By Dieneke Ferguson
14 August – 16 August 2015
As in previous years, the Cornwall Design Fair and Trereife House had invited me to stay at their B&B at the Manor House during the Cornwall Design Fair.
Although it was pouring with rain on the Thursday when they were setting up, it was dry when I arrived on the Saturday afternoon, although it was a bit cold.
What struck me this year was the majestic setting of the tents blending in with the beautiful gardens, the Cornish countryside and the Manor House.The Fair is set in the beautiful grounds of Trereife House, situated less than a mile west of Penzance with direct access from the main A30.
About 90 Designers and makers from Cornwall and beyond showed off their work which ranged from jewellery, to glass, tableware, furniture and interior accessories. The show had a very friendly feel to it.
Now in its eighth year, the Cornwall Design Fair has definitely established itself as a celebration of the quality and diversity of contemporary Cornish design as well as design from further afield.
Simon Mount and Laura Baxter‘s stand had lovely book stands with reclaimed bus signs. The boats were made with original 60s textiles. Laura Baxter designs and makes jewellery using enamel and vintage Formica.
Jo Downs Designs and makes stunning glass fish which can be mounted in whatever combination suited.
Aline Johnson‘s kiln-formed glass for tableware and chandeliers were very much in demand. Especially so as she works to commission as wel.
I loved Anya Keeley‘s curious creatures and tableaux made made in wire with vintage and reclaimed materials. And in particular the frog.
Lynne Bartlett‘s colourful jewellery from titanium and aluminium are inspired by her PHD research and are very reasonably priced.
I loved Helen Round‘s beatiful hand-printed linen homeward and accessories which is inspired by the Cornish landscape. All her products are made by hand in Cornwall.
Curvalinea who also sells through the Hidden Art E-shop exhibited their lovely new Sparkly Top Tables.
Hannah Dowding Furniture designs handcrafted furniture and a handmade gift range. This includes a holder for the Ceramic Poppies.
karen Trower designs and makes a range of animals, birds and ‘spreads’ made in silk and leather.
With increasing national press coverage and with visitor numbers previously exceeding 5000, the appeal has widened to designers from further afield, all drawn to the inspiring setting of Trereife House, the beautiful Queen Anne ancestral home of the Le Grice family located in one of the most historically creative areas of Cornwall, Penwith.
Penny Seume Textiles combines original paintings, collages and photographic imagery of landscapes which are then printed onto velvet, linen and silk.
There were workshop sessions and design-led activities for children and some local design colleges also proudly displayed their work. For those living closer by or came by car there was also the opportunity to buy some stunning plants.
There was a great variety of wholesome food both from the Café at Trereife House as well as others. Gwelhellin was one of the groups providing the music.
Trereife House itself was open to the public and as in previous years work from selected designers and makers was exhibited alongside the treasures of the House. There was a good balance which enabled also the original pieces belonging to the Manor House to shine. For instance Taja’s slab-built porcelain tableware with the original blue Seuji glaze blended in perfectly.
The selected pieces contrasted with the beautiful symmetry of the Queen Anne front and the period furniture and furnishings within. This included Lorna Syson’s cushions inspired by the world around her, from walks along the Cornish coastline to growing up in the British countryside.
Liz Le Grice of Trereife and art librarian for Cornwall says
‘The curated rooms have created opportunities for some very interesting mixes of traditional classic style with the clean, uncluttered lines and geometric shapes of contemporary designs’. ‘Visitors find the contrast of contemporary design set within the beauty of this period house a fascinating subject. For designers, it is a rare opportunity to show our work in the timeless elegance of such a unique setting’
For more information visit www.cornwalldesignfair.co.uk