Clare is a fully qualified Teacher, Basketmaker, Environmental Artist and Accredited Learning through Landscapes Trainer. She is a highly skilled basket maker specialising in traditional and contemporary Welsh Baskets. She has taught at a National level for the UK Basketmaker’s Association and has provided consultancy and training in all aspects of Willow Work and Community Space Development – from cultivation to large scale sculpture and basketmaking, at all levels up to Local Authority and National level. Clare is passionate about the environment and nature conservation and has a wealth of experience of designing school ground and community enhancement art and craft project.
Clare makes traditional and non-traditional welsh baskets and other willow items inspired by the colours and materials of the landscape around her. She is passionate about working with natural, sustainable materials found in the local countryside, hazel, willow and birch in particular. Clare also grows her own materials in her garden, on her ﬁeld in Pembrokeshire and local community spaces. She weaves these materials into functional, useful baskets, sculptures and items for the home and garden, using age-old traditional techniques and designs but adding her own sense of individuality in terms of the colours and decorative features. Clare is particularly interested in local baskets and regularly makes the round Cyntell in a variety of sizes, the lighter weight Welsh shopper and Welsh Tea Things basket and the Gower Cockle Picking Basket. She enjoys the fact that these baskets have been woven and used throughout time in Wales having learned the skills and techniques for weaving these baskets from master craftsmen who are dedicated to passing on their skills. Similarly, Clare committed to sharing her own skills with others through high quality teaching and considers this an important part of her work. Clare has established her own Welsh Basket company and works with Coastal Community Arts to promote heritage crafts.
Dirk started esparto weaving in 2004 when he learnt the craft from a 90 year old basketmaker from the village of El Berro in the Sierra Espuna and has been making baskets from esparto grass ever since. He has been sharing his skill over the past 8 years teaching on his Almond farm in Spain where he runs workshops. He has also taught in the Netherlands as well as England and Wales when he is visiting the UK.
Gill has recently completed the City and Guilds in Basketry and is always keen to share her new found skills. The qualification included traditional basketmaking materials and techniques as well as using innovative materials and techniques. She has specialised in researching traditional baskets used in agricultural settings, such as the poultry carrier and likes to experiment with dying material for basketmaking. Gill also likes to explore the suitability of soft fibres for basket making which led to the design and development of ‘memory pots’.
Gill established her own willow bed in 2019 planting 2000 rods. The willow is harvested by hand, sorted and stored ready for workshops. Gill’s family all help with the harvest. The willow collection includes her precious ‘Norbury’, a gift from Matthew, her son. Sadly, Matt died before he got to see how beautifully fine and elegant this willow is but Gill hopes that you will come and weave some of it into your baskets.
She is the co-founder of the Rural Skills Centre at New Park Farm. The Centre is based on her lifelong passions for creativity and the countryside. Previously, her ‘day job’ was in Higher Education. Gill has been a senior manager, a trainer of trainers and has shared her skills through many international, university and community initiatives. She is ready to have fun sharing her passion for countryside life with you in her twilight years.
In my “other life” I am a school administrator but I’ve been a woolly devotee since I lived on a farm as a child and used to help the farmer to hand-rear the orphaned lambs. I started knitting when I was in my teens and my interest in spinning was sparked in 2010 when various podcasts I listened to were all beginning to talk about it.
I taught myself to spin on a home-made drop spindle using books and online resources, mainly YouTube. Then, thoroughly obsessed, I bought my first wheel.
I then joined several guilds and spinning groups in Surrey and once my experience grew I began demonstrating and teaching spinning and fibre preparation to many people at various knitting and spinning events around the country. I love to share my obsession and was recently named as “the only woman I know to bring a spinning wheel to a party”.
I’m passionate about preserving skills that are becoming “rare”. I really believe that it would be such a shame if the knowledge of how to hand spin yarn from fleece was actually to die out. This is why I like to spread my knowledge and to encourage anyone that expresses even a slight interest. I especially like to teach children these skills as their natural curiosity makes them so open to exploring “unusual” ideas and activities and if you can spark an interest at a young age you are providing them with the potential for a whole life time of relaxation and creativity.
When I spin my mind drifts freely; it’s almost meditative. It’s an extremely relaxing hobby. As well as ending up with a tangible finished product, spinning improves feelings of well-being and therefore mental health!
I am currently working on some beautiful, commercially prepared merino roving in gorgeous jade and purple jewel tones. It’s coming out quite thin and when it’s fully plied up I’m hoping it will end up as a sock-weight yarn which I can knit into a lacy shawl, maybe beaded if I’m feeling especially patient!
Imants is keen to share his skills for working with wood. Having spent his career delivering major civil engineering works across the UK and latterly in south Wales, Imants welcomed the opportunity to take early retirement as this enabled him to pursue his passion for working with wood. Imants has learned his craft by attending professional courses and by practising and honing his skills in his workshop. He enjoys working with the character and distinctive grain found in some seasoned and aged woods. For example, special woods like the Penderyn barrel staves that he has worked with to create unique pieces that have a strong Welsh heritage. Imants can be found at craft markets across south Wales and has delivered workshops in a range of contexts including schools and universities.
Imants is inspired by challenge and his passion for multi-material projects that has led him to work with glass artists and silversmiths to create innovative and unique pieces. He has undertaken a range of high profile commissions for very special and commemorative pieces. His current pieces include yarn bowls, some with spalted wood, others made to retain the tree bark to add a rustic and natural external look.
Ingrid Walker trained at the Bristol School of Art and set up Pyramid Stained Glass in 2003. She has been in her current studio since 2009 where she runs workshops. Ingrid also teaches her craft at a number venues including the Rural Skills Centre, Cowbridge Old Halls, Giles Gallery, the Heritage Coast Centre and at the Coastal Community Arts Festival. Ingrid’s work has featured in exhibitions including St Donat’s Art Centre, Old Halls, Cowbridge and Bristol School of Art.
Ingrid works out of her studio based at her home in Southerndown, in the Vale of Glamorgan which is part of the beautiful and inspiring South Wales Vale Heritage Coast. Ingrid draws her inspiration from the countryside around her and the people and wildlife of Wales. Much of her work involves incorporating local materials such as driftwood and flowers into stained glass pieces and in 2017 she was chosen to design and make the trophies for Arts and Business Cymru Annual Awards Evening held at the Millenium Centre, Cardiff.
When running courses Ingrid will often get her students to join her on a walk around the Glamorgan Heritage Coast and sketch or photograph aspects of rural and coastal life that will then be the basis of stained glass windows and panels.
Jan and Jacqui have backgrounds in education. They are former teachers and lecturers with many years’ experience writing both academically and creatively. Jan and Jacqui have run workshops on storytelling, poetry and creative writing. They have both been writers from an early age and retirement has given them the time to explore and extend the knowledge gained from a working lifetime encouraging others to learn and develop. Jan’s father was a writer, Cledwyn Hughes, and Jacqui’s father told stories, encouraging her imagination from an early age. They are both convinced that writing can be therapeutic as well as creative and that everyone can find a spark of creativity within themselves. Writing can be intensely private; it can be shared with others. Either way, writing offers rich opportunities to find out more about yourself and the world.
Jan and Jacqui write together as J L Harland, and their debut novel, Elin, was longlisted for the Cinnamon Debut Novel Prize in 2016. Separately, they have been published by Sage, Honno, UKLA, TES, Bloomsbury, Springer and Multilingual Matters. Their online publications have appeared on Litro, Adhoc Fiction, 81 Words and Modernartbypost. At present, Jan and Jacqui are writing a sequel to Elin. They have other writing projects. Following a course in crime writing at Cardiff University, they are currently editing their latest crime novels.
Karen is an award-winning mixed media and textile artist living in Cardiff. She designs and creates original and vibrant contemporary artworks, specialising in handmade paper, paint, stitch, collage and surface construction.
Her artworks capture experiences and responses to her surroundings – societal issues, and feelings, and memories. You’ll often recognise found and recycled objects in her artworks. Enjoyment, fulfilment, and wellbeing are at the heart of her work which is forever evolving – no two pieces are the same.
With a BA hons in Art and Craft Studies Karen inspires people of all ages and abilities through creative workshops: from the very young – teaching children to sew, embroider, paint and to be inventive with paper; whilst also enriching the lives of older people living in care with advanced dementia, other illnesses and disabilities. Everyone in between is catered for – from Art and Design students, families attending community arts festivals, and members of groups like the WI.
In East Cardiff, Karen is striving to address the lack of a dedicated community arts space by cultivating a network of professional and semi-professional creative practitioners and those living and working in the area who have a passion for the arts.
Her own work can be followed on most social media platforms as KarenOSheaArt.
Lise is the person behind Tommelise Danish Design. She is originally from Denmark and now lives in Wales with her family. Lise makes and sews bags and purses using oilcloth, but when it starts to get colder and boots are back, she looks forward to Christmas and starts making traditional Danish Christmas decorations such as fabric cornets, paper stars and hearts. Growing up in Denmark, Christmas time was always special as she would get together with friends and family and hygge-julehygge. Lise loves making and crafting and when she discovered oilcloth she hasn’t looked back. She loves the shiny, bright and funny oilcloths and sources them from the UK, the States, Holland, Hong Kong and, of course, Denmark. Lise designs different sizes of purses, make up and wash bags, along with totes, messenger and baby bags.
Lise is currently building her stock for the Christmas markets. She usually starts in the summer and by September, she can be found making her traditional Danish Christmas decorations. if you want to visit her at one of the markets, she will be at the Parkway, Cwmbran on Sunday 14th October, 2018 and at the Rhiwbina Handmade Market, Cardiff on Sunday 25th November.
Mary trained in Classical French Cuisine in Cardiff. She worked for Trust House Forte and went on to have responsibility for staff training for the Grand Metropolitan Hotel Group. She set up her own catering company and latterly, worked in secondary schools supporting the development of best kitchen practice.
Steve is the founder of The Florist of Cardiff; the extraordinarily talented visionary behind his Creative Team. Steve and his team have provided arrangements for many weddings and high profile events, with many of his floristry works of art making appearances in television and period dramas. Steve has a shop in Pantbach Road, Cardiff and has provided many workshops to promote floristry skills.