Poems, Psalms and Song – Studio Cennen’s 10th Studio Exhibition
Cymru. The Land of Song where Celtic notes float from harp strings along the valleys, swirl in ancient customs through woodland. Here, the leaves breathe melody down through heartwood, down through roots, and exhale into the earth.
Then like tremors, the music vibrates throughout the land, rippling rivers of old, the old ways of pilgrims, pilgrims who kneel to saints as they pass. Through the lowlands it pulses, connecting the uplands, and on to mountain summits.
Oh Snowdon, let me hear your sound! Ring out, Pen y Fan! Let the clouds capture your tunes and burst with rain at your song.
Let the people of Wales drink it up and crescendo their voices to rousing Welsh anthems in stadiums, schools, and village halls. Let the air mist with red, green and white.
There is a strength and pride in collective voice. Gwlad gwlad! Come on, Wales! Yma o hyd!
But there is also poetry in the quiet. In the calm of the barn or the hush of a studio. Ssshhh, listen… in, out. Breath is a gentle rhythm in which creativity flows from thought.
There is craft in how the poet quietly moulds their words into patterns and shapes; layering, texturing, sculpting.
As the potter throws their clay, and the printmaker engraves, so too the writer creates. The pen is a paintbrush, the paper the space.
Margaret Brampton, a potter from Ogmore, makes traditional wheel-thrown slipware and hand decorates her work with beautiful flora and fauna: bees; clover; primrose; honesty.
Each piece is unique and includes poignant and popular verse, including, ‘Rise up my love my fair one and come away for lo the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, flowers appear’ (from the Song of Solomon).
The word ‘poet’ derives from the Greek ‘to make’. As artists, we weave our craft into the silk of the land, stitch the fields with hedgerows, embroider them with campion and ragwort. We colour in pathways, texture the moors, brush stroke rivers.
Our tools are batons, moving like a miner’s headlamp at the coalface as he too carves his own story. Up above, our songs drift the air like the autumnal morning mist that hangs over lakes, where warm meets cool. There is always a welcome in these hillsides.
Marian Haf, a printmaker from Ceredigion, interlaces her work with familiar songs, hymns and nursery rhymes from her childhood in West Wales. Heno heno hen blant bach. Her beautiful artwork explores hiraeth, togetherness, place and loss. O rwyn dy garu di.
She says, ‘I enjoy heavily embossing these familiar words into the velvety paper, the paper happily yielding to the form of the letters and words. I find it particularly pleasing the way the words become a part of the paper rather than sitting on the surface. They are now its fabric and texture’.
Music runs through the veins of the poet, the artist, the singer. It fills the mind with ideas, the eyes with colour, finger tips with warmth. Too beautiful to contain this music seeps out, creating loops and strokes, semibreves of paint, breathing the self upon the page.
Maria Pierides paints the poetry of the landscape in which she lives – by a running stream in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons.
She builds up then scrapes back paint to create atmospheres of ‘Evening hour, sound of the wind’, ‘Swimming out in storm filled skies’, ‘Shafts of light’, and ‘When the moon fell into the sea’.
And as the palette tones cause feeling, music too can fuel our mood. It brings us to tears, fills us with joy, hushes mind and body with calm serenity. Music affects the chemicals in our brain in the same way that creating and observing art can reduce stress, improve wellbeing and gift good health.
But artists and makers can communicate feelings and atmospheres without words, without sounds. They create their own rhythms. Their lyrics include cut, etch, sweep, stain, stencil, carve, wash.
The gentle detail which Llandeilo painter Rhian Nest Jones creates in her paintings is found in the feelings of brushstroke and palette: in the sweeps of a salmon orange sky; blousy pink and sage marshmallow trees; grasses of cornflower blue.
She swirls clouds behind soft tree silhouettes, invites us in to her dreamlike world.
She says, ‘I suppose 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 paint as language that can share these moments. For me, the challenge is always to transform a remembered moment into art that has consequence.’
The Arts are the most natural communicators on earth. So when we see something that moves us, hear music that makes us dance, cry, smile, or when we feel how the poet plays with words and rhythm, we are in awe.
‘Poems, Psalms and Song’, Studio Cennen’s 10th studio exhibition, will run from 17th November to 17th December, with an open evening on Friday 25th November with Jin Talog.
For more information and to book your viewing slot, please visit studiocennen.com or @studiocennen on Instagram.
Other artists to feature in the exhibition include Paul Guiffrda and Chris Brook.
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