sing along with our shanty singers!

posted on May 30th, 2011 by Helen

Knowing our love of all things maritime we’d like to welcome a guest blogger to you from local sea shanty group, Du Hag Owr ….

Ahoy there!

My name’s Andy and I am one of the crew of the shanty group, Du Hag Owr (which, in Cornish, means Black and Gold). The six of us, Allan, Chris, Graham, Steve, Vernon and myself, decided to get together back in August 2009, having been asked to sing a few sea shanties at a local craft fair. Most of us had been singing traditional Cornish songs in local pubs and clubs for some years, so to branch off into singing sea shanties seemed like a natural progression for us, especially as we live right by the sea on the beautiful Roseland Peninsula, here in sunny Cornwall.

Cornwall and the Cornish have long had an affinity with the sea. Along with agriculture and mining, it has provided us with the means of making a living for many generations. Historically, Cornish people have used the sea not only for fishing but also to journey to every far flung corner of the world in search of their fortune.

Originally, sea shanties were work songs sung aboard ships in the days of sail to help the crew to work in unison. Shanties were mainly “call and response” songs, led by a “shantyman” who would “call” out the verses, the rest of the crew would then provide the “response” or chorus, all pulling together on the beat of the last syllable. The length and the rhythm of the shanty varied, depending on the task being undertaken at the time. The beat of the song helped the crew to heave on the ropes or turn the capstan around together, working more efficiently. Sea shanties were never sung ashore because, sailors being a superstitious bunch, it was thought to bring bad luck!

Today, the songs and the tales contained within them give us an insight into the lives of the sailors of old and provide a living, historical record of those bygone times at sea. Nowadays, casting superstition aside, shanties are sung on shore and many festivals, such as the Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival held later next month, take place all over the world to celebrate these rousing tunes from days gone by.

Experience fish on the Fal

posted on May 27th, 2011 by Emma Raczkowski

As many will know Cornwall has a heritage to be proud of and beyond mining it’s the fishing industry that has a long colourful history. Old tales of incredible catches are still told in harbor side pubs, one such yarn tells of over a million pilchards being caught in a single cove, and intriguing local names for sea life such as the female crab being called a ‘cuffa’ all add richness to the craft of catching fish.

Though years have past and this way of life has declined there is still much to celebrate. With new catches earning favour on our plates and more sustainable methods of fishing being practiced there is lots to look forward to.

With this in mind it’s time to mention the Falmouth Fish Festival, in it’s second year it celebrates all that is great in Cornish seafood.

The festival is a great opportunity to showcase some of the fantastic seafood that is caught around Cornwall’s coast. This year’s theme is all about getting people to try fish dishes that perhaps they haven’t tried before. Particularly relevant with the recent focus on our dwindling fish numbers in the sea.  Whatever the reason you have for missing out on these great alternatives get down to the festival and experience something different! Couple that with the events zeal for performance, art and demonstration and you have an unmissable fishy three days ahead.

The Fal Fish Festival runs from the 29th – 30th May in Falmouth, Cornwall. You can find more information about the festival from King Harry’s Cornwall website.

Seasalt Blog - Falmouth Fish Festival

category: Coastal
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The Life of Stripes

posted on May 26th, 2011 by sian

It’s not a secret that here at Seasalt we are super fans of all things stripey! The classic Sailor shirt, with its iconic Breton stripes, is one of our staple products every season. We love its simplicity, classic style, and above all its nautical heritage.

The striped ‘Sailor Shirt’ is a wardrobe essential and never seems to date. It has been ‘in vogue’ for nearly a century with Coco Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and Picasso as just a few of its advocates and it doesn’t show any signs of losing its charm anytime soon.

The first origins of the striped Sailor Shirt started shortly after the 1858 Act of France which introduced the navy and white striped shirt as the uniform for all the sailors in the French Navy. It was said that if a sailor fell overboard, the distinctive block pattern of stripes made it easier for them to be spotted in the water and rescued. The Sailor Shirt was then adopted generally as a working mariner garment by many other nautical men and sailors across France and became known as a ‘Marinière’, or ‘sailor-style’ shirt.

The classic horizontal stripe pattern became known as ‘Breton stripes’ after the black and white stripes of the Breton flag, created in 1923. Breton refers to the Brittany region of France and the nine horizontal stripes represent the traditional dioceses of Brittany into which the duchy was divided historically.

The fashion icon, Coco Chanel, was inspired by the Breton striped Sailor Shirt after a visit to the French coast and is considered a pioneer of Breton stripes in the fashion world after she started the trend upon her return to Paris. Over the last century, many other designers, actors and artists have adopted the striped Sailor Shirt look, cementing it as an iconic fashion classic.

It is no suprise then that the classic Sailor Shirt is a firm favourite here at Seasalt, it is a symbol of who we are as a brand; sustainable fashion with a fantasic coastal heritage! Plus all our Sailor shirts are made of 100% Soil Association certified Organic Cotton, meaning they are responsibly produced and super soft too.

We believe that the Sailor Shirt, as well as all things stripey, are here to stay! So, next time you pull out your favourite stripey top from your wardrobe, remember its heritage and the ‘Life of Stripes’!

Click here to see a selection of our favourite Seasalt Stripes!

Renowned textile designer Kaffe Fassett in Cornwall!

posted on May 25th, 2011 by sian

Here at Seasalt we absolutely love everything to do with textiles, unique prints and especially colour! So you can imagine we were delighted to hear that our friends at Trelowarren were hosting an exhibition displaying the work of the renowned textile designer Kaffe Fassett, right here in Cornwall!

Kaffe Fassett is a renowned textile artist and craftsman and has inspired many across the world with his teachings about the colour and design stages of craftwork. Born in the USA, he moved to London in 1964 and has since had a one-man show at the V&A museum, written more than 30 books and hosted many craft-related TV and radio shows for the BBC and Channel 4 including his own show, Glorious Colour.

This one-off exhibition at the beautiful Trelowarren Gallery, on the historic Trelowarren estate, gives a rare and unique opportunity to see the work of Kaffe Fassett including the magnificent patchwork quilts, intricate tapestries, fabulous knitting and delightful mosaic work of this undisputed master of colour.

This inspirational show is running till 17th July and is open to all everyday from 10.30am – 5.00pm. Entry is by catalogue at a cost of £5.00.

To find out more, visit the Cornwall Crafts Association Website.

Kaffe Fassett will also be giving a lecture at the Princess Pavilions in Falmouth on 2nd June at 7pm and you can also buy tickets for this on the Cornwall Crafts Association Website.

more Seasalt congrats!

posted on May 25th, 2011 by Helen

We recently ran a  competition with our friends at Coast magazine for one lucky winner to win a £500 Seasalt voucher … and the lucky winner was …. Julie Seabrook from Leicester! Big congrats to Julie – we hope you enjoy your new-found Seasalt spending power!

the delights of the
Chelsea Flower Show

posted on May 23rd, 2011 by Emma Raczkowski

For anyone who doesn’t know this week sees the return of the great Chelsea Flower Show in London.  With its wondrous show gardens and marquees full of plants the show provides inspiration for gardens of all sizes and outlooks, each representing many hours planning and work. They may be at times considered to be artificial due to the immense  pre-planning and growing of plants and the immediate landscaping but we can all related to the time and thought taken, though the timeframes may be different.

There can be no better way to experience these gardens than to visit yourself, absorbing ideas and collating personal preferences, but here are a couple of my favourites chosen for very personal reasons.

Ishihara Kazuyuki’s plans for a garden were nearly abandoned following the devastating Tsunami in Japan. Not knowing whether he should still attend the show he decided to leave his Tokyo office behind and visit the ravaged north-east to witness the devastation for himself. Conveying the spirit of north-east Japan rising up against terrible odds, entitled ‘A Beautiful Paradise’ his show garden incorporates many acer varieties to symbolise their replanting in Japan. Truly a Chelsea tribute to Japan’s plight.

The Cancer Research UK Garden, designed by Robert Myers, explores the theme of “Surviving” conceptually as a journey through life. When entering the garden, you start on a barren seashore before navigating your way to a safe, raised, sheltered space surrounded by lush planting. As the route to this “haven” is not direct, but involves different levels and changes of direction, it is representative of how people might experience different routes and treatments in their cancer experience.

Finally a mention has to be made to the Homebase Cornish Memories Garden by Thomas Hoblyn. Mimicking Cornwall’s Valley gardens with their own micro climates the design includes a winding path that is embedded with twisting rivulets representing the paths water makes through the sand as it joins the sea. You can also see the welcome return to Chelsea of the Tree Fern and Rhododendrons that are synonymous with Cornwall.

A garden is a very personal thing, and yet should be shared by all, and Chelsea is a great representation of just that. So enjoy everything they hold dear and tell others of those gardens that you take to heart.

seasalt-blog-gardens-at-Chelsea-flower-show

Topsails

posted on May 20th, 2011 by Matt

Some of the brightly coloured topsail patterns to be seen on Falmouth Harbour‘s Gaffers and Working Boats. Big, bold and beautiful!

Topsails

See our new print, inspired by the Falmouth Working Boats

scilly photo comp winner!

posted on May 17th, 2011 by Helen

For those of us who took part or supported at the big gig champs on Scilly earlier this month, we may now have shaken the last of the Scilly sand out of our boots and just about got our voices back, but as always we’ll always have fantastic memories of another brilliant weekend. It wasn’t exactly a scorcher over there this year so the skies and the sea may have been a little grey at times but it certainly didn’t dampen spirits!

For the chance to win some lovely Seasalt vouchers, we asked you to send in your photos to our Facebook page that sums up what the weekend means for you and we had lots of brilliant entries. It was very tricky to pick just one winner but we’ve decided on this beauty of a photo taken by Jan Halliday which we think (from our own painful experience!) captures the absolute agony and ecstasy of getting over the finish line, pretty much in one piece … although this is usually shortly followed by a very wobbly-legged effort to get out of the boat once back on the beach!

Many congrats to Jan – we’ll be in touch about getting your vouchers to you – and thanks again to all who took part in the competition.

Now, it’s only 352 days to go until we do it all again – ready to row …?

Feel the burn!

Daphne Du Maurier festival

posted on May 13th, 2011 by sian

If you happen to be near Fowey over the next week, why not pop in and get involved with the Daphne Du Maurier festival which is running between 12th-21st May!

The festival runs annually in the famous writer’s honour and plays host to a programme of events led by National and International Writers, Artists and Performers.

Daphne Du Maurier was a writer and playwright (13 May 1907 – 19 April 1989) and became very well know and respected for her work. Some of her works were even adapted into well known Hollywood films such as ‘Rebecca’, ‘Jamaica Inn’, and ‘The Birds’ – all directed by Alfred Hitchcock plus many more.

Daphne Du Maurier is said to of had a strong connection with Cornwall where she lived for a lot of her life and many of her books were set in Cornwall.

As always, the town of Fowey is extremely excited about this year’s Festival with some fantastic events running throughout the week including guided walks, talks experts from film & TV, writers, artists plus much more .

For more information visit: http://www.dumaurierfestival.co.uk/

an office with a view

posted on May 12th, 2011 by Emma Raczkowski

From an artist undertaking a painting, to a designer creating a beautiful dress or simply someone seeking motivation there’s no doubt that everyone needs inspiration. Here at Seasalt we seek influence from the coast and Cornwall itself after all we don’t say ‘Designed by the Sea for People Everywhere’ for nothing!

Our Falmouth Office, where the designers reside, has a fantastic view. It’s been featured on our current homepage ‘Step into Summer’ so we thought we’d tell you a bit more about what’s outside our windows.

View from the Seasalt office in Falmouth, Cornwall
Click on the above image to see a clearer view

Pendennis Castle was built in 1539 for King Henry VIII to guard the entrance to the River Fal on its west bank, near Falmouth. St Mawes Castle is its opposite number on the east bank and they were built to defend against the French and Spanish. It’s now the venue for a host of events held in it’s grounds, my personal favourite is the spooky Halloween specials along with a whole load of musical delights!

Falmouth Bay forming the entrance into the River Fal provides a safe haven for so many different kinds of boat. From elegant sailing ships and traditional working boats to large container ships seeking shelter from a storm. It’s never a dull view. And how could we forget the delicious Falmouth Bay Oysters, yum! Without which we wouldn’t have the yearly Oyster Festival!

Gyllyngvase beach is a rock pool fans paradise. In the shallow pools you will find winkles and shrimps, while the deeper points on the reef edge are full of sqat lobsters and crabs. With it’s long stretch of fine white sand and sided by rocky headland to the other it is often used for boating and a wonderful assortment of beach sports throughout the year. Don’t miss the traditional Victorian pleasure gardens at one end of the beach.

St Anthony Head is a National Trust property situated at the southernmost tip of the Roseland Peninsula Overlooking the entrance to one of the world’s largest natural harbours it has a preserved twin 6″ gun battery. Most notible is the lighthouse, dating back to the 19th century it’s more modern claim to fame is that it featured in the opening credits and many scenes of the 1980s children’s TV programme ‘Fraggle Rock’.

Swanpool nature reserve is one of the eleven most important brackish ( a mixture of fresh and salt water) lagoons in Britain enabling a wide variety of wildlife to thrive. Not to mention the presence of it’s namesake the swan. And for us at Seasalt one of our favourite places to swim!