Merlynda Robinson, Bucks Mills Cabin

Perched above the sea in the ancient fishing hamlet of Bucks Mills, the Cabin was the studio and summer residence of painters Judith Ackland and Mary Stella Edwards. More recently the Cabin has been used as a space for artist residencies, to keep this artistic heritage alive.

LK 'Merlynda' Robinson (aka Kitty Pigfish) - is an award-winning illustrator and cartoonist, performance poet, puppeteer, editor and comedienne, among many other talents. She lives and works in the hamlet of Bucks Mills where she runs the Bucks Mills Gallery. 

What is your artistic inspiration?

I’ve enjoyed a varied career - from being a professional Comedienne to being a professional Newspaper and Magazine Columnist, from being a professional Poetry Magazine Editor, Comedy Poet & Monologue/Speech Writer, Art Author and Short Story Writer to being a professional Puppeteer, Walkabout Ventriloquist and Punch & Judy Professor, from Fine Artist, Sculptor, Cartoonist and Illustrator to professional Song-Writer and Ballet Composer.  I write and perform both Comedy and Romance, and illustrate these by ‘cartooning’ to entertain others.  My aim, always, is to ignite joy and laughter, empathy and understanding.  My twin artistic inspirations are People & Creatures and Places of Laughter & True Love.  

What will you do during your residency at Bucks Mills Cabin?

I’ll be creating a series of Comical Poems, Odes and Ditties - and a series of Humorous and Peculiar Cartoons - drawing on the often hilarious events and the odd and infamous local characters from the folklore of Bucks Mills village and also those I happen to experience and meet whilst Artist-In-Residence at the Cabin! Each will be created as a Comical Postcard, Comical Greetings Card or Comical Poster - and printed under the Publication Title: ‘The Bucks Mills Funny Times’.  Also on display will by my Romantic Poetry Collection - published in September 2018 - which is wholly inspired by my living and working in gorgeously sensuous and deliciously mysterious Bucks Mills: ‘The Romance of Bucks Mills’ - and I will happily read selections of these poems - and selections too of the Comical Poems, Odes and Ditties that I create whilst ‘In Residence’ - to Visitors to the Cabin, should they wish.

How has Bucks Mills Cabin inspired your work? What makes this place special?

I have created a Ballad: ‘The Song of Bucks Mills Quay’, inspired by the view from ‘The Artist’s Cabin’ upstairs bedroom window and the Bucks Mills Quay, which was rebuilt after violent storms damaged a large part of it in 2014.  I would like to share this ballad with visitors to the Cabin.
I have also created: ‘The Romance of Bucks Mills’ - A Collection of Romantic Poems - published September 2018 - as an A4 saddle-stitched Poetry Booklet - which will be on display in The Artist’s Cabin during my Residency.  Inspired wholly by my living and working in Bucks Mills, this brand new Romantic Poetry Collection encompasses powerfully emotive romantic love poems inspired by Bucks Mills and the beautiful countryside surrounding it. And of course the ‘Artist’s Cabin’ itself, which I have visited on so many occasions on my weekly walks to the beach.
Discovering the remarkable creations of the accomplished fine artist and figure-maker Judith Ackland and the outstanding poetry and quirky book illustrations by Mary Stella Edwards and visiting their joyously engaging ‘artistic retreat’, so close to where I now live and work, ignites both a sense of timelessness and empathy within me.  I feel I am truly ‘at home’ - where I was born to be - and among - friends.

Are there any other National Trust places that have inspired you?

Before moving to Bucks Mills, I lived and worked in the South Downs National Park close to beautiful Harting Down, West Sussex for over 25 years and owned and ran my own Art Gallery and Comedy Performance Studio where I ran creative workshops and open mic nights.  I performed many of my ‘One-Woman Comedy Shows’ in wonderful venues in the region, and across London and Surrey. There are so many other NT places across the south, south-east and south-west of England that have inspired my poetry, artwork and comedy over the years - and there are so many still that I am eager to visit and perhaps perform at too, within in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset, in particular. 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to paint or illustrate?

My primary advice is: Decide what excites you most. What do you want to really want to paint or illustrate?  Then seek out and study examples by artists you like - regardless of whether their style is figurative or abstract - and regardless of the materials they predominately worked/work in.  Next, immerse yourself with your chosen subject-matter - learn all you can about it.  Now you’re inspired and you’re informed… so, what are you waiting for!  
As part of ‘The Bucks Mills Literary Festival’ Event I am organizing in 2019, I shall be including a series of both ‘Poet-Led Walks’ and ‘Artist-Led Walks’ - based at St Anne’s Cottage in Bucks Mills. I would be absolutely delighted to hear from any National Trust members or groups who may like to participate.

Merlynda Robinson was an Artist in Residence in 2018.

To find out more about Merlynda: