PENINSULA LIFE • OUR HERITAGE
Reynoldston village is tucked away on the Western slopes of Cefn Bryn, in the heart of Gower. Home to the iconic King Arthur Hotel and mythical King Arthur’s Stone, this small yet unassuming community is steeped in history. Little Reynoldston Farm is set back from one of the main village roads and was previously Gower’s National Trust headquarters. The complex of rambling limestone buildings and cottages is now home to a flushing group of creatives including Indi Art.
Gower native and artist, India Aspland creates intricate and unique textile prints using alternative screen printing methods. Her work isn’t simply inspired by the visual movement and aesthetics of the ocean surrounding the Peninsula but the feeling evoked by spending time in the sea. As a surfer and water woman, India’s deeply experimental printing process encapsulates the tranquillity and calm that she finds when she’s in the water.
Her work is also often found incorporated into other ocean inspired works. Arno Surfboards' workshop is also located on the Farm and many of their boards and fins feature India’s fabric inlays. We caught up with India in her studio to find out how her life on Gower influences her prints.
“So, I’m a textile printer here on Gower and I love creating unique pieces of fabric. I use a process called painting through a screen. Not many people have heard about it, it’s quite a weird one! Essentially, painting through a screen is a screen printing process but it’s technically a monoprint. So, it’s a mashup of printing techniques but I use fabric ink, paint it onto a screen then pull it through onto fabric - basically I’m printing onto fabric. It’s highly experimental and I’m never quite sure how a piece is going to turn out, which is part of the fun of it. I’ve been using this process for probably about three years now.
"I discovered this technique in my third year at Plymouth College of Art where I was studying printed textiles. When I found this amazing process and just totally fell in love with it. I guess, more with the way it made me feel than anything else. I loved being consumed by painting on a screen. It’s similar to surfing in the sense that you’re out of your head and fully absorbed in the moment. That’s why I love it!
Most of my art is inspired by the sea on Gower but predominantly centred in my feelings when I’m in the water. So not necessarily just looking at the ocean, I try to evoke how I feel when I’m in the sea through my work. That’s my quiet space.
"This feeling easily translates into my work quite naturally because the process of printing is so calming; they just go hand in hand for me. I think because I use ink it translates into ocean inspired works as well; a very well paired match I think.
I do what I do because mainly it makes me happy. I’ve always wanted freedom in my life and creativity so to have my own business doing what I love has been my main goal since before going to university which is why I studied a creative course. I’ve been lucky enough to have a space on Gower to continue that dream and essentially have the freedom to live my life here.
I’m based on Reynoldston Farm in my little studio with other creatives like Arno Surfboards, Arnold Art and Jack Moyse. It’s a little creative hub here which is great. Oftentimes, it’s a lot like being in university still. We support each other's work, share opinions and help each other out. All of our processes are so different, which is great as we’re never really stepping on each other's toes but having the critiques of others is so helpful they’re able to see things a different way.
Originally I’m from Brynmill in Swansea and grew up there most of my life but have always spent a lot of time on the beach, in the water and exploring the coast with my friends.
What’s not to love about the Gower? I love how quiet it is most of the time. I love the exploration of being here. Even though I’ve spent my whole life on this peninsula, I feel like every year I find something new. But it’s the community that is the biggest part for me! There is such a big community here on Gower and we all support each other; there’s a lot of love there. It’s just lovely to live here."
It’s easy to see how India’s lifestyle and relationship with the Gower sea is reflected in her work. She is not the only creative to be inspired by time spent in and by the water. Unsurprisingly her favourite Gower beer is Gower Power; our amber ale echoes the powerful waves from across the Peninsula from rugged reefs to heavy beach breaks. We asked India to describe her life on Gower in three words:
Creative. Free. Explorative.
If you’re looking to add a splash of Gower inspired colour to your life, check India out on Instagram here. We like to offer a huge thank you to Jack Moyse for allowing us to feature his outstanding images in this blog.