I remember some of my happiest times as young girl growing up in Kent, were roller skating along the seafront and charging to the end of the pier for ice cream (trying not to look down at the sea through the gaps in the wooden planks). At home I would spend hours drawing or making, I was always the one at school with the full range of art kit stashed in her bag (my flesh-toned pencil made me everyone’s “best friend” in art class). The sea and art have been two major themes throughout my life.
I left sixth form and carried on studying art at college, then went off to Portsmouth University in Hampshire where I proudly got myself a B.A. degree; sadly this left me woefully under prepared for real life. During these post-academia “wilderness” years I lived in Sussex, and was lucky enough to meet my now husband, who was just beginning to get the recognition he deserved as an artist. On our weekends we’d wander The Lanes in Brighton for inspiration, or walk along the beach in Worthing taking lots of photos and daydreaming of far-away adventures. Around about this time Red Propeller Gallery in South Hams, Devon, who’d seen his work, approached Russ about a solo show and before we knew it we were sat on a train nervously making our way there for opening night. The show was a sell-out; we both instantly fell in love with the beautiful coastline and we made a promise, there and then, that we’d make it our home.
We spent the next five years there, and eventually I ended up working at the gallery myself. I couldn’t be happier, finally my life came back into focus and a sense of purpose began to develop. I helped curate, promote and photograph shows, which mixed internationally recognised names with local home grown talent. I also created and authored the ‘Red Propeller Uncut’ blog, which offered the reader a behind the scenes view. Recently I was flattered (hides her blushes) when they did an article on me calling me “the voice of RPG”; if you’d like to read more then please click HERE. In addition, I worked in a theatre in Dartmouth called The Flavel, where my time was divided between being a duty manager and marketing assistant. I absolutely loved my new role overseeing productions, expanding our social media presence, writing press releases, taking photos of live events, writing the monthly newsletter and again I helped curate gallery shows.
In 2014, life again presented us with the opportunity to take one final giant leap to the far west of Cornwall. I can now officially say I’ve lived in all but one county along the south coast from Kent to Cornwall (bar Dorset), but this time I know we’ve found home. We live happily on the outskirts of Hayle, nestled behind the dunes and only fifteen minutes walk from the sea. During the first few years here I’ve assisted Russ and have even started creating my own digital collages. However now I’m fully acclimatised, it feels like the right time to additionally carry on where I left off back in Devon; to involve myself in what’s going on creatively in my local area – so here I go!
Mel (MADE Cornwall)