Bucks Mills Artists' Cabin, North Devon

 Bucks Mills Artists' Cabin, North Devon

Judith Ackland, a Bideford girl, and Mary Stella Edwards formed a great artistic partnership after meeting as students. They travelled from London and spent months every year in The Cabin, Bucks Mills, hanging on the spectacular North Devon coast south of Clovelly. In 1948 they eventually managed to buy it, for £625.

Judith Ackland (L) and Mary Stella Edwards at Bucks Mills.

The National Trust gained ownership of The Cabin in 2008 and began a series inviting artists to take up residency for a short period of time. This to include ‘Open Days’ in which the public can gain access to The Cabin’s interior. I feel very honoured to be selected as ‘Artist in Residence’ this year, and from June 12 to the 23rd and most days will be there or in the surrounding countryside, depending on the weather. Please come on the Open Days if you can and feel free to disturb me at any other time (if you are able to find me!).

Ackland Edwards exhibition

Held at The Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Bideford from where you can buy a superb booklet about it.

As The National Trust say A rare opportunity to see inside this tiny artists retreat which has been left largely untouched since the 1970's. Last used by renowned artists Judith Ackland and Mary Stella Edwards, the cabin is exactly as they left it over 40 years ago and remains a hidden gem in the pretty coastal village of Bucks Mills. Meet with the current artist in residence, and learn about how they've been inspired by this artistic heritage.

Inspired by these two ladies, I plan to be drawing mostly with oil pastels in black but also colour on the special silk paper I love to use. I'm sure mine will be nothing like their delicate work but I hope the spirit and history of the area will somehow transmute to me. I also hope to be able to post some results of this tenure after the residency is over. If nothing appears you'll know I've failed abysmally.

The Burton Gallery is a marvellous venue in Bideford, doing important conservation work with this collection. The gallery is currently hosting the annual Westward Ho! & Bideford Art Society Exhibition in which I have the two paintings below: Almond grove in Andalucia (L) and Study of anemones (after Vassyl Khmeluk).

Almond tree in Andalucia #1, Oil on board 49x73cmStudy of anemones (after Vassyl Khmeluk)

Christina Bonnett
- 14 September 2017 at 01:10pm

Let me first congratulate you on being selected for this rare opportunity. Well done!
Now, it must be hard to bear the pressure you must feel to produce something meaningful during the precious time you have there - to feel you need to demonstrate that you are inspired by your surroundings and what has gone on before.
Remember that Mary Stella and Judith had no such pressure - nothing to prove to anyone and went there for the freedom it allowed them to absorb and create.
Try to shed your awareness of what is expected of you and let the place Speak to you.
The result will be whatever it is meant to be and cannot be a failure, whatever the outcome.
- 14 September 2017 at 01:11pm

Thanks a lot Christina for those kind words. They mean a lot to me. I'll post some results soon and I hope they show indeed what you advise. That is the right approach.
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