I have lost my teaching job while the college where I teach art and craft to young neurodiverse adults is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, so I have been working hard to sell some work to keep myself afloat and allow me to make new work in response to the current situation.
As a result it is currently possible to view a range of my work for sale for under £200 as part of the #artistsupportpledge which is an initiative by artist Matthew Burrows whereby artists sell pieces of work for less than £200 and for every £1000 sold the artist buys work by another artist for £200. This is a brilliant idea as it allows us to support ourselves and other artists and thanks to the pledge I have been able to continue with my studio practice and have, at the same time increased my collection of artwork by other artists!
I am feeling blessed in living in Pembrokeshire and having a garden and am enjoying having the time to develop new work and to review my gallery and to begin a major rearrangement of my studio space.
Meanwhile, at Studio Melyn (my architectural glass practice with Rachel Phillips) having recently completed a commission for a 12th Century church at Blewbury in Oxfordshire, we have been working hard on our designs for a new commission for CADW at Caernarfon Castle. The schedule for making the work has been set back by the Covid-19 restrictions, but we have been finding ways to do socially-distanced designing!
This year I was invited to show my work at the oldest glass festival in Holland, which is held in Tubbergen, Eastern Netherlands. Thanks to support from the Glasrijk Festival organisers and a grant from Wales Arts International, I am attending and showing my work alongside artists working in glass from across Europe in a major show on the theme of Mirror, Mirror…which takes over the whole town for 6 days.
The work I am showing features 120 mirrors in the shape of iPhones, each of which carries the image of someone who is my Friend on Facebook. Each of the ‘phones’ is connected by a line to everyone who is connected to that person on Facebook.
Installation by Linda Anneveld
Work by Ioana Stelea from Romania
Installation in the Protestant Church by Zwier Cornellisen
Windows reflected in the work of André van Lier
By Karen Browning
The photos above show just a small selection of the work on view. As well as seeing lots of new glass work I am also meeting many artists and running a workshop for the public.
Continuing my portraiture theme, for the workshop I have prepared a range of portraits which the participants will be able to stick on to glass and then colour using vinyl, thereby creating instant “stained glass”.
Firstly apologies for not posting here for quite a while.
My work Profile was installed in the British Glass Biennale and here are a few photos of it in situ.
In 2018 I made two new windows for Skokholm Island Bird Observatory, once again in the prime position of one of the island’s toilets! These windows take the form of double glazed mirrored panels and are based on starlings roosting in trees, an otherwise rare sight on the island!
Studio Melyn, my collaborative architectural glass practice with Rachel Phillips is now busy on another commission for a 12th Century building, this time the Church of St Michael in Blewbury, Oxfordshire. Rachel will be making a window in celebration of bellringing, and together we are making a mirrored glass installation to amplify the window and the light in the space. The design of the installation is based on the bell ringers notation of the tune Cambridge Surprise.
I am currently curating Never Done, an exhibition showing my new work in glass alongside that of 15 women from Wales, Japan, USA, England and Shetland in celebration of International Women’s Week in my gallery here in Wales in March. The exhibition runs alongside Hidden Women • Merched Cudd, an event in my village to celebrate the lives of women in our community where Rachel and I will give a presentation about our work as Studio Melyn.
I will be opening the gallery here in Pembrokeshire this year showing some new paintings and glass work as part of North Pembrokeshire Open Studios August 24th – September 8th. I welcome visitors at any other time so please feel free to get in touch if you would like to visit.
To make room for all these new endeavours I am currently offering a 20% discount on all my work until March 2019.
Sale 33 (unframed)
Alongside developing my own practice I am now teaching Art and Craft at Coleg Plas Dwbl in Pembrokeshire. Plas Dwbl is part of Ruskin Mill Trust and provides Steiner based educational opportunities for young people with a range of complex learning needs including autism. Here are a few photographs of my students work.
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!