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May 11, 2019

Yvonne Coomber’s artist retreat

Three weeks ago I was invited by contemporay artist 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 days.

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Yvonne is such a beautiful, generous soul and feels passionate about building a collaborative community of like minded women to share their skills and creativity.

Pips FarmhouseWe took over Pip Farm and for three days the house buzzed with the hum of Instagrammers, designers and creatives all sharing ideas and experiences over deliciously nourishing meals, country walks and skill sharing sessions.

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Every window sill and table was thoughtfully adorned with stunning seasonal blooms designed and grown by local florist Marta Matson. The main focus of Yvonne’s work is her love of nature and she is passionate about conservation and preservation of wild flower meadows. Yvonne and I first met on Instagram through our shared love of all things floral and her hashtag is #wildforflowers

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The farm has so many beautiful corners and I especially love the kitchen garden with it’s rickety gate and rows of vegetables and herbs just beginning to burst forth. The hedgerows, newly turned green were alive with hawthorn blossom, cow parsley and bluebells. The scent of apple blossom in the garden filled the air.

-7004778366440610729_IMGL0409With so much inspiration, we couldn’t resist breaking off in to little huddles with our cameras to style flowers, shoot blossom and absorb the gardens. Yvonne had filled the farmhouse with her work and new range of linen meadow home furnishings. A natural and fitting backdrop to so much floral inspired art.

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I loved the walk around Dartington Hall, a favourite spot for Yvonne and husband Mike and wondering around the tranquil gardens, it’s easy to see why they are both so inspired by the ever changing landscape.

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Bex from Botanical Tales had bought with her a collection of beautiful dried grasses and wild flowers and showed us how she creates her signature mini wreaths. It was so peaceful to create in the moment and just put down the phones for an hour whilst he were all absorbed in making.

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We visited Yvonne’s studio set in the heart of the South Hams, just outside picturesque Totnes. Such peace! Breathing in the natural beauty, it’s easy to understand that Yvonne’s art is a heartfelt tribute to the magical setting that surrounds her.

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She paints mostly outside, but her little studio is a piece of art in itself with layers of vibrant paint adorning every surface.

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I fell in love with the soothing colours of this pastel canvas. Yvonne wasn’t sure whether it was finished, but is loving the new direction and the deeper, unknown exploration of herself. Exploring vulnerability of the human heart is important to her and she pours her passion and life experiences in to her work.

Work in progress

Yvonne’s joyful spirit shines through everything and her Totnes home is a collection of cherished possessions, textures and colours of a life well travelled.

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Julia from Humphrey and Grace led a talk on Instagram and it was a valuable session on sharing experiences of the ups and downs of algorithms, vulnerability and creativity. Dörte and Georgie from Curly Carrot HQ shared their knowledge of Pinterest and getting the most from the app. I found this session really useful as I haven’t used Pinterest in a meaningful way for years and the talk really reminded me of why I used to love it. You may well find me there these days!

Yvonne's gallery

“Painting for me is a love affair. Spontaneously and instinctively, my paintings demand risk, courage and a weaving of magic out of what emerges. Surrendering to the canvas, I touch the place where mystery lies” Yvonne Coomber

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It really was a special few days and creating real life relationships with like minded people you only ever chat to online is so important. Sweet memories that will stay close  all year x

Collaboration, Floral retreat

  1. Gill

    May 12th, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous few days Janne. So many beautiful photos to look at, you must have been in heaven with all those gorgeous flowers and Yvonnne’s artwork!

  2. Janne Ford

    June 4th, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    Thanks Gill. It was such a special few days and I feel very lucky to have been invited by Yvonne x

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