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.
Painting is progressing well on the windows. We are working flat-out to meet our deadline for installation on March 8th. I am really enjoying experimenting with etching and sandblasting as well as painting pieces, the fragmentary nature of the piece gives lots of scope to be spontaneous within a structure.
All these pieces will be cut up and included as fragments. Meanwhile, the painting is fabulous to do, so different to my usual approach to using colour, thinking all the time about the light! I am learning a lot about traditional techniques from Rachel. Hardly any time to blog!!
I managed to sell enough work to go on my Northlands Masterclass! Thanks to those who took advantage of my discount offer and supported me by buying some work.
Yesterday I had a crises of confidence about going when I discovered that I will be working alongside some of the most talented glass artists around. I had a very reassuring email from Michael Rogers, the tutor, and today I feel only excited and full of anticipation about working with people who are so engaged with their practice.
Michael has asked all participants to bring with them a small suitcase of inspirational material to work with and I spent the day in the junk shops of Cardigan selecting priceless objects of Welshness to take with me to Caithness.
Cardigan proved a great place to start my search, it is full of cheap tourist places and charity shops (the most disorganised and grubby ones are best for this kind of thing) and I set myself the target of not spending more than £2 on an object. Michael has given me licence to hang out in the most fascinating emporia known to man and a budget is a necessary constraint if my studio is not to become even more of a junk store!
I love the serendipity of what you find in these places and of the co-incidences and connections you discover along the way. My suitcase is going to need some heavy editing, and that is a good process for me to apply to my ideas in general. Sometimes I feel that I have too many ideas and can not find the space to explore any of them deeply enough, archiving them and putting them in boxesmay just help with that, enable a lot of things to coexist without becoming overwhelming – why did n`t I think of this before?!
I had lunch in Y Pantri, a lovely local cafe, strictly tea and toasted sandwiches, not a tapas in sight! Quite a change from Narberth! So a successful days hunting and I topped it off with a visit to see the Cardigan Cardigan, an enormous (5m x 2.5m) cardigan knitted by local people last year to celebrate 900 years of the towns heritage. Inspired by the work of assistant designer, Susan McComb, the work is mostly in cable stitch and was knitted by 300 people of all ages and abilities, who met and knitted together, or in their own homes, over 9 months. A wonderful example of a truly inclusive community art project.
My time on Skokholm Island was fantastic! I walked those 242 acres for a week and really began to absorb the feel of the island. Swimming with seals and puffins in South Haven was a highlight, as was lying beneath the stars at the lighthouse watching Storm Petrels returning to their nests. There were lots of wonderful moments, seeing Burnet Moths mating, coming across 50 stranded Compass Jellyfish that had lost their way in North Haven, painting a Garden Tiger Moth….
It is always easier to work when I am alone and away from the distractions of home life. The islands give me the space to contemplate and decide where I want to go next with my work. There is a lot to think about just now – glass and paint and so many themes bubbling up…
All in all it has been a time of collecting for me, collecting material (sand, earth, seaweed, bones) and inspiration, and collecting my thoughts.
This has a parallel in the scientific work that goes on on the islands, the monitoring, mapping and collecting of data and material and the documenting of conditions and movements and migrations, these things have been faithfully recorded here since 1927 when Ronald Lockley, naturalist, farmer and writer extraordinaire, took on the lease of the island. The scientific approach mirrors what I am doing in my sketchbooks and experiments with glass, the application and attention to detail of these scientists is inspirational in itself!!
All in all it was an inspirational week and has given me much food for thought (and a studio full of detritus!). I will definitely come back next year and hope to work on a piece of work for the island, possibly a window for Lockley’s restored cottage.
A day in Cardiff with Ruby on Saturday and I managed to fit in a visit to the superb Silverstruck exhibition of contemporary silversmithing at the National Museum in between the visits to New Look and H&M and lunch at Jamie Oliver‘s restaurant!
This is a fantastic showcase of contemporary work and is well worth a visit. It runs until July 24th. I especially liked Junko Mori`s organic forms, Alex Ramsay‘s gorgeous double-skinned vessels, Adele Brereton‘s delicate vessels and Rajesh Gogna‘s imaginative and witty pieces. The show is a testament to the imagination and incredibly high standard of craftsmanship of contemporary makers and to their dedication in following a line of inquiry.
Had a fantastic evening swim on Tenby South Beach with a friend after a day in the studio (not nearly as cold as I expected, and really refreshing!), and then we came across this valiant Scarlet Tiger Moth on the sand…such exquisite colours showing petrol greens and emeralds over black and then a shock of poppy red petticoats….perfect end to my day.
I have been making casts of the wings of dead shearwaters and other wildlife in preparation for some glass casting I want to do. Not sure where this is leading but I`m sure that will become clear at some point along the way…
Yesterday I went to see Rozanne Hawksley‘s inspirational work in the cloisters of St Davids Cathedral. Rozanne is one of the UK`s leading textile artists and her pieces are amazing for their depth and contemplation. The exhibition continues until June 11th and is well worth a visit. Thank you to Rozanne for reminding me of the importance of drawing as a personal activity.
The evening concert by Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble as part of their Officium Novum Tour was out of this world. I went to London to hear Jan Garbarek last year and now he actually came to Pembrokeshire! I am so thrilled. I had permission to draw during the concert but decided just to bathe in the music.Wonderful. Nothing more to say. Hear them.