Notes from Wales Issue 1: Autumn 2014 - Page 9

What’s on this autumn September is a big month in the north Wales art calendar As part of Helfa Gelf / Art Trail, 300 artists open up their studios every weekend during the month (similarly, there’s the Anglesey Arts Week, which takes place in April). I try to get to as many studios as possible in September, to meet people and have a good nose around their spaces. Helfa Gelf also organises exhibitions throughout the year for members such as the Caffi Celf shows at Mostyn. This year will once again see an empty building in the centre of Llandudno (46 Augusta Street) turned over to Helfa Gelf artists for a pop-up exhibition. Axisweb members Wendy Leah Dawson and Angela Davies are both taking part in the ‘Haus of Helfa’. Like me, Angela Davies has experienced the isolation of working as an artist and found Helfa Gelf to be a gateway to connect with other artists in north Wales. In 2012 she began occupying empty market spaces as studio space and organised ‘A Sense of Place’ exhibition in the People’s Market, Wrexham. Her goal was ‘to connect with artists to forge a creative community’ and she feels that ‘Wrexham seems to be a more vibrant place in terms of the arts these days.’ Angela is also currently artist in residence at St. Asaph Cathedral exploring the theme of pilgrimage, which will inform the development of a multi-media production in the Cathedral at the end of the year. Alana Tyson, Shades by the Seaside, 2014 ©Alana Tyson Angela Davies, Zenobia, 2013, sculpture and film ©Angela Davies ‘Haus of Helfa’ is also a part of the Llawn02 festival which took place in September in Llandudno. The free arts festival aims to connect the history of the Victorian seaside resort with contemporary art through the theme ‘The Presence of Absence’. The festival does a great job of straddling the gap between appealing to the local community and presenting interesting and challenging contemporary art. I took part with ‘Shades by the Seaside’, an intervention involving silhouette portraiture. North Wales environmental artist Tim Pugh worked with local schools for LLawn02 to clad one of the iconic Llandudno Promenade shelters with coloured bottles. The public were then invited to place their own messages in the bottles throughout the festival. The shelter was dismantled and transformed into a recycled raft, which was (symbolically) released out to sea with many memories and messages contained within it. There are also a couple of festivals taking place in October: Bocs will be hosting a festival called ‘Seven Traces’ which will involve installations and performances throughout Caernarfon and the blinc digital festival will be held in Conwy at the end of the month. NOTES FROM WALES | AUTUMN 2014 8