Today I took myself over to a spot in the Cotswolds that a friend of mine had told me about – with artists, studios and community that I might like to be part of. I had not been there before – or so I thought, when up on arrival I knew exactly when and for what reason.
It was in 2008 that I first visited Chalford, Nailsworth, Owlpen, Painswick and Rodborough, all part of the seemingly current, and trendy Slad Valley in the South Cotswolds. Working on the ‘Art Workers Guild 125 Years’ publication, I stayed at both Owlpen and Rodborough Manor houses to help me with my Art Workers Guild and Society of Protection of Ancient Buildings, education. Furniture by Sidney Barnsley, fabrics by William Morris and theories from William Lethaby, all helped towards an understanding of the Arts and Crafts movement. I photographed Sculptors such as Ian Rank-Broadley (seen here).
Little did I know that it has all come about again with an influx of celebrities putting their name to the area (Liz Hurley, Kate Winslet and Moss, Cath Kidston, and Plum Sykes). On paper it seems like the whole of Soho House has moved here. I suppose history is repeating, only this time with actors and performers rather than furniture makers and architects.
However, it is the road names that I would like to share with you. Roads that I know that Sebastian Loeb (World Rally Champion), would love. With names such as The Devil’s Elbow, Knapp Lane and Shipton’s Grave Lane all made for a thoroughly joyful ‘soft’ rally route without other cars in front of me, I certainly had a good play albeit in my two-wheel -drive Freelander.
I realise now why I seemed to have forgotten that I went there in the first place. It is because whilst I was photographing for the Art Workers Guild publication I noted down in my Polaroid scrap book all the places I would like to live and this area was mentioned in my book as, a gorgeous place to ‘visit’. It is a thoroughly beautiful valley and I think I will now remember I have been there by the roads it has to play on.