One of the joys of any visit to Glastonbury is, for me, the artwork. It is everywhere in the town, from public art to glorious graffiti. Almost every shop sells handcrafted work in every imaginable medium, from paintings and sculpture to clothing and jewellery… with the weird, wild and wonderful in between.
The buildings themselves are, for the most part, very old and date back centuries. The Tribunal and the George and Pilgrim, for example, date back to the 15th century. Many buildings are carved with strange creatures or enigmatic figures. There are odd door-knockers and narrow alleys… but everywhere there is something to catch the attention.
As most people had followed the maypole up the hill, there was a lull in proceedings and the town was suddenly quiet. We took the opportunity to pay the obligatory visit to Star Child. I would have gone there, just to breathe, even if we hadn’t wanted to buy incense; it is a delightful place… and, not being enamoured of the whole retail experience, that is not something I often say of a shop!
Their front door alone is worth seeing, carved in sinuous lines from a huge piece of wood, it is a thing of real beauty that leads into a place that smells like paradise. I can’t help it if this sounds like an advert for the shop… just go there, if you are ever in Glastonbury and breathe for yourself. I love the innumerable drawers stuffed with dried herbs; it reminds me of the old herbalist in my home town where I first started to learn their medicinal uses.That too was a place of delight where Latin and common names came together to give a clue to the student, but although it too smelled wonderful, the blending and burning of incense and fragrant oils in Glastonbury gives the shop a whole other dimension.
Star Child is to be found in the tiny Courtyard off the High Street. There are a number of other shops, but it is always the artwork that delights me, and for that there is no need to cross any threshold…it is everywhere.
Glastonbury is, by nature, a town that attracts the artist and the Bohemian as well as the seekers of light and legend. There is a ‘feel’ to the place that is hard to describe, but I know very few people who have not felt the spirit of the land run her fingers down their spine there. It is not in the town itself, nor in the shops…not even in the arts and crafts that you find it; they are just an outward sign of something much more subtle and I think, it it that which draws the artists, seekers and creators to the place… something in the land itself, that knows it is revered and sacred. In Glastonbury, Avalon is never far away.