Poems, Psalms and Song – 10th Studio Exhibition of Studio Cennen
Cymrou. The land of song where Celtic notes float from the strings of the harp along the valleys, swirl in ancient customs through the woods. Here the leaves breathe in the melody through the heartwood, through the roots and out into the earth.
Then like tremors, the music vibrates throughout the land, rippling the rivers of old, the ancient ways of the pilgrims, the pilgrims kneeling before the saints as they pass. Through the lowlands it pulses, connecting the highlands and up to the mountain peaks.
Oh Snowdon, let me hear your sound! Ring the bell, Pen y Fan! Let the clouds capture your tunes and burst with rain to your song.
Let the people of Wales drink and crescendo their voices to the rousing Welsh anthems in stadiums, schools and community halls. Let the air fog up with red, green and white.
There is strength and pride in the collective voice. Gwlad gwlad! Go to Wales ! Yma oh hyd!
But there is also poetry in the calm. In the calm of the barn or the silence of a studio. Ssshhh, listen… in, out. Breathing is a gentle rhythm in which creativity flows from thought.
There is artistry in the way the poet quietly molds his words into patterns and shapes; layering, texturing, sculpting.
As the potter throws his clay and the engraver engraves, the writer also creates. The pen is a brush, the paper the space.
Margaret Brampton, an Ogmore potter, makes traditional slip and decorates her work by hand with beautiful flora and fauna: bees; Clover; primrose; honesty.
Each piece is unique and includes poignant and popular verses including “Arise my love my beautiful and come for the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers are appearing” (from the Song of Songs ).
The word “poet” comes from the Greek “to do”. As artists, we weave our craft in the silk of the earth, sew the fields with hedges, embroider them with campion and ragwort. We color the paths, texture the moors, brush the rivers.
Our tools are truncheons, moving like the headlamp of a coal-faced miner as he too carves out his own story. Up there, our songs drift through the air like the autumnal morning mist that hovers over the lakes, where warm meets cool. There is always a welcome in these hills.
Marian Haf, a printmaker from Ceredigion, interweaves her work with songs, hymns and familiar nursery rhymes from her childhood in West Wales. Heno heno hen blant bach. His beautiful artwork explores hiraeth, unity, place and loss. O rwyn dy garu di.
She says, “I like to emboss these familiar words heavily in the velvety paper, the paper yielding happily to the shape of the letters and words. I find it particularly pleasing how the words become part of the paper rather than just on the surface. They are now its fabric and its texture”.
Music flows through the veins of the poet, the artist, the singer. It fills the mind with ideas, the eyes with color, the fingertips with warmth. Too beautiful to contain this music oozes, creating loops and strokes, semi-breves of paint, breathing the self onto the page.
Maria Pierides paints the poetry of the landscape in which she lives – beside a stream in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons.
She accumulates then scratches paint to create moods of “The Evening Hour, Sound of the Wind”, “Swimming in a Storm Filled Sky”, “Rayons of Light” and “When the Moon Fell into the Sea” .
And just as the tones in the palette elicit emotions, music can also fuel our mood. It makes us cry, fills us with joy, soothes the mind and body with calm serenity. Music affects our brain chemicals in the same way that creating and viewing art can reduce stress, improve well-being, and provide good health.
But artists and creators can communicate feelings and atmospheres without words, without sounds. They create their own rhythms. Their lyrics include cut, engrave, sweep, stain, stencil, carve, wash.
The soft detail that painter Llandeilo Rhian Nest Jones creates in his paintings is found in the sensations of brushstroke and palette: in sweeps of a salmon-orange sky; pink and sage marshmallows; blue cornflower herbs.
She swirls clouds behind soft silhouettes of trees, inviting us into her dreamlike world.
She says, “I guess these paintings are a meditation on perceptions of time and place. A desire to recall and recreate an experience that matters to me, and to use the medium of painting as a language that can share those moments. For me, the challenge is always to turn a remembered moment into an art that has consequences.’
The arts are the most natural communicators on earth. So when we see something that moves us, we hear music that makes us dance, cry, smile, or when we feel how the poet plays with words and rhythm, we are amazed.
‘Poems, Psalms and Song’, Studio Cennen’s 10th studio exhibition, will run from November 17 to December 17, with an open house on Friday November 25 featuring Jin Talog.
For more information and to book your viewing slot, go to studiocennen.com or @studiocennen on Instagram.
Other artists to be featured in the exhibition include Paul Guiffrda and Chris Brook.
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