Stunning giant flowers handcrafted by Ukrainian refugees at St Austell studio

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A widow in St Austell has opened up her late husband's art studio to a Ukrainian refugee to help keep her craft business afloat.

Ira Ternovska handcrafts giant beautiful flowers for her business Tiny Infinity with her husband Serhii Kyrychenko.

Penny Rutland welcomed the pair with their nine-year-old son Denys to live with her in June and says she's really enjoyed their company.

"Years ago we had students and then we did B&B, so I was always used to having people around.

"It's really nice I am able to help a family that was very close to the Russian border and were the city luckily hasn't been really hit yet, but it could easily be."

The family had been living only 30 miles from the Russian border in Sumy but with fighter jets frequently flying over the city, Ira and Serheii decided they needed to leave Ukraine.

Serheii says for a while they still paid for rent for their workshop but ultimately made the "hard decision" to leave.

"We still paid for rent, we stopped paying last month, we were still hoping to return. It was hard decision but we were sad to leave the workshop."

Penny says she's "rediscovering" much of her husband John Rutland's work by making space for her Ukrainian family. Credit: ITV News

Serheii was able to leave Ukraine with his wife and son because of previous surgery on his brain and stomach.

But little did they expect to find a home with a 71-year-old with an artist studio ready to be adapted for their business.

Translating for Ira, Serhii said: "She says it was brilliant impression because it is a real workshop of real artist. Each details it's about something magic."

That artist was John Rutland, Penny's late husband who died in 2019.

Penny says the experience of opening up her John's workshop has allowed her to discover much of his work which she has never seen before.

"It was quite hard to begin with because everything everything was just put to one side. But now I've got my bit of space and Ira got her a bit of space. I've got time now, hopefully to catalogue everything. And then I would love to have an exhibition somehow."

The family says Penny is a "nice lady" after she agreed to share her home and late husband's studio with the Ukrainian family. Credit: ITV News

John Rutland was primarily a painter and Ira's work is largely sculptural, but Penny says she's really come around to appreciating what a talent Ira has.

"I think she's really clever. She's concentrated very carefully on when she's making something on how it looks and how it should look when she's making it."

With space to continue the business Ira is still getting commissions including a giant pine installation for an autumn window display in Rotterdam.