Westward ho! Cornwall Design Fair

Westward ho! Cornwall Design Fair

If you're holidaying in Cornwall in mid August, don't miss the Cornwall Design Fair at Trereife House outside Penzance, where the cream of the county's design talent will be showing their wares

By Hari Alexander
Peeling Wallpaper vases, wallhangings, by Claire Lovett Ceramics

Be in no doubt that Cornwall is home to some of our most talented designer-makers. Now in its eighth year, the Cornwall Design Fair (16-18 August) at the beautiful Queen Anne Trereife House has some 80 exhibitors across furniture, decorative accessories, ceramics, textiles and jewellery. Pictured above are Peeling Wallpaper Vases 'Uncovering My Roots'  by Claire Lovett Ceramics, which can be freestanding or flat-backed to use as a wallhanging.

If huddling on the beach scouring leaden skies for chinks in the cloudcover doesn't appeal (yes yes glass half-full and all that..but let's be realistic here), then head to Penzance over the weekend 16-18 August and indulge in an inspiring design experience.

Cornwall Design Fair takes place in the grounds of the Trereife House, a Queen Anne building with delightful formal gardens and orchards that is the ancestral home of the Le Grice family.

More than 80 companies and design studios are due to take part, and if you had been under the illusion that good design happens only in capital cities, you'll be more than pleasantly surprised to find that nothing could be further from the truth. 

Exquisite Sprig glass bowl with sandblasted design on the inside and outside by Rosie Sutcliffe. www.rosiesutcliffeglassware.com
Delicately colours Drop glass vases by Rosie Sutcliffe. www.rosiesutcliffeglassware.com
The fair takes place at Trereife House near Penzance
Linen silkscreen Orange Tartan Rabbit cushion, 60x30cms, by Sam Pickard. www.sampickard.co.uk
Hand decorated slipcast earthenware milk jug by Julia Davey, www.juliadavey.com
Swan woodprint by Grounded Sailor. Photograph printed onto wood salvaged from Falmouth boatyard

Among the exhibitors are Deco favourite Bark Furniture, which is based in Bude and run by husband and wife cabinet-makers Jonathan Walter and Lakshmi Bhaskaran; glassware designers Rosie Sutcliffe, who is a genius with subtle gradations of colour and Lawrence West, who uses intense colour and both straight lines and curves in his pieces; inspirational ceramicists Alex McCarthySuet Yi, and Julia Davey, and textile designer and organic cotton fan Lorna Syson.

Samuel F Walsh is a furniture maker who uses wood to make pieces inspired by the Cornish landscape.

Highly decorative hand-thrown vessel by Alex McCarthy. www.mccarthyceramics.com
Dazzlingly beautiful glass bottle by Lawrence West. www.lawrencewestglassart.co.uk
Kustom armchair with walnut frame, Bark Furniture. www.barkfurniture.com
Charming egg shaped terracotta plate by Suet Yi. www.suetyiceramics.co.uk

Falmouth ceramicist Tim Lake will also be showing his new designs, which include rice bowls, storage jars and a serving platter. He uses unorthodox materials in his work, such as river silt.

The fair does receive applications from non-Cornwallites and after some deliberation it's been decided that a small group of designers from beyond the county boundaries can exhibit this year. They include the respected Sheffield-based silversmith Brett Payne, who says of the Cornwall Design Fair that it's 'one of the best places to exhibit contemporary silverware outside London. The quality of the work you find here is quite outstanding.'

Lorna Syson's distinctive geometric textile designs
Bodmin Moor side table (H45cmsxD45cms) by Samuel F Walsh has oak legs/sycamore top. www.samwalshfurniture.co.uk

Curated at Trereife

Don't miss Curated at Trereife, held inside Trereife House. You'll see various interior design installations by a select group of designer-makers which juxtapose contemporary design against a classical interior.

The Leach Pottery marquee should also not be missed, as visitors can watch demonstrations of its techniques. The renowned Leach Pottery, in central Cornwall, was founded in 1920 by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, and it continues its East/West ethos.

Prices and opening hours

Tickets cost £6 and children under 16 are free.

Opening hours are 11am to 6pm on Fri/Sat 16/17 August and 11am to 4pm on Sunday 18th August.