Sallie Eden has been chatting to artist Louisa Albani.
Louisa is an artist, based in London and currently working for a publisher. This month her book ‘What We Heard From the Sea‘, a collection of writings and artworks inspired by the sea, is reviewed for Roseland Online.
Over a delightfully chatty lunch we discussed her work, inspirations, the new book, her love of Cornwall and her cat (although that was mostly for my benefit!).
A fan of the area for a long time and, of course, a regular reader of Roseland Online, Louisa recently holidayed here whilst her daughter settled into life at Falmouth University. She loves the beauty of Cornwall and, as she says when speaking to her friends about her holiday photos, “no photoshopping [is needed] here, it is really like this!”
Many Roseland Online readers will be familiar with Louisa, as her work was profiled in the August/September edition of MyCornwall magazine. Her book is as varied as her artwork, so, for example she says “I like the idea of something different and handmade so I make my own stencils, using tools such as needles, knitting needles and scissors, as well as more traditional materials like acrylic”.
I wondered what had prompted her to produce a book. “A trip to Cornwall in 2013 to visit the University’s Open Day provided a major stimulus, resulting in works inspired by Kite surfers, the wonderful Jubilee pool and the whole marine environment. A visit to the Maritime Museum drew me into the lives and work of shipbuilders, lighthouse men and fishermen. But the final trigger was receiving a small inheritance which enabled me to commission and produce the book.”
What about the target audience? “I didn’t really have that in mind, I was thinking more about ‘a spirit of place’, a new, more spiritual, way of looking at life, if you like. I wanted to get across the concept of the sea, not just the seaside; of the courage of those who depend on the sea for survival. And so I commissioned contributions from friends and from friends of friends and gave them complete freedom within that theme.”
Apart from Cornwall and the sea, she says “my inspiration comes from many artistic sources, from Eileen Agar and the sculptures of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth to the drawings and paintings of Picasso and the work of printmaker Edward Bawden. I also admire the photography of Man Ray, Lee Miller and Bill Brandt and the poems of Derek Jarman.”
That eclectic mix is echoed in the variety of styles, writing and artwork in her book. Some are light hearted, others more serious, some familiar, others newly commissioned. So, for example, “I’ve included the tale of a ferryman’s last sea crossing on a starlit night; ancestral storytelling of ghosts from the Spanish Armada; a poem that speaks for the sea, when it cannot speak for itself; an imaginal plunging into depths of words, submerging us into a starry ocean; tales of fishermen of old and their god-like strength; a trip to the lighthouse.”
With her daughter now living in Cornwall and a recent holiday at Durgan Beach still fresh in her mind, and continuing to provide creative inspiration, we can look forward to seeing more of Louisa and her work here in the South West.
Louisa’s work is on show at a number of galleries including Market House Gallery, Marazion, Fernlea Gallery, St Ives and Bow Arts Studios, East London.
Copies of her book are available via www.nightbirdpress.com or through Louisa’s website through the Facebook page.
Or, if you’d like to know more about Louisa and her work, or would like to stock her book, you can email her on: firstname.lastname@example.org