A Phoenix Yet in Flames, 2016 (detail)

Embroidery on mixed material

“I make visual narratives through embroidery, exploring human relationships, and feelings of love, fear, belonging, betrayal and tragedy. I’m inspired by the Celtic mythologies of my Welsh roots, in particular the collection of tales from ‘The Mabinogion’. These medieval fables were passed down through oral tradition, and include enchanting stories where people are turned into animals, and where love treads close to death and tragedy.

Embroidery and textiles are imbued with connotations of homeliness and domesticity, and have emotive qualities relating to memories of people and comfort. In my work, I channel the stories from my own life into textile narratives, pulling on the themes and styles of the medieval cyfarwydd (‘storyteller’). I am interested in the connection people have with animals, and the way we find comfort in their company, and I often use animals as metaphors and as a way of representing emotions. Using embroidery techniques, I stitch together the stories of my own life, depicting the stillness of an emotion in a moment in time.

I embroider using a free-hand Irish sewing machine, a specialist technique with a machine that ceased production in the 1950s.”


Rhiannon was born in Cardiff, attending a Welsh-speaking school in Llantrisant where she was immersed in Welsh culture, singing in the local choir and competing in the annual Eisteddfod. She remembers the excitement of hearing stories of her namesake, the horse goddess Rhiannon, in the Welsh fables of Y Mabinogion. She lost the Welsh language when her family relocated to Herefordshire, where she currently resides.

Rhiannon graduated from University College Falmouth in 2011 with a first class BA (Hons) in Textiles and in 2014 with an MA in Textiles from the Royal College of Art. In 2011, she received a Texprint award for the top 24 textiles graduates in the UK, exhibiting in Paris as part of Première Vision. Since, she has worked in fashion studios in London, New York and Stockholm as a textiles designer, where she developed her love of pattern and embellishment. Rhiannon was awarded the Worshipful Company of Needlemakers Scholarship in 2014.

In 2015, she was commissioned by Hampshire Council to produce a large scale WW1 memorial embroidery, permanently displayed in Whitchurch Town Hall. Other recent exhibitions include Made By Hand, Cardiff City Hall 2016, Act Up World Aids Day, Hackney Picturehouse (in collaboration with Faye Oakenfull) 2014, Portal, Llantarnam Grange, 2014, Show, RCA Battersea 2014, New Visuality, According to McGee, York 2011

In Another Light (Detail)
Sheepskin parchment, white gold, monofilament

“This is a work about memory, time and almost imperceptible but unstoppable change. The holes are seared into gilded sheepskin parchment before being cut out and threaded onto monofilament to create a delicate mass of barely there substance. A hole cannot exist without the material that frames it, and the work is as much about absence as it is about presence. Time is key, in the making of the work, but also, the white gold will slowly and subtly tarnish and change over time. This is the second in a series of works, over-archingly called ‘Nothing is Something’. The works are an expression of fragmentation and of unified separate moments that reflect something of the human condition, as well as the artist’s concern with ‘the impossibility of things remaining the same”.


Soft Target

Kidsilk Haze yarn

One in a series of 13 hand crafted pom pom targets.

Word play and language have often informed and inspired work, as have the choice, transformation and placement of materials to draw out meaning.  Soft Target is a play on words that acknowledges Claus Oldenburg’s soft sculptures.  The pompom is one of the first low craft objects that children learn to make. ‘Soft Target’ serves as a comment on the vulnerable, especially children during a military or terrorist attack.”


Philippa Lawrence was born in Louth, Lincolnshire. She graduated from Norwich School of Art with a 1st Class (hons) Degree in Fine Art in 1990. After graduating she did a residency at Gresham’s School, Holt to fund her MA in Printmaking at the Royal College of Art (1991-1993). She is Principal Lecturer on ‘Artist, Designer: Maker’ at Cardiff School of Art & Design, Cardiff Metropolitan University. She lives and works in Bristol with a studio at Spike Island.

Her practice is diverse, embracing land and environmental art, the use of textiles in a fine art context, and the relationship between art, craft and design.  Since 2003 her practice has been primarily site-responsive, concerned with issues related to human relationships to land, nature and place. Issues revolve around: boundaries, land use, land ownership, an increasing concern with imposed limitations, and an encroachment on humankind’s wild spaces – both the public and geographic and the private and psychological. Materials and process are equally important to her as is a consideration of the multiple sites we occupy.

Work pivots on material exploration, drawing out a material’s ability to carry metaphor and speak of human experience, and in a positioning of elements to assist an understanding of site and a re-activation of space. Trained in Fine Art Printmaking at Norwich School of Art and the Royal College of Art Philippa maintains an interest in the language of making, in the multiple and in process.

Philippa works on site-specific projects, commissions and exhibitions. She has exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally, including America, Japan, Czech Republic, Canada, Iceland and Australia. Notable exhibitions include ‘Angles of Incidence’ through AiRx and the British Council, at Singapore Botanic Gardens and at Inner Temple London (2014), ‘Encounters at the Edge of the Forest’, (2014) Chicago, USA, ‘Cloth & Memory {2} (2013) Salts Mill, Saltaire, ‘Bite-Size’ at the Daiwa Anglo Foundation and subsequent tour to Japan (2012) and commissions for Waddesdon Manor (2013-4), ‘Darning the Land: Seam’ at Church Gresley, Derbyshire (2011) for re:place, ‘Bound V-57’ for ‘Nature Unframed’ at Morton Arboretum, Lisle, USA (2011) and for Meadow Art Gallery ‘Barcode FB:814’, (2011) and ‘Tell it to the Trees’ at Croft Castle, Herefordshire (2009-10).

Recent awards made to the artist include Cardiff Metropolitan University Seed Funding (2015) to examine threatened crafts and HEFCW SIP funding (2011) to work with Waddesdon Manor.


She is currently working on a series of projects for Hestercombe House, Taunton.

Saturday 7 October 2017, 1 – 4pm

Join lecturer, researcher and maker Angela Maddock for a practical workshop inspired by the processes and discoveries during her residency at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College, London.

Participants are encouraged to bring along something knitted or woven that is holed, worn or threadbare for repair. You will learn two methods of visible mending – weave and swiss darning and through discussion and making, explore acts of regeneration and repair, of making good but not always perfect.

Cost: £25 includes materials and  please bring something  to mend

Booking Essential 01267 222775

Suitable for age 16+

Saturday 7 October 2017, 11 am

Angela Maddock is a lecturer, researcher and maker who’s work celebrates the tactile and explores the properties, qualities and tensions of emotional and physical intimacy.

Maddock is a PhD by practice researcher in the School of Material at the Royal College of Art, where she is also a visiting tutor in textiles. As maker in residence 2016-17 at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College, London she explored parallels between clinical practices and skills associated with textile making.

Admission Free

Gallery talk by Lucille Junkere

Friday 18 August 2017, 7pm

Lucille Junkere returns to the gallery to talk about her indigo dyeing journey since her residency at the William Morris Gallery. She recently travelled to Nigeria through a Winston Churchill Fellowship where she studied indigo dyeing techniques amongst Yoruba artisans. Àdíre is the Yoruba word for the resist dyed cloth made in Yoruba towns in Nigeria. The textile functions both as an aesthetic expression and a means of communication, offering a deep insight into Yoruba religion, culture, folklore and history. Her talk with be illustrated with short videos, photography, music and Lucille’s own indigo work.

Admission Free


Llygad y ffynnon (The source)

Ink and threads on plastic (detail)

“My instinct has always been to embrace both painting and embroidery traditions without having to conform to either. I feel a huge sense of freedom in this chosen area. While the act of drawing is central to my practice, I delight in the raw beauty of all my materials – whether they are fabric, thread, paint, paper or plastic.

The recent works on plastic challenge me in terms of scale, technique and emotional content. I relish the sense of theatre whilst working on the inked–up sheets of plastic. It is an intensely physical and gestural process – always concerned with balance and rhythm and expressive mark-making. A form of choreography and personal mapmaking which celebrates landscape, language and womanhood.

This is a landscape layered with ambiguous messages, a place with its own distinct edge…”

Eleri Mills was born in Mid-Wales and gained her BA from Manchester Polytechnic in 1977. In 2000 she was made an Elected Member of the Royal Cambrian Academy and was accepted to the honorary order of the Gorsedd white robe at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 2004. She was 2010/11 Winner of the Creative Wales Ambassador Award, Arts Council of Wales.

Eleri Mills has exhibited her work widely across Wales, the UK and internationally and is represented by the Thackeray Gallery in London and Martin Tinney Gallery in Cardiff.

Significant exhibitions have included ‘Window on Wales’, Ruthin Craft Centre 2013; Macy Art Gallery, New York 2012; Art of the Stitch (Birmingham, Krefeld and Budapest tour) 2008; Meaning of the land Interceltic Festival, Lorient, France (Representing Wales) 2002; Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh 2001; Piel de Seda Embroidered Bookbindings Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas, Madrid 1998; Museu Textil i d’Indumentaria, Barcelona (Wales in Catalonia Festival) and UK tour 1995; British Needlework National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan 1982.

Her work is held in a number of collections including: Contemporary Art Society for Wales, National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh and Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester

Eleri has also been represented in the SOFA Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art fair in New York and Chicago and the Collect Craft Fair in Saatchi Gallery, London.

She was artist in residence at Sanskriti Kendra, Dehi, and research trip to India supported by Wales Arts International in 2016 and Teachers College, Columbia University, New York in 2012.

Photograhper: Toril Brancher

Alter Ego 1, 2015

Photograph, wearing a hand crocheted balaclava

“My grandmother taught me to crochet as a child during long hot summers on the Canadian prairies. Crochet is something I have always enjoyed doing but have kept separate from my art practice; it was a way of relaxing, making gifts for friends but definitely not “Art”.

Although some deny its continued existence, there remains a hierarchy in the art world; craft processes rank lower than disciplines such as video or sculpture. This extends even further; amongst crafts, textiles are one of the least well regarded. This highlights issues of gender and value. Textiles are “feminine”, often made by women, and part of the domestic sphere. There are many artists using craft materials and making art that is deserving of (and occasionally receiving) recognition, but this does not mean that this debate is no longer relevant. Prejudice against the “feminine” continues to be pervasive and used to dismiss these works of art. The debasement of craft is yet another method of the continued marginalisation of women in the art world.

In my practice, I deal with domestic materials. I transform inexpensive and accessible materials (often textiles) into performance, sculpture and installation. I show my artwork in both craft galleries and art galleries; I am called both an artist and a maker. However, assessing my practice a couple of years ago, I identified a frustration; a feeling that I needed to diminish my craft links in order to further access the art world. Obtusely, I decided to embrace a skill I had always hidden away – crochet.

Alter Ego I is a photograph of myself wearing a crocheted balaclava. Incorporating craft, textiles and a feminine perspective it epitomises my practice. It is also battle mask, to bolster my courage to stand up for these attributes in opposition to an invalid hierarchy.”


Alana Tyson is a Welsh-Canadian artist. Born in Canada, she graduated from the Alberta College of Art And Design in 2006, with a BFA (Hons) degree in Painting. She moved to the UK In 2007 and currently lives in North Wales.

Significant recent exhibitions by Alana Tyson include Crafting Anatomies: Materials, Performance, Identity, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham (2015); Decision Time, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee (2014); Scythia 10 International Textiles Biennale, Kherson Ukraine (2014); Shades by the Seaside, Bathing Machine Intervention, Llawn02 Festival, Llandudno (2014), Power In the Land, a project responding to the decommissioning of the last nuclear reactor in Wales, which will tour the UK in 2016/17. She is supported by Mark Devereux Projects (2016/17).

Tyson was the recipient of the Ignac And Karla Herskovic Memorial Scholarship (2006), and has received support from the Alberta Foundation for The Arts (2006), an Artist Bursary (2013), and the Arts Council Of Wales (2013, 2014/15). In 2015 she was artist in resident at Ruthin Craft Centre in Wales.


Photograph: courtesy of the artist

Thursday 12 October 2017, 6-7.30pm

Siri Hustvedt: The Summer Without Men

Alongside Oriel Myrddin Gallery’s exhibition A Darker Thread // Edefyn Tywyllach  we will be reading Siri Hustvedt’s The Summer Without Men, chosen for us by the exhibition curator, Laura Thomas. A tale that starts with a faltering 30 year marriage and includes a cast of characters including Abigail who embroiders and appliques craft works with subversive undertones…

‘A rich and intelligent meditation on female identity, written in beguiling lyrical prose…heady and intoxicating.’ Lucy Scholes, Sunday Times

‘It’s an astoundingly joyful read…a book that shines with intellectual curiosity and emotional integrity…every page reminds us that, as Mia’s doctor tells her, “tolerating cracks is part of being alive.’ Justine Jordon, The Guardian

Join us for a friendly discussion led by Kirsten Hinks Knight.

Free entry, tea and cake provided.


To accompany our A Darker Thread // Edefyn Tywyllach exhibition, we’ve asked our own Siân Conti to be our Pinterest Guest Pinner from July – October 2017.

If you’re a regular to Oriel Myrddin Gallery you will know Siân – she started with us in 1993, that’s 24 years ago…it’s a bit like ‘Hotel California’ here (but in a good way!)

Siân was trained in Dyfed College of Art in Carmarthen through a four year course in Fashion Design (1976 – 80). After graduating she worked in various roles; Junior Designer at Morris Cohen  in Port Talbot, Assistant Designer and Pattern Cutter for Welsh Brides in Cardigan and then with Jamie and Jessie Seaton Knitwear (Toast)in Llanfynnydd. For 10 years she was the wardrobe genius behind Merlin Youth Theatre in Carmarthen “…creating and making costumes for zillions of youth Members…well perhaps not, but it was an awful lot!”. You can see from this very charming photograph that Siân started early on her dressmaking career!

Siân is Oriel Myrddin Gallery’s resident textiles expert and we’re very lucky to have her…so enjoy her pins for the next few months…we can’t wait to see what she finds!

Saturday 19 August 2017, 11am-4pm

You will learn how to create and maintain a simple non-toxic indigo recipe which you can re-create at home. The recipe will enable you to dye plant fibres such as cotton and linen. You will also learn various pattern making techniques inspired by traditional Nigerian resist dyeing to create your own beautiful indigo dyed textile samples which you can take home and use for your own projects.


Cost: £25 includes materials

Suitable for age 16+

Booking Essential

Please bring an apron or wear old clothes, a pair of rubber gloves and some plastic bags to take the samples home.

Off Site Projects

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