Great galleries to visit on Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are a magnet for artists and creative souls. They’re lured to the islands by the rich intensity of light and its ever-changing effect on seascapes and landscapes. Each island has galleries to browse and enjoy; each has artists working in a variety of media – from oil, watercolours, jewellery making and beachcombed shells, felting and weaving to exquisite stained glass, fired earthenware, and screen printing.
Here’s our pick of the bunch…
Strictly speaking, you get three in one if you head down to these pretty studios located just behind the beach at Porthloo. You’ll find Susan, the “Scilly Socks” lady in Studio 1 - craftswoman and painter who produces colourful works on canvas as well as using wool and felt in socks, hats and gloves. Next door is Carly, who creates handmade beadwork jewellery, recycled can jewellery and a range of handmade soaps in her Scilly Gems workshop. Then pop upstairs to meet artist Peter MacDonald Smith, who has lived on Scilly for more than 50 years producing both figurative and abstract paintings worked from sketches and memory.
A short meander from Porthloo, you’ll discover the small and friendly Glandore Gallery, home to Stephen Morris who has exhibited far and wide around the UK. Stephen paints exclusively ‘en plein air’ in watercolour and, more recently, inks, with a colourful and distinctive signature style.
Phoenix Craft Workshops
Head to the Porthmellon Business Park and tucked away behind the fire station, you’ll find a co-operative of local artists and craftspeople at Phoenix Craft Studios. Work includes paintings, stained and fused glass by Oriel Hicks; jewellery by Gail Payne; fabric and silk painting by Liz Askins and Julia Williams, and screen prints by Vickie Heaney.
Most of what is crafted here can be viewed and purchased, alongside works from other local artists, at the brand new Tamarisk Gallery in Hugh Town.
Silver Street Studio & Gallery
Right round the corner from Tamarisk, in Silver Street, is Steve Sherris’ little studio and gallery. A landscape artist of a distinctive style, Steve uses oil and acrylic on canvas to interpret scenes with bold and vivid colours, paying particular attention to Scilly’s fantastic light.
Island Hall Art Workshops
Over on St. Agnes, why not wander to the new St Agnes Craft Studio and workshops at the Island Hall?
You’ll find Emily Sladen, a recent graduate in textiles who makes intricate framed landscapes using a range of materials along with cushions and other pieces inspired by Scilly. Trish Peacock weaves her wool to create unique scarves and beautifully draping wraps, hangings and other items made from cotton, silk, alpaca, wool and cashmere: each piece an exquisite one-off. Next door, Lou Simmonds makes baskets working with St Agnes tamarisk and willow together with cotton rag paper as well as recycled card, beach plastic and driftwood.
Fay Page Jewellery
Okay, so not strictly speaking a gallery but Fay Page’s studio at Lower Town St. Martin’s is a wonderful workshop where she creates her silver jewellery, all inspired by her island surroundings. Its walls are covered in beautiful artefacts collected over the years as well as showcases of her creations!
And finally, take a trip to Tresco where, right on the New Grimsby shoreline, you’ll discover the wonderful Gallery Tresco. This is a haven for art lovers with some of Cornwall’s and Scilly’s finest art, ceramics, blown glass and sculptures found in this light and airy converted boatshed. There are many exhibitions throughout the summer season offering a platform to both established and new painters.