Our new collection is inspired by the life and work of Denys Val Baker. Back when Seasalt first started life in a little shop in Adelaide Street, Penzance we met Denys’ son, Martin who ran the nearby Rainyday Gallery. He introduced us to Denys’ writings and over the years of getting to know Martin, we also learnt more about Denys’ works.
In 1948 Denys moved to Cornwall, renting a small cottage just outside St Ives. He married his wife, Jess, and as their family grew they moved around Penwith, living at Trencrom, Sennen Cove, Penzance and the beautiful Old Vicarage in St Hilary. They moved back to Kent and London, but soon returned back to their beloved Cornwall, settling this time in St. Ives with a view across Porthmeor Beach. Although Denys wrote many novels and short stories, it was here that he started writing his series of autobiographical accounts of life in the Duchy.
The first of the series, The Sea’s in the Kitchen, was published in 1962 and was followed by another twenty-four books, each evoking the humour, and character of Denys, his family and the wilds of West Penwith. The stunning backdrops of his work have become the scenes for our new season photo shoots.
Previous to this he launched The Cornish Review in 1949, which featured poems, short stories, articles, art and book reviews – the look of which has inspired our ‘When Cornish Skies Are Smiling’ catalogue.
‘When Cornish Skies Are Smiling’ is just one of Denys’ books that has helped to shape the upcoming Seasalt collection, lending its name not only to our first catalogue but also to a beautiful, signature print designed by Sophie called Smiling Skies Steel.
We have fallen in love with Denys’ wild, bohemian spirit, and his wonderful writings, all of which have inspired every aspect of our Autumn/Winter collection. We’re so grateful to the Val Baker family for allowing us to reference their father’s work – we really hope you can get hold of a rare copy of one of his books and become as enraptured as we are.