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.
Since getting back from my travels in America and Greece I have been working on completing a project working with eleven educationally challenged boys in a local primary school to make a window for their school.
This has been a fantastic project, the boys have taught me the potential of using tools as a way in to accessing creativity and learning and have reminded me how important hands-on approach is in helping to open up opportunities for people. The children have benefited in so many ways from our project, through working with glass they have built up a new sense of self-estime and pride in their achievements which they are carrying forward into other areas of their lives.
At the same time, courtesy of my Adrian Henri Poetry in Art Prize and a subsidy from the Local Investment Fund, in preparation for an intensive studio working time this winter, I have been upgrading my studio equipment with a new kiln, flat-lap grinder and sand-blaster.
Thanks to a Continuing Professional Development Award from the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and support from the Welsh Arts Council, I am about to go to North Lands Glass in Caithness for a masterclass with Australian glass artist, Deborah Cocks. The masterclass will be a great opportunity to prepare for my winter studio time. I will be attending the annual conference there as well and renewing my contacts with this fabulous centre of excellence – I can’t wait!
I spent the afternoon yesterday filming an interview in my studio for S4C’s Llwybyr Arfordir Sir Benfro series to be screened (in Welsh with sub-titles) this autumn. It was great to have the chance to chat with the interviewer, Damian Walford Davies, (a poet and writer based in Aberystwyth), who has a lot of similar interests in his work…islands, maps, archaeology, aerial perspectives, Bardsey……it was fantastic to share ideas and talk over ideas for our work – who knows where these conversations might lead?!
Special thanks to Ruby for helping me in preparing my Welsh!