Launching at Melin Tregwynt 26th March 2017
Weaving the tales of the Mabinogion
The early Welsh collection of tales from which the Mabinogion takes its name, intertwines legend, folklore, tradition and history. Passed down by word of mouth by the early Welsh bards, it has given rise to a timeless literary heritage and continues to inspire artists.
The Oriel CRiC gallery in Crickhowell aims to increase awareness of the rich heritage of Welsh craftsmanship, creativity and culture by collaborating with artist Helly Powell to present a touring exhibition of her ‘Fauxidermy’ textile sculptures. Using Welsh woven fabrics from the Welsh Mill, Melin Tregwynt at Haverford West, Helly will breathe life into the native wildlife of an ancient mystical Welsh landscape.
The project has been funded by the Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund which aims to encourage partnership working and innovative ideas which will have a greater impact and attract more visitors.
Helly explains that her research of animals and their representation in Welsh culture has led her back to the tales of the Mabinogion. “As possibly the earliest writings they are based around tales of love, betrayal and conquest with the native animals playing a cameo role – often sitting on the boundaries of reality and other worlds.” “These tales are linked to historical events in and around Wales and my walking obsession takes me walking these hills. There are times and places where you just know you are walking the same footpaths and landscape as our ancestors, the people of the Mabinogion coming down through a woodland after a long day walking at dusk, you at times feel the presence of the ghosts of the beasts depicted in the Mabinogion.” “The upland landscape of Wales is a place where time collects, where reality and the mystical exist in the fog and the mist and the dawns and dusks. Even though I might be walking with a backpack and poles, I could just as easily be walking with a deerskin bag and wooden staff. I hope that the collection of beasts of the Mabinogion will inspire people to explore the Welsh landscape with the eyes of our ancestors and their beliefs in other worlds and mystical animals.”
Suzette Pratten added, “We relish the opportunity to showcase the inspirational skill and artistry shown by Helly in her ‘Fauxidermy’ sculptures at various venues across Wales. Alongside multiple edition sculptures, she will create six life size single edition sculptures inspired by extracts from the Mabinogion. Not only will the tales of Pwll, Branwen, Manawydan and Math be brought to life, but the authentic Welsh tradition of weaving will be celebrated in the use of the textiles produced by Melin Tregwynt. Their beautiful designs are incorporated into Helly’s work in a most innovative way.”
Eifion Griffiths from Melin Tregwynt agreed that, “Helly Powell’s ‘Fauxidermy’ sculptures are simply beautiful to look at. Her work appears so life-like that each animal could have just stepped out of the Welsh landscape. This combined with the subtle mix of selected fabrics she has used gives each piece a magical quality. We’re pleased that our fabrics provided inspiration for these majestic creatures, and are excited to be one of the venues for this touring exhibition.” Suzette expressed the hope, “that visitors to the exhibition at the various venues will immerse themselves in the unique narrative tradition interpreted by Helly Powell’s sculptures.
Further information on the exhibition can be found by visiting the links below :
Melin Tregwynt The Exhibition Launches at Melin Tregwynt on Mothers Day 26th March 2017 and runs till the 8th May 2017