How did you start out on this path? Did you always know this was what you wanted to be doing?

I’ve always loved to paint and draw and have done it in every spare moment since I can remember. My career in food started when I was 25 in a brilliant place called Ultracomida – aside from the enjoyment of the act of cooking itself, it was the feeling of cooking for others that really made me want to do what I do.

How has your work evolved since you first started making?

Most of the art I make fits in around my other work as a free-lance cook, which means that I tend to draw, paint and lino-cut manageable sized pieces. I don’t like to have projects hanging over me for long periods of time. These days I draw and paint edibles much more than anything else, which is a reflection of what I do for a living.

How do you approach studio time – get yourself into the right frame of mind for creating/making?   Do you work better at certain times of the day?

Sadly studio time is very limited – I try to fit in at least one hour a day and often it’s late at night. The dream is to one day set aside a couple of days a week. What I will say is that I find I’m more productive if I have limited time because I really try and make the most of what little I have. When I have set aside whole days to paint I get far less done!

How do you challenge yourself within your work? Do you always see yourself working in this medium?

I try to stretch myself over a few mediums actually – this is a natural way of pushing the boundaries and being outside of my comfort zone – Small courses are a great way of delving into another medium. I went on a short weekend lino course with Ian Phillips and that was the start of my small run lino-cut series.

What would/has been your ideal commission?

I tend not to like commissions so much because there is the pressure of working to someone’s expectations. The best commission I’ve done is a staircase mosaic, where I’d set out the expectations right from the start and there was a clear vision on the end piece.

We know that social media channels such as Instagram play a pivotal role now in giving a platform to artists. To what extent has it benefitted you?

Do you think it’s possible for it to ever truly replace a traditional bricks and mortar gallery?

I think it’s a very important platform and has played a huge role in where I am today. That said, I don’t think it ever will or ever could replace a bricks and mortar gallery. There is something so special about standing up close and personal with a work in the flesh. It’s a feeling you can only get from galleries. Also the energy and buzz of a gallery is half the point for me – I love seeing peoples reactions to works.

 

Is there a recent exhibition that you have loved so much and encouraged everyone to go see?

I recently saw an exhibition by Mark Frith at Kew Gardens. It was a series of large scale graphite drawings of oak trees – I was totally blown away by how majestic they were.

 

What does the future hold for you and your work? Do you have any exciting plans for 2020?

Lots more recipes and lino cuts to come!

Oriel Myrddin teamed up with NAWR to organise the very first Criw Celf for teachers and what a week it was!

We had 13 incredible individuals join us from various schools and backgrounds who took time out of their summer to join us for 5 intensive days of art workshops hosted by some fantastic local artists.

On Monday we kicked off the week with Mary Sikkel, who worked with our teachers on 3D construction methods, drawing and collage. They created small sculptures from toothpicks and midget gems then larger, geometric cardboard pieces in the afternoon. Our teachers also completed a series of drawing activities to record their work using pen and collage. These techniques and materials link to cross curricular themes in maths, design and technology and recycling.

Tuesday we had a visit to Coleg Sir Gar where lecturers Nia Lewis and Llio James worked with us to explore low tech knit and weave methods. We learnt how to reimagine images into colour blocks with thread and how to use the heat press to fuse plastic materials to form a base for sewn or woven embellishments.

We were treated to a printmaking session with the lovely Alan Williams on Wednesday, who walked us through methods for printing without a press. This included lino, collagraph and mono printing. The results were beautiful and the techniques could be applied to a range of subjects and themes.

Artist Seren Stacey joined us on Thursday to explore drawing in its many forms. Using NAWR’s free resource of ‘see, sense, draw’ as a basis for the activities, our participants worked with different materials to practice a more free and expressive way of using drawing to develop a ‘drawing vocabulary’ and build confidence in 2D media.

To complete our week we hosted an animation session with Bill Taylor Beales from Hushland Creative. To help our teachers meet their digital competency frameworks we used the apps ‘chatterpix’ and ‘stopmotion’ along with iMovie to create fun animated sequences from the seemingly mundane. Much laughter ensued and it was a lovely way to end the week!

We had some incredible feedback from our participants:

‘Everything was fantastic – really high quality training with really lovely people’

‘Animation will be integrated into current projects and used to peer and self-assess – gives pupils a voice and an animated face.’

‘This has been an amazing week – motivating and inspiring. I will use aspects of all workshops in my classroom practice.’

‘Lots of ideas for the classroom and techniques which are simple to do and apply and also cheap!’

‘I will use many of the ideas in my future practice. Very exciting!’

‘Being taught by an expert in a small group away from school demands has been invaluable.’

A huge thank you to all the teachers who participated in this event, I hope you found it useful and are full of ideas for the new term.

Another big thank you to NAWR who have made this possible through their funding and support with technical equipment.

Lastly, a thank you to the artists who led such brilliant sessions and shared their expertise.

I very much hope we will be able to repeat this next year!

 

Oriel Myrddin’s new volunteer, Rachel Vater graduated from Swansea Metropolitan University in 2012 with a degree in illustration. She has joined us at Oriel Myrddin Gallery to help us with retail and publicity in our gallery shop.

Rachel has a keen eye for design and colour and was immediately drawn to the beautiful silk scarves we have in stock from designer Rosie Cook.

Rosie is a local textile designer and artist living and working in Pembrokeshire and is also a graduate of Swansea Metropolitan University in Print Design. She has exhibited at a number of high profile exhibitions including Interiors UK and New Designers One Year On. These opportunities have allowed her to gain freelance work and helped launch her printed silk scarves.

The bold and vivid style of Rosie’s prints are fed by her love of colour and pattern and is inspired by her travels as well as the more familiar Pembrokeshire coastline. Rosie’s scarves are designed in Wales and digitally printed in the UK.

Rachel asked Rosie a few questions to find out a little about how she ticks…

What is your dream project?

There’s so much I would like to do! I would love to get back into screen printing and painting directly onto cloth as well as collaborating more with artists and designers. I have been lucky to get some freelance work with Made.com which has seen my designs become real products which is so rewarding and a big dream come true.

Which Superhero would you most like to design a cape/outfit for?

Wonder Woman! Her outfit is iconic so it would be a good challenge.

Worst/most embarrassing/baffling experience so far within the industry?

So far the worst thing is having to split day work with design work. Creating and making takes lots of time and I dream of being able to do it full time. The most baffling although flattering is the few emails I’ve had from students wanting internships. I wish I could help but I feel so new to this industry myself.

Music to work to?/Studio Playlist?

At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Alabama Shakes, Young Fathers and Little Dragon. I also love any dub or reggae. If I can sing along badly all the better!

 

Rachel has another hidden talent – she very kindly modelled some of Rosie’s scarves for us in our recent photo shoot in the gallery studio, we love the images…

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