Gruel

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Gruel is cast in glass from the wooden ladle used to feed the poor and destitute in Narberth Workhouse. It was commissioned by The Contemporary Art Society for Wales and is part of the CASW Gift Award exhibition currently on show at Narberth Museum, the exhibition also includes work by Jobina Tinnemans, Riitta Sinkkonen Davies and Sian Lester.

The exhibition runs until August 26th at Narberth Museum

Open Tuesday to Saturday 10-5

Artist Talks – an evening of presentations from artists working with museum collections.

August 5th 7-9pm • Narberth Museum • £5 please bring a plate of food to share.

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Autumn Gathers

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As the swallows gather ready for their journey south, I am catching up with myself after a summer spent largely away from my home studio. I have spent five weeks on Skokholm Island gathering material and inspiration for my project, ob•serve.

I have been continuing my colour-collecting transects and have been getting involved in the scientific research that is taking place. This is all part of trying to understand different approaches to observation and to gathering material and inspiration to work with over the winter.

In addition I ran a week-long painting course in August to share my approach and techniques with artists who wished to broaden their experience.

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The artists who came and had a thoroughly good time exploring the fantastic landscape and geology of the island and getting to know the place. The light house engine room was our superb studio base and I ran daily workshops in aspects of painting, which were punctuated by sketching trips and dolphin watching from the studio windows! Superb food was provided by Shirley Matthews, a regular islander and fantastic chef. Everyone left the island equipped with plenty of inspiration and ideas to take their work forward in their own studios. Thank you to all my students, everyone entered in to the exploratory nature of the work wholeheartedly.

I am delighted to say that two of my Cyanotypes have been preselected for the Society of Wildlife Artists( SWA) autumn show at Mall Galleries in London. It is part of a joint initiative between the SWA and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and I have submitted two works which feature bird netting and ringing and aim to promote more understanding of the scientific value of the bird ringing scheme.

Bonne Maman 2013 Engraved jar, thread, tooth, one pound coin.
Bonne Maman 2013
Engraved jar, thread, tooth, one pound coin.

Meanwhile my piece, Bonne Maman, has been on show at London Glassblowing Gallery in Bermonsey as part of their Essence exhibition.

I continue to run community workshops, this one was a cyanotype workshop for young people at Narberth Museum, where participants worked with objects from the collection to make stunning cyanotype images.

I am proud to say that I have been selected by The Arts Council of Wales to be a Creative Agent in their Lead Creative Schools Scheme which is about to be rolled out across Wales. The scheme is a major investment by Arts Council and Welsh Government and is designed to support teachers and learners to develop new creative approaches to learning by collaborating with artists. After four days of intensive training in Cardiff I am hoping to be matched with a school soon.

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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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