March in the UK has stormed onto the scene with snow blizzards, lashing rain and now gale force winds. The sea reflects the climatic turmoil as it froths, roars and churns. Along the coast we can stand on the shore and look out at this bucking beast in full rage and feel tossed like a tiny boat on its back, letting our emotions join in the agitation. It can feel a little overwhelming. Time to take a deep breath and learn from art.
The Beach Today
Did you know?
Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) was a sculptor living in Cornwall (she moved there in 1939) in a small village tipping into a harbour along the North coast of the UK. Picturesque in the summer, stormy in the winter, the sea a constant background, backdrop and endless inspiration.
A reflective Moment
Barbara’s sculptures provide us with today’s reflection. She illustrates how to connect with the sea yes, but reminds us also about the curve of the land around the bays and inlets where we stand. We are not that small boat being tossed on the humpbacked waves, we are standing in the shelter of the storm, cradled by the land – safe.
This sculpture is called ‘Pelagos’ (Greek for ‘sea’) and is carved from elm wood with strings and an oak base currently on exhibition at the Tate in St Ives. She created it in 1946. Hepworth herself talks of this work and describes it as her response to the Cornish coastal landscape. It relates to the view from St Ives Bay from her studio: “I could see the whole bay of St Ives, and my response to this view was to look at it as someone seeing it for the first time; who observes the curves of the coast and horizon and experiences, as he faces the ocean, a sense of containment and security rather than the dangers of the endless expanse of waters. Pelagos represents not so much as what I saw, but what I felt.”(Tate St Ives 2023)
The voice of the sea
Listen to the waves crash against the rock, but also feel at the same time your feet solidly placed on the sand, the land at your back, and the headlands wrapped around your shoulders. You are safe. You are home. You are at peace.
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