If we are ever lacking motivation, a trip to St Ives never fails to inspire and delight! Especially if we can fit in a visit to the Barbara Hepworth Museum.
Nestled in the heart of the St Ives backstreets, among the higgledy piggledy white washed fishermans cottages, Trenwyn is an unassuming building that you could be forgiven for walking straight past. But it was here that Modernist Sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth once lived and worked. She tragically died here in a fire in 1975.
Trenwyn was her home and studio for almost thirty years. Most of the sculptures were made here. In her will upon her death, she requested that her home and studio become a museum of her work, Trewyn Studio and much of her sculptures remained, placed in the care of the Tate Gallery in 1980.
I feel so lucky to have such a place on our doorstep. It is hard to explain but visiting is almost like stepping back in time, whilst being thrust forward. The modern, commanding sculptures are beautifully dramatic, but there is still a sense of the artist still being here. There are her tools in the workshop and plants in the greenhouse, there's even a cat asleep on the window ledge.
Dame Barbara Hepworth literally put the hole in modern sculpture and made it her signature. In 1931, she tried piercing a hole in a small carving to give the figure a sense of flow and to lead the viewer's eye around it.
“When I first pierced a shape, I thought it was a miracle.”
The holes became a kind of signature, carving or chiselling holes into the majority of her abstractions.
Like many (ourselves included), Barbara found constant inspiration from the wild and craggy coast of Cornwall. She was known for wearing baggy corduroys and a sheepskin jacket, spending hours observing the waves or studying the geometry of seashells.
She was commissioned for a number of high profile pieces and over the years created works for the Festival of Britain, Her Winged Figure hung on the wall of Marks & Spencer's flagship store on Oxford Street in London and a 21‐foot, five‐ton bronze memorial entitled 'Single Form' for Swedish Diplomat Dag Hammarskjold, rises from a pool at the United Nations Secretariat Building in New York.
If you are in Cornwall and looking for creative inspiration, this place is a definite must. The pure juxtaposition of standing in the hidden gardens with those momentous sculptures, against the back drop of the church and circling seagulls of this pretty fishing town. With the hustle and bustle of St Ives just beyond the walls, this feels like a safe haven and on a busy day!