Emerging from 13th Century!

A few weeks back, Rachel Phillips and I installed our five stained glass windows in Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey. The castle was built in the late 1200’s by Edward 1st, and our work celebrates the design and the masons who built it, while referencing manuscripts pertaining to the use, ownership and state of the castle through the centuries.

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We have been living and breathing this work for the past 8 months, and are delighted to see it in situ, casting light and colour back into the building.

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I have also been making some glass squares for Strata Florida Abbey in Mid Wales. These pieces have been incorporated into a metal gate and were commissioned by sculptor, Rubin Eynon. They are based on encaustic tiles found at the abbey and also contain fragments of manuscripts written by the Welsh poet, Gwilym ap Dafydd and other scribes who wrote at the abbey.

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In other news, I have had a piece accepted for the British Glass Biennale, which takes place in Stourbridge in August. This piece is about global interconnectivity on social media and will be an installations of ‘iPhones’, which I am making from mirror, each of which feature the silhouette portrait of one of my Friends on Facebook. Anyone who is my Friend on Facebook can take part and I want to feature as many people as possible. All you have to do is send me a photo of yourself in profile, head and shoulders, taken against a light background, and I will do the rest!

Now I am taking a well deserved break in preparation for all my new projects!

ob•serve exhibition in St Davids

The exhibition of my work from ob•serve, my residency on Skokholm Island, is now on show. I am grateful to Arts Council of Wales, The Wildlife Trust South and West Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Oriel y Parc, Dale Sailing Company and Richard and Giselle, Skokholm Island wardens,  for their support of this project.

ob•serve – colours of an island

The Tower, Oriel y Parc, St Davids SA62 6NW

9.30–4.30 daily until 31 August

Solstice update

puffin swatch2Having finished my residency at Oriel y Parc, December sees me back in my own studio and continuing to process the material and ideas arising from my project, ‘ob•serve’ based on Skokholm Island. I am working deeper into ‘colour extraction’ and am exploring various avenues, so far all in oil paint, but glass is never far from my mind! This work is supported by a Project Grant from the Arts Council of Wales and will result in an exhibition in July and August 2016 in the Tower Gallery, Oriel y Parc, St Davids.

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I have also been busy with my online winter sale which features many sketches and studies and is helping me create space for new work.

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Sale 64 – £65

Even though I am concentrating on paint right now, I have been firing the kiln with Xmas spirit, making glass Christmas decorations with local people who made an incredible 50 decorations during a workshop I ran in the village school hall last weekend!

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Happy Winter Solstice to you all, and I look forward to more light in January!

 

Oriel y Parc

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I am now half way through my month long residency at Oriel y Parc in St. Davids. It is wonderful to have such a beautiful big studio in which to begin to process the material from ob•serve, the project I have been researching over six months at Skokholm Island Bird Observatory. The work I am doing will develop over the winter and will be the basis of an exhibition in The Tower Gallery, St Davids, next summer.

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I decided to focus particularly on my sketchbooks and the colour “transect” studies. I chose eight sights around the island which I visited every month from April to September and recorded the colours I could see, this now forms the basis of a series of canvases I am painting in oils.

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The residency is teaching me some unexpected things: the benefits of having a studio away from home, of having people around and a context to work in which is less isolated (and has an excellent cafe!), the importance of having clear space and the value of having a routine of going out to work and stopping at 5pm. As a result I have resolved to have a clear-out of my studio and gallery and to reorganise my workspace at home, especially to make space for painting. This means that I will be having a massive sale of work this winter which will (hopefully!) free up space.

I will be giving a public talk about this work at Oriel y Parc on Friday 16th October at 6pm, and also welcome visitors to the studio 4-5pm on Thursdays and Fridays (other times by arrangement). On Saturday 21st November I will be running a one-day painting course focussing on colour at Oriel y Parc. To book phone Oriel y Parc on 01437 720392.

I am immensely grateful to The Arts Council of Wales for funding this project which is allowing me to take the risks necessary to develop my work, to The Wildlife Trust, South and West Wales and the Skokholm Island wardens for giving me the chance to work on the island, and to all the staff at Oriel y Parc and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for making me so welcome in St. Davids.

Skokholm Painting Week

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I am excited to be running a mixed media painting course on Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire from August 3-10th this year.

The course is designed for a small group of students and is suitable for both beginners and more experienced artists. There will be a relaxed atmosphere and the aim of the course will be free your technique and explore landscape-based abstraction with mixed media, using things like wax, sand and plaster to get to grips with texture. You will have an immersive experience which will fill you with enthusiasm and skills to take back into your painting at home.

Our studio will be at the lighthouse and the course will involve a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities. Throughout the week on the island we will have workshops every morning from 9.30 to 1pm when you will have the opportunity to explore mixed media painting and develop some work from ideas and influences gathered from the island. Afternoons will be your own to work on your ideas from the morning workshops, relax or spend time exploring the island. There will be some evening presentations and the chance to join in with the nightly bird log.

Skokholm Island is a jewel of the Pembrokeshire Coastal landscape. Once the home of the naturalist, Ronald Lockley, the island is famed for its 90,000 Manx Shearwaters, Storm Petrels nesting in the walls around the buildings, Puffins, cliff nesting seabirds and as the site of Britain’s first Bird Observatory. Located 2.5 miles off shore, the whole island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is a rich visual, archaeological, biological and historical resource. Formed of a rich red sandstone the island has a rich history, its remoteness and the nature of the scientific research which has taken place there over an extended period of time makes it a very special place to stay.

The island was designated as Britain’s first Bird Observatory in 1934 and it has recently regained its certification. Scientific monitoring work has taken place for over 70 years. It involves monitoring habitat, flora and fauna and trapping and ringing birds as part of a long term study into bird migration and behaviour. The work that is undertaken there plays a vital role in providing data which feeds into studies of short and long term environmental trends. In addition to the biological monitoring, the island has a rich history. In early August you can expect to see seals, cetaceans and many birds, including puffins, ravens, peregrines storm petrels and Manx Shearwaters . The island has been inhabited since the Stone Age and is currently the subject of a LIDAR study by the Commission for Ancient Monuments in Wales.

Booking and more details at http://www.linda-norris.com/courses/

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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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Towards Spring…

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We have been treated to some superb snow this month.

The past few months has been a busy time for teaching. I have done a number of glass projects in local primary schools. I love this work, it is so inspiring to work with children and get them enthused about glass!

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One particularly inspiring project was to make 2 bowls with kids at Ysgol y Frenni on the theme of “patterns in the environment” (or “patrymau  yr ymgylchedd” as the entire project was undertaken through the medium of Welsh!).

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I designed this as a patchwork of glass so that each child could work on their own design and then we could put them together to make a group piece. The bowls will be entered in the Urdd Eisteddfod in May.

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In another project we made fused glass jewellery on the same theme.

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The kids were so enthusiastic, they said it was their favourite day at school  EVER!!

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Rachel and I have just run a “Landscape into Glass” 4 day course at my studio here in Pembrokeshire. We were teaching our students mark-making and layering techniques and ways of working with firing paint, silver stain and frits in combination with pieces of Bullseye glass. We are planning another course for later in the year.

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Sue Thorne mark making with firing paint
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Cathryn Shilling decorating her “embryos” with silver stain

We had a couple of field trips to absorb the landscape and to visit local artists studios, like that of ceramicist, Adam Buick and glass artist, Steve Robinson. The course was very successful and we are planning another for next year.

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At Adam Buick’s studio, St. Davids
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Frances Arkle at Steve Robinson’s studio, St. Davids
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Visiting Carreg Coetan, a Neolithic burial chamber in Newport.

Apart from that I have been developing some new work in the studio looking at taking painting into glass. Sarah Harman and I have been working on our quarry project, having meetings with the National Park and technical specialists to help us hone down our ideas and firm up our budget so that we can apply for funding to make and present the work in 2014.

I have just heard that I have been successful in my funding bid to Wales Arts International for support to attend the American Glass Guild Conference in Florida in May where I have been asked to give a paper and run a workshop. I am planning a trip that includes visiting glass artist friends, Jane Bruce and Michael Rogers and spending time at Corning Museum of Glass and in New York. It will be a very inspiring trip, my first time in America, and a total contrast to life in rural West Wales!

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Newport Bridge, Pembrokeshire