A few weeks a go I was invited to a retreat in Devon by Yvonne Coomber, a British contemporary artist based in Totnes. Yvonne and I have followed each other on Instagram for quite a while and I love her floral hashtag #WildForFlowers. Like me, she adores wild flowers and her work is just bubbling with colour and effervescent happiness. We’re both inspired by natural, wild florals typically found in the hedgerows and meadowlands of the English countryside and I am always drawn to the colour and pattern that each of her paintings portray. Think tumbling hedgerows, tangled meadowlands and magical forests. Each of Yvonne’s images has a title often inspired by a piece of music. I have a gorgeous print named ‘Your love is King’ after the Sade song which takes me straight back to my college days studying fashion & textile design. We used to play Sade in the studio in our ripped jeans and Dr Martens thinking we were super cool. This is how I styled it earlier in the Spring.
So I really was intrigued by the retreat. I had never been to one before and wasn’t sure what to expect, but happy to discover that a few other Instagrammers that I knew had also been invited. An early start (with a long stop for coffee and an Instagram catch up) meant I arrived late morning at Pip Farm, the venue for the two days. Winding country lanes, high hedges of hawthorn with cows looking placidly over farm gates and the early spring sunshine made me feel beyond cheerful. Any trepidation I was feeling evaporated as I was met with so much warmth by Yvonne, husband Mike, Yvonne’s Mum and the whole of her lovely team George, Sarah and Claire. It was so lovely to be joined by some lovely Instagram friends too. Bex, Julia, Lulu, Lucy, Holly and Miranda
Pip Farm is the most perfect venue for a family gathering or a special occasion with accommodation split between the farmhouse and a converted barn. Yvonne had decorated the interior with her artwork and it really was a perfect backdrop for her floral imagery.
This was in the kitchen where Djamilla was preparing an incredible welcome lunch for us all. The food throughout the whole two days was utterly delicious. Pip Farm has a kitchen garden and I loved how she was able to gather herbs and wild garlic from the walled vegetable plot.
Nothing like a petal filled bath to end the day!
The light was just perfect all day long and the sun shone constantly. This was taken early in the morning and there were quite a few of us snapping away in our PJs at 7am! Yvonne has just released The linen meadow collection of cushions and lampshades and the rainbow flowerscapes really complemented the natural stone and wooden surfaces of the farmhouse.
Yvonne’s Mum had been busy adorning all the window ledges with the prettiest wild flowers from the hedgerows.
In the afternoon we were treated to afternoon tea at Yvonne’s studio, set amongst the idyllic rolling Devonshire countryside. Yvonne paints most of her work outside and no wonder she is always inspired with this view.
Look at this studio floor. Layers of paint and a piece of artwork in its own right!
There were gorgeous spring posies adorning every surface, grown and arranged by Holly of Holly-Bee flowers. Look at these belle epoque tulips! I’m definitely going to try and grow some in my flower patch next year
Yvonne describes her work as a constant pursuit of beauty and happiness and with her studio surrounded by stunning vistas and the River Dart on her doorstep, joy can never be far away
Every works surface was a riot of colour with rainbow coloured glazes and paints.
Yvonne’s gallery in Totnes is a joy, a haven of colour and inspiration. It was my first visit to Totnes and what a charming town filled with gorgeous unique shops and tearooms.
Yvonne in her happy place surrounded by flowers
And I certainly had a wonderful two days in my happy place too #inspiredbypetals I came away feeling so rested and inspired by the whole experience.