New works from Catrin Williams bring colour and splendour to the National Eisteddfod
Pwllheli native, Catrin Williams’ works of arresting visual poetry have been delighting art collectors and admirers alike since the late eighties, and in that time she has become one of our most vital, vibrant and influential artists.
Despite her seemingly limitless palette, there is no mistaking her brush stroke, her etches and even the very colours which seem to belong to only her and bend and twist with every new take.
This year’s National Eisteddfod takes place at Boduan from 5th-12th of August, offering a chance for Llŷn’s thriving local businesses to showcase the delights, crafts and experiences of this most beloved part of Wales.
Visitors will also be able to catch a glimpse of some of Catrin’s latest works which are currently on show at Cwt Tatws, Tudweiliog, a beautifully curated homeware and clothing store. And the setting could not be more appropriate.
Welshness, and the experience of living in Wales, act as key cornerstones in Catrin’s work and this unspoken element has obviously translated, as she has forged a path and reputation in Wales, and indeed the world, that is universally loved and admired.
Avid watchers of S4C’s Cymry ar Gynfas (Wales on Canvas, which is a must-see for lovers of Welsh art) will no doubt recognise her, and obsessive music fans might even clock her work in clothing worn by Gwenno Saunders.
One of Catrin’s passions is holding workshops for schoolchildren and special needs groups of all ages throughout Wales; such is her strong connection to our people and our land, not to mention her ongoing desire to awaken the undeniable flow of artistry in all our veins.
“I was brought up in a small community full of art, music and literature, and I want to pass my joy of art and culture to everyone of every age. I’m very happy that children I’ve painted with in schools always say hello to me when I’m shopping or walking on the street.”
An incredible 26 paintings have made it to the exhibition, and seeing them together makes for a dazzling, intoxicating experience. Key themes she’s returned to include those places that mean so much to her, from Porthdinllaen and Machynlleth, to Aberdyfi, Aberdaron and, of course, Pwllheli. The deep, soulful connection she has to her surroundings, her cynefin, could not be clearer.
Catrin’s abstracts, too, make a very welcome addition, with some beautiful representations of magical beasts, movement, music, voice and so much more. These are grounded perfectly by smaller domestic snapshots of dressers, table settings and transcendental, dreamlike scenes – dreams we could only wish for.
Discussing the inspiration for the exhibition, Catrin said: “In the summer months, when I’m not so busy working in schools or on community art projects, I get a chance to draw, read, go to galleries and listen to music of all kinds – this is the time for me to work in my sketchbook collecting new ideas.”
“The sketchbook and drawing work is always very difficult – especially for new and different works – but I’ve found that having a good initial drawing means that I can create anything. For example there is a large oil on canvas painting in Cwt Tatws, ‘Canu yn y blodau / Singing in the flowers’, which I developed from drawings I had prepared on textile material and then made into gowns/capes inspired by listening to Gwenno and Lleuwen’s music.”
With the doors closed for the final time at the celebrated Martin Tinney Gallery in Cardiff, one of the most important showcases for Catrin’s work, she found herself with a chance to explore how to display her creations differently, something that has certainly impacted the new pieces.
She shared: “I have known Daloni Metalf from Cwt Tatws for a very long time – I think she was pregnant with her first child, Ifan, and I was pregnant with my second child, Luned – more than 26 years ago! She has supported and encouraged me in my work ever since.”
“When Martin Tinney Gallery closed, she offered to show my work around the Cwt Tatws shop, which I love – it felt like such perfect timing with the National Eisteddfod set to be held down the road in Boduan.”
“Like so many of us in the Welsh language community, the Eisteddfod is of such importance to me. The Lle Celf is particularly brilliant, and my husband Bedwyr ab Iestyn and I have been on the Lle Celf committee this year for Boduan.”
“I would have loved to have been in one of the choirs, I used to sing solo and compete in all kind of choirs but I’ve no time for singing now, art has taken over.”
With so many works on show right now, it’s a sure sign of Catrin’s renewed vigour and inspiration that those who aren’t able to see her works in person in the north west of the country will also get a chance to see further works hopefully that bit closer to home.
“I have work in the Summer Show at the The Art Shop and Chapel, Abergavenny, which I am very happy about – I’ve loved that place for a very long time!”
“I also have 2 large new works at the Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Llanbedrog, Summer Exhibition – and one piece in the Carn, Caernarfon, Pererindod exhibition. In the more distant future, I’m very excited about a show scheduled for next summer at the Mid Wales Art Centre in Caersws, so the sketchbook is out and I’m starting to collect and draw new ideas.”
Art is entirely subjective and competition has little meaning, but I can personally think of no one better suited to be launching new works in Llŷn ac Eifionydd during the Eisteddfod.
You can see Catrin’s works online or in person at Cwt Tatws, Tudweiliog, from now and throughout the Eisteddfod.
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