This week I’m giving you a little taster from my monthly newsletter, Letters from the Lake District.
Each month I interview a different person with a strong connection to the Lake District – from artists to runners, writers to chefs and we dive into everything from how the Lake District has inspired their work or passion to their top places to avoid summer crowds and where to find the best coffee or pint in the national park.
If you would like to sign up for future additions you can sign up at the bottom of the page
This is my interview with Victoria from Feather & Wild, an artist who grew up in Cumbria and whose stunning work has strong Lake District influences.
1. Tell me about your early/childhood memories from the Lake District
The Lake District has always been such a big part of my life. My father and I would take a Sunday run (in the car!) to Keswick. We’d mooch in the Antique shops, head down to the Lake to feed the ducks, grab something sweet from Friars Chocolate shop and have a fish supper from the Old Keswickian.
It shaped my obsession with The Lake District and it’s something I now do with my own daughters or even just as an escape for a few hours on my own, visiting the galleries and taking a breather by the lake overlooking the fells.
2. How has the Lake District shaped and developed your work as an artist?
I’ve lived on the edge of The Lake District for nearly 40 years now, and it has always been my go-to place to restore myself. That breathing space to recharge the batteries, and as I grew, I realised how I would gravitate towards the water or fells as recovery through the difficult times in my life. Painting them was a natural transition for me. The emotion & escapism I feel when I’m there is what comes through in my artwork and allows me to express that in my own way.
3. How has your relationship with the Lake District changed over the years?
I’m fairly new to hiking as my father was disabled so we only ventured to the flat accessible areas, and then as I grew I never really had the confidence or the chance to go higher on foot, but since doing so and increasing my fitness I have seen another side to the lakes and this has only increased my love further.
There is nothing quite like that adrenaline kick as you push yourself to the summit, often in my case through strong winds and rain, which is ever so present up the fells.
I’m hooked but still don’t get out there half as often as I want to!
4. Your favourite walk or hike in the Lake District
I’d have to say Catbells (near Keswick). Although one of the most popular hikes, it has a great mix of uphill, scrambles, and views. The views from Derwent shore over to the iconic double ridge are a constant for me in my life and will always bring me a level of security & comfort.
I am aiming to get up Helvellyn soon though which has been on my list for far too long and it will always go down as my favourite mountain, due to its iconic edge but also I never quite made it to the top in my late teens so I’m keen to conquer it before I’m 40!
5. Your go-to place for a post-adventure drink or coffee in the Lake District
Ooh that’s a good one, I don’t suppose I have just the one, but depending on where I am in the Lakes, I will always choose the smaller independent cafes like Little Chamonix (in Keswick) or Chesters by the River (in Skelwith Bridge near Ambleside).
6. The place you go to to escape the Lake District summer crowds
Caldbeck is always a great place to get those views, that breathing space or some gorgeous independent shops. You can get out for a hike or simply take an in-car picnic & park up for lunch with a view.
There are cute cafes too so you can grab a bite to eat too & a nice cuppa without having to fight through the traffic and holidaymakers.
If I want to head deeper into the Lakes, then the shores of Ullswater are always my go-to, but you still have to get up early to grab a parking space before the tourists!
7. A place in the Lake District or Cumbria you would like to visit in future (that is new to you)
As I mentioned earlier I aim to get to the Helvellyn summit this year having only ever made it halfway. I would also love to venture into Grizedale Forest. I’ve never been in, only even driven by. I’m a huge fan of woodlands, but with Whinlatter being closer I usually go there.
8. Share the love and tell us which Cumbrian artists or makers have inspired you past and present.
Gosh, there are so many but my all-time favourite has to be Alan Stones. His lithographs particularly but honestly anything he creates brings me so much joy.
My insanely talented friend Casey Allum whose artwork blows my mind every time she puts pencil to paper.
I also like the moody fells by W.Heaton Cooper and have a greeting card of East Face of Pillar in my studio. His work captures the lakes in all their moody glory and I will forever be in love with that part of Cumbria.
You can find out more about Victoria’s artwork at www.featherandwild.co.uk
During the summer of 2021, Victoria is also showcasing her work amongst a wealth of other Cumbrian artists at Shop for the Senses at the Rheghed Centre in Penrith
If you would like to sign up for future additions of Letters from the Lake District you can sign up here