Yay, it’s Helfa Gelf 2014! Over 4 weekends in September, artists and craftspeople across North Wales open their studios and hold exhibitions of their work. Last year, Loglike created an installation in Llandudno. Not being part of it this year, means that we can simply enjoy the occasion without all the hard work! There’s so much to see, and North Wales is quite a big area, so here’s just a snippet of what we’ve found so far…
Friday night saw the opening of quite a few Wrexham-based art events. Starting off with the ‘Glyndwr Collective’ showing at the School of Art. I particularly enjoyed Rob Stephen’s work. Varied, appealing and authentic, he’s presented it through 5 pseudonyms, each with it’s own flavour of media and subject matter.
Whether as a contrary response to the MA pressures to specialise and analyse, or simply due to an abundance of ideas and curiosity, each of his characters’ explorations was intriguing.
Then we moved onto Undegun, the unassuming art space in Wrexham town centre, where a small selection of Helfa Gelf artists were represented and we were also entertained with acoustic sets by drop-in singer-songwriters.
Later on, we got as far as Plas Power climbing studio, where Jonathan Brier was showing some paintings as part of ACO (The Artists Co-operative). It’s an interesting space to hold an art exhibition, with stylised climbing surfaces of various complexity.
And quite a contrast to find self-taught Jonathan Brier’s work amongst the climbing shoes and tackle. Brier does beautiful portraiture with a dark edge.
As well as perennially popular and affordable still lives of fruit.
Another interesting visit was to see Hazel Brend, who weaves top quality shawls and scarves from silk, cashmere and merino wool. She’s got a massive loom in a tiny shed and it was fascinating to see all of her specialised equipment and beautifully coloured stores of yarns. We heard how she first hand-dyes the silk warp before weaving with a merino thread to produce different, subtle, painterly patterns on each side of the finished piece.
Another 3 weekends of Helfa Gelf Art Trail to go!