A few weeks back, Rachel Phillips and I installed our five stained glass windows in Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey. The castle was built in the late 1200’s by Edward 1st, and our work celebrates the design and the masons who built it, while referencing manuscripts pertaining to the use, ownership and state of the castle through the centuries.
We have been living and breathing this work for the past 8 months, and are delighted to see it in situ, casting light and colour back into the building.
I have also been making some glass squares for Strata Florida Abbey in Mid Wales. These pieces have been incorporated into a metal gate and were commissioned by sculptor, Rubin Eynon. They are based on encaustic tiles found at the abbey and also contain fragments of manuscripts written by the Welsh poet, Gwilym ap Dafydd and other scribes who wrote at the abbey.
In other news, I have had a piece accepted for the British Glass Biennale, which takes place in Stourbridge in August. This piece is about global interconnectivity on social media and will be an installations of ‘iPhones’, which I am making from mirror, each of which feature the silhouette portrait of one of my Friends on Facebook. Anyone who is my Friend on Facebook can take part and I want to feature as many people as possible. All you have to do is send me a photo of yourself in profile, head and shoulders, taken against a light background, and I will do the rest!
Now I am taking a well deserved break in preparation for all my new projects!
Rachel Phillips and I are busy making five stained glass windows for Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey. The windows are commissioned by Cadw and are based on the floorplan of the castle and contain references to manuscripts, heraldry and other elements which tell the story of the castle. They also contain specially commissioned text from Welsh poet, Damian Walford Davies. The windows will be installed in the castle in March 2017.
Thanks to The Arts Council of Wales who awarded me a Professional Development Grant I was able to attend a 9 day masterclass with artist Richard Wentworth at North Lands Creative Glass in Lybster, Caithness. This was an absolutely fabulous opportunity to work alongside Wentworth and 9 fellow students, each of whom is an independent artist in their own right and who travelled from as far afield as Australia and Brazil to attend.
We were ably assisted in the hotshop by Louis Thompson and James Devereux, fabulously talented artists who work with hot glass. It was a great chance to try out new things without any pressure to produce finished pieces, and has given me an insight into the possibilities of hot glass and the beginnings of a totally new approach to my work. It was an intense time, we were in the studio from 9am until 11pm every day!
Following the masterclass I went to Edinburgh to attend A Luddite Convention – North Lands Creative Glass Celebration of its 20th anniversary. It was an immensely stimulating few days meeting up with artist friends and curators, meeting new people and hearing some fantastic speakers talking about the relevance of the handmade in the digital age – such a rich topic. We were treated to a mind-boggling talk and performance by Jerzsy Seymour from Amsterdam who talked about his socially engaged radical design practice, Dries van Bruggen from Studio Unfold in Antwerp who talked about the digital artisan and democratisation of the design and technology which is made possible by open-source digital 3d printing. In addition artists Sibylle Peretti, Jane Bruce and Geoff Mann talked about their work.
There was a fabulous exhibition at The Dovecot Studios to celebrate 20yrs of North Lands Glass, and a brilliant installation in St Marys Cathedral or work by Phillip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg who have recently moved from Paris to Presteigne, which is great news for glass in Wales!
It will take me a while to process everything I heard and saw during the conference.
Since returning home after this epic adventure Rachel Phillips and I have been commissioned by CADW to make 5 stained glass windows for Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey in North Wales. This is a fabulous opportunity and will keep me very busy until the installation date which is scheduled for March next year. Rachel and I have worked together on a number of commissions and 5 years ago made windows fro The Royal Chapel at Conwy Castle. It is an absolute joy to collaborate and to have this work ahead of us now.
Gruel is cast in glass from the wooden ladle used to feed the poor and destitute in Narberth Workhouse. It was commissioned by The Contemporary Art Society for Wales and is part of the CASW Gift Award exhibition currently on show at Narberth Museum, the exhibition also includes work by Jobina Tinnemans, Riitta Sinkkonen Davies and Sian Lester.
The exhibition runs until August 26th at Narberth Museum
Open Tuesday to Saturday 10-5
Artist Talks – an evening of presentations from artists working with museum collections.
August 5th 7-9pm • Narberth Museum • £5 please bring a plate of food to share.
The exhibition of my work from ob•serve, my residency on Skokholm Island, is now on show. I am grateful to Arts Council of Wales, The Wildlife Trust South and West Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Oriel y Parc, Dale Sailing Company and Richard and Giselle, Skokholm Island wardens, for their support of this project.
As spring approaches we are welcoming visitors to the gallery in Pembrokeshire. While I am developing new work, if you would like to come please email me to make an arrangement or you are welcome to call by on the off chance.
I am busy on the final stages of preparing for my exhibition in The Tower Gallery, Oriel y Parc which opens in July. This is the culmination of 18months of intense work based on my residency at Skokholm Island Bird Observatory last year, which was supported by The Arts Council of Wales. During a recent two week residency in the studio at Oriel y Parc I completed the first of a series of large scale paintings inspired by this residency. It has been an amazing opportunity to develop my work and to begin to navigate new waters.
Alongside this, with 4 other artists, I am working on a commission for the Contemporary Art Society of Wales for a piece of work made in response to the collection at Narberth Museum. I have undertaken months of research for this commission which has included making glass casts of a number of historical objects whilst honing my idea. I am interested in the emotional resonance of objects and their ability to link us to our history and lives past. The final work will be revealed at an opening in the museum in June. Here are some photos of research in progress:
I have also been teaching and running occasional workshops, including a day of sun printing with refugee families, a painting day at Oriel y Parc in February, and workshops for Newport and Carmarthen Art Societies. There are still places on my weekend painting workshop at Oriel y Parc in St Davids June 24-26th and painting week August 9-14th
Having finished my residency at Oriel y Parc, December sees me back in my own studio and continuing to process the material and ideas arising from my project, ‘ob•serve’ based on Skokholm Island. I am working deeper into ‘colour extraction’ and am exploring various avenues, so far all in oil paint, but glass is never far from my mind! This work is supported by a Project Grant from the Arts Council of Wales and will result in an exhibition in July and August 2016 in the Tower Gallery, Oriel y Parc, St Davids.
I have also been busy with my online winter sale which features many sketches and studies and is helping me create space for new work.
Even though I am concentrating on paint right now, I have been firing the kiln with Xmas spirit, making glass Christmas decorations with local people who made an incredible 50 decorations during a workshop I ran in the village school hall last weekend!
Happy Winter Solstice to you all, and I look forward to more light in January!