The past few months has been a busy time for teaching. I have done a number of glass projects in local primary schools. I love this work, it is so inspiring to work with children and get them enthused about glass!
One particularly inspiring project was to make 2 bowls with kids at Ysgol y Frenni on the theme of “patterns in the environment” (or “patrymau yr ymgylchedd” as the entire project was undertaken through the medium of Welsh!).
I designed this as a patchwork of glass so that each child could work on their own design and then we could put them together to make a group piece. The bowls will be entered in the Urdd Eisteddfod in May.
In another project we made fused glass jewellery on the same theme.
The kids were so enthusiastic, they said it was their favourite day at school EVER!!
Rachel and I have just run a “Landscape into Glass” 4 day course at my studio here in Pembrokeshire. We were teaching our students mark-making and layering techniques and ways of working with firing paint, silver stain and frits in combination with pieces of Bullseye glass. We are planning another course for later in the year.
We had a couple of field trips to absorb the landscape and to visit local artists studios, like that of ceramicist, Adam Buick and glass artist, Steve Robinson. The course was very successful and we are planning another for next year.
Apart from that I have been developing some new work in the studio looking at taking painting into glass. Sarah Harman and I have been working on our quarry project, having meetings with the National Park and technical specialists to help us hone down our ideas and firm up our budget so that we can apply for funding to make and present the work in 2014.
I have just heard that I have been successful in my funding bid to Wales Arts International for support to attend the American Glass Guild Conference in Florida in May where I have been asked to give a paper and run a workshop. I am planning a trip that includes visiting glass artist friends, Jane Bruce and Michael Rogers and spending time at Corning Museum of Glass and in New York. It will be a very inspiring trip, my first time in America, and a total contrast to life in rural West Wales!
I was supposed to go to Skokholm Island today for 4 nights painting, but nature intervened in the form of high winds, so the boat didn`t run. I ended up setting the kiln and taking off for St. Davids with my friend and Skokholm companion, Rachel. I wanted to show her some amazing glass pieces in Oriel y Parc. These delicate and intricate pieces were made in the second half of the nineteenth century in Germany by Leopola Blaschka (1822-1895) and his son Rudolf ( 1857-1929) and are intended to illustrate underwater life-forms. They look like contemporary glass pieces (Rachel said they could be miniature Cihuly‘s) yet also have an archival quality. Very interesting and lovely to see in the context of my current interest in historical material, landscape and glass.
I also love the fantastic Peter Lanyon painting on show there and this brilliant hounds sculpture by Catrin Howells which is based on the story of Cantre Gwaelod.
We called in to visit Steve Robinson in his glass studio near Solva and Adam Buick near St. Davids. Adam is preparing for a kiln opening event on 29th July, and has lots of new work ready to load into his kiln. He has also recently been awarded a research and development grant from the Arts Council of Wales, and has been busy experimenting with various new glazes made with seaweed. I love visiting Adams studio, his work is beautiful – forms, texture and the very smell of land and sea.
On the way home we stopped off at the church at Little Newcastle to see the stained glass windows there.
So, a lovely day out, and now home to crash cool the kiln and wait for a call from Jerry, the Skokholm Warden, to let us know whether we will be able to get there tomorrow. Either way, I am itching to get some painting done.
Just got back from a trip through the snow to St. Davids to see Adam Buick`s new work in a show that is open until 21st December. Fantastic pots from a recent firing – get down there to meet Adam, enjoy a glass of mulled wine and get your Xmas presents!! Makes me sick that everyone is heading for the new M&S in Haverfordwest and missing out on truly unique and beautiful work…mind you, there is no escalator, and we Pembrokeshire folk seem very excited about the first escalator to reach these parts!
Also in St. Davids is a fabulous exhibition of work by Finnish weaver and friend, Riitta Sinkkonen Davies in the Refectory of the Cathedral. Especially seasonal are the “white on white” pieces redolent of snow and ice.
Thanks to everyone who braved hold-ups on the M4 on Friday evening to come to the opening of our exhibition Western Elements at Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University.
Our very different work is linked by an exploration of the landscape around us and hangs together well as a show, it is a pleasure to be showing with these guys and exciting to get my work out of Maenclochog!
We hung the work today for “Western Elements”, an exhibition with 3 other Pembrokeshire-based artists at Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University (http://www.taliesinartscentre.co.uk/gallery.php?id=152). The opening is on Friday 14th May 6-8pm, and runs until June 14th.
The other artists are Steve Robinson(http://steverobinsonglass.com/), my glass making pal who has a studio near Solva and is currently showing in a solo show at Tenby Museum, Grahame Hurd-Wood, a fine painter hailing from St. Davids, and ceramicist, Adam Buick (http://www.adambuick.com/), also from St. Davids. I am showing some of the new aerial pieces.