Friday, 16 October 2015

Postcards from the Fortunate Isles

My Scilly sketchbook, with postcard collages

Writing postcards, as I have opined elsewhere, is a dying art. Not so the postcards.

I remember in Greece, perhaps a couple of decades ago, that suddenly pictures of little white houses, jaunty fishing boats, cats basking in the sun, terracotta pots and bright geraniums burst on to the scene as welcome alternatives to the tired cliches. (But now of course cliches themselves.)

Postcards can influence how we view a country 

On the Isles of Scilly, I have been delighted to come across a whole new range of postcards at St Mary's only newsagent - daily newspapers on sale after the boat comes in, Sunday newspapers available on Monday - that add an individual twist to the beautiful cliches of blue skies, turquoise seas and amethyst amaryllis, which I wrote about a few days ago. The cards, by the local Barefoot Photographer, have a freshness that I suspect could only be captured by someone who loves where they live and is intimately in tune with the spirit of Scilly: high and low horizons showing almost nothing but sky or sea; natural landmarks photographed by starlight; rock pools and thunderclouds; a single gull landing splashily on the water. Her constantly changing gallery of photographs on Facebook makes me want to stay on the islands for ever.

Barefoot Photographer postcards, lightly customised before sending

Collage using postcards of Scilly by the Barefoot Photographer and others

Her lovely images have inspired me to embark on a series of collages. (The people at the newsagents must think I have lots of friends.) I am grateful to her for allowing me to reproduce them here.

Sky collage, inspired by Joseph Cornell

The first of these (also using other image sources), was a response to a work by Joseph Cornell at the Royal Academy this summer, which consisted of discs of sky cut from magazines. And it feeds into my ongoing cloud obsession.

Bed quilt design, so I can wrap myself in clouds

This led, by way of the door-in-the-sky-and-sea images above, to a design for a bed-size quilt. It will not, alas, look as striking as this when it is made up from the selection of small-scale sky fabrics available, but I can perhaps add to them with cloud-like hand-dyed fabrics and batiks.

Every sketchbook needs a cover, and here is mine, starring the extraordinary red bromeliad that grows wild in large bushes.

Back home tomorrow...



  1. Loved the postcard- Thank You
    and LOVED the postcard play-around on the Blog
    Long live The Scillies! X

  2. Thanks for sharing. Loved being on holiday with you. Looks like you have more than enough ideas to keep you going over the winter.