Friday, 27 May 2011

A ramble amongst ancient Cornish stones

We're getting the map out today dust off your walking boots
go and get your comfy fluffy socks on
I'm going to take you for a walk and
show you another side of Cornwall that I love

In May the Cornish countryside around here is stunning
with yellow gorse and broom dusting the landscape with gold
from St. Ives to St. Just

St. Just Summer by Ginny Harrison
a card I bought at an exhibition in St. Ives Arts Club on May Day
I love this painting by Ginny Harrison
it epitomises the colours of the Penwith countryside

when my sister was down at the beginning of May
I took her out on the coast road between St. Ives and St. Just
She had a new camera to test so I knew she would love that
the whole of this part of Cornwall is littered with bronze age settlements,
disused mines, shafts, engine houses with crumbling chimneys,
ancient stone piles, circles of stones, quoits and medieval churches

Coupled with breathtaking scenery it is a beautiful day out,
especially when the skies are dramatic and heavy with storm

gorse at Morvah
The cows in the field are content to munch daisies
and spend all day admiring their sea views

a moo from Morvah

I wonder if Cornish cows know how lucky they are?

do you like butter?
mmm ... let me see ... hold your chin up

Our first stop was at Yew Tree Gallery
a favourite of mine just outside of Morvah
where we enjoyed seeing the paintings of Rod Walker and
awesome tapestry weavings by Kirsten Glasbrook

Trewidden Spring - Rod Walker
this painting is "so spring"
I had to go and find some textile bits to handle ...

I found inspiring spring colours in threads from Chris Gray
my friend Chris has a stall at this year's Festival of Quilts
you will find her on stand E52

threads from The Textile Butterfly
some textile art beads that I made in spring colours of
lime, moss, green, yellow and gold

with interesting textures

and more gorgeous silk ribbons from Mudhound Studio
in spring greens

back to Morvah

Morvah it is one of the smallest parishes in Cornwall,
with just a handful of cottages, farms, the 13th century church
and the gallery and coffee shop at Morvah Schoolhouse

the cows in the field across the tiny lane
are always interested in who goes in the Schoolhouse
it's the highlight of their day!

we enjoyed tea and crumpets in the cafe downstairs
before viewing the ceramics by members of the
Cornwall Ceramics and Glass Group on display upstairs

colourful ceramics by Barry Marshall-Johhnson

textured ceramics by Vicky Heard that look like textile pieces

and ceramics by Bill Glover which I love for that
complementary mix of rusty orange and blue

the yellow broom in the jar had the fresh scent of lemons

Lemon - Rod Walker
the landscape in this part of Cornwall is scattered with stones
and the skyline broken frequently by the granite remains of many
tin mines and engine houses and on the coast road (B3306)
on the outskirts of Morvah can be seen Carn Galver tin mine
and engine houses with their crumbling chimney stacks

the day we chose to visit these ruins the sky was heavy
dark and moody with threatened rain
which made for a more dramatic atmosphere

eery skies on the road from Morvah to Madron

every now and then you happen upon a pile of stones on the roadside
most probably marking the site of an ancient burial chamber

this small one is marked on the map as
"pile of stones"
it reminds me of the miniature stonehenge in Spinal Tap :o)

but a little further along on the Madron road
you will come upon the real thing

Lanyon Quoit

Lanyon Quoit is a neolithic monument marking a tomb
and the stones were so aligned for ancient ritual purposes

In 1815, Lanyon Quoit was torn down by a storm
Nine years later enough money was raised by local inhabitants
to re-erect the structure. During the storm one of the uprights was broken in half. Thus, there are only three uprights today
and the structure does not stand as high as it once did
Before the storm, the capstone was raised at 7 feet high
and a man on horseback would have been able to ride under it

click here for a virtual tour
and see the landscape with Ding Dong mine in the background

and now we are going to walk the mile or so
(a Cornish half mile) to Men an Tol

don't worry ... that sky is a bit dark and threatening
but you won't get wet stick with me and you'll be fine

it feels like a long way because it's out in the middle of nowhere
but there are interesting things to see along the way

beautiful countryside as far as you can see in all directions
and little fields separated by dry granite stone walls
and always on the horizon are these farm buildings
with this gorgeous bright orange rusty tin roof

you can't miss that shock of orange against the dark, stormy sky

when I see this painting by John Piper
I am reminded of the walk to Men an Tol

the landscape has white grasses just like the painting

... now ... whose that lagging at the back there?
come on ... keep up ...

just over this stile and a few more yards more

and we are nearly at Men an Tol

Men an Tol means ... stone with a hole

it's thought to be a bronze age monument possibly once
the entrance to a burial chamber or part of a stone circle

you can just see Ding Dong mine on the horizon

According to folklore ...
the stone was believed to have ritual healing powers
with the most popular story being that children
were passed through the stone to cure them of ricketts

When you are there it's incredibly beautiful and very peaceful
We heard the sound of a cuckoo for the first time this year

The landscape is an interesting one with these dried grasses
I picked some to weave with ... but haven't got round to it yet

I took the photo below because it reminds me of my childhood with my cousins. We would take old blankets and make dens in the hollowed out ditch at the side of the field. It would have trees overhead that we would tie the blanket to (for a roof) and we had a blanket on the ground for a carpet. We would picnic there with our tea set until it started to get dark

The past two weeks have been busy as usual

I've made a start on my entry for Festival of Quilts and also The Brooklyn Sketchbook Project for 2012. I chose the theme of "in 10 minutes" and I've set up a blog dedicated to my pages to keep it all tidy and together. I've managed seven pages so far

I've also kept up going to art classes at St. Ives Arts Club on a Monday afternoon. It means a lot to me to have some time to play with new painting techniques and fill up a sketchbook with samples

and I've been busy making more beads for my Etsy shop

yes ... I finally got around to opening my shop and I'm pleased to say that since the weekend I have had 15 lovely sales and been featured in two treasuries, and now I am working on some of my hearts and other textile pieces which will be in the shop soon and more of my beads in different colour combinations

Carolyn Saxby Textiles on Etsy

Today I'm off out photographing some details for my FOQ art quilt to transfer to fabric and then Saturday we have the start of Open Studios Cornwall for a week and I shall be popping in to see Sandra Hardy and Vivien Staunton (both textiles) so that's a good start to the weekend

Hope you have a wonderful weekend too
I think we all deserve a nice cup of tea now!
(hope your feet aren't aching too much with all that walking we did!)

creative wishes


Sarah said...

Men an Tol is on my list of places I've never been to but would like to :)

I remember being surprised at how small it was when I saw a photo of my friend standing next to it quite recently, as before that I had only seen the picture postcard images of the circular stone looking big and dramatic against a red sky, etc.

But I'm fine with small and perfectly formed :)


gill said...

What a lovely walk! I did so enjoy it - Thank you! interesting to read you heard the cuckoo - I heard my first of the year on Wednesday (I usually hear my first in the 3rd week of April!)

Gez said...

Amazing photographs. What an incredible walk. Thank you for sharing ♥

Congratulations & good luck with your Etsy shop.xx

Wishing you a lovely weekend. Take care Carolyn.xx

Kickcan and Conkers said...

Thank you for letting me walk with you. I love Cornwall and would love to live there and share it's beauty with my half-French children. They've never been. It's beautiful.

winterwood said...

Carolyn you just have no idea how much I enjoy your rambles thru that beautiful country side and the explanations you give and the lovely art you have there. I just loved this post! I am such a fan of all things cornish!

Cusp said...

Oh thanks so much for this. Its years since I went to Lanyon Quoit or Men an Tol and God only knows when/if I'll ever get there again. Such great memories of Art School intensive week....somewhere I have slides (! old does THAT make me ) of projects and installations inspired by them. Lovely walk

Jane Housham said...

Lovely images -- as usual!

Angie Willis said...

Oh, how I'm beginning to look forward to your wonderful blogs! The orange roof on your walk reminded me of John Lowrie Morrison paintings - I'm a huge fan of his.

Twiglet said...

Thanks for sharing all those fab photos - I just feel the urge to either get my embellisher out and create a little landscape or use my fabric collage bits and bobs and make a pic that way - you always inspire me Carolyn!!

Barb Cady said...

That was a great walk.thank you. Could almost smell the air! Hope you have a great bank holiday weekend. x

Suztats said...

Such a nice walk in the countryside......enjoyed it especially as here it's pouring buckets...I love the rocks and huge boulders! Great pics!

La Dolce Vita said...

I cannot believe I have missed so many posts, been slaving away... and just got time to view your gorgeous tour! what a lovely beauty break!!xo

A bird in the hand said...

The words Cornwall and ramble seem to go together. A very magical tour (and I didn't even need my boots). I've rambled in Ireland and Scotland, and this reminds me of them.
Thank you :)) Now for that cup of tea.

libbyquilter said...

what a wonderful walk you've taken us on~! everything is both fascinating and the stones quite humbling in some way.

my favorite part: those luscious looking threads and your beads looking almost like little candies to have with our tea at the end of our walk.

congrats on etsy and i'll definatley be popping in soon.


Whippetmum said...

What a lovely walk- beautiful pictures, especially the cows!
I am very proud of the fact that my Great Grandfather was a Captain of Ding Dong Mine!

Julie said...

DH and I had a great day out with Harry Safari several years ago and went to all these ancient sites and to the mine. It was a foggy drizzly day and the atmosphere was very eerie but beautiful. We went to an old iron age village too, can't remember the name of it now and to Towednack church. Thank you for bringing back lots of memories, in particular one of my DH slipping over and landing in a puddle :-) only funny because he didn't hurt himself :-)) Your photos are all beautifully clear.


Thank you all dear blog friends for your very lovely comments. I love what you are saying about the walk

Now I am getting some messages on flickr and facebook that some readers are having a little trouble leaving a comment here. I just don't know what can be causing this problem but I will try to find out

Thank you for visiting anyway and lots of love to you all x


I've been doing a little research and it seems that for the last 24 hour period there has been a problem with blogger ... leaving comments and also the followers box has disappeared. Not just me ... but many blogs. Hopefully normal service will be resumed with both problems x

Lisa said...

Carolyn, a delightful virtual vacation.. I'm ready to buy a plane ticket! You live in such a charming storybook land..I always love your tours.. The ruins and the beach shots are my dramatic and full of's always a breath of fresh air coming a trip to the spa...
I'm so glad your etsy shop has been buzzing..I told you it would keep you busy! I can't wait to get my lovely textile beads.!! Many thanks for the ribbon mention..they do go well with your beads!

Joanna said...

Beautiful post, Carolyn. It was really interesting wandering around your lovely part of the country. I MUST get to Cornwall!!

The music was really calming too, thanks!


vintagerockchick said...

Thanks for the lovely walk Carolyn, and the selection of artwork was a real bonus. Makes me long to visit Cornwall again.
And lots of good luck with the shop!

missy k said...

Hi Carolyn

Well.... I took a cup of tea and two rich tea biscuits with me on the walk... I enjoyed it very much!!!!!

I especially love the stones.... truly amazing.


fibrefrolics said...

I enjoyed sharing your walk from start to finish. You are so lucky to live in such a stunningly beautiful part of the country. Loved all of the artwork and the friendly cows. I would have enjoyed the tea and crumpets too! Have a good week,

Pom Pom said...

Hello darling dear! You are so brilliant! What a tour! When Bill and I come to the UK in 2012, I shall show up in St. Ives, at your cottage door, with a big red heart! Surprise!

Julie Whitmore said...

Beautiful, peace giving post!
I loved seeing the pottery there, its all exceptional. What a stunning place you live in.

underatopazsky said...

That was wonderful...almost made up for us not being able to holiday in Marazion again this year. Chysauster or Carn Euny next?

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Lovely walk Carolyn - and I didn't even get out of breath he he!

Congratulations on the well deserved sales in your new shop. Lesley x

Menopausal musing said...

Love the photo of the tin roof............ and also the stone with the hole. Stones with holes have such association with mysticism/magic. I have a lovely book about the area my Granny lived in up in Scotland. "The Brahan Seer".... about the highland's equivalent of Nostradamus - he could see the future by looking through the hole in a stone he owned.........

Gina said...

What a wonderful walk - you have such a wionderful eye for colour and detail. Good luck with your shop!

Evelyn said...

I really enjoyed our little trek to Men An Tol!! I'm already looking forward to ur next adventure!! xx

Caroline said...

I've done a lot of walking in Cornwall, but not been here! Lovely art interludes too - thank you! Oh and congrats on your sales!

Jennyff said...

A visit to Cornwall is on my to do list, it's such a very long way from Scotland and I need to get my husband retired so we have more time together. So thank you for this little tour, everything I imagined and fibres too, gorgeous.

blueberries in the fields said...

Such a beautiful place you live Carolyn. the pictures are wonderful. thanks so much for this amazing visit. Wishing you a happy birthday too ! hope this day is filled with love and lots of surprises. sending love and hugs,
monique xoxoxoxo

sharon young said...

What a lovely collection photos and a great flavour of the West Country.
Happy birthday

mano said...

wonderful pictures - I love the Men an Tol and the old cornish mines - and the cow images are very funny.
good luck with your etsy shop!

noelle thomas said...

Carolyn,hello I had a lovely morning today with you, lesley and Diane, it was great to meet you . I have all my lovely things displayed on my dresser the heart is fab, as are the beadsI have admired those in your shop!!!! Perhaps we can meet up again sometime, be lovely!! I hope I can post this comment finally, have been trying to for ages it is such a lovely post your pictures are great!!Thanks again for today, Noelle xxxxx

Jacky said...

thanks for the journey Carolyn, love Cornwall, I spent one day there in 2006, quick visit to Polperro where my Great Grandfather was born. Stayed at Tintagel Castle for the night, it was breathtakingly beautiful, wish we had stayed longer, sigh, its on my bucket list.

Carolyn said...

That was wonderful. thanks for the journey Carolyn.

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Shoshi said...

(Tried to leave a comment the other day but beastly blogger wouldn't let me...)

Thank you so much for our wonderful virtual ramble, all the ancient stones, and all the juicy colours. For someone who is no longer able to go on real rambles as I'm limited to more or less flat surfaces and short distances by my wheelchair, this was a delight indeed! Hope you will take us on lots more! I yearn to get out more with my camera...

I love the colours of your beautiful beads.