Growing up in Cornwall, my early world was rather devoid of access to art galleries. True we had the nascent Maritime Museum in its original location at the Falmouth Polytechnic (many models of boats) but there wasn’t much else available. Unless you counted the mural opposite the library or the Royal Cornwall Museum’s worthy gallery.
Yet amongst the gloom of Falmouth in the 70s, a small chink of light was glimpsed. Cabaret, a magical craft shop opened in 1979 up the High Street (as we say in Cornwall). The shop was full of remarkable, hand-built automata by artists such as Peter Markey and Paul Spooner. These were ingeniously tactile pieces which I would spend ages admiring and with hindsight should have bought!
What I did buy and what has travelled with me ever since, is this Cabaret cupcake. I recently spoke with the daughter of Sue Jackson, who founded Cabaret, when a travelling exhibition was put on in East Dulwich. She could recall the cupcakes being made for the shop and was pleased to know that one still existed!
I think this would count as the very first piece of real art I ever bought. It pre-dates by many years the ubiquitous cupcake as objet d’art of the baking world, yet even then it had an aesthetically pleasing shape and colour. Now slightly chipped and battered it remains one of the things I would never get rid of.
You can read more about my everyday art here.
UPDATE: A lovely reply from Cabaret via their facebook page. “Thanks for this! The cupcakes were actually made by Sue Jackson, and the plaster of paris blocked the drains in Falmouth High Street more than once during production!”
©Chez l’abeille 2014