It will be of no surprise to you that I am completely in love with Bodmin Moor, living only 10 minutes away, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't look out onto its sheer beauty or feel its changeable weather!!! Given a chance, I would be there in a heartbeat, even on the most dismal of days the moor has a moody, enticing atmosphere that draws you back time after time.
Bodmin Moor is the largest area of outstanding natural beauty in Cornwall at nearly 200 square kilometres. The land itself lies at the comparatively low height of 200 metres, rising to 400 at Rough Tor and 420 metres at Brown Willy (the highest point). It is one of the warmest and wettest uplands in Britain making its landscape both varied and unique. For the most, the moorland is a large expanse of grassland and heather grazed by sheep, cattle and ponies. The level of grazing means the grass moorland maintains a purple moor, while the heather is restricted to limited areas. The different types of moorland vegetation create a varying patchwork of colour and texture, which is forever changing within the seasons.
These large expanses of grassland, however, are punctuated by granite outcrops which are strewn with boulders, exposed and windswept, the granite uplands rising to tors and clitter slopes. These granite uplands of Bodmin Moor are desolate, open and a treeless, with extensive peat bogs and mires, it is a haven for wildlife and a place of raw beauty. Leaving the granite uplands, streams cut steep, narrow valleys into ancient woodlands where ancient oak trees still remain. In places the water forms powerful gorges and dramatic waterfalls, filling the air with the sound of rage. The wildness of the moors is thrown into relief when it reaches the central part, which is intrinsically lower, rolling and more gentle in aspect, with small pockets of enclosed pasture and shallow valleys. Heading south the moors are dominated by scrub woodland, bogs, reservoirs and forestry plantations.
This assortment of habitats makes the moor a home to a plethora of plants and some rare and protected wildlife such as Otters, Marsh Fritillary Butterflies, Bats and songbirds, such as the Stonechat and Wheatear. Bodmin Moor is also the only place in the world where a rare moss, the Cornish Path Moss grows.
I have spent several years on the moors now and every time I am surprised by its grace in such a harsh environment. For me, there are still new places to discover, enticing paths to follow and wildlife to be found. It is this unbound love for the moor which has led me to start a new collection of artwork inspired and derivative of the moors. With some sketches already at hand and a head brimming with new exciting possibilities, I headed out onto moors to set ink to paper and gather items to bring back to my studio.
Now with a sketchbook full in hand and collected items of the moors on my desk, I have started to transform them into designs ready for my new collection.
Eager to start making I have started work on my latest piece ‘Pounce’. Within this piece, I wanted to capture the baren dried grassland of the winter moors with its vast, open, blue sky above. Sitting in contrast with the rich, auburn coat of the fox as it pounces down on the burrowing mole below. There fast movement disturbing the desolate peace of the moors.
I haven't quite finished 'Pounce' but as soon as I have and its been framed, I will pop it on to my website. I will try to get it on before the end of March if all goes well!!!