The latest collaboration to hit the St Ives Arts Club is a celebration of all things coastal. Here, artists Alison Dupernex and Sharon McSwiney reveal the when, where, why and how. Words: Madeleine Barber

It’s no secret that the Cornish coast is a catalyst for artists’ inspiration. From Barbara Hepworth and Peter Lanyon to Alfred Wallis and Kurt Jackson, enthusiasm for the South West shoreline is prominent in many an artwork. Following in the footsteps of these St Ives artists are two modern day creators: Alison Dupernex and Sharon McSwiney.

One a knitted textile designer and the other a metal worker and jeweller, it’s not the most obvious of pairings. But a passion for the coastline has brought them together, seeing the artists embarking on a sea-inspired mission. ‘Both Alison and I have a love of Cornwall,’ says Sharon. ‘So much so that I moved here two years ago!’ Sharon, who works with copper wire and etched metal, describes her work as ‘jewellery for the walls’ – her latest collection features silver and brass castings from limpet shells found on local beaches. ‘I’m an avid collector of flotsam and jetsam; rusty metal, broken shells, sea glass and bone fragments all adorn my studio,’ she says.

Alison, her counterpart, combines clothing with a form of fine art. Mixing fibres to capture the spirit of a place, she chooses colours that mimic crashing waves on the Cornish coast or ripples in the golden sand. Wet rocks, shimmering rockpools, amber seaweed – you name it, she’s inspired by it. Some of her designs incorporate more than 20 colours. ‘I am constantly juxtaposing fine silk with rugged tweed or soft cashmere and Donegal wool,’ says Alison, and it’s just this juxtaposition of materials that is apparent in her latest exhibition with Sharon, named Colours of Cornwall.

For the show, the pair has discovered a fresh direction inspired by dramatic skies and seas, sandy bays and weathered rocks. Combining the softness and flexibility of yarn with the rigidity of metal has opened up a new avenue for the artistic duo. The result? Beautiful woven textiles in a myriad of colours, adorned with decorative metal detailing fit for any lover of the ocean.

Colours of Cornwall: Capturing the light in textiles and metalwork will take place at the St Ives Arts Club on Wescott’s Quay from 14-19 February, 10am-5pm daily. Find more information at To see more of Alison and Sharon’s work, visit and

If you’re searching for a staycation hotspot for your Cornish break, try these top Cornwall hotels.

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