Last week I took a trip west to Devon. On the invitation of Yvonne Coomber, I travelled to Pip Farm to spend time with an amazing group of women, and to be immersed a little in Yvonnes world of joyful paintings and beautiful Devon countryside.
The event was so much more than an open artists studio, more of a two day retreat if you would like a label. We began with lunch around the enormous kitchen table, a chance to greet friends both new and old. Then were treated to a visit to Yvonnes studio, a trip to Totnes and a look at Yvonnes gallery there. Totnes is lovely, so full of beautiful little shops! I haven't explored much of Devon yet but it's firmly on my list now.
Before I share some photos with you, I'd love to introduce you to Yvonne Coomber, who is a British contemporary artist based in South Devon. Yvonne’s work is inspired by tumbling hedgerows, tangled meadowlands, open moorland and magical forests.
It's not difficult to see why they appeal to me is it? If you have followed me on Instagram for any length of time, you will know that I spend my summer evenings sitting in fields and hedgerows photographing the wild flowers. If ever there was a perfect piece of art for me, Yvonnes would be it!
Although tricky to capture in a photograph, Yvonnes use of glitter, gold leaf and rainbow glazes make the paintings come alive. They change with the light and are a beautiful thing to see. Yvonne will tell you herself that her work is a constant pursuit for beauty and happiness.
As you can imagine, Yvonnes studio is full of texture, colour and a certain kind of joy too. Yvonne actually paints outdoors beside the studio, and with a view across rolling hills it's not hard to see why.
It may be small but Yvonnes gallery is perfectly designed and full of Yvonnes beautiful paintings, prints, cards and her new venture into fabric. Not to mention the most incredible roll top oak desk...
Many of Yvonnes paintings were with us at Pip Farm dressing the rooms too, alongside beautiful cushions, chairs and lampshades. I have my eye on a particular print called Gentle Love, it was with us in the farmhouse and I stopped to admire it many times on my way past!
For those of you who love a floral photo - Yvonne has started a lovely new hashtag on Instagram (already one of my favourites) so do come and join in with #wildforflowers
Dulwich Artists’ Open House Event 11-12 May and 18-19th May 2018 - more info here
Totnes and Dartington Open Studios 26-28 May 2018 - more info here
Yvonne Coomber Art GalleryTotnes - more info here
Pip Farm is an amazing farmhouse, renovated beautifully and tucked away in the country lanes near Newton Abbott. The accommodation is spread between two buildings and the kitchen in particular is wonderful! Think beaten copper sink, range cooker, table to seat - well I didn't actually count - but easily 15 of us. But then I am inclined to love any kind of kitchen gathering and have hosted more than I can count myself, I truly believe in the kitchen being the heart of the home...
The garden has a stream running through it, an outdoor kitchen with another enormous table (yes I do love a decent sized table!), hammocks, patios. A kitchen garden. I thoroughly recommend you have a look if you are ever planning to stay in this area, I'm already thinking it would be a perfect place to bring my extended family one day perhaps.
From breakfast, to lunch, to cream tea, to dinner, by way of a couple of incredible cocktails and mocktails, chef Djamila comes very highly recommended. I am also slightly in awe of her stamina, working from dawn chorus, gathering in the kitchen garden, til late night clearing away after us all. A huge thank you to Djamila for such incredible feasts! (not many photos/too busy eating, definitely recommend the chocolate torte with olives...)
Holly grows and arranges flowers for bouquets, weddings and events. We were all slightly in awe of the tulip goodness she brought along! And they looked so beautiful alongside Yvonnes work. Holly made several arrangements that dressed every room in the farmhouse.
The whole two days was just lovely. Yvonne and her husband Mike, the team who work with Yvonne, and the other guests (some of whom I have known online for a long time!) made the whole experience joyful and somehow that joyfulness is perfectly matched with Yvonnes work.
Another experience I will treasure.