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Eleri Mills is one of wales most successful artists.

We swung by the Ruskin Craft Center on our home from Port Merion – I’ve got to say that seeing some real art in a real art gallery was so soul-filling after these many months of Lockdown.

I didn’t realise how much I respond to seeing art in real life until we were walking around and I was literally soaking it up – I went around twice.

Apart from the recent denial of such pleasures, I enjoyed this so much because Eleris work really talks to me.

It is full of mark making and those marks translate to say something about the landscape which inspires her but also can be abstract and I like that.

She also develops those marks into stitches put directly through the canvas.

And these are often running stitches but can be a gorgeous hue or an eye catching luxe thread but they serve to continue to talk about the landscape in an even more tactile fashion.

It’s an approach which really inspires me.

I also loved her use of scale and the way she played with diptych and triptych approaches to drawing over several sheets of paper either to expand the same scene or to make companion pieces.

It reminds me also to never stop drawing or dipping my soul into nature to feel grounded and alive.

Eleri Mills – Egni: a decade of creativity is running August – November 2020 at Ruthin Craft Centre, The Centre for the Applied Arts.

Last week, we originally we had a weeks camping planned in Wales but they cancelled us at the last minute (campsite was a mud-slide) so we condensed our holiday into the only two days that Port Merion could accommodate us.

But what a lovely two days it was! 

Port Merion is is a village built in the style of an Italian village but in North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975.

It’s quirky, pretty, tucked away from the rest of the world and you can stay in the houses you see or the hotels. 

There is love and attention to architectural detail everywhere and that is matched by the abundant natural habitat and views – it’s an all round winner in my opinion. 

It’s one of my all time favourite places to visit.

We did all the walks – (coastal, woodland and ‘the other one’) marvelling at wild Bee-Orchids, the range of colour and type of naturally growing Hydrangeas and the size of the sea (high after a stormy night) and size of the sky (BIG skies).

You can read a fuller history here if you’re interested.

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A little while back, before the show closed, we had ourselves a little day trip to see the exhibition by Claire Curneen called To This I Put My Name at the Ruthin Craft Centre, Wales.

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Claire Curneen is a ceramicist, internationally known, and my HB is a BIG fan of her work – hence the longish day trip to Wales to see it 🙂

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It was well worth it as her work is very special; touching and emotional.

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She likes to work in white porcelain,building from the feet upwards which she does by holding individual pieces of clay that she presses into her palm and adds together to create the form. All these pieces then bear the marks of her fingers which brings an additional connection between artist and piece. She will sometimes find a gap or hole in the 3D form which she chooses to leave as it provides an insight into the structure.

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She makes personal, intimate portraits which are often quite sorrowful, and she likes to exaggerate the hands and feet in order to communicate emotion and vulnerability. These are often based on her own, so in that sense it becomes autobiographical.

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While we were in Ruthin we had a little potter around the village which was very quaint and English/Welsh ( oh the Welsh are going to slate me for saying that but it was quintessential – you know what I mean!)

Ruthin house 1

I do love to walk around new places picking houses that I’d move into – and either of these would do nicely.

Ruthin, House 2

Finally do you see the pub below left – The Myddelton Grill on the Square ? Look how many roof windows have been put in over time – cute.

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I really enjoy trips around foreign places via other people’s blogs (Sharon does it particularly well 😉 So I hope you’ve enjoyed a little armchair trip this Sunday.

A new exhibition opens this evening at New Leaf Gallery, Monmouth, South Wales.

Little Bakewell, Willow Pattern, Cupcake, Coffee Pot.

New Leaf Gallery is an independent gallery showing paintings, sculpture and applied arts. It’s situated in the gorgeous town of Monmouth on a sweet little cobbled side mews.

image credit

I’m delighted to be showing ten of my paintings alongside some gorgeous ceramics.

Little Dog, Blue and Yellow

It will run for the next three weeks so if you’re in the area it’s a lovely place to visit.

Green Tea, Button Teapot, Teatime and Tea Table.

A must do trip for the earnest crafter loose in Pembrokeshire, is a trip to the mill of Melin Tregwynt.

This has been a working mill for the last 100 years and is still owned and run by the same family – no small feat in this day and age.

It was fascinating to see behind the scenes..

…especially watching the loom being prepped and threaded with yarn ready for it’s turn on the automatic loom. The girls had a pattern sheet to refer to (much like a knitting pattern repeat ) but what a responsibilitly!

loom patterns

loom patterns

The Twisting and Cone winding room was full of yummy boxes of yarn, named in the most evocative colours.

Best of all, you could buy a bag of off-cuts in the shop.

These worked out to be £1 a piece which I think is excellent value.

They are made with colours which reflect the natural environment.

Now I must ruminate on what to make with these gorgeous woven pieces.

  Any ideas?

We are just back from a lovely break in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

This is a place where you can really see the sky (I live in a city and hardly ever see the horizon.)

And the skies here are really worth looking at constantly because they change all day..

and night.

They are even worth braving the cold on the beach to capture,

and worth getting up early to dog walk, be inspired by and come home and paint.

I can see why the landscape has, and continues to inspire artists, with its patchwork colours and textured furrows.

Nature always seems closer at hand when you’re on holiday, maybe it’s because we slow down and observe more…

or maybe it’s because it pokes its head over the gate to say hello!

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