Beasts of the Mabinogi

This year in Wales is the Year of Legends. I have recently had the pleasure of collaborating with Fauxidermy in a project based on the Mabinogion. These are a collection of stories passed down the generations in Wales eventually taking written form in approximately the 12th-13th century.  They talk of fabulous creatures, giants, royalty, romances, Welsh landscape and describe the most beautiful colours. I worked with Fauxidermy to create enamelled pieces for a touring exhibition organised by Oriel Cric Gallery and funded by the Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund.  Fauxidermy used Melin Tregwynt’s gorgeous woven fabrics to tell the story of these mythical creatures. The exhibition opened on 26th March at Melin Tregwynt in Pembrokeshire and will move to Oriel Cric in May.

During my research I discovered enamel was mentioned in the Mabinogi.  Manawydan one of the characters learns how to enamel using Blue-Azure and starts making pommels, shields and shoe buckles using the technique. Working with enamel on copper I made bridle pieces for Rhiannon’s horse featuring the birds of Rhiannon. The song of these magical birds was said to ‘wake the dead and lull the living to sleep’.

I also made  a comb, scissors and razor for Twrch Trwyth.  This was an enchanted wild boar who caused havoc throughout Wales and England. His grooming accessories were wanted to shave a giant and the hunt ensued.

I am sure this will lead on to a new body of work as I feel I have only just begun!

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