observe

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I have been pursuing some of the ideas I was developing in Caithness at North Lands Creative Glass in September concerning glass in the landscape, and have been using exploring photography as a medium for this work.

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Alongside my studio work I continue to develop an exciting socially engaged practice and this autumn have begun a project in collaboration with Narberth Museum to create a Community Quilt in glass with citizens of Narberth. This project is called ‘Drawn Threads’ and was part of The Big Draw National Drawing Festival.

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I have also been voluntarily organising events for an informal artists network based at Narberth Museum. Up-coming events include a Drawing with Wire workshop with Julia Griffiths Jones on February 7th and an iPhoneography Day with the amazing Nettie Edwards on March 14th. It has been lovely to meet some new artists working in the area who are making inspiring work and I look forward to taking part in the workshops.

On a festive note I have been working with 75 pupils of Puncheston School to make Matisse-cut-out-inspired tea light holders

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My BIG NEWS for 2015 is that I have succeeded in getting Arts Council of Wales funding for my project, ‘observe’, which will see me spending much of 2015 focussing on developing a new body of work based on research undertaken at Skokholm Island Bird Observatory in Pembrokeshire during the summer season.

I will spend one week a month on the island between April and October undertaking artistic research alongside the biologists, bird ringers and other scientists who work at the observatory. In September/October 2015 I will be Artist in Residence at Oriel y Parc St Davids where I will use the studio facilities to draw together the threads of my research and undertake 3 days of public engagement workshops.  I will go on to develop a new body of work which will be exhibited at The Tower Gallery, Oriel y Parc in St. Davids in July/August 2016. Work from this exhibition will tour to Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales headquarters at Parc Slip and Cilgerran later in 2016.

This is a great opportunity for me to undertake a major self-directed project which incorporates several themes which are central to my practice, namely landscape and research. I am interested in how observation is the basis for both scientific and artistic research and in examining the relationship between the two and looking at what each discipline may learn from the practice of the other.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time writing proposals and making funding applications this year to enable me to support myself while developing new work. It is always a dilemma whether to spend months out of the studio writing funding applications, but the process does force me to articulate what it is I want to do and to be clear about how I propose to do it. The application for this project was accepted on its second rewrite, and I am delighted that the Arts Council of Wales are going to support my initiative and am relieved that my persistence has paid off! Writing a proposal is a kind of gestation period, and, like pregnancy, it is just the beginning of the work…I am looking forward to the challenges ahead!

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Thanks to the Arts Council of Wales, The Wildlife Trust South and West Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Pembrokeshire County Council and Dale Sailing for their support for this project.

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In August 2015 I will be running a one week art course on the island, this is suitable for artists with all levels of experience and is intended to give participants the chance to immerse themselves intensively in the landscape, learn some new techniques and enjoy a relaxing time on one of the UK’s most spectacular islands which is home to Britain’s first Bird Observatory.

Meanwhile, my studio gallery is open daily until January 4th showing new work. Do call in for a glass of mulled wine!

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New Year Show Open!

Come and warm up with a complementary glass of mulled wine at my studio gallery in the village of Maenclochog in the heart of Pembrokeshire.

We will be open every day until 3rd January from 10am to 5pm.

December News!

I have been really busy managing the New Year mailing and the Studio Sale. Thanks to the 40 or so people who have bought sketches and jewellery online this month.

Apart from that December has seen me really concentrating on my new big paintings – the aerial-inspired pieces. The way I am painting now is very different, I am working daily on a few pieces, working over paintings that have been on the go for some time, not being hung up about obliterating what I did the day (or month!) before. It`s like reverse archaeology –  building up in hidden layers, hoping the process will reveal something. It`s an act of faith, and of letting go. And a bit like dreaming, conscious interpretation and understanding can only come afterwards, when you have to look for what the painting is telling you.

It feels like this is the way forward for me, to allow myself to be still, to stay with one painting, to take my time, not to be anxious about production, about finishing something, and painting on a large scale gives me the opportunity to develop these new ways of working.

The Studio Sale has taught me that I move on too quickly. I have hundreds of unresolved pieces in my plan chest, all these pieces of paper are steps on the way but I am going to try to develop work differently now.

The other thing I have done this month is my first podcast! I was approached by Brenda Dayne, a knitter and broadcaster in new media who lives in Amroth and produces a podcast aimed at knitters across the world on her website at http://www.cast-on.com. Brenda is doing a series of podcasts around the theme of “within 20 miles” and asked me to if I was willing to be interviewed. You can listen to my interview with Brenda Dayne here.

It is the last few days of the online sale and today I am hanging the New Year Show. It is always nerve wracking hanging a show even though I do it every winter! But, the posters are printed, the wine has arrived and once the price list is ready I can decorate the tree, wrap presents and relax for Xmas.