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


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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