The making of Rhiannons Horse

One of my favourite Charachters in the Mabinogion has to be Rhiannon The Goddess of Horses and BIrds it is this tale that was the inspiration for Making Rhiannons Horse.

A little explaination of the Tale:

She first appears in the First branch of the Mabinogion in the story of Pwyll – Prince of Dyfed. Rhiannon appears at Gorsedd Arberth an ancestral mound near one of the chief courts of Dyfed.     

Pwyll, the prince of Dyfed, has accepted the challenge of the mound’s magical tradition to show a marvel or deal out blows. Rhiannon appears to him and his court as the promised marvel. She is a beautiful woman arrayed in gold silk brocade, riding a shining white horse. Pwyll sends his best horsemen after her two days running, but she always remains ahead of them, though her horse never does more than amble. On the third day he finally follows her himself and does no better, until he finally appeals to her to stop for him.

Rhiannon has been betrothed to Gwawl. But she falls in love at first sight with Pwyll and proposes an elaborate plan to enable her to marry Pwyll rather than Gwawl.

Pwyll of course goes along with her plan as he is also totally smitten – They plan to use  Rhiannon’s knowledge of Gwawl’s weaknesses, his pride and lust for her –

Pwyll dressed as a beggar, approaches Gwawl at a Feast with a sack that can never be filled until a nobleman stomps down on the bag and orders it to be full. Pwyll enters and asks Gwawl if he can fill his bag with food, to which Gwawl immediately agrees. He becomes irritated when he sees how much food is being put into the sack and asks Pwyll when the sack will be full. Pwyll, as Rhiannon had instructed, says to Gwawl that a strong and powerful noble must trample down the food in the sack and say “enough has been put in here” and then it will be full.

Upon being persuaded by Rhiannon to do the task, Gwawl stands in the bag and Pwyll pulls the bag over Gwawl’s head, trapping him within the sack. Pwyll summons his war band and they round up Gwawl’s men and put them in chains. Gwawl, himself, is beaten within the bag by Pwyll’s men, striking the bag with either their foot or a stick. This is the first account of the game “Badger-in-the-Bag” being played.

 Gwawl calls out to Pwyll, stating that there is no honor in killing a man trapped in a bag. Pwyll agrees to release Gwawl, if he first promises to never take revenge on them for what has happened. Gwawl eagerly accepts their proposal and is freed from the bag.


The Process of making the sculpture in images:


The Mane was made from The Wasted Warp from the Woven Cloth used on the piece.

Approximately 5000 pieces of Yarn make up the Mane.

Hand threading the mane with over 5000 pieces of yarn

The Amulets for the Bridle:

These were made by Kathryn Willis and you can read all about the process and inspiration on her Blog

Process of creating Rhiannon’s Horse bridle pieces

The Finished piece:


Supporting Artists for Mabinogion Exhibition

Supporting Artsits.


I invited jeweller Kathryn Willis, artist Robert Macdonald and printer Sarah Lane from Penrhos Printing Press to a collaboration by creating work which complements and enriches the exhibition. also Patricia Kelly who made the most beautiful ceramic pieces for the Oriel Cric stage of the Exhibition.

Kathryn Willis who is a Jeweller specialising in Enamelling …During Her research she discovered enamel was mentioned in the Mabinogi.   Kathryn Explains Manawydan one of the characters learns how to enamel using Blue-Azure and starts making pommels, shields and shoe buckles using the technique. Working with enamel on copper I made bridle pieces for Rhiannon’s horse featuring the birds of Rhiannon. The song of these magical birds was said to ‘wake the dead and lull the living to sleep’.

Kathryn also blogged about the process whilst making the beautiful pieces to adorn The Beasts, to see the process of creating each piece pop over to Kathryns Blog




Robert Macdonald – Artist

Robert Macdonald began painting the Welsh landscape and taking an interest in the legends of the surrounding area, and landscape and legends have provided him with much of his subject matter as an artist during the past 25 years.

His watercolours in particular have won a number of national prizes, he was also  one of eight printmakers from Wales whose work was exhibited in the European Parliament, Brussels.  Robert is also chair of the Royal Watercolour Society of Wales.

He used ink and watercolour to produce 4 pieces of work for the Exhibition:


Sarah Lane  of Penrhos Press

Penrhos Press is the creation of artisan letterpress printer and printmaker Sarah Lane.  Inspired by her craft apprenticeship in letterpress and intaglio printing with family print firm Berrington Press, Sarah has nurtured her love for print and typography together with an affinity for the natural world to create an eclectic and quirky range of craft made stationery.

Situated in the very rural heights of Herefordshire on Garway Hill, Penrhos Press stationery was founded out of inspiration for these surroundings.  Nature, wildlife and the comfort of family and assorted pets nearby combined with quirky colloquial family sayings make for a sustainable source of design ideas to create fun and fanciful printed produce.

Sarah produced the Billingual Titles and Extracts which were the perfect finishing touches to the pieces.


Patricia Kelly – Artist Ceramics

she first became ‘hooked’ on pottery when she was first introduced to clay at evening class. At the same time, as luck would have it, redundancy from her office lifestyle gave her the chance for a career change – fulfilling a dream of becoming a potter. This was enhanced by the wonderful opportunity of spending time at the Moorcroft Pottery tube-lining and painting a vase to her own design.

I first became a huge fan of the wonderful work of Patricia at the Oriel Cric Gallery where on display was a little ceramic cottage on a hill which looked just like my own Home….

Patricia produced an amazing collection of sculptures and wall figure heads for the Crickhowell Part of the Exhibition and to say i was totally smitten is an understatement:-)


Ted Baker – Sandton City SA

Fashion Brand Ted Baker commissioned me to make some Textile Animals for there Flagship store they were opening in Sandton City, South Africa….every store design is bespoke and no two are the same. For this project,  inspiration has been taken from Johannesburg’s famous Shakespeare garden, whereby plants mentioned within the works of William Shakespeare are cultivated.

The store is full of lots of props and curios from The skull from ‘Hamlet’ and the scales from ‘The Merchant of Venice’.

Neon quotes on the wall mark the men’s wear and women’s wear shopping areas; “The soul of the man is his clothes” and, “And though she be but little, she is fierce” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The store has been described as  a little piece of Elizabethan grandeur from England, perfectly placed in South South Africa.


Delivering some of the larger pieces to Ted Baker HQ


Scoop in the City July 2016

We were invited by Karen Radley to supply some pieces of Fauxidermy for display at Scoop Fashion Trade fair.

The venue was at Old Billingsgate situated in the Heart of the City on the banks of the River Thames just between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.


I visited the Venue back in June when it was just its bare shell. it is a huge building with some amazing architecture.


The building was transformed overnight from an empty shell  into a gorgeous boutique event with the most beautiful Floral displays and huge crystal chandeliers



The Beasts of Mabinogion Fallow Deer greeted people at the entrance and complimented the floral theme perfectly.

click to explore more of the beasts of the mabinogi




Chelsea flower show – Fauxidermy Fantastic Mr fox

I have always loved Chelsea Flower Show especially the Show Gardens and so imagine my delight when we were contacted by Capel from Border Sundials to say he’d love for one of my Fauxidermy Foxes  to take centre Stage in his Garden stand  at  RHS Chelsea entitled “Fantastic Mr Fox“.

The garden was built to celebrate the 100 Year anniversary of Roald Dahl’s Birth The worlds Greatest story teller a Welshman from LLandaff.

The Garden was beautifully put together to recreate Fantastic Mr Foxes Tree amongst a wildflower meadow.



The amazing tree was carved by chainsaw artist Adam Humphreys complete with the faces of boggis, bunce and bean.

The walls of the stand were beautifully painted as a mural of typical English Countryside  by Cara Campbell.

The garden also had a Cider barn complete with apple county cider which is Scrumptious and two fauxidermy hens – with attitude!





The Finished Garden complete with Boggis, Bunce & Bean 🙂

Royal Welsh Show 2016

The height of summer and the fields surrounding my workshop IMG_8926are alive with tractors, all hastily making hay while the sun shines finishing off their work as everybody is off to ” the show “






Beasts of the Mabinogi At this years show I will be releasing the first pieces from a new collection titled” Beasts of the Maginogion ” inspired by the oldest tales of the welsh people. The chosen fabric is traditional welsh woollen blankets ” or Carthen woven here in Wales at the Melin Tregwynt mill.

Click to visit Melin Tregwynt







We are in our usual spot ( stand GH 66 ) in the South Glamorgan Hall

Highland Bull textile taxidermy

opposite the food hall top left corner of the show ground surrounded by heady aroma of the livestock sheds So it would be rude not to take along a new Bull

rwas map
Click to Royal Welsh Show Info

The Cotswold Show 2nd & 3rd July 2016

The Cotswold Show

We are excited to be exhibiting with our Fauxidermy animals at this years show.

visit show website : Cotswold Show

You will find us in the Rural Crafts Marquee with some fab Show offers along with a few of our new pieces like this bad boy.

wild boar- textile taxidermy-fauxidermy-faux taxidermy-textile art- faux animal heads-

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Hunt for Highland Cattle 28th March

As many of you know my recent collection is inspired by the Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacons National Park Wales and its ancient woodlands & animals that once roamed the area, like the Deer of Parc Lodge, the once medieval Deer Park and also the wildlife that you can see today. Animals that I have grown up with and regularly see whilst waling in the area all great sources of inspiration for me.


Before I start a new Animal Head I like to spend time studying the animal in its natural surroundings, where possible, and try to get up close and personal to get a sense of scale and characteristics.  Imagine my excitement when I got a call from a Local Hill farmer saying that Highland cattle have been ” turned out on the hill ”  I had to go and see if I could find them.

All I knew is that they were on the hills at Gospel Pass (Bwlch yr Efengyl) in the Beautiful vale of Eways. Dubbed Wales Highest road Pass, wedged between Twmpa and Hay Bluff.  The name Gospel Pass is derived from the 12th century Crusaders who were preaching and  made passage through there.


The route I took was Abergavenny to Llanvihangel Crucorney turning left just after  the Skirrid Inn.  Wales Oldest pub which dates back to possibly 1100’s. It is said that Owain Glyndwr rallied his men in the cobbled courtyard before raiding nearby settlements that supported the English King. Legend also has it that the famous Judge Jefferies held court there and as many as 180 hangings took place.

Pootle on throught the lanes toward Llanthony Valley, if you look up to your right you should see the little old crooked church- Cwymyoy Chapel situated beneath the Hatterall Hill,  You then reach Llanthony abbey on right.

IMG_4076-1 ” The priory dates back to around the year 1100, when Norman nobleman Walter de Lacy reputedly came upon a ruined chapel of St. David in this location, and was inspired to devote himself to solitary prayer and study. He was joined by Ersinius, a former Chaplain to Queen Matilda, the wife of King Henry I, and then a band of followers. A church was built on the site, dedicated to St John the Baptist, and consecrated in 1108. By 1118, a group of around 40 monks from England founded there a priory of Canons Regular, the first in Wales.”  Courtesy of Wikipedia

As you Climb out of Llanthony The landscape gets more wild passing through Capel-Y-Ffin and on up to the hill over the cattle grid. The rumble of the cattle  grid marks entry into the wild Black Mountains.

I stopped in a pull in and set about searching for them.  Its difficult to believe because of their sheer size but they are difficult to see from a distance as they blend in so well with the landscape. I could see shapes moving in the distance and managed to get quite close without disturbing them. They were settled down in the valley and not easily found from the road hence the bit of footwork.


What Magnificent Beasts they are and to see them in what would be there natural habitat made it all worthwhile. Observing the animal in its natural environment is crucial when trying to recreate the characteristics and personality.  You could certainly see lots of personality in them as the scratched, chewed and kept an eye on me.  Photographs are always a valuable aid when back in the Studio creating the fauxidermy trophy head as making sketches out in the field can be very difficult due to the wild weather that the Black Mountains is synonymous with . Its fair to say I am totally smitten by them:-)

Click to view final piece

Welcome:-) 26th March 2015

If this is your first visit to my website  welcome. Over the last few weeks I have been lavishing all my attentions on social media and trying to finish this site, which is nearing completion thanks heavens. I will use my Diary page to share my inspirations, a valuable scrapbook and the many adventures day to day, week to week that I get up to all in the name of Fauxidermy.

Today has mostly been about Mad March Hares  Which are a sure sign that spring has arrived:-)also my Hens have started laying and what a beautiful colourful trio i collected today.  My aim when i bought my hens was to get a colourful basket of eggs and im slowly getting there.  The blue egg came from my beautiful Cream Legbar, The Pink egg from my Light Sussex and the Brown egg from My Maran. all of which i will introduce you to later.


Its been a busy day in the workshop  preparing  hares, Bunnies and Roe deer for  delivery to a new Local Stockist (to be revealed later) We Also have been lucky to get some of our new logos/ branding in today.

The first piece was printed today for labels all the drawings are pencil illustrations by Lydia Knight who I’m predicting will be a huge high street name in a few short years.17191_10152700297166471_1880730992150630450_n


I first met Lydia when she was studying textiles at A level and she came to work with me  for work experience. it was quite clear from the start that she had a natural talent for design  2/3 years down the line she is studying textiles at Bath spa. Keep an eye out for her in the future she’s gonna be a big name in the textiles world.

these are the little guys that are ready for delivery tomorrow complete with their new tags:-)