Cornwall LivingIssue #62

Polyphonic Glee

Expect a fabulous assortment of art and culture at The Poly Guild in Falmouth.

You’ll find the Poly Guild tucked away in the historic building of The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society on Church Street, in the centre of Falmouth. The Guild has now been going nearly two years, and in this relatively short time has firmly established itself as a key cultural hub of the town, having displayed, sold and promoted over 60 artists, many of whom are new graduates who have not exhibited before.

“Every twist, every turn, is a piece that is unique and special.” – Sandra Austin

The work of well-established artists, such as Tom Raffield, John Howard and Tim Lake, can also be found in the Guild. All pieces are selected by a panel of experts in their field of arts and crafts, and must come from those who studied at Falmouth or who live and work in the Falmouth area.

Jane Smith, local designer-maker and Guild Manager, draws on her knowledge and experience of arts and crafts in Falmouth to ensure the shop reflects the diverse range of talent the area has produced.

Recently, the Poly Guild has liaised with Felix Packer and Esther Connon to produce a limited edition mug with the intention of producing more twice a year, and giving all artists the chance to feature on an affordable, cherished piece of art. These mugs are a limited edition of 500, with the next artist to feature being illustrator Faye Bradley and her whale illustration.

Guild Manager Jane Smith tells us what to expect. “We hope to create a collectable range,” explains Jane. “The imagery on the mugs will not be purely illustration but in fact could be a design drawing from a ceramicist, textile designer or glass artist.”

New artists to the Guild include Sandra Austin jewellery, Joshua Kerley glass, Lou Tonkin illustration and Liz Mehen ceramics. “Creating jewellery is my passion,” adds Sandra Austin. “Every twist, every turn, is a piece that is unique and special.”

Lou is an artist and printmaker from Cornwall, fascinated by nature and the hedgerows. Joshua Kerley makes a range of fused and slumped glassware for contemporary homes and interiors. Liz Mehen’s work is nautical themed and fired with rich alkaline crackle glazes in vibrant turquoise and verdant green.

In music, the term ‘polyphonic’ refers to an instrument or ensemble “producing or involving many sounds or voices”, and that perfectly sums up the ethos of the Poly Guild – a centre that promotes a diverse and varied assortment of arts, yet all somehow linked to their home in Falmouth.

"Every twist, every turn, is a piece that is unique and special." - Sandra Austin