Caroline Cleave: Artist, Designer, Business Woman, Gig Rower and Gardener

Photography by Lulu Ash

Photography by Lulu Ash

Caroline has lived in Port Isaac Cornwall for over twenty years and is passionate about design, drawing inspiration from the active life she leads on the North Cornish coast. Through the seasons and regardless of the weather, walking along the cliff paths and rowing on the sea, enables her to observe the grandeur and detail of nature.

Her contemporary designs encapsulate both coast and countryside and the challenging issues currently associated by those living and working in a rural environment. Sustainable fishing, lobsters, crabs, stonewalls, hedgerows, wildflowers are a feature of her work. Although her illustrative style makes these images appealing, the colours and subject matter she choses touch on deeper considerations.


Her idyllic studio is nestled in her valley garden, situated in the heart of Port Isaac village. Her work is sold through the `BOATHOUSE`, the business she shares with her husband, `Fisherman Friend` Jon Cleave.

My family's roots in Port Isaac run deep ,stretching back for hundreds of years and many of the old sepia prints of the village have numerous relatives staring out and at me. I am moved by the stories of their hard lives working the land and fishing in the sea and echoes of this life are still evident in every nook and cranny of this beautiful place . 

Caroline is our hero. Relentlessly excited about art, design and her beautiful surroundings, she has really made the most of her creative talent and passion for nature. As young, female entrepreneurs, also living in Cornwall, we aspire to the life she has created for herself and her family. 


I need an apron which I can put on at the start of my day and know that it will be flexible enough for a multitude of tasks. The length of the design and the strength of the material must protect my clothes and ensure that I am well covered without it being uncomfortable or cumbersome to wear.Also having finished working in my studio I really enjoy pottering in the garden . I like to wear the same garment which needs to be thorn proof ,roomy and flexible enough to bend and stretch. 

Caroline makes sure she is never bored or creatively stale by keeping busy with many different creative outlets. Whether it’s vigorously painting huge canvases, industriously working at her silver work bench, teaching art to young children, pottering in her valley garden or cooking up a storm on the Aga for her three boys! Her busy, active and sometimes laborious lifestyle is the ultimate test for the strength, protection and comfort of our apron.