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Newtown’s Contemporary Craft Exhibition Celebrates Traditional Skills

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An exhibition that explores contemporary craft products by makers from across Wales will also celebrate some of the skills and traditions that made Newtown such an important place in the 1800s.

A collaboration between independent online publisher Jwrnal and Newtown’s Oriel Davies gallery, Creu // Make runs from November 17 until January 20, 2019.

The exhibition features products made using traditional rural crafts, including pottery, weaving, chair making, textile art, wood work and more.

Wales has a strong craft tradition and the exhibition explores some of the skills still being practiced around across the country. There will be opportunities for visitors to meet the makers and to try their hand at some of the processes they use.

Jwrnal (‘journal’) is a platform for documenting and promoting makers and creatives in Wales. Sarah Hellen, based in Llangollen, launched Jwrnal at The Good Life Experience in Hawarden, Flintshire, in 2017 and has since gone on to develop online platforms and a magazine.

Visitors are being invited to share images from the exhibition using the hashtag #MakeWales #CreuDavies, not forgetting to tag @jwrnal_wales and @orieldavies

In addition to featuring works for sale by 15 makers in the main galleries, the Gallery Shop will focus on Jwrnal Selects // y Casgliad Jwrnal’, a selection of beautiful objects by artists, makers and artisans all based in Wales.

Steffan Jones-Hughes, Oriel Davies director, said:

“Over the past 18 months or so, we’ve been looking at makers from across Wales to include in this exhibition. We wanted to create an exhibition that is very contemporary, but at the same time celebrates some of the skills and traditions that made Newtown such an important place in the 1800s.

“Newtown was a flourishing centre of handloom weaving, but when the canal arrived in 1819, factories sprouted up, with fulling mills, bleaching grounds, a foundry, tanneries and potteries established near the river.

“We wanted to give a contemporary nod to that history and show how makers and artists are still using those skills today to create exciting things.

“This exhibition will be the perfect place for this year’s Christmas shopping in Newtown. It’s an opportunity to buy beautiful gifts handmade in Wales.

“Sarah Hellen, the founder of Jwrnal, is a young curator and it’s been such a pleasure to develop this project with her. I hope people will get involved online but also visit the gallery and support the exhibition.”

Artists include: Mandy Coates and Rosie Farey (Basketmakers), Maggie Cross (Jeweller), Dwrgi (Wood), Making Little (Wood), Nellie and Eve (Knitting), Tom Frost (Printmaking), Llio James (Weaving), Callie Jones (Printmaking), Jenny Murray (Ceramics), Tim Lake, Ruth Packham (Needlefelt), Alan James Raddon (Shoemaker), Claire Spencer (Printmaking), Louise Tucker (Woven Lighting), Drws y Coed (Wood), The Whittlings (Wood)

Oriel Davies is an independent public art gallery that organises and tours innovative exhibitions featuring Welsh and international artists and provides an art education programme. A registered charity, the gallery is revenue funded by the Arts Council of Wales and Powys County Council.

The gallery is open from Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm and on Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

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