Island Days….

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I am just back from the celebration of Skokholm Island’s reinstatement as a Bird Observatory. Skokholm was Britain’s first Bird Observatory, established by Ronald Lockley in 1933, and has just celebrated its reinstatement as an active bird ringing station. Rachel Phillips and I have made a window for the island toilet (the only place we could persuade the ornithologists that maybe privacy was more important than bird-watching!). The window is inspired by the history of the island from its days as a medieval rabbit warren through to the early naturalist years of Ronald Lockley to the present day, and celebrates the unique flora and fauna found there.

Time on the island researching the window last year has opened up many ideas in my work and has inspired me to compile a proposal for future work on the island. Once again, working with Rachel was a fabulous experience.

This video documents the making process. Thanks to Ceri Owen Jones for kind permission to use his music on the video.

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Catching up…

Bonne Maman, engraved jam jar, tooth, pound coin. 2013

Apologies for not posting since September, but I have been head down in the studio working on a new body of work courtesy of winning the Adrian Henri Poetry in Art Prize. Apart from being a huge boost to morale, the award has enabled me to buy a new kiln, sand blaster and grinder and has given me 5 months in my studio.

Birth Of The Simple Light, painted fused glass 20 x 23 x 2.5cm
River Day, fused painted glass, 12 x 14 x 1.5
Strand, fused, painted glass, 12 x 14.4 x 1.5cm
Calm Light, Fused painted glass, 20 x 20 x 2cm

Apart from this I have been working on a window for Skokholm Island with Rachel Phillips. We will be installing the window at Easter in time for a grand opening of the Island Bird Observatory at the end of April. I would love to develop some of my Skokholm ideas more fully and am currently researching the feasibility of undertaking a more in-depth project on the island.

Skokholm window in progress.

I continue to develop my work with children and recently worked with pupils of Ysgol y Frenni in Crymych. I am committed to the value of drawing as a learning tool. The importance of offering creative observational experiences was brought home to me recently when a primary school teacher told me how she has noticed in the last five years that increasing numbers of children are coming into school unable to actually look at anything that is not moving on a screen in front of them.

Drawing the Preseli Hills with pupils from Ysgol y Frenni, Crymych.

This year the gallery will be open by arrangement to enable me to devote more time to developing new work. If you would like to visit please email me or phone to make an appointment.

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.

Skokholm Island Days…..

Finally made it to Skokholm Island early this morning. It is years since I was here and I am in seventh heaven! The red of the sandstone is amazing, I am collecting some to use in my glass work and paintings. So far I have set up my studio and orientated myself, spending a while with the seals in South Haven to chill out and adjust to being here.

The accommodation is newly renovated by volunteers last autumn and is absolutely lovely. The chemical toilets have been replaced by compost ones and the rooms have sinks (although water has to be brought up daily from the well!). Everything is spick and span.

I will update this blog with photos when I get home because this BlackBerry is pretty useless for pics.

Off to paint now….

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