I was in my twenties when I first visited the village I now live in and lost my heart to it; and I'd just entered into my thirties when I managed to move here, in 1990. At that time, I remember looking at the work of older, more established artists, and hoping that I, too, would be able to fashion a life here with my art at its center -- while also forging a path that was uniquely my own (as discussed in January's On Influence posts).
One of the pleasures of growing older (besides finding that path) is taking on a different role in village life: My generation is now becoming the "older generation," while a new group of younger artists is establishing and defining itself.* These younger artists (in their twenties and thirties) are amazingly talented, accomplished, and visionary; and it is exciting and inspiring to watch as their art, careers, and lives evolve. They, not us, will make this village whatever it is going to be in this new century...and I'm personally praying for a long, long life, because I want to be around to watch and enjoy it!
Danielle Barlowe, whose workspace is pictured above and below, is one of this new generation of artists. Raised here in the hills of Devon, and now raising a young family of her own, she's a painter, textile artist, gardener, cook, naturalist, keeper of ponies and dogs, and she writes beautifully about all these things on her Notes from the Rookery blog.
Danielle says: "After years of working on the dining room table, or in a damp and mouldy shed, I've just taken the bold (and rather scary) step of renting a studio, sharing with my sister. It's proving to be a wonderfully positive and liberating experience. I love the fact I don't have to put my things away after me! I can walk out of the studio, and know that when I return, no small fingers will have helpfully tried to improve a piece I've been working on. Or borrowed my pencils to draw in the garden, scattering them over the lawn on the way. Or absent-mindedly used my stanley knife to slash a piece of jaw-droppingly expensive watercolour paper into tiny shreds. So it's fabulous. I've been able to indulge myself, and paint very personal pieces, on BIG pieces of paper. And sketch. Lots.
"The studio is in the centre of the village, so I can step outside the door and talk to people - something I had almost forgotten how to do, locked away in my shed. I can even pop next door for a real cup of coffee, to bring back to my desk. Oh what luxury! All the while quite deliberately forgetting that actually, I am supposed to be doing paintings to sell, in order to pay the rent on my lovely new studio. Otherwise I shall have to return to my tiny corner at home, and paints will again have to share with sewing threads."
To see more of Danielle's enchanting work, please visit her blog and her Etsy shop -- where you can support her new studio, by the way, by purchasing a lovely print or two. Also please visit her sister Angharad's blog, Sustainable Styling, to see photos of the other rooms in their shared studio, and more of the others wonders created within it. Angharad is a clothing and costume designer (and fashion photographer) who specializes in working with recycled materials -- and her work, too, is terrific.
* Footnote: We've seen desktop photos from some of these younger village artists already: painters Virginia Lee, David Wyatt, and Rima Staines, and jewelry designer Miriam Boy.