“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.