Cysgod y Coed – glass commission installed

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Rachel Phillips and I have just installed our glass commission in the Family Housing Association sheltered housing and health care development in Crymych, Pembrokeshire.

The inspiration for the work came from a desire to bring the landscape of Pembrokeshire in to the building and to introduce artwork by local people to personalize the space. We decided on a theme based on tree and plant shapes, and designed the piece to change with the light throughout the day and provide interest and stimulation for staff, visitors and residents.

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I ran a workshop with pupils at Ysgol y Frenni, Crymych. The children made drawings from the environment around the school and made leaf and fern print from material gathered locally. Rachel and I then made their own drawings and studies and directly incorporated the children’s fern prints into the design, which was sandblasted on two layers and incorporated into eight double glazed units.

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We are really pleased to have had the opportunity to a creative contribution to such a fantastic new facility in our community. crymych2

Summer Update

I have been very busy making new work, hanging a summer exhibition and building a new website which will go live next week and have neglected my blog somewhat, so apologies for that.

My gallery in Pembrokeshire is open every day in August from 10am to 6pm.

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Since I last posted I have installed the Glass Quilt I made with 180 primary school children at Narberth School, which can be seen on the outside wall of the school.
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I have also been working on a new series of work called ‘Hiraeth’, which is based on the stories of Welsh people who emigrated to The States in the 18th and 19th Centuries. This work has been researched in Pembrokeshire Archives and online, and five of the resulting pieces have been selected for an exhibition by Elysium Gallery, Swansea which will tour to Colorado in September this year.

In addition I have been working with Rachel Phillips on a commission for Bro Preseli, a sheltered housing scheme in Crymych. This commission is due to be installed later this week and consists of 8 double glazed panels which form an internal wall in the building. glass_1

There are still a few places left on my painting course from the 22nd to 29th September on the fabulous Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire. This course is suitable for both beginners and experienced artists and is a unique opportunity to spend an intensive time working with me and exploring the colours and textures of the island. Skokholm is a wonderful place to stay and as the island is a Bird Observatory there will also be opportunities to study birds in the hand, see Manx Shearwaters close-up and have a night time visit to the Storm Petrel colony. For more information and to book please email me.

Narberth Quilt Progress

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I am having a brilliant time working with 180 children at Narberth School to make a glass quilt on the theme of food and farming. All the pieces are now painted and ready for firing. The children are really enjoying the project:

“This project is great because we get to actually paint our own designs and I feel really proud of my work. I can’t wait to see it all finished.”

Island Days….

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I am just back from the celebration of Skokholm Island’s reinstatement as a Bird Observatory. Skokholm was Britain’s first Bird Observatory, established by Ronald Lockley in 1933, and has just celebrated its reinstatement as an active bird ringing station. Rachel Phillips and I have made a window for the island toilet (the only place we could persuade the ornithologists that maybe privacy was more important than bird-watching!). The window is inspired by the history of the island from its days as a medieval rabbit warren through to the early naturalist years of Ronald Lockley to the present day, and celebrates the unique flora and fauna found there.

Time on the island researching the window last year has opened up many ideas in my work and has inspired me to compile a proposal for future work on the island. Once again, working with Rachel was a fabulous experience.

This video documents the making process. Thanks to Ceri Owen Jones for kind permission to use his music on the video.

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Catching up…

Bonne Maman, engraved jam jar, tooth, pound coin. 2013

Apologies for not posting since September, but I have been head down in the studio working on a new body of work courtesy of winning the Adrian Henri Poetry in Art Prize. Apart from being a huge boost to morale, the award has enabled me to buy a new kiln, sand blaster and grinder and has given me 5 months in my studio.

Birth Of The Simple Light, painted fused glass 20 x 23 x 2.5cm
River Day, fused painted glass, 12 x 14 x 1.5
Strand, fused, painted glass, 12 x 14.4 x 1.5cm
Calm Light, Fused painted glass, 20 x 20 x 2cm

Apart from this I have been working on a window for Skokholm Island with Rachel Phillips. We will be installing the window at Easter in time for a grand opening of the Island Bird Observatory at the end of April. I would love to develop some of my Skokholm ideas more fully and am currently researching the feasibility of undertaking a more in-depth project on the island.

Skokholm window in progress.

I continue to develop my work with children and recently worked with pupils of Ysgol y Frenni in Crymych. I am committed to the value of drawing as a learning tool. The importance of offering creative observational experiences was brought home to me recently when a primary school teacher told me how she has noticed in the last five years that increasing numbers of children are coming into school unable to actually look at anything that is not moving on a screen in front of them.

Drawing the Preseli Hills with pupils from Ysgol y Frenni, Crymych.

This year the gallery will be open by arrangement to enable me to devote more time to developing new work. If you would like to visit please email me or phone to make an appointment.

Veering North

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Courtesy of a Continuing Professional Development Award from the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and support from the Arts Council of Wales, this week I am up in Caithness at North Lands Glass Centre on a masterclass with Australian glass artist, Deborah Cocks. Deborah is a glass painter who works mostly on blown glass forms.

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The masterclass gives me the chance to immerse myself in glass painting for 8 days and learn from Debs and the other students approaches to the materials. This is the first time I have used paint in relation to a 3d form so there is plenty to think about!

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I am experimenting with engraving and layering text and paint in new ways, inspired, as always by history, the land and the human shaping of it.

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For me this is an opportunity to prepare for an intensive time in my studio this autumn and winter when I have carved out five months to concentrate on my own work funded by the Adrian Henri Poetry in Art Prize which I won earlier this year.