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May 17, 2018

A Devonshire retreat with artist Yvonne Coomber

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.

You can say hello to Yvonne on Instagram here and Sanna at Pip Farm here.


  1. What a beautiful series of photos Janne! The colors make me so happy and excited for this warm weather! Wonderful job as always!

  2. Really enjoyed reading about your retreat Janne, sounds like you had a very inspiring couple of days. The I ages are beautiful and I love that paint covered studio floor!

  3. Anne Senior says:

    I almost believed I was on retreat with you, I felt transported to the Devon idyll. I love Yvonne’s inspirational and uplifting colours.

  4. Anne Senior says:

    I almost believed I was on retreat with you. I felt transported to the Devon idyll. I love Yvonne’s inspirational and uplifting colours.

    • Janne Ford says:

      Oh me too. Yvonne is such an inspiration and that part of Devon in the sunshine is just beautiful.

  5. Sacha says:

    Beautiful work, I’m still saving my pennies and waiting in anticipation xxxxx

    • Janne Ford says:

      Yvonne’s work is so beautiful isn’t. Colourful and inspiring just like the english countryside in summer

  6. Regina Richards says:

    Pure joy.A lady after my own heart.

  7. macslure.com says:

    MN: I love your beautiful florals and seaside landscapes. What do you find particularly inspiring about nature?

    • Janne Ford says:

      Thanks so much for your question. I am always inspired by the changing seasons and how each day can offer something new. Spring is my favourite season, but every month has it’s beauty.

  8. […] Yvonne Coomber to Devon. It was a wonderful way to end the busy month and as I had met Yvonne last year at a similar gathering I was really looking forward to a change of scenery and an inspiring few […]

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