Board School) in Newlyn, paces away from the original, famed Forbes-led Newlyn School of painters in the late 19th and early 20th century. Other tempting courses include print-making, stone carving and Cornish gardens.

It is no mean feat to open a not-for-profit arts institution (with some Arts Council funding) in grim times such as these, so congrats. With our local arty institutions looking poorly – Acorn open but website looking unwell, Penzance Arts Club closed, Golowan funding cut – it’s brilliant to find something as fresh and new as this.

More info at www.newlynartschool.co.uk; £175 three-day Landscape Painting course.

What with Christmas coming, I thought this would be a good time to share the news that the TeddyPasty has landed online – it has its own spot on Etsy. Handmade in St Ives by Emily Fishpool, he has good crimpage, comes in his own brown paper bag, and looks highly cuddly… for a pasty. Costs £10.

TeddyPasty is online at http://teddypasty.tumblr.com and he even tweets: http://twitter.com/teddypasty

I agree with the majority that Cornwall is a very creative place – partly by nature, also by necessity. But sometimes I find the same old coastally-inspired art and ceramics pop up time and time again in galleries, and I kind of crave something new and different.

Well, check out Falmouth-based Jonathan Fuller’s sea-glass sculpture for something fresh on the eye, as featured in coast magazine this month (he’s married to the head of design at organic Cornish clothing company, seasalt, so they are the perfect Coast couple).

I really love the washed-out pastel colours and the clean lines and shapes of Jonny’s artwork, and I feel quite inspired to start collecting and categorising glass in satisfyingly colour-coded jars. I wonder if, as in my childhood, finding a piece of soft blue glass is still the top trump.

www.jonathanfuller.co.uk; his work is showing at Trelowarren’s Christmas craft fair Shine, 9th-11th Dec, info at www.cornwallcrafts.co.uk. Prices from £250.

Sorry for being a slack blogger lately – I’ve been on holiday. As in an actual holiday in a different country. Cornwall really is a comfortable hole isn’t it, and it’s hard to leave – not least because it takes a day just to get to your mode of transport.

In any case, what better tonic for the post-holiday blues than a stay at Salt House last night; at the moment, I’m writing some updates for the Time Out Guide to Devon & Cornwall and this haute-design B&B in Carbis Bay was high up my list of must-check-outs (feel I must add the obligatory travel writer’s aside: ‘hard job but someone’s got…’).

Sink all thoughts of nautical themes or fishermen’s cottage chic. This is real-deal modern luxury – a stunning, wood-clad cube of a building with omg views from each guest room’s private terrace over the full golden sweep of St Ives Bay through the monterey pines. I always try and use my own pictures on pasties & cream but it’s just so horribly dark and cold and grey this week that my iphone couldn’t handle it, hence the sparkly official photos, which do it greater justice.

In the white rooms it’s all about careful editing – an Alessi bottle opener here, an Orla Kiely mug there, glossy flat-screen telly, homemade coconut-flecked cookies. It’s the work of owners Alan and Sharon, both graphic designers.

There are only two rooms, so unsurprisingly they’re a hot booking.

www.salthousestives.co.uk; £170-£190 per night, including (amazing) breakfast, mine pictured below.

Being a bit of a tin geek, I approve of this vintage-chic new tin of Cornish Fairings care of Furniss (official makers of the Cornish Fairing – they nabbed a trademark a few years back), which has been designed to celebrate their 125th anniversary in business.

The requisite embossing and retro styling is in place, as well as a motif of a pan-Cornish lighthouse, all brought up to date with some nice pastel colours and tactile matt gold.

Cornish people don’t tend to eat Fairings in great quantities, other than when they have just gifted someone a tin of them, under which circumstances Read the rest of this entry »

venton vean penzance cornwall

It’s always a pleasure when I get an email from a pasties & cream reader, even if it’s just to complain about my lack of captioning (full-time job alert). But it’s particularly nice when I get an email about something as eye-opening as this beautiful new boutique b&b in Penzance – opened this week.

The modern-classic chairs, blue accents, amazing garden, period detailing, rainforest showers… you don’t find all of that for under £100 a room very often. I know this because I drove round the whole of Cornwall a few years ago seeking out special places to stay for the Time Out Guide to Devon & Cornwall – and gems are few in this price bracket.

It is also on one of my favourite streets, leafy Trewithen Road, next to Penlee Park. Best of luck, Venton Vean – if your website is anything to go by, you’re going to storm it. Oh and can you open a little tea shop in your garden too, please? That would be most handy.

www.ventonvean.co.uk

Get an eyeful of this!

venton vean, penzance, cornwallventon vean, penzance, cornwall

Anyone who went to Cornwall Design Fair at Trereife House at the weekend will know what I mean when I say that the wallet-emptying perils of this event are grave. It was my first time at the fair, and the jewellery temptation levels – always my weak spot – were vertiginously high. Short of time this week, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking – but for once I’m going to treat you to captions ;)

PS My only gripe was the £6 per person admission fee (not allowing you to come back the next day without paying more again). This did include entry to the wonderful house but on the whole I’m not so keen on paying to go shopping. Don’t mind me, though, I’m just a grumpy old woman!

georgia stoneman; ever-gorgeous jewellery taking on organic forms (www.georgiastoneman.co.uk); these rings are beautiful stacked together

little fruit earrings by irreverent foundlings jewellery (www.foundlingsjewellery.co.uk), also responsible for surreal baby necklace above, which by rights shouldn't work but does!

the scene at trereife, with outsized pebble seat sculptures by ben barrel (www.benbarrell.co.uk); also pictured above. saving up...

love, love, love this girl's blue and white ceramics and salt servers - bugger, lost her card. she of the blueberry-scented pen, please tell me your name so i can link to you!

satisfying, strokeable felt pebbles

These pics are my favourites from a v neat exhibition in the Vintage Storeroom in St Ives until tomorrow called Instant Exposure by talented downalong-dweller Emily Fishpool – designer, illustrator and most importantly creator of the super-cute Teddy Pasty, ‘the cuddliest teddy in all Cornwall’!

All the pics are taken on the iPhone. Framed prints are £30. Why don’t mine look like that?

www.emilyfishpool.com/instant-exposure

origin coffee cornwall designs

Origin, Cornwall’s favourite coffee (based in Constantine but moving to Helston to accommodate big new roaster), has started producing limited-edition coffee bags for the Seasonals range, with illustrations by artists and designers from Devon and Cornwall; just a few hundred packets of each are printed.

My favourite design (and taste) is the Costa Rica Finca de Licho, one of their seasonal blends, with lemony accents – I ground and brewed one up this morning, and it was most spring-like. New designs out this week for June.

www.origincoffee.co.uk

I am photo-rich (cheers, Jen) and time-poor this week, so without further ado here are a few picturarios of the reopened and tweaked Exchange gallery. I am a fan of the cafe (in particular, the strawberry in salad policy, which I hope still stands!) so I approve of the expanded space and more bar-like feel.

Ahem, not forgetting the art amid the lattes, the opening show of the season is an exploration of printmaking – check it out here.

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Like any girl, I swoon at the sight of vintage crockery, bunting, wild flowers and cakes (in pretty much any combination), so imagine my excitement at this pop-up tea shop called Tea by the Sea, which pitched up in the old shipping container that is currently on Penzance prom as part of Cornwall Design Season.

Despite being the only seaside prom in Cornwall – with twinkling views – Penzance prom is quite a bare kind of place. Occasionally, and seemingly randomly, a few potted palms appear, but then they disappear as mysteriously as Read the rest of this entry »

There are only a handful of blogs that I follow consistently but one of them is India Knight‘s brief but impeccably curated site. So I’m very happy to have a Cornwall-related reason to link to her on p&c.

Last week, she brought to my attention Cornishware’s mega-festive new red range, which has just been relaunched having been out of commission since the 1950s.

I am more of a Cornish Yellow girl myself – I’m wedded to my yellow Cornishware mug – but these red stripes are shaking my allegiance to the core. It’s pricey stuff but it doesn’t chip and is frightfully good quality and all that.

www.tggreen.co.uk

http://indiaknight.posterous.com/

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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