Birds and Poetry

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Her House is Air, cast, blown and engraved glass, peregrine falcon feather and pen nib.

Photo by Toril Brancher

I am delighted to announce that I have just won the inaugural £10,000 Adrian Henri Poetry in Art Prize at Much Wenlock Poetry Festival for my piece, Her House Is Air.

I will be spending my prize money buying a new kiln and other studio equipment and giving myself some time this autumn to develop new work in my studio.

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I am just back from Skokholm Island off the Pembrokeshire Coast where I have spent a week developing ideas for new work. I went with Rachel Phillips, Rachel and I are designing a stained glass window for the island and spent the week sketching, absorbing the place and delving through old bird books and scientific data in the library, which the wardens kindly allowed us to use as our studio.

Skokholm is the neighbouring island to Skomer and is an island I have visited over the past 20 years, it has recently been purchased by the Wildlife Trust south and West Wales and will soon be re-established as a bird observatory for the monitoring and recording of bird life. It is exciting to see it with its newly restored accommodation (there is now electricity and even occassional wifi!), most of the considerable renovation work has been carried out on a shoestring with volunteer labour. The new wardens, Richard and Giselle, will soon be taking up residence in the lighthouse. If you are interested in birds, take a look at their blog.

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The lighthouse on Skokholm.

There is so much that inspires me about the Pembrokeshire Islands, they have everything that grabs my imagination, including birds, research, archaeology, history, dramatic weather, isolation…ImageI have come back to my mainland studio with masses of ideas and inspiration for new work.

ImageA sample piece for Skokholm Island.

I have been busy preparing for my trip to the US in May. I will be giving a paper about our Conwy Castle windows and running a glass workshop for the American Glass Guild Conference in Florida, then going to the National Glass Museum at Corning and on to New York.

ImageA sample piece for my US workshop.

Barddoniaeth

This week I went to see Eirwyn George, a well known Welsh poet who lives in my village. Eirwyn proudly showed me his collection of chairs and 2 crowns he has won at Eisteddfodau over the years for his amazing poetry. He regaled me with tales and verse and has asked me to work on a piece based on one of his poems.

Eirwyn George holding his Eisteddfod crown made by Kathleen Makinson.

I am working on incorporating text into glass at the moment and am talking to another writer, Damian Walford Davies, about some sort of collaborative project, so Eirwyn`s request is quite timely.

Work in progress in my studio.

A beautiful sunset with friends at Aber Mawr last night, perfectly set off by home grown salad, quiche and strawberry shortcake.

A sculpture I came across on Aber Mawr beach by Ed Treasure and Jessie.