Finding Magic

“Finding Trewyn Studio was a sort of magic’, wrote Barbara Hepworth. “Here was a studio, a yard and garden where I could work in open air and space.”

We had to go into St Ives in May as I had an appointment with the GP about my sciatica. We hummed and hawed as to whether to bother parking up and having a wander and after finding three car parks full we almost went home, but luckily found a spot in the Barnoon car park, high up on the hill by the cemetery. Knowing this meant a steep walk back to the car was a bit off-putting, but we really fancied popping into the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden as we had our lovely Tate St Ives Locals Pass and it really is a lovely place in spring.

The garden is small and often busy, but very beautiful and I enjoy finding different ways to photograph both the flowers and the sculptures. The day was warming up too and we could easily have spent a couple of hours there.

Though concerned with form and abstraction, Hepworth’s art was primarily about relationships: not merely between two forms presented side-by-side, but between the human figure and the landscape, colour and texture, and most importantly between people at an individual and social level.  (Source: Tate )

“I think every sculpture must be touched, it’s part of the way you make it and it’s really our first sensibility, it is the sense of feeling, it is first one we have when we’re born. I think every person looking at a sculpture should use his own body. You can’t look at a sculpture if you are going to stand stiff as a ram rod and stare at it, with a sculpture you must walk around it, bend toward it, touch it and walk away from it.”

Whenever I visit the garden I am acutely aware of the relationship between the planting and the sculptures that sit amongst it. The juxtaposition of shapes and textures, the colours and the forms. I cannot simply walk around the garden. I have to move in one direction to study a sculpture and then another to study it from a different angle. And then again looking at the way it interacts with other sculptures nearby, or plants. It is a small garden, but one of very different moods.

Patterns from the trees and leaves when the sun comes out, dappled shade creating contrasting light and shadow, strong sunlight bleaching the copper verdigris. I want to touch the sculptures, even those that I am warned off doing, so I get as close as I can with my lens to absorb the material, the colour, the skill of the sculptor.

Inside the little studio are several other sculptures alongside climbers, succulents in terracotta pots, an old chair or two, ferns and a Geranium maderense. It feels as though the artist has just stepped out for a while.

Inside was warm and comfortable, a little shabby, I could imagine myself in this space. Potting bench in one corner.

~wander.essence~ photography



  1. restlessjo says:

    I can just imagine you prowling around these, Jude. There are some wonderful shapes, and as you say, so tactile. 🙂 🙂 Lots of curves and see through bits. You’ve captured them really well.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I love the curves and the colours too. Speaking of which the sky is turning a pretty peach as I write this.

  2. pommepal says:

    A truly magical place Jude, well captured in your photos. It brings back so many memories from back in 1990 when we discovered this wonderland of shape and form and wandered around in awe of the skill, imagination and sheer brilliance of Barbara Hepworth.

  3. Great post! You captured a variety of wonderful images.

  4. I can see why you would want to visit time and again, Jude. It would be different depending on the light and the time of day. A visitor pass is a great idea.

  5. A wonderful post for a Monday morning (or any time!) Those sculptures are so serene, and you’ve photographed them so beautifully. Hope the GP magicked away the sciatica, and that the walk back up the hill wasn’t too gruelling.

    1. Heyjude says:

      GP gave me painkillers and an appointment for the physio dept which two weeks later gave me exercises to do. Fortunately apart from the ankle still giving me occasional pain all is well. And the hill wasn’t too bad as we went up through the churchyard.

  6. Dina says:

    I hope your ankle is much better by now, Jude. This place is very special, a spot I’d visit over and over agin with the camera. Lovely captures.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Dina, the sciatica has gone, but still some nerve issues to the ankle which comes and goes. Still I am grateful that the awful pain has gone.

  7. How lovely – I wouldn’t mind a few of those sculptures in my own garden. 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Me neither! I would need a larger garden though! This one is small, but still bigger than mine.

      1. Perhaps you need to introduce levels into your garden so that you can have more plants and room for sculptures! 😉

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