The Byre gallery stands out in more ways than one. Firstly, it’s set in the outstanding region of the Rame Peninsula, known for its breathtaking views and stunning countryside. Secondly, the gallery keeps in mind a thought often forgotten in the world of selling art: what would a piece look like in a domestic space?
Owned and managed by Elaine Dye, the Byre Gallery is a vision of curated perfection. Every exhibition sees a new style take hold of the gallery to suit the work and make it shine, “I like to think that you could pretty much lift an exhibition and drop it into your home,” explains Elaine, “Or you could move straight into the gallery! When I was studying for my MA I looked at how other galleries were curated and there were still a lot of places that relied on white cube, work on plinth styles. I reasoned that if an interior store could use styling techniques to sell mass-produced items, then why couldn’t a gallery do the same with one off crafted pieces.”
Elaine has always loved art and craft. Whilst living in Australia she jumped at the chance to take a course in ceramics for two years. However things didn’t go as planned, “I had to face the fact that I wasn’t going to set the ceramics world on fire with my pots and vases,” she laughs, “However, I had developed an interest in curating and was encouraged by my tutor.”
After returning to the UK, Elaine enrolled in a Masters programme at Plymouth College of Art. Simultaneously, she and her husband started work on the design of their new home and and realised that the space and layout lent itself nicely to having a gallery. For the next two years, Elaine studied and explored curating whilst the build took place and eventually in spring 2014, opened the Byre to the public.
“I’ve always been involved in the arts in one way or another,” Elaine describes, “I have always loved visiting galleries and I used to say that one day I’d like to run a theatre or a gallery. I think there is a little bit of theatre in the way I put on an exhibition so maybe I’ve managed to achieve a bit of both!”
Elaine takes pride in every new design and exhibition, relishing in repainting the walls and searching for new pieces to surprise and delight her visitors. A mixture of contemporary art and design- led contemporary craft occupies the Byre, encompassing everything from ceramics, glass and metal to wood, textiles and jewellery, all from established and emerging artists throughout the UK. A good portion of her exhibiting artists originate from the south west, but Elaine is always keen to include a wider geographical spread of creative talent her visitors might have never seen before,
“I’m constantly impressed by the creative talent there is in this country, especially in the south west, and that continues to inspire me. An exhibition at the Byre gallery always has a theme and I like to create an ensemble look that often starts with one piece. Every piece I choose for a show has to be something that I would happily live with, something that I fall a little bit in love with. I really enjoy sharing my interest and enthusiasm for the pieces I show, and the more I love a piece, the more I want to talk about it.”
Offering an abundance of potentially undiscovered or understated talent is something that fits in quite with the Byre’s unique location. The beauty of the Rame Peninsula is undisputed and full of hidden gems to be discovered, as Elaine knows all too well,
“The Rame Peninsula is known as Cornwall’s forgotten corner and I think that those of us that discover it feel like we’ve stumbled on a wonderful secret. There are the wonderful beaches of Whitsand Bay; fantastic walks around the south west coast path up to Rame head, round to Cremyll and around Millbrook lake. We have some great places to eat or drop in for a drink, some of our favourites are The View which blends delicious food with breathtaking views, the Carew Arms, a real local pub in Antony which serves the best ever fish pie, the Canteen and the Salty Dog Café which both do killer breakfasts, and the Devonport Inn in Kingsand is another great local pub for lunch or dinner that couldn’t be any closer to the sea!”
This spring the Byre Gallery will be holding two exhibitions and Elaine is excited to introduce artists and makers who are showing at the gallery for the first time to the Byre’s audience such as Sara Bor, Sophie Harding, Alice Heaton, Benjamin Lintell, Adrian Mitchell and Sara Owen. As summer approaches, the gallery will be welcoming back artist Siobhan Purdy, with a specially created collection of new work, who will be joined by Susan Kinley, whose stunning glass work was shown at the prestigious Collect exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery earlier this year.
The Rame Peninsula holds many delights and secrets, but the Byre Gallery is certainly one of its best known and beloved ‘not-so’ hidden gems.
If you can’t make it to the Rame Peninsula, check out the gallery online, where you’ll be able to discover some of the amazing works available.
The Byre Gallery
Tel: 01752 822936
During Exhibitions Open:
Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm