Feeling Cornish


Cornish holiday

Recently I met my mother for lunch and we spent a cherishable afternoon, chatting, laughing and enjoying memories – my mother is lovely company.

I’m not sure how we came to it, but I learned that I was conceived in Cornwall.   My parents had planned a holiday there as a bit of a break, shortly after my older sister was born, in fact really soon after (there is less than a year difference in our ages).  Later, as a family, we returned many times for wonderful holidays.  This little old photo shows my sister and I (that’s me on the right) posing for a holiday snap.  I remember this distinctly, I thought I was very clever standing so close to the edge of the wall.  I can feel now the rust on the railing I was holding, I was taking my body weight on that arm, leaning away from the drop, and hoping that my father would hurry with the picture before I lost my grip.

Leach pottery soup dishes

On each visit we brought home Cornish things, and eventually built quite a collection of tableware from Leach Pottery.  These wonderful soup bowls look like little kilns,with their shaped lids.  I love the texture of this stoneware clay – its Dobles clay, from the sand and clay pits in St. Agnes, Cornwall.  Inside, the bowls are glazed in greens and browns, deep shiny contrast to the raw toasted clay outers.

Leach pottery soup dishes

Leach pottery soup bowls

The natural rawness, texture and earthy colours in combination with the simple design are so pleasing, and evocative of those holidays.

Texture of stoneware clay

The earth of Cornwall is rather special, not only does it give forth these beautiful clays, but also extraordinary stone.  This is a bowl, also brought back from one of our Cornish holidays, made in Serpentine stone, quarried on the Lizard peninsula.  The Lizard is unique in its geology, the serpentine rock is found nowhere else in Cornwall – in fact nowhere else in England.

Bowl in Cornish Serpentine

Just look at those colours, and markings – makes me want to get in the car right now, drive down and bring home some of this beautiful stone for carving.

Serpentine stone from Cornwall

I do actually regularly work with Cornish stone, the soapstone called Polyphant.  I’ve made many carvings in this magnesium rich metamorphic rock.  I thought it was perfect for my Otter sculpture as it too, like the Serpentine, has beautiful colouring and markings.  The soapstone gets its name from the little village where it is dug out – Polyphant in Launceston, Cornwall, where it has been quarried since Norman times, with many early carvings found in churches in East Cornwall and also Canterbury and Exeter Cathedrals.

Muscari bulbs in a pot

I’m feeling quite happy about being just a teeny, tiny bit Cornish.







  1. Comment by countrysidetales:

    What a lovely post and I love that piccy of you and your sister- your expression is wonderful! I have a had look at your otter. My goodness, it looks like it’s been created from water, magical.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Thankyou – I did want the otter to look wet, just like it came out of the water. Do you have best memories from childhood holidays? I’ve just been thinking about these sorts of thing, with Mother’s day coming up.

  2. Comment by countrysidetales:

    I grew up on a farm and spent my days riding my scruffy pony through the woods, tracking wild animals and generally looking like a wild child (in the nature rather than rock sense!).

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Sounds utterly perfect! I’m still tracking wild animals. What a good base too for your current studying.

  3. Comment by Amanda:

    You do look a cheeky pair of girls in the photo, it’s a lovely shot.
    I do like the pots as well… very earthy . The Otter stone is beautiful.
    Amanda xx

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      I suspect we were Amanda! The things we bring back from holidays are treasures aren’t they, and I just love pots. Thanks for lovely comment.

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