The Lower Sixth Art and English students set off for the first field trip of the school year on Friday 10th September. We stayed overnight at Cot Valley YHA, visited Priest’s Cove, St Ives, and took walks in the surrounding beautiful Zennor Moor. With a focus on learning more about Abstraction and Modernism, the trip included an enjoyable night walk, a visit to the Tate Gallery, and the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden.
On the top of Zennor Hill, on Friday, we looked at several poems by W. S. Graham, which were inspired by the local landscape and environment, and even tried writing poems with the same inspiration. His poems had an often modernist approach that was fun to mimic, and the cookies certainly didn’t hurt either!
After settling into our YHA rooms and having dinner, we prepared ourselves for our ‘night walk’, i.e. wrapped up warm and got to hear an excerpt from a book about how our eyes change in the pure dark of night. It was a lovely experience and a massive look into how an environment can encourage a more abstract focus in writing and art. Though we wrote in the dark, there was plenty else to observe in the brilliant stars, sea and through other sensations.
In the morning, we repeated the night walk in daylight, seeing how wildly different everything appeared and walked to an ancient, well-preserved barrow where we got to dust off our creative skills and try making pots in the Beakers’ (the old residents of the barrow) style. We carried on our walk to Priest’s Cove, where we looked at and discussed more poetry, ate lunch, and swam (if we dared) in the tide pool; a chilling prospect! We got another new interesting way to try writing, though now we had a better chance of seeing what we wrote, there became the slight worry that it would get very wet. With rainproof paper, we managed to use pencils to scribble down our poetry even a foot underwater.
After Priest’s cove, we set off in the minibuses to St. Ives. Firstly, we visited the Tate Gallery, getting a good look at further examples of Abstraction and Modernism, such as works by Barbara Hepworth and an abstract painting named ‘The Thermal Stair’ by W. S. Graham. After the Tate and a brief interlude of free-roaming through the nearby shops, we went to the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden. We got an insight into her life and her views of sculpting with the information provided in the museum. The garden gave us the opportunity to see her sculptures in a natural environment. There, we also read an excerpt of Virginia Woolf’s ‘The Waves’ and were encouraged to write a few paragraphs in Woolf’s own prose style of our perspective ‘looking through’ whatever we conceivably could look through in a garden of trees, sculptures and flowers.
With this final pursuit complete, we returned to the minibuses, and the Lower Sixth English part of the trip was complete. The Art students stayed a second night at the Youth Hostel, with their trip continuing till Sunday.
Words by Gaia, with thanks.