Le Chéile at Nant Gwrtheyrn, part two.

As well as the exhilarating creative atmosphere we experienced at Nant Gwrtheyrn, one of the best things (I thought) was the saline sulphate etch, kindly provided by Don B. With a little ingenuity, the etching bath was established in the bracken outside the Heritage Centre, and prints were hung to dry on pegs in the glass-fronted area overlooking the sea.

We were able to work into and onto each other’s aluminium plates, combining images and ideas; etching and re-etching; printing and working into the resulting images. Motifs combined and multiplied to generate a dizzying quantity of experimental prints reflecting the themes of Le Chéile enhanced by the environment at Nant Gwrtheyrn: land, language, memory, history, cohesion, separation.

As part of the creative process, we also undertook some collaborative drawings; both A1 size (see right), and on a small scale as entries for the Vault Gallery’s forthcoming exhibition

And, on the first night, a “round robin” drawing session; passing drawings round the group for each artist to contribute their own marks to each drawing.




Le Chéile at Nant Gwrtheyrn, part one.

Our three day stay at Y Nant has been a great success, generating a huge amount of enthusiasm and a remarkable amount of work. We created a working print studio from scratch, relying entirely upon the generosity and goodwill of participants – and the tolerance of the Centre Director and his staff. We were blessed with good weather, despite a miserable forecast, and although it rained heavily on occasion we were able to enjoy our surroundings. Drawing, painting, printmaking, talking (and eating and drinking!); we immersed ourselves in our work and generated a real buzz of collaboration.

“The creative concentration was palpable in the studio (heritage centre at Nant Gwrtheyrn) with everyone collectively working and finding ways through the collaboration to new areas. There was plenty of discussion and talking ideas, very much part of collaboration. Combined with so much work going on, prints, drawings and books the process of working on a plate, then drawing, then paint makes for fluid output. Such concentration!” Andrew Smith

“The remoteness and spectacular nature of the environment supported and set the scene for our collaborative work. Creatives usually work in isolation, if they do work together it’s with a common goal in mind. The goals appeared to emerge from the conversations we had and the work we started to produce, initially as individuals and later as collaborators. The collaborations arose out of our responses to each others work. The individual pieces of work determined the agenda and our direction as a group. On the final evening a piece of work emerged that was from the whole group.” Don Braisby

“I thoroughly enjoyed the two days I spent there- an ideal environment for total immersion in creative printmaking without any outside distractions (not even a mobile signal!). The group got on very well and the conversation and convivial atmosphere were as important in
making it a success as the printmaking itself.” Ian Williams



The Personalised Surface, New Approaches to Digital Printmaking.

As part of contextualising the work and looking closely at process you might like to know that the digital print I made for Le Cheile (collaborative with Eilish McCann) has featured as a case study with the Fine Art Digital Environment Research Project, Personailsed Surface.

See http://www.faderesearch.com/digitalsurface/case-studies/links/

I have noticed that some images are missing and in case they are not repaired the images for my case study are included on this post.

There is an excellent dvd of the whole research project available from FADE.

Andrew Smith


We are making the final preparations for our stay at Y Nant in a fortnight’s time – ferries being booked, portable equipment being gathered together, weather forecasts being scrutinised. I’m not losing sleep over it all…..yet. But I will do shortly. What is the worst that could happen? High winds, cataracts and hurricano(e)s cancelling the Irish Sea ferries; outbreak of World War III and all ferries commandeered for evacuation of Dunkirk; other baroque and even more unlikely scenarios leading to complete disaster.

Actually, since the accommodation is booked and the food is provided on site, providing some of us can get there with a sketchbook and a couple of pencils apiece we can have a good time whatever happens. After all, you can make interesting drawings in torrential rain and high winds even when the ink runs and the paper half blows away. And then escape indoors and do some printing.

So, let’s hope for calm seas and a good and productive three days’ work.