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Sunday 8th March is International Women’s Day 2015, when thousands of events occur across the world to mark the social, political and economic achievements of women. This year’s theme is ‘Make It Happen’ and is aimed at encouraging action for advancing women’s opportunities. The idea is that different organisations celebrate within their own specific context, and as such we want to mention some of Cornwall’s leading women artists, whose work is celebrated as amongst the most influential in British art.

It hardly needs saying that when you think of St Ives, you think of Barbara Hepworth, one of the world’s most important Modernists artists. Her sculpture garden is a stone’s throw from NCs door, and you can see castings of her sculptures Dual Form outside the Guildhall and Epidauros II up at the spectacular viewing area of The Malakoff. The studio of pioneering abstract painter Sandra Blow is also right here in St Ives, and West Cornwall can lay claim to being the inspiration and the home of so many more great women artists including landscape painter Margo Mackelburg, printmaker Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, colourist Margaret Mellis (who mentored the young Damien Hirst), sculptor Barbara Tribe and Newlyn School painters Dod Procter and Dame Laura Knight.

Here at NC we are proud to show the work of St Ives Modernism’s leading women artists, and represent some of Cornwall and the UKs leading contemporary women painters, sculptors and craftspeople. Art-critical discourse rages on about the contribution of women artist, the ‘feminine’ in art and the ways in which history has written out the role of women artists in favour of their male counterparts, but whatever the debates, St Ives continues to cultivate a steady stream of powerfully important women artists. So – how can New Craftsman celebrate the artistic achievements of women? Watch this space for news of our 2016 exhibition of World Class Women artists past and present.

Image: Celebration at 90, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

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