The height of summer and the fields surrounding my workshop are alive with tractors, all hastily making hay while the sun shines finishing off their work as everybody is off to ” the show “
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.
We are in our usual spot ( stand GH 66 ) in the South Glamorgan Hall
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
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.
” 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:-)
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.
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:-)