April doesn't always bring blue skies, but it's springtime and we hope, a change of seasons. I've chosen the colour blue and the coast as this month's source of inspiration. As the season begins in St Ives, the restaurants and shops open their doors later and longer and the town begins to buzz a little.
With love, Elspeth
I can honestly say that blue has never figured highly in my life until recently, but seaside living means it’s unavoidable and it has crept into my wardrobe and into my homewares offer at Sweetlime. I’m even wearing denim on occasions, which has always been a big “no-no” in my dress code. How things can change. Natural blues derive from four sources, azurite, lapis lazuli, cobalt and indigo.
I was fortunate enough to witness indigo-dyeing in a remote Chinese village, where one of China's minority tribes, the Dong tribe, keep this tradition alive. Jodhpur, a Rajasthani village in India, is known as the "blue city" as many of the central buildings are a beautiful shade of blue, which is a mix of indigo and whitewash. It is believed that indigo works as a natural insect repellent, which can help as a protection against termites and mosquitoes. The Tuareg nomadic people of the Sahara wear indigo-dyed robes and turbans as a sign of wealth. Blue skies can lift the spirits and blow away the blues.
I consider myself to be a city or sea person and nothing much in between, so many coastal destinations have been sources of inspiration and places of contemplation. I have fallen in love with many seaside towns and places, including Essaouira, Collioure and Pondicherry, but there have been two places which hold a special place in my heart.
I suppose it’s fitting to start with St Ives, Cornwall. My first visit to St Ives was almost five years ago. It was a fleeting visit, which became life-changing. Beautiful beaches, incredible luminosity and a creative spirit, which lured me in and I became hooked. I moved to St Ives close to three years ago and established an environment for Sweetlime to flourish.
An island, which has been a part of my life for over 30 years is Lanzarote. Its coastline is varied and dramatic. This island was a dry lunar landscape with little greenery other than cacti and the paintwork of the windows and doors of the buildings when I first visited, but now with a change of climate, it has become lush at times. The simplicity of island and the influence of architect Cesar Manrique was a big part of the island’s appeal and some villages still hold their charm and character.
The seascapes of John Greig are shown and sold in Sweetlime. Surrounded by cushions and ceramics in a homely setting, it's easy to visualise how his paintings can work in your own home. John takes his inspiration from the beaches in and around St Ives and he captures the light and sensibility of this coastline.