‘News’ Category

8 Jul

Summer Art School for ages 15+ – Portfolio+Plus

Portfolio+Plus Last chance to book on our week long summer school Monday 18 July to Saturday 22 July 2016.  This initiative is for MAT students aged 15 to 19 years  – young people with an interest and skills in the visual arts – and is part of an all Wales project to help encourage young people towards creative careers (the creative industries is the fastest growing industry in the UK).  Join in with this great initiative to help futureproof your career and have a really enjoyable week – no assessment, no exams, no homework!

Full programme and details here: Portfolio summer school  For more information about how to take part contact us on info@artsalivewales.org.uk OR ring 01873 811579 and leave a message.

stone carvingDSC05988FilmWorkshop with Keith BaylissPortfolioWorkshop with Keith Bayliss

27 Jun

SNAPSHOT Colours of the Brecon Beacons

Rebecca Chesney is the first Artist-in-Residence for the Black Mountains, in partnership with Peak and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. 

snapshot event 1
snapshot event 4
snapshot event 2

Rebecca completed a six-week residency during winter 2015/16. Please visit the Peak blog for more information: peakart.org.uk

Rebecca’s residency resulted in SNAPSHOT Colours of the Brecon Beacons, a unique colour chart that visualises the many layers of the Brecon Beacons environment during winter.


The SNAPSHOT chart was professionally designed and printed in a limited edition of 400.  The remaining colour charts are for sale at £10 + £1.50 postage & packing per copyIncome will support the Arts Alive Wales’ charitable projects in the local community.

Please visit our donate page to make a payment. artsalivewales.org.uk/donate (please do not tick the Gift Aid button for this purchase). If your postal address differs from your billing address please email details to rebecca@artsalivewales.org.uk



23 Apr

Traces Exhibition


This Spring’s mini-fund has been awarded to three Creative Network members who will use the £300 fund to support a group exhibition of textile work at The Tabernacle, Talgarth during the Hay Festival period. 



An exhibition of work by


THE TABERNACLE , Talgarth, Powys

27 May- 5 June 2016

11am-5pm daily.


The artists will be available to discuss their work at a late closing on Wednesday 1st June . 6.30pm- 9.30pm.


Susan Milne: Traces - Remnant
Susan Milne: Traces work in progress
Susan Milne
Helen Watkins: Traces- work in progress
Helen Watkins: Traces - detail
Helen Watkins: Traces- work in progress
Katherine Sheers - Traces 01
Katherine Sheers - Traces 12
Katherine Sheers


Traces is an exhibition of new work at The Tabernacle, Talgarth, by Susan Milne, Katherine Sheers and Helen Watkins. The artists have come together through a mutual love of textiles and collectively they occupy the practices of art, craft, design and the spaces in between. The exhibition draws a thread through both personal and communal history; bringing to light the cloth we wear close to our bodies during a lifetime and the textile fragments of our ancestors buried beneath the surface.

The artists apply a range of processes and techniques including embroidery, drawing, construction, stitching, and dyeing. Susan unearths decaying remnants of garments and archeological layers of human presence in our landscape and makes works in paper and collage. Katherine creates exquisite silk and lace specimens of concealment dyed with the purple fruits of local hedgerows. Helen’s banners of natural colour and woven texture are embroidered with the marks of human interaction in the Black Mountains.

Although each artist has a defined individual practice, there is an intriguing synergy amongst the three. The work of one artist imparts a further layer of meaning to another’s, and produces a cohesive and quietly powerful exhibition that responds sensitively to the unique interior of The Tabernacle.

Rebecca Spooner
Arts Development Manager



SUSAN MILNE: Artist working with ideas about land and the development of the landscape. Current work: disintegration and fragmentation of organic and inorganic matter. The work, relating to garments and textiles, is made with mixed media, paper and fibers, and derives from drawings made from archeological fragments and museum artefacts. www.susanmilne.co.uk

KATHERINE SHEERS: Textile artist whose work questions the fundamental aspects of human emotion and how they relate to contemporary ideals of womanhood. Current work: specimens of concealment and vulnerability. Utilising the slow, ancient processes of natural dyeing and hand-stitching to colour, mark, reinforce and disguise upcycled silk, lace and cotton. www.katherinesheers.com

HELEN WATKINS: Textile artist and designer whose work is informed and inspired by the rites and rhythms of the surrounding agricultural landscape. Current work: natural plant dyed fabrics of linen, wool and silk; cutting, turning, crossing, joining, marking, represent an active, mindful and meditative intervention.


Photo credit for Susan Milne and Helen Watkins: ‘Ann Dierikx Photography’

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Click here for more information about the Creative Network

24 Mar

Meet The Professionals: Editing and Publishing

Rachel Trezise LSSF (2)


Leading local authors Rachel Trezise and Tom Bullough will be talking to members of the Seren Publishing Team about their work at the Creative Network panel event 4 – 5.30pm on Friday 22 April at the Abergavenny Writing Festival. For more information and to book a ticket please follow this link : Meet The Professionals


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14 Dec

Spring Term 2016

spring posterYou can now donwnload the new Spring programme for information about our classes and events from January to April 2016.

Click here: Spring 2016

For more information and to book a place contact:
t: 01873 811579
e: info@artsalivewales.org.uk

19 Aug

Autumn Programme 2015

autumn 2015You can download the Arts Alive Wales Autumn programme straight to your desktop. The programme has details of all our classes, courses and projects.


Click here: AWW Autumn 2015 booklet

27 Mar

Summer Programme 2015

IMG_2184You can download the Arts Alive Wales Summer programme straight to your desktop. The programme has details of all our classes, courses and projects.

Click here: Arts Alive Wales Summer Programme 2015

13 Mar


Thank  you!

£15,000 raised to support AAW projects for young people


Art Auction 2015Our 2015 Art Auction took place on Friday 6th March in the ballroom of The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny.  This biennial event raises money for our community projects with vulnerable groups and individuals, show-cases the talents of leading contemporary artists in Wales, as well as being a lively and fun evening for our guests. Please scroll down to view artworks that are still available to purchase. 


Art Auction 2015This year the auction raised £15,000 towards ‘Caban’, our new community project focused on teenagers and mental health.  We will use writing, drawing and making to help improve the wellbeing of young people.  Our pilot projects have demonstrated strong evidence that arts participation helps improve quality of life and we are now working closely with local mental health services to extend provision. Click here for short films from the pilot project of Caban.


Art Auction 2015The 2015 auction was dedicated to the memory of sculptor Catharine Marr-Johnson, former trustee and Patron of our Children and Young People’s programme, who sadly died in May 2014. Catharine continued to be an inspiration in the way she continued to draw, paint and create despite the increasing physical challenges presented by a diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease.



Art Auction 2015Should you have any questions about any aspect of the event, or would like to know more about our community work, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Justine Wheatley, Director

Email: justine@artsalivewales.org.uk

Tel: 01873 811579

(Images above from art auction 2015. Photo credit: Toril Brancher)

Auction Partners

The auction is a unique opportunity to purchase original paintings and prints, by selected contemporary artists, in association with our art partners, Five Ways Art and The Art Shop AbergavennyEdward Chetwynd (www.chetwyndantiques.com) was our event auctioneer, who’s lively and relaxed style added to the enjoyment of the event. Art handling and auction floor management is provided by our colleagues at Art Works Exhibition Services.









Please scroll down to view remaining artists’ work, or select from the list below. If you are interested in making a purchase please contact Justine Wheatley, Director, email:  justine@arstalivewales.org.uk / tel: 01873 811579

Annica Neumuller
Antonia Spowers
Becky Adams
Catherine Baker
Dennis Creffield
Diana Heeks
Emrys Williams
John Macfarlane
Josh Partridge
Kumar Saraff
Maggie James
Michael Strang
Philip Watkins
Toril Brancher
Warren Heaton

Annica Neumuller

ANNICA NEUMULLER - Lost and FoundLost And Found
Acrylic, charcoal, pastel and collage on canvas
Guide Price £200 – £300
40 x 30cms

Antonia Spowers

ANTONIA SPOWERS - Migration 2Migration 2
Framed charcoal drawing
Guide Price £500 – £600
74 x 94 cms


Becky Adams

BECKY ADAMS - Lest We ForgetLest We Forget
Textiles, machine and hand stitch
Guide Price £500 – £600
Framed c. 75cm x 75cm


Catherine Baker

CATH BAKER - Blue Over ThereBlue Over There
Medium Acrylic on card
Guide Price £200 – £300


Acrylic on canvas
Guide Price £300 – £400


Dennis Creffield

DENNIS CREFFIELD - TretowerTretower (1982)
Oil painting
Guide Price £850 – £1,000
100 x 60 cm (unframed)


Diana Heeks

DIANA HEEKS - White TreeWhite Tree
Oil on canvas
Guide Price £300 – £350
18”x 18”


Emrys Williams

Oil on panel
Guide Price £850 – £1,000
50 x 50cm


John Macfarlane

John Macfarlane - Hansel & Gretel DropclothThe Witches Ride – Drop Cloth
1998 (restored 2014), WNO – ‘Hansel & Gretel’
Mixed media. Framed

John won an Olivier award for his design for Humperdink’s fairy tale opera and with its 2015 revival at WNO, (www.wno.org.uk/event/hansel-gretel) we are thrilled to have the original 1998 painting. The production, directed by Richard Jones, drew widespread critical acclaim and the Jones/Macfarlane partnership went on to create another award-winning production for WNO with Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades.
Guide Price £1,750 – £2,000
13″ x 17.5″


Josh Partridge

Josh Partridge - Shee in Hagyr-y-coedSheep: Hagyr-y-Coed
Watercolour and gouache
Guide Price £1200-£1300
85 x 100 cm


Kumar Saraff

Kumar Saraff - Carreg Cennan CastleCarreg Cennen Castle
Oil on canvas
Guide Price £775 – £800
50 x 80 cm approx.


Maggie James

MAGGIE JAMES - Path and treesPath and trees
Oil on linen
Guide Price £800 – £1,000
80 x 90cm

MAGGIE JAMES - Trees and PoolTrees and pool
Oil on linen
Guide Price £500 – £600
30 x 30cm

Oil on linen
Guide Price £900 – £1,000
71 x 71cm


Michael Strang

MICHAEL STRANG - Summer's Symphony Late afternoon from Llanfrynach towards PenyfanSummer’s Symphony: Late afternoon from Llanfrynach towards Penyfan
Oil on canvas
Guide Price £3,500 – £4,000
40 x 60cm

MICHAEL STRANG - The Rainbow's KissThe Rainbow’s Kiss: Chapel and Graveyard at Capel y Ffin
Oil on canvas
Guide Price £750 – £1,000
20 x 20cm


Philip Watkins

PHILIP WATKINS - The Yellow HouseThe Yellow House, Monmouth
Oil on canvas
Guide Price £300 – £350
54 x 45 cms


Toril Brancher

TORIL BRANCHER - London PrideLondon Pride
Framed fine art photo
Guide Price £600 – £700
Giclee print on Hahnemühle fotorag paper
30” x 30”


Warren Heaton

WARREN HEATON Solva HarbourSolva Harbour
Oil on canvas
Guide price £800 – £1000
Morning view from The Gribbyn in Pembrokeshire painted in the spring.

WARREN HEATON - Winter LightWinter Light
Oil on Canvas
Guide Price £700 – £800
An early morning winter painting of golden sunlit woodland on the banks of the river Solva, Pembrokeshire

11 Dec

Spring Programme 2015

AAW Spring 2015You can download the Arts Alive Wales Spring programme straight to your desktop. The programme has details of all our classes, courses and projects.

Click here: AWW Spring 2015 booklet web

14 Oct

PEAK – Curator Visit to the Black Mountains


As part of PEAK, Axisweb’s Alicia Miller, responds to a Curator Visit to the Black Mountains, meeting selected artists in studios and venues across the region.

24th September 2014 


Saying hello to Morag Colquhoun's horse
Work by Morag Colquhoun
Morag Colquhoun
Tessa Waite's studio
Tessa Waite's studio
Alicia Miller with work by Tessa Waite
Work by Susan Adams
Susan Adams
Chris Nurse
Work by Chris Nurse
Work by Chris Nurse
Catherine Baker and Kasia Howard
Louisa Mayor and Philip Watkins
Work by Catherine Baker
David Trigg
Visitors outside Glasfryn, Llangattock
Alicia Miller with work by Pip Woolf
Emma Balch, Stefhan Caddick, Rebecca Spooner
Alicia Miller with work by Stefhan Caddick
Pip Woolf, Louisa Mayor
Louise Wright, Rebecca Spooner, David Trigg, Alicia Miller


PEAK practice in the Black Mountains


Arts Alive Wales’ new PEAK programme gives valuable support to artists working in the Black Mountains, helping to better network them with arts professionals and the wider artistic community at large. It also works to engender artistic exchange and explore opportunities to bring attention and support to the immensely talented community of artists working in this very rural setting.

I was really pleased to be a part of the first curator visit of the project. It was just my kind of day out – travelling through the countryside in beautiful sunshine, visiting a fascinating array of artists’ studios and houses, meeting a generous and friendly group of artists and seeing a lot of work I hadn’t encountered before. The company was good as well – including Kathryn Campbell Dodd, my west Wales compatriot who travelled back with me on an unending train journey plagued with mayhem and mishaps; the gentle and insightful Amanda Roderick from Mission Gallery; Bristol-based critic David Trigg whom I hadn’t seen in years; Ruth Cayford, who took time out to make the visit in the busy run-up to Cardiff Contemporary; and ACW‘s Louise Wright who somehow manages to be omnipresent across Wales at all times!

The day started with a visit to the house of artist Penny Hallas and poet Lyndon Davies, to see work by Philip Watkins and Catherine Baker, both unfamiliar to me. Watkins admitted to not being particularly proactive in raising the profile of his work, though he has in fact shown quite widely. His stark and unforgiving paintings of industrial sites, deserted streets and other banalities of landscape have an arid beauty. He admits to ‘trying to reconcile living in such a pretty place with my penchant for council estates and underpasses.’

Throughout the day, there is conversation between artists and curators about the context of the work – the impact of the rural locale on the artists’ practice and career is of varying relevance and there is some sense that the relationship to the place of their work is anything but direct. What rurality does afford is quietness and space – Morag Colquhoun‘s studio on the Penpont Estate may be small and compact but it breathes in the breadth of its surrounding countryside, making it impossible to feel cramped. With nature a constant companion, there is always room.

Talking with Pip Woolf at the Arts Alive Wales studio, we discuss the definition of contemporary art. She questions where her work ‘fits’, and I ask if it really matters? It seems to me that ‘contemporary art’ is a wide sphere of practice whose only definition might be a commitment to interrogate its past, present and future in some way. The studio space offers a place to crack this open – it is a test bed for the imagination where process meets practice. The studios we saw during the day were particular and idiosyncratic, most especially that of Susan Adams and Chris Nurse. Built in their garden, it houses both their diverse practices, which sit beside each other with a strange familiarity. Adams’ oversized automaton crouches in the corner making the space feel more than a little off kilter, and it crackles with creativity.

It’s quite important for curators to be gathered up and taken off to see work – it gives them license to walk away from the administration they are often trapped in and spend crucial ‘looking’ time that reminds them why they love what they do. Vital as this is, it can get squeezed out in the pressure to get the next show up or the next grant written. Making it easy is so valuable to these art professionals. Rebecca Spooner‘s careful coordination of the day, meant there was no rushing. The schedule gave ample time to see and talk and have a valuable exchange. Though some of the group knew the artists visited that day, most admitted there were a few they weren’t familiar with. Several curators commented that it had given them a better ‘mental map’ of artists working in the region and some overview of their practice. These kind of meetings may not have concrete outcomes for the artists involved but they are important in increasing a sphere of awareness of their work. Getting work seen is as important to artists as seeing work is to curators.

- Alicia Miller



Catherine Baker

Philip Watkins

Stefhan Caddick

Pip Woolf

Morag Colquhoun

Tessa Waite

Susan Adams

Chris Nurse

Download details of the artistsPEAK Artists


Artist Photographer: Toril Brancher (photo credit)



Louise Wright, Portfolio Manager, Arts Council of Wales

Kasia Howard, Education Officer, The Landmark Trust

Kathryn Campbell Dodd, Gallery Assistant, Oriel Myrddin

David Trigg, freelance writer and critic

Gavin Johnson, Film Regeneration and Development Manager, Ffilm Cymru Wales

Alicia Miller, Axisweb Associate in Wales, Axisweb

Amanda Roderick, Director, Mission Gallery

Louisa Mayor, Assistant Curator, Meadow Arts

Ruth Cayford, Project Leader, Cardiff Contemporary

Download details of the visitors: PEAK Visitors


Rebecca Spooner, Arts Development Manager, Arts Alive Wales

Emma Balch, PEAK Project Assistant, Arts Alive Wales


PEAK is an initiative devised and delivered by Arts Alive Wales, seeking to develop platforms for contemporary art in the Black Mountains.


Arts Council of Wales

15 Sep

New Grant from the Clore Duffield Poetry and Literature Awards

Thanks to a generous grant by the Clore Duffield Poetry and Literature Awards, Arts Alive Wales are pleased to announce that the Caban Sgriblio project will continue in 2015. Young people identified through Powys education and health partners will be invited to writing workshops exploring the work of contemporary Welsh poets to develop their own poetry and writing style for a performance on film. The aim of the project is to improve their resilience, confidence and aspirations.

Caban Sgriblio first started in late 2013 as a pilot project to help develop the confidence of young people in Powys schools. Working at Llandrindod Wells, Builth Wells and Crickhowell schools, writers Emma Beynon and Rebecca Loncraine led three groups of children into writing workshops geared towards building confidence and helping to realise their own unique voice. The effect of the project has been stark, with one teacher commenting that “some of the students who would have perhaps been more isolated in classroom situations [were] brave and prepared to share their views, or instead of working alone, actually working with a partner”.

Arts Alive Wales is one of only twelve charities to receive the grant and would like to thank the Clore Duffield Foundation for its support of Caban Sgriblio.

19 Aug

Autumn Programme 2014

Autumn 2014

Download the Arts Alive Wales autumn programme straight to your desktop.


click here: Arts Alive Wales AUTUMN 2014

4 Aug

Crafty Women celebrate first year with Abergavenny Mayor

July 15th saw a celebration hosted by ‘Crafty Women’, a craft group for women, to mark the first term of a new Tuesday group and the end of a summer season of creative activity.  The event was attended by members and guests, including representatives from Arts Alive Wales, Monmouthshire Housing Association, and Martin Hickman, Mayor of Abergavenny.

Martin Hickman and Crafty WomeCrafty Women is a creative craft group managed by Arts Alive Wales and funded by a grant from money raised by HealthControl through The Health Lottery. Grown from an initiative between MHA and Arts Alive Wales in 2013, the group has gone from strength to strength. Two groups are now up and running on Tuesday and Friday mornings, offering women in North Abergavenny the chance to get involved with a creative craft group, learn skills and make new friends.

With a craft workshop, live saxophone music and a song from one of the group’s members, the celebration event was certainly lively. Martin Hickman commented “It brings the community together and it’s nice to see that people have something to do … everybody’s very friendly and it has a nice community feel.”

Mr. Hickman and guests tried their hand at needle felting and conversed with members of both Crafty Women groups.  A colourful exhibition of dresses, felt work, book art, textiles and tea cosies was shown and items were on sale to raise funds.  Clayton Charles, Senior Neighbourhood Officer from the Monmouthshire Housing Association praised the display — “I’m no expert on sewing, but the work looks fantastic. I think that if they can sell what they are making and go forward to become a self-sustaining group, it’ll be an amazing achievement.”

The strength of the group was clear from the progress that has been made in skills since the first group started in January 2013, and for the role that the founder members are playing in shaping and supporting the new group.  Sian Phillips, Arts Alive Wales trustee commented on the achievements of the group – “From the people I’ve spoken to here, they look at it in a really positive way and they feel that coming to the Crafty Women sessions gets them to know a wider circle of people even within their own area of Abergavenny. I think it helps people combat loneliness and gives people the confidence to help others.”

Crafty Women meet on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am-12pm at Wellfield Close Hall. For more information about the project or if you are interested in joining Crafty Women, please call Kathy Young at Arts Alive Wales on 01873 811579, kathy@artsalivewales.org.uk or contact Naomi Pearson at Monmouthshire Housing Association on 01495 767187.

The Health Lottery is operated for and on behalf of 51 Community Interest Companies across England, Scotland and Wales, all holding society lottery licenses issued by the Gambling Commission. www.healthlottery.co.uk

Martin Hickman, Mayor of Abergavenny, at the Crafty Women Summer Celebration
Needle felting close up
Crafty Women at work
Kathy Young and Martin Hickman
Penny Turnbull playing saxophone
Needle felting
Martin Hickman and Crafty Wome
Boy and Mayor
Needle felting
Needle felting
Needle felting
Sue Jones, Community Project Coordinator at Arts Alive Wales
Wellfield Close, MHA
Book art
Crafty Women made possible by funding from HealthControl through The Health Lottery

20 Jun

What’s happening at Nevill Hall Hospital?

The Aerial project is underway with workshops happening, or about to happen, in three different settings. Project participants have been exploring the themes of the project using a variety of artforms under the guidance of lead artist Tessa Waite. 


Ty Parc

Weekly workshops started at the Ty Parc homeless shelter in Tredegar before Easter. Since then they have enjoyed modelling in clay with Thomasin Toohie plus drawing, painting and working in aluminium with Tessa Waite. From Thursday June 19th, this group will spend four weeks experimenting with the words and lettering of the poet David Jones, guided by the stonecarving artist Matt Caines supported by Tessa.


Young people from three Solas Centres for homeless young people have, so far, taken part in five weekly workshops. (Woodstock House, Abergavenny, Hales House, Pontypool and The Countryman, Blackwood) They have been looking into the themes of the project using drawing with Tessa and then claywork, and modelling in wire and modroc with Penny Turnbull.(www.pennyturnbull.co.uk) One participant was inspired to write poetry in response to the project.

Crafty Women

The Abergavenny based Crafty Women Group are looking forward to starting their Aerial project workshops on Friday June 20th . They are anticipating an exciting five weeks engaging with the project alongside Becky Adams the books and textiles artist, again supported by Tessa. For more news about the Crafty Women group please click here or visit their Facebook page.

These are just the start of a packed programme of Aerial workshops. Watch this space for further information and pictures of upcoming Community Workshops.


If you would like regular updates on the progress of this project, please send your email address to kathy@artsalivewales.org.uk

2 Jun

Catharine Marr Johnson

Catherine-Marr-Johnson1This week we received the sad news that artist, Catharine Marr Johnson has passed away after a lengthy battle with Motor Neurone Disease.  It is difficult to overestimate Catharine’s immense contribution to Arts Alive Wales as an artist, patron and trustee; she has been such an inspiration to us in so many ways.

Catharine was a proactive fundraiser for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. If you wish to make a donation please visit Catharine’s Just Giving page.




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