3: Islands Imagined and Created, Cornwall

St Ives in Cornwall is a location that I have visited frequently for different projects in the course of my OCA degree. In particular for courses at St Ives School of Painting.

St Ives – and Cornwall itself – is a peninsula. One that is in cut off in different ways culturally and economically from the rest of England, Britain and Europe. This was shown very much in the Brexit debate focusing on fishing, but also in the movement for Cornish identity, the Cornish flag. In my body of work on Cornwall I also explore the ways in which tourists separate in groups, and also as individuals, when on holiday in search of a ‘romantic wild’ of the coast path or surfing or their particular patch of sun and sand – or just a deck chair.

My body of work in Assignment 5 builds on the text and image work from:

Part 2 : Text and Image: Woman Living Lost.

It develops the different projects in new media eg printmaking or animation and/or adding new photographic images to make Photobooks.

The work presented to my tutor in March 2021 was of necessity only a draft. Proposed art work will be completed when I get my studio back again in May 2021. The Photobooks and further work on ‘Love and Other Islands’ will be completed in consultation with local people during a holiday in St Ives booked for September 2021 – delayed from December 2020 due to COVID lockdown. Taking also into consideration aftermath of COVID and Brexit.


All to be revisited, together with the Photobook Teetotal Street with input from audiences in St Ives from September holiday.

Assignment 5.1: Islands Imagined

  • Life is Orange: Illustrator/Print media poster breaking beyond the island (to be done in Summer when print studios are open)
  • Blue???
  • Cornwall on a Sidesaddle – Celia Feinnes is ‘her own class island’ – make more of that??
  • Dark Fairies?? particularly lady and lantern as scraperboard series to be done in Summer.
  • The Island: animation (to be done when I can set up my equipment in the summer)

Assignment 5.2: Islands Real

Assignment 5.1 Islands Imagined

  • Life is Orange: Illustrator/Print media poster breaking beyond the island (to be done in Summer when print studios are open)
  • Blue???
  • Cornwall on a Sidesaddle – Celia Feinnes is ‘her own class island’ – make more of that??
  • Dark Fairies?? particularly lady and lantern as scraperboard series to be done in Summer.

The Island: animation

Planned as animation either collage Stop Motion in the style of Terry Gilliam from digital drawings in Adobe Fresco. The Text below is as submitted with Assignment 3. This still needs a lot of work to produce anything presentable – the current insertion of photos is indicative only of some of the visual inspiration I plan to draw on, as is the variety of styles. The final version would I think be a rather childlike watercolour like ‘The Little Prince’ by St Exupery, with blind contour rough ink work as in the sketch above, and a disarmingly simple comic text. Done either by hand, or using Adobe Fresco watercolour brushes and Illustrator text. I now have a lot more text from old books in St Ives library, and interesting information from interviews with local people as part of my work on Assignment 3 TeeTotal Street. I need to rethink and streamline the overall message once the longer term outcomes of the Brexit vote become clearer by autumn next year. And meld together the Shakespeare and Donne ‘patriotic’ poems with real historical fact into a small illustrated book of wider reader interest. This is something I hope to do as part of my work for Assignment 5.

Pendinas ‘the Island’ is a part of St Ives I really love. It is magical – a ‘sceptred isle set in a silver sea’ when seen at dawn from the Ayre campsite and a towering gloomy place when walking around it wishing ‘no wo/man is an island’ on a cloudy windy day. Its many faces and moods have an obvious hold on the imagination – not just mine. I had sketched around the Island for earlier OCA printmaking and illustration projects.

This text and image project started as an attempt to add some ink illustrations to the text of the tourist information board by the carpark outlining some of the history to the Island.

But in the context of the prevailing discussions around Brexit during my stays in 2019, Pendinas, my ideas on this ‘sceptred/no woman is an island’ evolved into a bringing together of the above together with new images and other historical text on St Ives as a humorous/semi-serious look at ideas of ‘Englishness’ and ‘Islands’ – bearing in mind the firm Cornish identity and calls for devolution in St Ives and the dependence on the EU and London fish markets and international tourism.

In the process I started to read more about the geology and history of St Ives and Cornwall and folk tales of stones and giants of Trencrom Hill above St Ives.

Project 2.2 Finding Texts only asked me to consider thumbnails. I produced a series of experimental watercolour-style drawings in Adobe Sketch and Adobe Draw on my iPad (see feature image above – the only original I could salvage after update to Adobe Fresco). I then brought these into Illustrator and InDesign to create comic-style mockup of 30 pages with comic images and text replacing the original text from the information board. I experimented with different digital styles on my iPad and considered visual approaches of different St Ives artists like Arthur Wallis. Wilhelmina Barnes Graham and the expressive gouaches at the Tate exhibition of Anna Boghiguian.

Assignment 5.2 Islands Real

Love and Other Islands: Photobook

This project takes further my work on Exercise 2.3 Developing Content. In that exercise I was asked to develop a series of photographs with captions.

These have potential for further additions and modifications as a humorous photobook in Colour. More images to add from existing photo series of St Ives and holiday in September. In consultation with potential audiences.

Lost on the Way to Zennor: Photobook

This project revisits the photographs and text used in:

Exercise 2.1.3 ‘Lost on the Way to Zennor’

Here I did a collaged sketchbook inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s ‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’. But the collage work was rather heavy-handed.

In this Photobook I revisit my photo series of my walks along the Coast Path, converting these to abstract black and white photographs. Drawing inspiration also from the black and white landscape photography of Fay Godwin and Paul Hill’s ‘White Peak Dark Peak’.

I am aiming to let the images speak for themselves through their black and white tonal processing and differences in focus. As an evocative documentary about the ideal and the realities of the Coast Path. I put a two page text at the end to briefly explain what the book is about. But after the viewer has already – hopefully – looked through the images to form their own impressions and ideas of what the book is about.

This still needs a lot of work – with careful consideration of when I want the photographs to be ‘professional and when possibly to let the stay too dark, too light or blurred. from the version sent to my tutor. And reviewing the sequencing and narrative, certainly reducing the number of images but possibly also adding/substituting others from the photo series. I am also intending to do charcoal and pencil sketches of some of the images

Wheal Dreams: Documentary Photobook

As part of my research for Teetotal Street I got to know a number of fishermen working on the Quay just past the old settlement and Wheal Dreams that now houses the St Ives Museum. I took quite a lot of photographs that I promised to send them, and always intended to do a Photobook with them as part of this Assignment. However this got delayed until September 2021 because of COVID.

What interests me are the very conflicting views and interests around Brexit and the fishermen. Each boat is in a sense its own Island, but the interdependence of the fishermen with each other contrasts with competition for markets. There have always been historic divisions between families because of religion. And fishermen living in ‘Downalong’ see themselves as a very different species from the mining community in ‘Upalong’ in St Ives. I am also very interested in changing roles of women with tourism. And the perceptions of different sections of the fishing community on how tourists can be less annoying while still contributing to the local economy. etc etc….

This book so far is much to messy in both concept and layout. Now my plans to revisit are definite and booked, I will mail my main contact and send him the link to the photographs to see which ones he and his friends and family like. On that basis I will then do a reselection and re-editing of the photographs with text. Adding also information from the historical books on St Ives fishing communities I scanned from the St Ives library, and also notes from discussions with my neighbour in Teetotal Street about her experiences growing up as a girl in a well-known local fishing family. I will then discuss my next draft in September – either completing the book for assessment or at least mapping out how I can feasibly finalise it shortly after.