Helfa Gelf Spring Show

Thank you for visiting the exhibition online. 

The Helfa Gelf has been running for 14 years and offers professional artists in the region an opportunity to open up their studios to the general public during weekends in September. This is a great way to explore North Wales and follow an art trail to individual and unique studios. This is a special exhibition curated by Oriel Ty Meirion that brings fourteen visiting artists together from the current Helfa Gelf catalogue under one roof with a focus on the theme of ‘New Beginnings’.

The line-up includes, Claire Acworth (Jewellery), Kirsti Hannah Brown (Ceramics), Tara Dean (Mixed Media/Printmaking), Rachel Farr (Mixed Media/Painting), Jenny Ford (Printmaker/Painter), Jan Gardner (Painting), Helen Howlett (Painting), Ceri Pritchard (Painting), Dave Roberts (Painting), Kiran Sharma (Painting/Printmaking), Les Symonds (Woodturner), Dorothy Taylor (Mixed Media/Painting/Photography) and Bee Weir (Glass/Textiles).

Each artist has their own section below in order of surname. If you are interested in purchasing or would like to know more please contact Mima in the gallery.




Photos taken before we Stayed at Home

Visit the artists work below and click on the works for more details.

Wanting to buy something? Then contact Mima here. Thank you!


Virtual Tour of New Beginnings Current Show - Scroll down to view Artist's work




Claire is a designer and maker of organic and sculptural jewellery made from silver and gold based in North Wales.
Her work has been inspired by nature, contemporary designers and also by the rich and bold designs of African jewellery and the sumptuous silver of India. Designs are textured with hammer marks or imprinted with the delicate veins of a leaf, with each piece being truly unique. The materials she uses include semi-precious stones or simple, but beautiful found objects such as pebbles, sea glass or crockery. These are transformed into elegant new forms.
Claire also breathes life into old unworn jewellery by using the original stones or gold to create a contemporary new design. Claire welcomes commissions for weddings, anniversaries and other special occasions, as well as offering jewellery making courses for beginners in north east Wales. You will create your own designs in sterling silver, with bezel set stones if you choose.




Hand-built stoneware ceramics inspired by westerly coastal regions of Wales and Scotland. The bottles are slab built, with small necks and shoulders to give the work a figurative feeling. Bowls and vessels are pinched and coiled offering the impression of washed stones and shells. Decorated with slips, marks and glaze to create a sense of the sea and shoreline.

Kirsti is a  member of the Makers Guild of Wales and her work is available in galleries across the country. This collection was designed and made exclusively for this exhibition.



Mixed Media

Working with the idea of new growth emerging in our land. Tara has explored and experimented with spring colours. Layering very transparent colours with the fresh bright greens and yellows seen in the hedgerows and fields at this time of year. 
Tara’s work explores delicate layered images inspired by the landscape she might find herself in; creating illustrations and experimenting with printmaking. 
Drawing is the most important part of her practice and the influence of the screen-printing process allows for initial lines and marks to transform; creating a collage of elements. The final pieces of work are a development from many layers of paper and photo stencils.



Mixed Media / Painting

Rachel Farr is a mixed-media artist based in the beautiful hills and mountains of North Wales. She graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Countryside Management in 1998 and followed a career in conservations with the Wildlife Trust. During this time, she frequently painted and went onto complete an MA Illustration at Glyndwr University in 2016.

Today, Rachel works in both new and traditional techniques and introduces a wide-range of natural materials into her work such as wood, merino wool and silk. These bring together materials from her surroundings with an alchemy that captures the colour and spirit of nature.




Jenny was born in London and studied at the Ealing School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design, where she discovered her passion for printmaking. 

For many years Jenny lived in Wilshire before finally settling in North Wales in 2018. During her time in Wiltshire she was captivated by the landscape and the local pre-historic sites, which influenced her work. This continues in Wales and she is perfectly based to explore the region from her studio in Flintshire.

The lino cuts in this exhibition are produced using the reduction cut method, all in very small editions. The prints were developed from sketches made during the spring in Wales.

 Spring is a new beginning for the growth and fertility of the land, but also these images, reflect Jenny’s own `new beginning` in discovering her new relationship with the landscape of Wales.



Painting / Mixed Media

“The colour and decorative content is intuitive and I love the process of manipulating the colours upon the surface, immersed in the vehicle of colour and personal associations. The magic of the unseen, embracing the fragility and strength of this life, for that reason my art has always been a personal journey. These impressions and visual expressive poems are explored and anchored in a highly personal narrative about a sense of place, my memory and emotion for each carefully composed frame. I aim to capture the mood of the place on the day. My intention is for the viewer to absorb the energy and interpret it into their own response to enjoy " Jan Gardner RCA

Jan Gardner was born and brought up in North Wales and spent much of her early years wandering the lanes and hills around her home. It was here that the light, space and colours that inhabit her work first became an influence. Drawing on these memories and experiences of special places and her later travels in Europe, Morocco and the USA; she crafts vivid and atmospheric works. Colours that fly in from emotion and passion, relaying a deep connection with the varied, differing landscapes from which they evolve.



Painting and Mixed Media

Helen Howlett works in a variety of media to capture an impression or abstraction of the essence of beauty and power behind her surroundings in North Wales. The series ‘Spring Tide’ records the dynamism behind the yearly renewal of the coast wrought by the action of the waves. A Spring Tide refreshes everything in its path: re-arranging, restoring, cleansing. Some days it is raging with spray flying, other days its rhythms are hypnotic.

Helen Howlett lives and has her studio in Talysarn. Her work life began with her qualification as an Honours degree art teacher back in the 1970’s. It morphed through running two Nature Reserves in South Wales and helping to create the Wales Coast Path with installations at both ends of the route in Chepstow and Flintshire. 

Since moving to North Wales in 2010 Helen took a Certificate in Fine Art at Bangor University. Her work has been hung at the Mostyn Gallery (Llandudno), The Royal Cambrian Academy, Storiel (Bangor) and the Museum of Modern Art in Machynlleth.

The seasons and elements of Nature in the Gwynedd seascapes and landscapes provide powerful inspirations for her work. This sequence is inspired by the spring tides.




Ceri Pritchard grew up in Llangefni, Anglesey and is the son of Welsh artists Gwilym Prichard and Claudia Williams. Ceri graduated in 1976 from Liverpool School of Art, with 1st class hons, following this he was awarded the prestigious John Moores’ Scholarship allowing him an extra year at the Liverpool School of Art. In 1978 he continued his studies at St Martins School of Art in London on an advanced course in Fine Art.

 Ceri has travelled widely, living and working in New York, Berlin, Paris and spending many years in France and more recently Mexico. He has alternated his creative work with private teaching, construction and a myriad of unusual occupations. His creativity has evolved over the years and draws on an expanding repertoire of encounters and experiences. As well as creating sculptures and paintings he has worked with sound and video and exhibited widely both in his homeland and abroad. 

Leaving Mexico permanently in 2015, he has now returned to his Celtic origins in the wilds of north Wales. His current activities involve the installation of his studio in a Methodist chapel near Caernarfon, and the preparation for solo exhibitions at Oriel Ynys Môn, Llangefni and MOMA, Machynlleth in 2020. 



Painting - Pastel

Dave is a self-taught artist who specializes in painting the landscapes of North Wales. He paints exclusively in pastels.

 In 2018, he gave up a ‘normal’ career to concentrate on becoming a full-time artist. He has already won awards and his paintings have been displayed at venues across the country.

 His work is the antithesis of how most people would imagine a pastel painting to be; they are detailed, vivid and full of deep contrasts. Commentators especially appreciate their photorealistic qualities.

 Anyone who has ever spent time in the mountains will understand how he finds his inspiration. Even more so when one considers that in order to capture the dramatic light that is so important to his art, he often needs to be amongst the high tops as the sun rises or sets. Few experiences are as ethereal or elemental as walking in the hills alone in the dark. 

 All of the paintings he has included in this exhibition have arisen from dawn walks, with each one representing the beginning of a new day.



Painting, Printmaking and Poetry

Kiran is a member of Aberystwyth Printmakers and is also participating in their international touring exhibition: Of Foresters, Farmers & Fish: Tales from the Wildwoods of the Old & New Worlds  which visits The National Botanic Gardens of Wales, Llanarthney, Carmarthenshire between 12 April – 7 May 2020. Kiran studied fine art at Byam Shaw School of Art in London and Printmaking at Anglia Ruskin School of Art, Cambridge. 

She participated in Artist Residencies at Stiwdio Maelor , Corris, mid-Wales (2018) and Greywood Arts, near Cork, Ireland in 2019. Kiran is also co-Poetry Editor of Aberystwyth Ego.

'He changes the times and the seasons' leaf images and 'Snipe' series variations were made exclusively for 'New Beginnings'.

Words on works by Kiran:

A single leaf falls - an elegy toward the red overworked earth.

A single leaf rises euphoric from the silence of winter.

the absent gardener 

from the soil

the seed

to the earth

the leaf – 

to and fro

til the sun blackens

and a single


hole in its heart

wavers – 




to protest



Woodwork / Sculpture

Les uses mostly locally sourced timber to make a range of functional and aesthetic turned wooden items and sculptures, often incorporating sympathetic materials such as stone, leather and copper.

These pieces have all been recycled to fit into the 'New Beginnings' theme.



Painting and Mixed Media

Dorothy moved to Wales seven years ago from North West England to pursue her painting. She loved visiting Wales from childhood and throughout her early career have produced artwork based on the country’s grand majesty and tradition yet being ever mindful of its industrial despoilment and the land’s ability to recover and regenerate, becoming even more multi-layered and fascinating.

 Now that she lives here, she has become intoxicated by the sheer beauty of all that surrounds her. Her interest is in the authenticity of rendering the ‘ordinary’ beauty of a place, not so much its ‘epic’ nature. The colour blue seen in an open sky, the pattern of inter weaving branches on bare winter trees, the texture of tree bark against a scattering of leaf litter are all things that move and motivate.

 Walking is key part to her process, with a trusted camera always at her side enabling her to capture the views and momentary glimpses that catch the eye and stay in the memory long after.

 Over the past two years, Dorothy has been preoccupied with the moorland area above Llangollen. Often walking through the heather clad uplands and being inspired by the undulating carpets of purple. In response, she has produced a series of works in oil and watercolour that capture her feeling for this spectacle.

 Last year, a catastrophe happened and the hot summer weather set off wild fires throughout this beautiful area.

Over the past year Dorothy has returned numerously to see if and how the place is recovering and has been moved to produce a number of works that show the aftermath and beginnings of rebirth and regeneration. Despite the harsh reality of what has happened, beauty remains.




Bee passionately loves to make things from glass or fibre, whenever possible… both!

Working from her home studio in The Clink, an old police station, in Mancot, North Wales Bee works with glass in the morning and fibre in the afternoon.
The day’s work is often inspired by the views and weather from the studio windows which look out over fields and a small woods.
No two pieces are ever exactly the same and if you look very closely there is often a story going on.


Poetry Readings by Kiran, Mari, Hannah and Debbie - Before we Stayed at Home


Improvised Dance by Keren Meadows - New Beginnings - Before we Stayed at Home


©2020 by Oriel Ty Meirion.