100 Reasons to Visit Cornwall #6: Fabulous Festivals, Amazing Artists and Terrific Crafters.

There’s a real buzz around Falmouth this week as we’re celebrating Fal River Week – an annual festival that opens with a display of a fantastic flotilla of boats sailing down the river and there are events organised in and around Falmouth to celebrate. Amongst other things, we’re looking forward to a visit to Trellisick Gardens this week to check out some Circus Skills workshops and art work created by Art College students exhibited in the house there. We passed by there on our way to Porthscatho this weekend as we travelled over the fabulous King Harry Ferry, but we’re saving it for later on in the week.

Just part of the flotilla taking part in the opening of Fal River Festival

Fal River Festival sees many artists throwing open their studios to the public in the programme of the aptly named ‘Open Studio’s: http://www.falriver.co.uk/whats-on/fal-river-festival/open-studios?__blockUid=FalRiver_Public_Block_Article_Listing&page=all and I visited one such studio this week. Charlotte Jones has her home and studio in a former Methodist chapel high up on the hill overlooking the river Fal in Mabe.

Some of Charlotte’s beautiful ceramics

She creates wonderful ceramics and takes her inspiration from the landscape and nature here in Cornwall. Using clay dug from sites in the area, she adds them to a base clay to create wonderful natural hues which she builds up and coils into thrown pots. Her pots are both beautiful and practical – they require no glaze because the finish she gives them, burnishing them with a smooth worn pebble, makes them fantastically watertight.

Charlotte’s studio

Falmouth is a cosmopolitan place, full of creative energy with so many talented artists and craftspeople. It must be the sea, or something, that inspires such creativity, but it does help that we have a world renowned Art College here that draws budding artists from all over. One such artist is Rowena Siorvanes http://rowenasiorvanes.com/About who came here to Falmouth Art College a few years ago to complete a Masters in Illustration. In the year she studied and illustrated, she also fell in love with Falmouth, and Cornwall and the sea and has now made it her home. Her beautifully spontaneous work depicts everyday happenings, on the beach, in cafes, about town with such poignancy and we love what she does. We have lots of her illustrations up on the walls here at The Lyonesse.

Rowena’s observational drawings

Everyday happenings and habits are recorded in Rowena’s wonderful drawings

Rowena’s drawings up on the wall here at The Lyonesse

Beautiful Porthscatho, on the south coast, was a place we visited this weekend, and we were lucky enough to catch Joanna Collins, another local crafter, setting up her pop up shop in The Boatmen’s Shelter, overlooking the beach and small harbour. Joanna creates crocheted items – beautiful booties, pram snugglers, hats, tea and coffee pot cosies and other unique items, made to order if the need arises. Of course, being magpies for lovely things, with a practical purpose of course, we bought two of her cosies for The Lyonesse tea-pots. Chatting to her, we learnt that today – bank holiday Monday- she would be, whilst touting her wares in the pop-up shop, crocheting boobs! Yes, you read it right! Joanna has been involved with an organisation that provides prosthetic boobs for women with mastectomieshttp://www.knittedknockersuk.com/ and she currently has an order to fill (excuse the pun). She has a page on facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/No7Crafts?ref=ts&fref=ts with all her lovely crocheted pieces showcased in a gallery of pics. She also sells on etsy as No7crafts. You should find lots of other fabulous art and craft at pop-up shops in Porthscatho if you visit.

A sample of Joanna Collins’ wonderful crocheted items

If you like that sort of thing, (I do, although Mark’s not quite as enthusiastic (#sigh – can’t imagine why…) you may also like to visit the wonderful Sea Garden in River Street, Porthscatho. It’s a extraordinary emporium of all things beautiful. Not just your run of the mill trinkety bits n bobs, but lots and lots of unique, original and unusual items that you are very unlikely to find elsewhere. Some vintage, some new, all hand-crafted and designed, from map – bunting to hand made cards to vintage linen to sea-inspired ceramics, it’s a feast for the imagination. Just another reason to visit this wonderful North Cornwall fishing village. You can see some examples of the items Christine sells in her shop on her webpage http://www.theseagarden.whatidlove.co.uk/ or read all about what inspires her own work and the thinking behind her shop on her blog http://talesfromtheseagarden.blogspot.co.uk/

The Sea Garden, Porthscatho

Plume of Feathers is the pub in Porthscatho,http://plumeportscatho.co.uk/ well worth a visit too (we did). Oh and, it goes without saying (but I just can’t help myself) that the walks along the coastal path and the views enjoyed from the vantage of the cliffs are awe-inspiring.

Mark enjoying a peanut snack in The Plume of Feathers after our walk at Porthscatho this weekend

Porthscatho this weekend

Porthscatho this weekend

Finally, back to Falmouth. One of our visitors last week said: “You must write about The Viking Exhibition at The Maritime Museum – it’s brilliant”. So, as promised, honouring our lovely Lisa and her wonderful husband Lucas, we are mentioning The Maritime Museum. Aside from The Viking Voyagers Exhibition, NMMC http://www.nmmc.co.uk/ is an impressive place in a prime water-side setting on Events Square, with dozens of interesting displays and features pertaining to the sea and all its industry. It’s a must see place in Falmouth; you can’t come here without a visit to The Maritime Museum! This week is, of course, half term and there are lots of exciting activities on offer for the youngsters. The Viking Exhibition is still on though. Through interactive displays it provides a unique insight into the fortitude and resourcefulness of these Scandinavian people. The Exhibition dispels the myth that they were a barbarous race who raped and pillaged wherever they went. Rather, they were eminent traders, expert mariners and loyal to their kinsmen and family. It runs until February 2017, so there’s plenty of time to get a visit in. And, in case you don’t get round everything in the one go, the museum also offers free return entry for a year. Bargain.

The National Maritime Museum, Events Square, Falmouth.