Haf Fach Mihangel (indian summer)

This has been a very busy week. I have been shortlisted for a commission at Conwy Castle in North Wales and went there for a site visit. It took me 3 days to complete the visit and associated research in the area and because of a tight schedule, I have only 10 days to complete my proposal – not much time to blog then!

But it was such a fantastic trip in the gorgeous heatwave we are having, Wales is an insanely beautiful country and the journey north through the mountains and slate quarries is spectacular. The castle itself was built by Edward 1st in 1283-9 to assert English domination over the Welsh Princes.

Originally the walls would have been limed white and it must have made a stunning impression. The opportunity to submit a proposal to make some work for this World Heritage Site is very exciting and I have started making some small cast glass samples to submit.

In the course of my research I discovered that there is some mediaeval glass surviving in the area and I made an appointment with Richard Hughes, the Curator of the museum in nearby Llandudno, who kindly showed me some pieces from their archive. I was totally amazed at the glass that came out of those boxes! There is so little early glass surviving from this period that I had expected it to be much more fragmentary and in worse condition. Richard also told me about the church at Llanrychwyn where there is glass surviving in situ, and in the fading light I made my way up into the hills of the Conwy valley on a road that seemed to be melting into the hillside and becoming ever more indistinct and rocky. I was sure the church must be locked but was delighted to find a very human sort of door fastening and let myself in.

To enter a church which was actually used by Llewellyn Fawr, the great prince of Wales, took my breath away.

Whilst in Llandudno I called in to Oriel Mostyn gallery and discovered an amazing exhibition by David Nash. David is a sculptor who has also been to Northlands Glass and whose work I last saw on the stairs in Lani MacGregors wonderful house at Latheron. The show is truly stunning, wonderful to see his work in such a sympathetic space, this is the most moving exhibition I have seen in a long while.

I can never resist stopping off in Aberystwyth, this time I was rewarded with  photo of an ageing biker – “Ride it Like You Stole It” his t-shirt said as he sipped tea on the prom with his cronies – good on you!