National Eisteddfod Llanrwst 2019

The National Eisteddfod of Wales will soon begin in Llanrwst, North Wales on the 2nd August 2019.
I have been having fun collaborating with paper artist Chloe Augusta Needham on some new Moth lamps and we were thrilled that these were selected to be exhibited at the Y Lle Celf – the Eisteddfod’s visual arts gallery.
It’s a great place to exhibit as it attracts 40,000 visitors during the course of the week!

Below are some work in progress photos of the new lamps – Moth II and Moth III that we have been working on that you will be able to see on show.

You can find out more information at https://eisteddfod.wales/yllecelf

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Back at Clay Barn

I’m happy to soon be showing again at the Clay Barn down near Stratford Upon Avon.  I’m currently busy making new mills for the show and it will be the only place you can see them in the flesh this year!  It should be a great show with 7 other talented makers displaying their wares.  (directions are at the bottom of the page)
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New mills for Turnabout

This is my latest salt and pepper mill design – a set inspired by the wonderful hand tinted botanical lithographs of the nineteenth century. They also pay homage to the exotic and extravagant interior of Brighton Pavillion, the seaside residence of King George IV.

I was making a piece for the upcoming all-woman show ‘Turnabout: Women at the Lathe’ organised by the WIT (Women In Turning) branch of the American Woodturners Association.  I have made of lot of salt and pepper mills over the years, but never exhibited them in any exhibitions in the USA so I thought it was time that I made a special set for this interesting exhibition.

I was really pleased with how they came out, with the pyrographed artichoke leaves and new purple texture on the tops to represent the flowers, and so I went on to also use the inspiration to make a new coleopteran pendant too!

The show will travel to three venues:
Appalachian Center for Craft (ACC), Smithville, TN, January 15- March 12, 2018
AAW Gallery of Wood Art, St. Paul, MN, June 3-July 29, 2018
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN, August 10-October 10, 2018 (exact dates to be finalized.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewellery course with Stephen O’Keeffe

I’ve just come back from a fun weekend, taking part in a jewellery course at Plas Tan y Bwlch – the beautiful Snowdonia National Park Environmental Studies Centre with stunning views of the valley of the River Dwyryd.   (click on Plas Tan y Bwlch for more information about other interesting course that they have there)

Run by Stephen O’Keeffe it was a great way of recapping many basic jewellery skills that I’d learnt many years ago at Brighton Uni as well as some new techniques that I was very keen to learn about, such as setting stones.  Stephen, with his years of experience teaching jewellery making gave us many useful tips to make things easier and was also great at showing us how to make many special jigs and tools to help keep our budgets down. Working on a number of projects, I got to set my first cabachon – a skill that I’m excited about being able to use in my one off pieces in the future.

The nine of us on the course were lucky to be doing it in the wood panelled library – a fine space with beautiful views.  The tables were a little bit wobbly to be hammering on but we managed ok!

It was great to get out of the workshop for a bit, meet some lovely new people, learn some new things and eat lots of good food.  I now feel ready to get back to my orders…almost…

1st Prize at Wizardry!

I’ve just returned home after a great week down in London for Wizardry in Wood.  Although I hate having to drive in central London it was worth it to catch up with old friends and new at the show at Carpernter’s Hall.  It was also really interesting seeing how everyone uses turning in different ways!

I had made a special set of mills for the Open Themed Competition.  The theme was celebrating the 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London.  I’ve always loved the patterns and styles of the black and white Tudor buildings and so I thought it would be fun to make a pair inspired by the Pudding Lane Bakery building where the fire started.  I turned the basic shapes and on the bases marked out a design based on the wattle and daub timber framed shop with its tiny glass paned windows and brick herringbone in-fills.  I then looked into painting and etching of the period for ideas for the flames which I wanted to have on the tops.  I found a great etching from a book about the Great Fire by Samuel Rolle, written in 1667.  I loved the rolling smoke and simple flames in the image and used this as inspiration, and used acrylic modelling paste to create extra texture in the flames and many layers of acrylic paint for the flames.

I was really pleased with the result – so different from my other work and I was very happy to win first prize when there was very stiff competition!  Many thanks to the judges and to both of the Sheriffs of London who purchased sets!

 

 

 

New Collaboration

In the last few months I have been working on an exciting new collaboration with Chloe Needham, a paper artist also living in North Wales.

It has been really interesting working with someone who’s medium is completely different to mine and one I haven’t had any experience of before (except being slightly obsessed with cutting things up with scissors when I was at school!).

After some discussions together at Chloe’s house in Llanrwst we eventually decided on a design for a sculptural moth light.  With me making the body and Chloe the delicate coloured wings, the moth would rest on a bare bulb hanging on a wall.

We were then very fortunate to be able to visit Rhyd-y-Creuau – the Field Studies Centre in North Wales (and where my partner Mark works) – where we were able to look at the moths caught the night before by Alice, and their collection of moths and butterflies.  It was great to be able to see them in 3D, see how they moved and flew and look closely at the fine details.

 

We are close to finishing the piece and hope to have it ready in time for me to show it at Wizardry in Wood in London this October (www.wizardryinwood.com)

 

Wizardry in Wood Oct 2016

I will be exhibiting in London from the 12th-15th Oct 2016 at Wizardry in Wood – organised by the Worshipful Company of Turners, and only held every 4 years.  You can find out more and buy tickets at https://wizardryinwood.com/

One of the oldest Livery Companies in the City of London, the Turners’ Company was already a guild in the 12th Century. Some 200 years later, Edward III decreed that ‘wooden measures, as well for wine as for ale’ should be made only by ‘turnours’ with marks of their own – and the medieval turners established the English ‘pint’ as an official measure. In 1604 the Company received its Royal Charter from James I.

This year their one of competitions is commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London and I have made a special piece inspired by the start of the fire at the bakery at Pudding Lane which will be exhibited at the show.

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Beautiful and amazing original works by over 70 of the world’s greatest contemporary woodturners

Where, When, How?

Where: In the spectacular and spacious Carpenters’ Hall in the heart of the City of London.

When: Wed 12 – Sat 15 October: opens 10am each day.  On Wed 12, Thur 13 & Fri 14 October: closes 6pm, last entry 5pm.  On Sat 15 October: closes 4pm, last entry 3pm

Go to http://www.wizardryinwood.com to buy tickets

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Report from Nepal

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What a great experience it was be invited by the International Wood Culture Society to participate in another collaborative sculpture project. Three years ago I travelled to China, and then this year I was fortunate enough to get the chance to visit Nepal.

What made it particularly special was getting to spend the first two weeks of the trip in the centre of Bhaktapur, a beautiful town about 13km east of Kathmandu. Despite all the devastating damage from the earthquake last year it is still an incredible place to be. It is filled with amazing temples, intriguing alleyways, mountain vistas and friendly people. My hotel room looked out over Durbar Square, one of three in the Kathmandu valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This was just a couple of minutes walk to Vidyarthi Niketan School where we were working.

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Our team of 19 artists (14 international and 5 local) started with a day trip to the ancient Hindu temple of Changu Narayan, Swayambhunath (commonly known as the monkey temple) and Durbar Square in Kathmandu to get inspiration. The next day during we come together again to begin brainstorming about what we will create as a team during our time in Nepal. It soon becomes clear that we would all like to create something for the school that we are working at. It is a school for underprivileged children and they had very little to play on and so everyone quickly agreed that it would be great to build them an interactive sculpture.

After a couple of days the decision is made that the sculpture made here would not be exhibited at World Wood Day. As the design progresses the form of the sculpture meant that it would have a backbone of wire holding it together which would have to be attached to sturdy end posts cemented into the ground making it impossible to move. But there was another project waiting for the team so that wasn’t a problem. All of the team and many artists from around the world had brought and sent wooden carved bricks and it was up to us to incorporate them into another sculpture that would be exhibited at the main venue in Kathmandu. Within six and a half days, with basic tools and power only on at random times through the day, two big structures for the school were being built, carved and assembled, and the brick project had also been started.

After two great weeks in Bhaktapur, sadly we had to relocate to Kathmandu to an area with noise, pollution and little charm. Here all the carver, turners, and musicians came together to celebrate World Wood Day on the 21st of March. We pushed hard to finish the Brick project so that the other participants would be able to see the finished sculpture, and spot any bricks they had created. A highlight for me was seeing the Turan ensemble – a Kazakh folk music band created in 2008 by several students of the Kazakh National Conservatory. Using ancient wooden instruments and wearing ancient Kazakh costumes they were very impressive!

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It was absolutely amazing what our group achieved in such a short time. There was a varied selection of skills between us all which I think made for a great team. It was a real pleasure to work with such a friendly and diverse group, and the hard work and commitment of our two leaders Jacques Vesery and Cillian O’Suilleabhain made for a wonderful experience.