By Jon Gower
In the applied arts Ruthin Craft Centre, The Centre for The Applied Arts, has regularly showcased the work of the country’s makers and has gained an international appreciation for their work by presenting work at the Smithsonian Institution, at Collect, the global art fair and at The International Expositions of Sculptural Objects and Functional Art (SOFA) in Chicago.
The delicate ceramics of Lowri Davies are born out of everyday objects that her parents and grandparents would have used, or at least handled but with spry wit. Davies gives tea sets or Welsh dressers an elegantly contemporary feel. Referencing Nantgarw and Swansea porcelain her bone china tableware is alive with native birds and her Welsh heritage is proving to be a deep font of inspiration. Other artists such as weaver Cefyn Burgess draw on their own cultural backgrounds for inspiration, making quilts that may depict Welsh chapels or reflect the landscape and light of his childhood days in the slate quarrying village of Bethesda. In her Cardiff studio textile designer Laura Thomas draws on both the dramatic landscapes of her native Pembrokeshire and the vitality of visual communications to marry the organic with the graphic to produce anything from commercial home furnishings to public art, while companies such as Melin Tregwynt make commercial products such as furniture, clothing and cushions using Welsh traditions with innovative and modern design. Their blankets, in particular, are simply beautiful in design but also magnificent for dealing with the chill of Welsh winters!