Barbara's garden is slap bang in the centre of St Ives, halfway up a cobbled hill and hidden behind high walls. If it wasn't for the sign, you'd probably walk straight past it's entrance. It is a secret haven amid the tightly packed streets and narrow houses. To take a walk around Barbara's garden is an experience not quickly forgotten. I have wandered here many, many times. There is always something new to look at. Depending on the time of year, the sculptures either blend in or stand out in the garden. The weather and even the time of day has it's own impact on them, creating light and shade in different places.
You are enticed to reach out and touch these tactile forms. I have to carry something or thrust hands in pockets, because you. are. not. allowed. It's a shame, but I understand. Almost. I don't think Barbara would mind. I think that she created her garden not just as a showcase, but as a place where senses can come alive. So I content myself with photography, and trying to take abstracts of the abstract. I can still get close and look at the shapes and colours. And I can run my hand hand along the plants as I walk around, and listen to them rustling in the gentle breeze, casting shadows in the sun.
I peer into her workshop and see her overalls hung in a line on pegs. I look at all the tools of her trade. I think how dusty it must have been. How physical the work. How satisfying to see something emerge from a block of stone or wood or slate. How it must have felt to see the result of your hard labour sit so peacefully among the plants. I sit in her sun room, and conjure up an image of this tiny formidable woman. Busy, always busy I think. I hope that she was able to stop and pause every now and again. I hope that she was able to just be in this beautiful space.