Tag Archive: The Hand at Llanarmon

Richard III and the art of history

"Pembrokeshire Lane", Audrey Johns (from "Postcards from the past" at the Pure Art Gallery, Milford Haven Marina (via walesonline.co.uk)

“Pembrokeshire Lane”, Audrey Johns (from “Postcards from the past” at the Pure Art Gallery, Milford Haven Marina (via walesonline.co.uk)

Inside Out’s National Libraries Day event at Oswestry Library was in the Shropshire Star again this week, mentioned in an article about John Swogger’s comic on Richard III. The comic also features in an article on the University of Leicester’s press pages talking about the various comic artists and writers who have been inspired by the discovery.

There’s an important point to be made about narrating history, here. It does seem to be the case that successfully presenting the past requires more than just text – that it needs a visual “hook” as well. If that’s the case, what does that say about art’s relationship with time, memory and landscape? Is there something unique about the way that art taps into the past? So many artists seem to want to consciously evoke or present their own connection to the past in their work. Is there something perhaps about the creative working process that captures something significant about time?

Our latest exhibition at The Hand is entitled Ceiriog: Past, present and future, and I’m hoping that the works that go up in the dining room will reflect this ability of art to capture the flow of history within a landscape. Certainly this sense of a place with a deeply-rooted past is one of the things that visitors find so attractive about the valley – and art very much seems to be one of the things that can unfold that story for people.

Inside Out – coming soon!

IMG_0211We’ve already got a full schedule of events and exhibitions for the rest of the year. We discussed some of them at the meeting yesterday – here’s a summary of what’s coming soon:

  • Mind, Body & Spirit – The exhibition is now up in Rowanthorn, and should be up in EnergyCreative next week. We’ve had one short note in the Oswestry Advertiser about the exhibition this week, and we’re getting a longer article and a photograph in next week’s ‘Tizer. As the exhibition lasts for three months, we’ll be switching some of the work around half-way through (mid-July). There are fifteen artists taking part at the moment, but if anyone else wants to take part, please get in touch, as the mid-July switch-over will give you a chance.
  • Rowanthorn – Mike at Rowanthorn is looking for other exhibitions to take over after the Mind, Body & Spirit exhibition finishes in September. He’s particularly looking for interesting and intriguing work  – stuff that’s a bit different. He had work in the shop by Jim Fox earlier this year – really unusual constructions made out of skulls, bone and dolls, and is looking for similarly off-beat works. Anyone interested, get in touch with Mike directly.
  • Creepy House, Oswestry Library – The library’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is “Creepy House”. There’s an activity day scheduled for July 13th, when an illustration/construction creepy house will be drawn/built in the library. The library will be providing all the necessary materials. Anyone interested in taking part should let us know and then come along to the library on July 13th. I’ll post more details later in the month.
  • Ceiriog, at The Hand at Llanarmon, Llanarmon D.C. – We’re installing the last part of our year-long exhibition on the Ceiriog Valley and River at The Hand. This third part is themed: Ceiriog: Past, present and future. The exhibition will last through the summer. Anyone still wanting to take part should get in touch in the next couple of weeks.
  • Art & Poetry, Oswestry Library – Next National Libraries Day is in February 2014, and we’re thinking of doing something connecting local art and local poetry. Collaborations, partnerships, connections – there are a whole bunch of ideas about how we might bring art and poetry together. We’ll definitely be doing another art day in the library in February, and we’ll set up some kind of exhibition beforehand. Nothing’s set in stone yet – we’re going to be thinking about this idea through the summer, so if you have any suggestions, do get in touch.
  • Underhill Farm – Lots going on at the farm, including pretty elaborate plans to build kilns to fire the local clay. Plus Paul Stocking’s bamboo arch has been sited next to the newly-planted willow wood, and Wilf’s “Woodline” continues to evolve as the seasons change. Plenty of reasons for return visits through the summer – and we’re planning to hold July’s Inside Out meeting at the farm again, just so everyone gets another chance to spend some time at the farm. We’re also planning some more art and activity days through the summer, and we’ll continue to talk about ideas for next year’s Art & Craft event, including the suggestion that we should build some kind of “symposium” into the event.


  • Our July meeting will be at Underhill Farm, and we’re hoping that Brenda Sandilands will spend some time talking about her recent work. The remainder of the time we’ll spend doing some art!
  • Our August meeting will be at Wilf Thust’s Studio, and he’ll be showing some ideas for fixing and exhibiting, rather as he did at his workshop at The Willow last year.

As usual, meetings are at 2pm on the first Wednesday of the month.

Sketching Days:

We’ve no sketching days planned, but I was wondering if we might want to do a market-town day in Oswestry, perhaps? If so, we could tie it into the Mind, Body & Spirit exhibition and sit for a while outside Rowanthorn – it’s lovely there in the sunshine. Anyway, just an idea; we’ll keep you posted.

A Welcome in the Hillside

"Time Has Told Me" - Diana Baur via dianabaur.co.uk

“Time Has Told Me” – Diana Baur via dianabaur.co.uk

Far away a voice is calling,
Bells from memory do chime.
Come home again, come home again,
They call through the oceans of time.

It’s spring in the Ceiriog valley, the lambs are playing on new grass, the late daffodils are still nodding by the side of the road, and the hedgerows are just coming into leaf – and it’s time for part three of our Ceiriog exhibition at The Hand in Llanarmon D.C. Everyone has been really complimentary about the work that’s gone up since last year, and visitors and locals alike have certainly appreciated the local theme. We’ve made some unexpected sales, too, which has been a real boost.

For June, July and August, the mini-theme is – Ceiriog: Past, present and future. It’s another pretty broad theme – anything to do with the Ceiriog valley and its history, the way it is now, or what might happen in years to come. Some ideas that have already been circulating have focused on historic buildings and landscapes, the way places change from year to year, the way the generations change and so on. 

As we all know, the spring and summer is a busy season – weddings, walkers and day-trippers fill the village weekdays and weekends. There are loads of special events scheduled too – including a celebration in June for Martin and Gaynor’s tenth anniversary at The Hand!

Hopefully everyone will feel inspired – and if you’re inspiration is in need of a boost, well, there’s an excuse right there to come down to The Hand for a meal or a pint in the sunshine!

We’ll keep a welcome in the hillside,
We’ll keep a welcome in the Vales.
This land you knew will still be singing,
When you come home again to Wales.

“There’s a Welcome in the Hillside” (traditional)

Sketching in Llanarmon D.C.!

And finally, the rain stopped...

And finally, the rain stopped…

I know this is a bit last-minute, but with all the sun we’re having I’m tempted to go out and do some sketching tomorrow: I’ve got drawings to do for the new Hand Walk Book Martin and I are working on.

If anyone’s interested, I’m going to be sketching around Llanarmon D.C. tomorrow morning and early afternoon – the Church, Ysgubor Draw and around the Village Hall – probably going out around 11am and finishing about 3pm with tea in The Hand.

Maybe see some of you tomorrow!

Ceiriog: The Seasons

"First Snow at Hendre Quarry" John Swogger, 2012. My entry into the "Ceiriog: The Seasons" exhibition at The Hand.

“First Snow at Hendre Quarry” John Swogger, 2012. My entry into the “Ceiriog: The Seasons” exhibition at The Hand.

Hope everyone had a relaxing Christmas! With New Year rapidly approaching, it’ll soon be time for us to switch around our Ceiriog exhibition in The Hand, Llanarmon D.C. This has been one of our most successful exhibitions at The Hand to date – we’ve sold three works so far, and have had double that number of enquiries. Martin and Gaynor have reported that lots of people are interested in the exhibition and the theme. As you know, we’re keeping the Ceiriog theme running throughout the year, but “tweaking” it slightly every three months.

For January, February and March, our theme will be: Ceiriog: The Seasons, and we’re inviting Inside Out artists to submit art about the Ceiriog valley through the year: summer, spring, autumn or winter. It could be scenery, it could be portraits, it could be paintings of seasonal events like the sheepdog trials or Christmas carollers – whatever reflects the Ceiriog through the seasons.

As not everyone can make it down to Llanarmon immediately in January, Diana and I will be switching things around throughout January. If you would like to submit work to the exhibition, please make arrangements with myself or Diana, or bring it along to our next meeting in January. Remember that space in the dining room is limited, and so we will have to offer exhibition slots strictly on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Ceiriog” at The Hand

New exhibition at The Hand in Llanarmon D.C., running from Oct.-Dec. this year.

As you know, the Inside Out group has been invited to exhibit in the dining room of The Hand Hotel in Llanarmon D.C. by Martin and Gaynor DeLuchi since 2008.

For the past five years we’ve run that exhibition along the lines of a “Current Work Show”, enabling artists to exhibit works from their current portfolio. Although we’ve always had a lot of interest in the exhibition (it’s even been mentioned in several reviews of the hotel), we’ve always known that visitors have liked the art more when it’s had a local flavour to it. We’ve also always known that it’s this art that generates more sales and more commissions.

So, after some discussions with Martin and Gaynor, we’ve decided to try something different at The Hand. For the next year, we’ll be trying out “themes” for each quarterly exhibition. Each theme will reflect the locality, season or region, giving the group the chance to showcase the paintings, drawings, prints and photographs they do inspired by this particular corner of the country.

Our first theme, from October to December this year, is “Ceiriog“. This could be taken as the valley, the river, or even the poet. We’re looking for any artwork that reflects this theme. Although the exhibition is open, space is limited. Please contact us through the blog or by email as soon as possible if you’d like to submit work. A photo and measurements of your work is essential, so that we can work out where to hang the piece. Work accepted for exhibition needs to be brought to The Hand no later than Friday, Sept. 28th (which gives you 2 1/2 weeks), as we will be hanging on Sunday afternoon.

As part of this revised programme of exhibition at The Hand, we will be doing more publicity for each quarterly show, with colour posters and press releases to local newspapers and organisations associated with The Hand. At the end of 2013, we will produce a catalogue of the year’s exhibition, for sale over the Christmas and New Year period.

Hopefully this will help us make the most of the exhibition opportunity Martin and Gaynor have so kindly offered us over the years.

Great notebook meeting

Sketchbook – Mattias Adolfsson via behance.net

Nice relaxed notebook meeting this afternoon at The Willow. We took up a sunny set of sofas all afternoon, and it seemed like we managed to talk about almost everything – from tattoos to Peter Blake, from limited(?) edition prints to artists’ trading cards.

A laundry list of information to pass around to everyone this month:

  • Clive Wilson is now a trustee at The Qube, and would like to collect suggestions from all us Inside Out artists to pass onto the board. How could the Qube serve local artists better? What do we think about the exhibition space(s) at The Qube? What about the events they organise? Anything they could do better/differently?
  • Any ideas, pass them along to us via comment here and we’ll send them Clive’s way – or, Diana will be sending out a round-robin email as well.
  • Also, Jenny’s got a piece in the Qube’s Open Art Exhibition. They go on display Sept. 14th, so go along and catch the show – and vote for Jenny for the People’s Choice Award!
  • Speaking of exhibitions, Chloe’s fantastic portraits and landscapes are still up in the The Griffon on Albion Hill until the end of next week.
  • Still on the subject of exhibitions, after conversations with Martin and Gaynor at The Hand in Llanarmon D.C., we’re going to start “theming’ our hangings in the hotel Dining Room. We’re hoping that choosing local and regional themes will help boost sales and make the hangings seem more focused and coherent. For October through December, our theme will be “Ceiriog” – the river, the valley, the poet: interpret the theme as you wish. If anyone’s interested, drop your work by my studio in the Cambrian Buildings, or treat yourself to a trip down to Llanarmon and leave it with Diana in her Glandwr Studio. We’ll be selecting work at the end of September and we’ll discuss themes for 2013 next month too.
  • If you do fancy coming down to Llanarmon, this coming Saturday would be a good day: it’s the start of Helfa Gelf this coming weekend, and Diana, Rosie Davies and Rob Davies are exhibiting as the Thithebarn Studio Group in Llanarmon. So, to help kick the Helfa Gelf season off, we’re having a Sketching Day, this Saturday, Sept. 8th in Llanarmon D.C. Meet up at the Tithebarn Studios or The Hand at 11am. We’ll sketch in the Tithebarn gardens, plus we’ll venture up to the old barn below Ty Coch above the village.
  • And while you’re deciding on what to do this weekend, don’t forget that the Heritage Open Day events are happening all around Oswestry. Special shout out for the film showing of “Decasia” in the Llanymynech Lime Kilns on Sunday afternoon, and the exhibition of Neil Phillips’ 366 tee-shirts in Hermon Chapel in Oswestry. Plenty of other stuff happening all weekend – in fact, from tomorrow onwards.
  • Also open this weekend will be Underhill Farm in Pant. Steve and Irene are looking for artists interested in running workshops and courses at the farm. Stop by and have a word with them and have a look around their great set-up. They’ve got some really nice converted buildings perfect for a wide range of art and craft working/teaching. If you miss this weekend’s open day, we’ll be organising a winter sketching day down there at some point either before Christmas or in the New Year.

That’s it until next month. If we don’t see you at a sketching day or something through September, see you at our next Notebook Meeting at The Willow on the first Wednesday of October!

Helfa Gelf Sketching Day in Llanarmon

Sketching Day in Llanarmon D.C. to mark the first weekend of the North Wales Helfa Gelf/Art Trail – Saturday, Sept. 8th, 11am

Here’s an upcoming date for your calendars: It’s going to be the first weekend of the Helfa Gelf/Art Trail across North Wales starting Friday, Sept. 7th. Inside Out artists Diana Baur and Rosie Davies, together with Rob Davies, are going to be exhibiting as the Tithebarn Studio Group in the Tithebarn Studio in the middle of Llanarmon D.C.

We thought this would be a good opportunity to schedule an Inside Out Sketching Day in Llanarmon D.C. on Saturday, Sept. 8th. We’ll meet up at the Tithebarn Studio at 11am, and base ourselves in and around the village, the church and the river. If the weather’s fine, John has offered to lead a Sketching Walk to some nearby hillside locations. In the afternoon we’ll break for tea at The Hand Hotel.

The weather should be fine, but if not, there’s plenty of cover to draw, paint and photograph from. If anyone needs directions or more information, get in touch – otherwise, we look forward to seeing you in Llanarmon!

Sketching Day & Sketching Walk

Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog – Saturday, September 8th

(at the end of the B4500 from Chirk)

Meet at the Tithebarn Studio in the centre of the village at 11am

Tea at The Hand Hotel

The Hand on Facebook!

Travelling to The Hand - John S, 2011

The Hand Hotel in Llanarmon D.C. is now on Facebook!

Martin and Gaynor have kindly hosted our ongoing exhibition of work in The Hand’s dining room since 2007, as well as work by local artists Rosie Davies, Colin Radcliffe and Edwin Lambert, and Jim Heath’s giant carved wooden Hand outside. They hosted our Inside Out Exhibition Launches in 2008 and 2009, helped us out with publicity and meeting-space for the group in the early days, and have always been willing to drop our name whenever it’s helpful.

The Hand – and Martin and Gaynor personally – have been huge supporters of Inside Out and everything we’ve done right from the beginning. In addition to that, of course, they’re a fantastic pub – brilliant food by Grant, Eifion and John, an excellent selection of draft beer, a great winelist, and – of course – always a roaring log fire to warm you through after a long walk in the Berwyns!

So head along to the Hand’s Facebook page and “like” them – and tell them Inside Out sent you!

Great Notebook Meeting

Another great monthly meeting at The Willow. Lots of people, lots of really interesting things going on.

Updates from Maddie, Carmel and Rob Baur on their Art Works collaborations – Maddie doing interesting things with mirrors, words and cats at PetWorld, Carmel being distracted by the architecture in Ken’s jewellery studio, and Rob combining caravans and Soviet and British Rail posters.

All brilliant!

A number of people brought current work, so we all got quick peeks into Diana’s new one-drawing-a-day sketchbook, Chloe’s portfolio of two months’ worth of one-minute drawings and Geoff’s collection of new street photographs.

Some general discussion about the Art Works project, and some new developing ideas for artist/business partnerships – plus an interesting suggestion that we look at the possibility of linking Art Works into the new festivals initiative in Shropshire.

Upcoming events and exhibitions info. for your calendars:

  • Sketching day at Llanymynech Limekilns on Sat., Nov. 12. Turn up at 11/11:30 at the Limeworks carpark. We’ll have the woodburner lit in the stables, plus there’s kettle and a microwave there to keep us all warm. Lots to see and draw/paint/photograph. No particular plan for the day – we’ll be there until about 3 or 4pm.
  • New exhibition opportunity at Rowanthorn on Beatrice St., Oswestry. I’ve got a rota going – email or leave a comment if you’d like a slot. There are two 40x40cm slots and three 50x50cm slots at the moment, each one available for two months at a time (just like The Hand)
  • And, speaking of The Hand, there are still Dining Room exhibition slots available for later in 2012. Email or leave a comment on this post if you’d like a slot.
Finally, John gave a quick tutorial on using WordPress and this blog. Another one next month to catch anyone who didn’t get a chance today.
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