Guest Blog – Sarah Thomas Bringing Xtrospective to Penryn

In the early part of 2014, a series of family circumstances led us to consider making a few changes in how we spent our time and what best to prioritise…

I had nurtured a long held dream of one day having a small creative space and gallery and Dave was becoming more and more drawn towards working with wood.  “Celebrating the art of natural entropy”, as he describes his work.

We began to look locally at properties, initially in the Helston/Porthleven area, most were quite suitable but lacking in something we couldn’t quite define.  A small shop (formerly “Strawberries” Penryn) had ‘popped up’ on several property searches over the months and eventually we decided to take a look at it.

Our first visit took us on a tour around the town, chatting with a few of the local business owners and generally trying to get a feel of the place.  The shop itself, though somewhat neglected, had a wonderful warm, welcoming atmosphere and we loved the fact that it has been home to several businesses over the last century or more.  A couple of additional visits to the property ensued, with family and friends and on each occasion we spent time in Penryn we felt progressively more at home.

The offer we made on the property was accepted by the former owners in May and then the seemingly lengthy process of exchange began.  Meanwhile, we popped in and out of Penryn at every opportunity…  A friend’s wedding just happened to be in Penryn, with the added bonus of the Open Studios to visit and the Arts Festival.  The lovely steel barge which is our home, was built on Islington Wharf.  We decided to buy a van and searched online for the make and model we wanted…expect you’ve guessed by now where we found one!  Even when we weren’t there we were consistently reminded of the lovely place and the strong sense of community – we seemed to bump into friendly Penryn folk where ever we went last summer.


Sarah & Dave at their beautiful gallery Xstrospective Image Credit – Helen Garnett

At the beginning of September the keys were ours and a glass (or so!) of wine was poured.  The space we are creating as Xtrospective is a lovely process.  It is a privilege to have the opportunity to showcase a wide range of work by many talented local artists with wide ranging experiences of life.  Our regular workshops began with a wool spinning day which was mostly attended by local residents and we were delighted when several people decided to meet up to carry on creating together in an independent group.  We LOVE Penryn and being a part of the community here.  At present we are discussing an Art Project with the primary school and looking forward to exhibiting childrens’ interpretations of what they love about this unique town.  Penryn certainly does have something special…we reckon its Cornwall’s best kept secret…shhh!



14 Lower Market Street

Facebook – xtrospective

Posted in Things To Do In & Around Penryn, Visit Penryn Blog and tagged , , , .