Stop Press: our exhibition at Oriel Ynys Môn is now going to be in September 2011. It is hoped that an education programme will accompany the exhibition – details to be arranged.
Lots of activity now after an apparently fallow period. The bookings for Nant Gwtheyrn are underway. Kim Dewsbury, Arts Officer for Denbighshire, phoned this morning about images for the new programme, and to ask if we would be exhibiting any 3D or audio work. Thinking aloud, she wondered whether we could have some music in the background. This has set me thinking, because Pamela was trying to record the voices of the crowd at the Eisteddfod on her camera. I didn’t realise that my digital camera had a microphone, or I could have had a go myself. Perhaps we could have a sound piece of speech in the languages spoken by participants? (I would need to find someone with proper recording equipment and mixing facilities – I have a couple of ideas there – will pursue this, I think.)
and then…..after the meeting in Harlech yesterday afternoon, Pamela and Alison headed rapidly eastwards over the mountains towards Bala and the last evening of the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol.
The logistics of the day’s travelling meant we didn’t get there until most of the exhibitors had shut up shop, but by great good fortune the first tent we came to was the Art & Craft tent, and the first person we met therein was Diana Williams, one of the Le Chéile artists. She had had such a successful week that she had almost completely lost her voice. Nearby, some of Steffan’s work was still in the Cornel Celf a Chrefft. http://www.achrefft.co.uk/amdanom_ni_about_us.html
We managed to get into the Art & Craft Pavilion (diolch yn fawr iawn, Robyn Tomos) where – another piece of luck – I was able to introduce Pamela to Sean Harris, collagraph printmaker & animator extraordinaire. There isn’t enough room in this slot to give a critique of the work in the Pavilion: suffice it to say that it was very diverse in subject and execution, and I agree with Steffan that “Hadau” was the most atmospheric piece, even though we missed the performance and just saw the installation.
Finally we attended the closing concert in the main Pavilion, along with 3,000 other happy Eisteddfod visitors. The atmosphere in the Pavilion is always terrific, and the performers (Cwmni Theatr Maldwyn – a youth music theatre) put on a great show. Pamela – an Irish speaker – found it exciting and intriguing to be surrounded by people of all ages speaking Welsh.
This morning Ian Williams, another member of the group, came over for coffee before Pamela went to take the ferry home. So, more chat and exchange of ideas and stories. Ian & Pamela recounted the tale of Rhys and Meinir, which was new to me. Meinir is trapped in an oak tree on her wedding day, Rhys and his faithful dog search for her in vain, and then both expire when a storm splits the oak and reveals her body. The setting of the legend is Nant Gwtheyrn, where the language centre is now. Layers of meaning within the story, within the landscape. Ideal stuff for printmaking.
Veronica is in Wales at the moment, studying Welsh on an intensive four week course in Aberystwyth. She managed a day off to see some of us, and Pamela came over especially from Ireland to join in. (Our thanks to Andrew for his hospitality). We had a really good session together over several cups of tea, chocolate biscuits and bara brith.
Although things have been rather quiet with Le Chéile over the last few months in the Northern hemisphere, our Australian exhibition is touring the State of South Australia, and has attracted considerable attention. Veronica has worked incredibly hard, and deserves our thanks and several medals. (I hope she will post on the blog if she gets the time). It was great to hear her account of the Celtica festival, which is going from strength to strength – and it was fascinating to hear about her residency at Grindells Hut http://www.portaugusta.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=935
Pamela has recruited two more Irish artists, and has hopes of some more; Veronica will be head-hunting in Australia; Nant Gwtheyrn is on the horizon; the Anglesey gallery Oriel Môn is interested in showing the work in 2013. Pamela is planning on setting up a group website to facilitate future applications for exhibitions etc.
Le Chéile certainly has “legs”, and looks as though it will run for a good while yet.