EXHIBITION EXTENDED ONLINE TO 24 JANUARY 2021
CROESO / WELCOME
ANNABEL COOPER -
Annabel is currently exploring both wildflowers and garden flowers that grow readily throughout the UK and then re-creates them as paper botanical sculptures formed from Italian and German crepe paper.
Annabel is based in Gwynedd and studied Fine Art Sculpture at Brighton University. During her time there she explored working with paper and embossing as her medium of choice. Her career went in a different direction and she became a plumber for many years. However, she remained creative and 2020 arrived giving Annabel the opportunity to re-discover her interest in botanical sculpture and as a means to keep her mind and hands busy during the lockdown. Her latest body of work was initially inspired by some paper flowers that she received as a witness at a friend’s wedding. The flowers provided a beautiful memento of the day that won’t fade and made her home more pleasing.
Annabel described that as soon as she started making the flowers, it was like coming home. The paper engineering muscle memory kicked in and the joy of forming something splendid made her calm. Annabel loves the idea of sending and receiving a beautiful paper floral keepsake as a gift, especially as it’s so difficult to see all the people we love this year. Annabel thinks of them as being 3 dimensional botanical drawings, but one could easily mistake them for the real thing. Here in the exhibition we have an exclusive range of cut flowers, plants, flowers in pots and wreaths all uniquely made for the garden project. This is a wonderful new body of work that just brings pure joy to the eyes and would brighten up any home to give a year-round bloom.
DOROTHY TAYLOR -
Dorothy Taylor is an established landscape painter, graduating from John Moore’s University in the 1980s where she went onto have a career as a teacher in art and design and head of department in Wigan. Today she lives and paints in North Wales with a focus on the Welsh landscape that is often juxtaposed in a way that makes the ordinary seem extraordinary.
These works were all created this year and Dorothy spent most days painting in her studio, working steadily and purposefully in a way to manage the ongoing uncertainty. Inspiration came from her garden and re-visiting happy memories with family and friends, which also provided much comfort and positivity. Dorothy has also been inspired by the landscape near her home, where the hillside was affected by wildfires last year. Some of the works represent new life forming and the re-generation that she has observed acting somewhat as a micro metaphor for the year.
The paintings themselves have a sense of atmosphere; one of hope, wellbeing, growth and energy. These paintings are like oxygen for the mind and eye. They uplift and give hope.
Favourite Flower: Dahlia
Favourite Vegetable: Aubergine
FFION GWYN - PAINTING
Ffion Gwyn is a local artist inspired by the local flora and fauna of North Wales. Ffion lives close by to a nature garden, which is a space for all the community and a beautiful hideaway from the hustle and bustle of daily life. During the lockdown Ffion visited the wild garden regularly to observe the beauty of nature, which became a place to forget about the complexities of life during the pandemic. Ffion describes the garden as a quiet and tranquil haven, which became even more apparent without the usual noise pollution of passing traffic. Ffion’s freedom experienced away from daily news conferences was always uplifting and a natural tonic, which continues to feed her mental wellbeing during the pandemic. The birds became of particular interest to observe their daily routines from dusk until dawn; including their movements, habits, ways of foraging, nesting and their beautiful songs.
Inspired by the birds, Ffion has created a series of paintings for the garden project exhibition, which encapsulate the beauty of these creatures with an aim to capture their sense of freedom. These paintings feed the soul for both the artist and reader bringing a sense of peace, calm and hope.
In addition, Ffion has compiled a beautiful series of illustrative paintings inspired by nature. Here in the gallery are also a selection of prints and t-towels inspired by the flora and fauna that can be found in our gardens. Ffion’s influences include Victorian botanical illustration, such as the works of Williams Morris and early depictions of wildlife in watercolour. Ffion also has a love of language, which is also an integral part of her work, with species categorised using Welsh, and bilingual terms. Etymology plays a fascinating part in her journey of discovery, resulting in interesting discoveries in the origins of these used terms. In addition, she enjoys researching the remarkable folklore connected to the species studied, and regional differences in Welsh terminology.
It is clear to see that Ffion uses her passion for nature and art to document, research and marvel at the smaller things that are often taken for granted or missed. Her inspiration stems from the urge to re-kindle that childlike sense of inquisitiveness and the questioning and reasoning behind natures gems as well as finding calm during this unsettled time. Ffion’s reflection on nature in her illustrations and paintings are truly inspirational, giving one a refreshed enthusiasm to marvel at the wonderous creations in the natural landscape and our gardens.
HARRI CARMICHAEL -
JEWELLERY & LITHOGRAPH PRINTS
Harri Carmichael is an Artist and Jeweller, living and working in her home studio on Anglesey. Harri has been inspired by tree seedlings as a symbol of hope for the future.
“Trees are essential to the future of the planet. They give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise soil, provide habitats and as the longest living species link the past, present and future together. Within minutes, being surrounded by trees, lowers blood pressure, slows your heart rate and reduces stress hormones. Communities can also take pride in their areas of trees, which provide an educational resource and ideal area for many group activities as well as somewhere children can play and discover their sense of adventure.”
Harri’s passion for trees has inspired an oil-based series of lithography prints for the Garden Project on the theme of new beginnings, growth, fertility, propagating the future and springing up despite the odds. Much of her work is also inspired by the oak tree that symbolises long life and looking and planning far into the future. As part of the garden project Harri is also offering real tree seedlings that she has propagated for customers to take home.
With an HND in Jewellery and BA Hons in Fine Art, her multidisciplinary practice is diverse. Harri has been involved in the Ogwen Festival’s pop up sculpture area for several years, creating site specific work. Her paintings were first included in the Cambrian Academy Open Exhibition when it was in Plas Mawr and she has since been exhibited in many open exhibitions including at Mostyn, Theatr Clwyd and a solo exhibition in Oriel Mon. Harri’s silver jewellery is always popular here and celebrates the natural world and magical energy of Anglessey with its prehistoric rock art and links to ancient Druidry. We have a wonderful selection of jewellery in the gallery inspired by plants and seeds of the garden.
JANE WILLIAMS - CERAMICS
Jane Williams is a local potter and works from a converted dairy on her father's farm in South Meirionydd. She works on the wheel to produce both functional and sculptural home wares.
When much of daily life came to a pause in lockdown, Jane enjoyed growing plants together as a family activity. However, they have had an ongoing battle with their garden’s voracious mini beasts – in particular slugs! The sweet peas were nibbled, the tomatoes eaten, and the pea plants didn’t have a chance. In response Jane has designed a beautiful new range of plant pots that are integrated with copper wire and have an overhanging rim to deter any hungry garden visitors. Jane also recommends using some terracotta chippings on top of the soil to deter the beasts even further.
In addition, for the garden project, Jane has also designed a contemporary two-piece plant pot for indoor use, which is ideal for growing succulents and cacti. These come in a wonderful variety of sizes. The first pot has a drainage hole and the second pot is internally glazed to hold water. Jane is fascinated by vintage and patterns of the natural world and it is easy to see some of these influences in her latest work.
These beautiful plant pots have been designed exclusively for the garden project. They make wonderful additions to the home and garden that are both functional and an aesthetic joy.
KIM DEWSBURY - PAINTING
Kim Dewsbury is a fine art painter and was inspired to make 6 small studies of flowers and insects from the garden at Tyn y Ffridd. Kim describes her garden as a wild space, but amongst the wilderness are pockets of introduced plants, vegetables and raised beds. Much of the garden is encouraged to go wild, with a view to providing habitats for wildlife wherever possible. Numbers of insects in particular have dropped drastically in the UK over the last several years and Kim highlights that we all need to do whatever we can to encourage them back.
Over the past several years Kim has returned to her passion for painting, after spending many years organising and curating exhibitions in North Wales. From Cornwall originally, but raised in The Midlands, Kim left Falmouth School of Art in 1980 with a Degree in Fine Art and has continued to work in mixed media and painting. Kim now lives in Llangwm in North Wales and is married to the painter Gerald Dewsbury.
Kim has exhibited widely and is really excited by all the new possibilities opening up again in her painting – it is primarily an exploration of what she sees in front of her, and while enjoying the physical properties of paint she aims to give a solidity and reality to her subject matter – and a significance to the often unassuming subject matter.
“Inspired by my rural surroundings – I value that first-hand contact with nature; my sketchbooks are filled with walks, insects, clouds, natural ephemera, etc. Patterns and textures fascinate: the velvety skin of a peach, the undulating folds of a distant hillside, the patina of a well-thumbed book …. Everything has a story to tell”.
KIM SWEET - INK ON PAPER
Kim Sweet’s drawings provide a space in which she explore’s her love of nature, herbalism, eco-activism and community. For The Garden Project, Kim has created a selection of drawings of plants which offer us unique healing and medicinal properties.
Kim’s drawings in the gallery show the beauty and aesthetics of a plant that may otherwise be overlooked, as well as acting as a guide to the natural healing remedies that can be found on our doorstep. Living near Strata Florida, Kim is particularly influenced by the history of Herbal Medicine of Wales, from the Physicians of Myddfai of the 12th Century to present day folk, community and medical herbalists.
Kim studied Fine Art at Central St. Martins during the 1980s and went on to work as Head of Education at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Following this she ran a dynamic commissioning gallery called The Showroom. She regularly taught at a number of colleges including Royal College of Art, University for the Arts, University of Wales, Cardiff and the University of Brighton.
Since re-locating to mid Wales in 2015, Kim now has the time to focus on her art, herbalism and plant growing. Her garden includes both the one she is cultivating and the surrounding ‘wilder’ landscape. This is Kim’s way of working towards creating an environment to share with her community and beyond, through art, food, wild crafted herbal medicines and shared knowledge. The intention is to encourage deeper connection to nature and more sustainable roots in the landscape.
Kim thinks of her garden, and the surrounding wild nature where she walks, creates and harvests, as a small magnificent ecosystem. Her place within this is as guardian, advocate, educator, artist and earth lover.
SUE TERREY - FELTED WALL HANGINGS
Sue Terrey is an artist based near Machynlleth specialising in Felt wall-hangings, paintings and drawings . Although normally influenced by the upland landscape of the Pumlumon range and Cadair Idris this year Sue has developed work using her garden for inspiration.
She has created a garden filled with fragrant, butterfly and bee-friendly plants and has been drawing and photographing plants throughout the year.
Using some ideas from works she made at the Botanical Illustration classes she attended when her children were young, Sue has created wall-hangings for this exhibition which offer a fresh insight and a variety of techniques.
Memories and her experiences in a variety of media are embedded into the wall-hangings as she mixes work made over 20 years ago with ideas from this Summer. Although the work is all fibre-based she has aimed to create pieces which bring the spontaneity of water-colour to life; that delicious moment when paint touches paper and colours bleed across the surface.
Sue’s preference in fibre is for Merino as the acid-dyed colours provide the glorious hues with which she likes to work. For the Garden Project she has used a mixture of fibre: Merino; locally-grown Blue-faced Leicester; carded Norwegian batts; and woollen yarns.
The aim of the artist has been to create beautiful reminders of Summer and the power and rhythm of nature.
SUSIE LIDDLE - MIXED MEDIA
Susie Liddle is a Printmaker and Mixed Media Artist based in Denbighshire. Susie has created a new body of work this year that has been inspired by her observations in her garden during the lockdown and having a greater connection to the nature around her without the hussle and bustle of every-day life.
Feeling inspired by the garden and botanist, Anne Atkins who published the first book of Cyanotype illustrations in 1843, Susie decided to experiment by blending the wet cyanotype method and her usual method of working with encaustic wax. She gathered weeds and plants from the hedgerow and garden to start the creative process. Once the cyanotype process was complete Susie would work in the studio to add layers of hot wax. To complete, Susie added pigments, pastels, oil paints as well as other media to create her desired finish. The result is a beautiful selection of framed cyanotypes and cyanotypes mixed with encaustic to create a series of garden reflections and connections to nature from 2020.
Susie has exhibited widely and in 2017 Susie was awarded winner at The Royal Cambrian Academy Open Exhibition for her encaustic mixed media painting based on, ‘Hopes and Dreams.’
TERRENCE BUNCE - CERAMICS
Terrence Bunce is a ceramicist inspired by nature; researching the natural rock forms and fauna of the mountains and coastline around his home in North Wales. Terrence produces a fine range of pottery and sculpture. The Garden Project inspired Terrence to create some new sculptures in the form of abstract plants and flowers and we are mighty glad he did. These sculptures provide year-round bloom and the colours will brighten up any home without the need to water or weed. They work well alone or as small sets to make their own miniature garden.
Typically, Terrence makes work that rebels against the endless cacophony of mass-produced products that are increasingly permeating our world. He uses a variety of techniques to produce pottery. To decorate the pieces, he uses locally inspired glazes and gathers clay and minerals from the mountains of Snowdonia, firing mainly by reduction. The local landscape provides much inspiration and his work often reflects his love of Japanese pottery. Terrence has a 1st Class BA (hons) in Ceramics from Cardiff School of Art and also a Masters, which he gained at the University of Central Lancashire. He continues to work from his home studio in North Wales, where he also enjoys time growing in the garden with partner Jane.
IONA PICKARD - CRAFT
Iona Pickard is based in the beautiful Llanfrothen area where she hand-crafts her range of designs. She works mainly with locally sourced yarns from local farmers and also works with a local group where the wool is then hand spun and dyed. Iona has created a selection of hats, scarfs, snoods and shawls for the garden project exhibition that is a mix of locally made yarn and Welsh wool. In addition, Iona is making a selection of decorations on the garden theme including garden gnomes, plant plots, wellingtons boots, brussel sprouts, hedgehogs and acorns which all make ideal gifts.
During the lockdown Iona spent her time making scrubs and scrub bags with a local group, which were all made from donations of fabric. The group of ladies initially made approximately 600 sets, which went to a range of local healthcare establishments in response to the pandemic. The group has really enjoyed making the scrubs and volunteering their time to help out. They are once again now busy at work making replacements as the first lot have been washed and tumbled dried so many times that they were starting to wear out. The group has also been making facemasks to raise funds for the local food bank which is a marvellous effort to help those in need.
Iona’s handcrafted wearables make wonderful gifts or a treat for yourself and make a beautiful cosy layer for these winter days.
THANK YOU DIOLCH
With thanks to the Arts Council of Wales and National Lottery for partly funding this project.
Mae'r prosiect hwn wedi ei ariannu'n rhannol gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru a'r Loteri Genedlaethol. Diolch iddynt am eu cefnogaeth.