For the third year running, we’re delighted to be back at Oriel Brondanw, the former family home of the Williams Ellis family. It was Clough Willimas Ellis who built Brondanw and brought his singular, distinctive style to its architecture. The grandchildren still own the house and have opened it as a gallery for Welsh artists. In previous years we have accessed the gallery by virtue of the fact that we were linked to the regional artists’ open-studio group, but this year we made it under our own steam, which is very rewarding.

I made a submission to Brondanw of several photographs of pieces of my work and when we eventually heard of our success, I was delighted that three pieces had been chosen, then I suddenly realised that all three pieces followed a theme, they featured scorched and scoured timber to a lesser, or greater extent.

Today saw the opening of the exhibition, so I made my way to the gallery after briefly attending my wood-turning club this morning. There was a great atmosphere at the gallery, a jazz trio playing live music, drinks and a talk before walking around the various galleries at Brondanw. It’s a magnificent building and is still laid-out internally, very much as a home, rather than as a traditional gallery. This allows the curator and his assistant to break the entries down into categories so that each room can follow a theme.

So here’s my three pieces on display. The huge scorched oak bowl with copper boat-nails set into the rim to keep it intact, plus a smaller scorched oak bowl…

…and an oak platter-and-stand with scorched beads.

I spent an hour or so, standing beside my bowls and it was very interesting to speak to members of the public who expressed their fascination at the textures and of just how tactile the bowls are.

Meanwhile, believe it or not, I’ve made another large scorched bowl. This time it was a big piece of sycamore with very advanced decay. A lot of the decayed timber either burned away or scoured off after scorching, but this one has a little twist. I have reverted to a former decorative technique that I’ve used, of applying copper wire to the bowl and of using a semi-precious stone cabochon in a cushion mount. In this case, the stone is a snowflake obsidian. Here it is…..

 

Work to replace the broken beam at our shop is well under way. The floor has been excavated and new foundations laid, and the structural steel-work has all been put into place. Plastering will be done soon and then there’s going to be the task of cleaning, cleaning and yet more cleaning. The builders have been remarkably careful about what they have been doing, and very little damage has occurred, despite barrow-loads of soil, masonry and wet concrete having to be moved through the shop.

It will take a while to get everything back into a usable state, ready to reopen in early to mid October.


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