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.
ob•serve – colours of an island
The Tower, Oriel y Parc, St Davids SA62 6NW
9.30–4.30 daily until 31 August
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!
I am now half way through my month long residency at Oriel y Parc in St. Davids. It is wonderful to have such a beautiful big studio in which to begin to process the material from ob•serve, the project I have been researching over six months at Skokholm Island Bird Observatory. The work I am doing will develop over the winter and will be the basis of an exhibition in The Tower Gallery, St Davids, next summer.
I decided to focus particularly on my sketchbooks and the colour “transect” studies. I chose eight sights around the island which I visited every month from April to September and recorded the colours I could see, this now forms the basis of a series of canvases I am painting in oils.
The residency is teaching me some unexpected things: the benefits of having a studio away from home, of having people around and a context to work in which is less isolated (and has an excellent cafe!), the importance of having clear space and the value of having a routine of going out to work and stopping at 5pm. As a result I have resolved to have a clear-out of my studio and gallery and to reorganise my workspace at home, especially to make space for painting. This means that I will be having a massive sale of work this winter which will (hopefully!) free up space.
I will be giving a public talk about this work at Oriel y Parc on Friday 16th October at 6pm, and also welcome visitors to the studio 4-5pm on Thursdays and Fridays (other times by arrangement). On Saturday 21st November I will be running a one-day painting course focussing on colour at Oriel y Parc. To book phone Oriel y Parc on 01437 720392.
I am immensely grateful to The Arts Council of Wales for funding this project which is allowing me to take the risks necessary to develop my work, to The Wildlife Trust, South and West Wales and the Skokholm Island wardens for giving me the chance to work on the island, and to all the staff at Oriel y Parc and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for making me so welcome in St. Davids.